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Madame Defarge's hands were at her bosom. Miss Pross looked up, saw what it was, struck at it, struck out a flash and a crash, and stood alone — blinded with smoke.
All this was in a second. As the smoke cleared, leaving an awful stillness, it passed out on the air, like the soul of Madame Defarge whose body lay lifeless on the ground.
STUDY HINTS Study the spelling and meaning of these words: disfiguring solemn
Try to visualize, i.e. to see with your imagination, Madame Defarge. To what trait of her character does the writer call attention? Compare your first impression of Miss Pross with that of Madame Defarge. What effect is produced upon you by the words “And still Madame Defarge came nearer and nearer”? How do we know that Miss Pross is very much agitated? What does Miss Pross imply when she says, “I am an Englishwoman”? Does she express the same idea at any other point? Does she act as your first impression led you to expect? As Madame Defarge expected? What made her victorious? Is this story thrilling? Why?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ORAL AND WRITTEN ENGLISH
THEME SUBJECTS The author begins with telling what kind of person Madame Defarge is, then he proves it by an illustration. What method does he use in the case of Miss Pross?
Dramatize the selection as in Suggestions, p. 106. Assign the parts to members of the class and act the scene as the story indicates it should be acted.
Make an outline (i.e. a scenario) of the chief points of this story for a moving picture. Act the scene silently.
Arrange the dialogue of this story as explained on page 106. Select what you think can be used as stage directions, and insert in parentheses where you think best. Write a story on this same theme, “Love is Stronger than Hate,” in which two schoolboys are the characters. Try to develop your idea principally by the use of dialogue.
Tell the story of Miss Pross's encounter, in the character of Miss Pross herself.
Dramatize The Pine-Tree Shillings, p. 171, supplying the necessary dialogue. Can you introduce some Indian character to make it more picturesque?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS
A DAY IN JUNE 1
JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL
James Russell Lowell (1819-1891), born in the suburbs of Cambridge, Massachusetts, was descended from a cultured New England family. He was sent to Harvard and later had a private tutor at Concord, where he knew Emerson. (See The Humblebee, p. 246.) Like Washington Irving, he was minister to Spain. Later he was ambassador to England, in which position he won great popularity. In spite of his duties as editor of two well-known magazines, and as lecturer, succeeding Longfellow at Harvard, he published many poems and much prose. A Day in June is taken from The Vision of Sir Launfal, one of his most widely known poems. He lies buried in Mt. Auburn Cemetery, Cambridge, Massachusetts, not far from Longfellow's resting place. See also:
Halleck's History of American Literature, pp. 245–257, 284.
And what is so rare as a day in June?
Then, if ever, come perfect days;
And over it softly her warm ear lays:
An instinct within it that reaches and towers,
10 1 Used by permission of, and by arrangement with, Houghton Mifflin Company authorized publishers of Lowell's works.
The flush of life may well be seen
Thrilling back over hills and valleys; The cowslip startles in meadows green,
The buttercup catches the sun in its chalice, And there's never a leaf nor a blade too mean? 15
To be some happy creature's palace; The little bird sits at his door in the sun,
Atilt like a blossom among the leaves,
With the deluge of summer it receives;
That maize has sprouted, that streams are flowing,
We could guess it all by yon heifer's lowing, -
2 Thoughtful, discriminating.
Can you answer the poet's question on line 24? How many things contribute to make a perfect June day? Can you add anything to the poet's list? What is your favorite month? What would constitute a perfect day in that month? Does any part of this resemble Wordsworth's descriptions of nature?
SUGGESTIONS FOR ADDITIONAL READINGS
The Fountain. James Russell Lowell.
No. VI). James Russell Lowell.