Анализ текста Up the downstair case из учебника Аракина за 5 курс
Bel Kaufman, was an American writer. She worked as a teacher of the English lan¬guage and literature in a New York high school for 15 years. "Up the Down Stair¬case" (1964) is her first prominent work. The book deals with the experiences of a young high-school teacher.
The novel, which can be treated as autobiographical, it is about an idealistic young English teacher, hoping to share her love of classic literature and writing with her students. However, her idealism is quickly gone because of the severe realities of her colleagues and students.
The story revolves around Sylvia Barrett, a young idealistic and very talented English teacher, she faces with the indifference of her students, and the incompetence of many of her colleagues. And Sylvia writes to her friend about all the difficulties she has and how she gets over the obstacles.
The key of the text is ironical, it is a first person narration interrupted by dialogues. The author’s message in this text is that in any situation a person may find a way to attain his goal or as it said in the text “hitch your wagon to a star” it means that one should always aspire to do great things and do not set pessimistic goals.
The main character of the story is Sylvia. She may be considered as a very creative person as she offers her pupils’ different types of class work completely non-typical for the school she works at; an example of it is listening to a Shakespeare’s sonnet.
There are speaking names in this story such as Mr. Winters (one of the four season). First of all, it shows the attitude to him and his theory (he doesn’t want to recognize alternative ways of teaching). Also this name reflects that he is severe, strict and probably has no emotions.
Another speaking name is Mr. Bester. His name is formed by adding the suffix “er” to the superlative degree “best”. It means that he is better than the best.
The story presented in a form of a letter from a high school teacher Sylvia Barrett to her college friend Ellen. Sylvia writes about school life and complains that conditions into the public high school system do not change and that advice given by professors of how to teach “not the subject but the whole child” is rather useless and there are only few teachers in this school who work their magic in classrooms.
The letter can be divided into a personal greeting, the body of the letter and there is no final part what means that there is no conclusion. Thus, the author attempts to make the readers think the story over themselves.
The text begins with a abbreviation FTG, that is to show the informal character of the letter. The enumeration “I can wash a blouse, think a thought, write a letter” is used here to underline that Saturday is the day when she can be free of everything that bound her in everyday life. The tautology here is used in ironical meaning- it demonstrates that she, during the working days has no time to even think. The general congratulation on the baby’s new tooth and her speculations about her future is a mark of her positive attitude towards her friend.
Describing the kids she uses the antithesis “physically mature – poor intellect”, which means that the pupils are hard to teach. Describing her experience of teaching without a book she shows the dynamics of the discussion and the pupils’ excitement as a reaction to the problem touched, so the author employs repetitions and parallel constructions: “no, no some said…no, no, others cried…”, and the most precious reward for her efforts is the “groan” of children. Speaking about one of the obstacles in the way of teacher, she uses the metonymy “Admiral Ass”, that nickname is derived from his signature, but it is also a symbolic one – ass is the synonym of the donkey and describes someone dumb or thick, and admiral means that he is proud of his post.
Then she via an allusion compares the speaking to the act of “cardinal sin”. Describing her lesson when she used her personal phonograph, she once more mentions Admiral ass who again set barrier for her teaching practice. He says that “he has crystallized into The Enemy” thus making us believe that they are enemies. The definite article with the usage of capital letters underlines his role in that process, and the word crystallized is also worth to be mentioned – that word means the (natural or artificial) process of formation of solid crystals – so the unfriendliness between them become a solid crystal.
Speaking about the division of the teachers to the good ones and the bad ones she says that one of them “work their magic in the classroom” and others “find in the school system an ex¬cuse or a refuge”.
A mass of colloquialisms indicate that the text is written in the informal style. There are lots of colloquial words that are typical for a letter. There are also such stylistic devices as metonymy, antithesis: “improved conditions – greatly unimproved” or “physically mature – poor intellect”, allusions, abbreviations, and so on.
As for the title, words “up” and “down” are antonyms. The title can be interpreted in three ways. The first one is that the pupils try to go up but fail due to teachers. The second interpretation is that according to Sylvia’s ranking system some teachers are best or “up” and others are not or “down”. And the last one is that the final goal means “up” and everyday routine means “down”.
In conclusion, "Up the Down Staircase" is the funny and touching story of a committed, idealistic teacher whose dash with school bureaucracy is a timeless lesson for students and teachers concerned about public education. Bel Kaufman lets her characters speak for themselves through comments by students and notes between teachers evoking a vivid picture of teachers fighting against all that stands in the way of good teaching.