Анализ текста "The Passionate Year"

The text under interpretation is the extract from novel “The Passionate Year” by James Hilton. First of all let me start with some words about the author. So James Hilton was an outstanding and best -selling English writer of the 20th century. He made a great contribution to the world literature. And the facts that his novel “Good bye Mr Chips was dramatized and filmed, and more over his novel “Lost Horizon “ was awarded the Hawrthornden Prize prove his contribution. Besides these two novels James Hilton was famous for such his works as “We are not alone”, “Random Harvest”, “Nothing so strange”, “Time and Time again” etc.

So, the main characters of the text, whose dispositions and behaviours arebrightly disclosed with the help of mixed type of character drawing, are Kenneth Speed, a young Master at a Millstead Boarding School for boys, sweet-faced but impudent pupils Worsley and Naylor. The minor characters are other pupils in the class and Clanwell.

The author with the help of third person narration with the elements of description an dialogue told about the trials which a young teacher Speed had to suffer and overcome during the first night he took prep. Including only few hours of Speed’s workday the text touches upon the problem of such challenge for a teacher as gaining a firm standing from the very beginning. This text impressed me greatly.First of all I liked the plot of the text. It was very interesting for me as for a future teacher by training to watch (follow) Speed's behaviour in difficult situations. I also admired Hilton’s skill to convey atmosphere of what was going and to hold reader’s attention.

The author informed us that preparation for the whole school was held in Millstead Big Hall in which desks were ranged in long rows and where Master in charge sat at a desk on raised dais. And it was Speed’s turn to be a Master in charge. It is necessary to mention that it was his first experience. And Speed was warned that he might be ragged by the boys. So the завязка of the text is rather intriguing to my mind.

Then the plot development began. The author mentioned that as Speed was warned about the possibility of being ragged he was in strained condition. Though entering the hall at five to seven the pupils behaved quietly, there was something strange and tense in their manner of taking their places, looking at each other, smiling. In some minutes they were suspiciously quiet and orderly. And Speed was conscious of that tense atmosphere in the class. He couldn’t bear it more. He suspected that something was going to happen and he wanted it to happen as soon as possible. Here we come across such stylistic devices as epithets nervous, subdued expectancy, the simile as if he were sitting on a powder magazine, the periphrasis (metaphor) storm which demonstrate that the atmosphere in the hall was uncomfortable and tense and they reinforce Speed’s unbearable feeling of expectancy that something should burst out. This situation in the classroom is emphasized by such verbs as straggle, stare about, grin describing tensive children’s behavior. More over periods of time such as at five to seven, at five past seven, at a quarter past seven stress Speed’s inner state. We can guess that he was on thorns with his feeling of tense atmosphere of expectancy.

I suppose that such tension is a real trial, challenge for a teacher because it can unsettle him, can prevent to gain a firm standing. A teacher simply can lose his head and make fatal mistakes. So to my mind it is important to keep firmness and calm and not allow pupils to gain the upper hand over oneself. But what for Speed. Whether he will be able to cope with his nervous state?

Further on the author told that Speed’s suspicions came true. At a quarter past seven a banging of desk-lids began. A young teacher kept calm. He said that he didn’t want to be too hard on somebody, but he would punish any disorderliness. The reaction of the class was only tittering. And then a pleasant faced boy deliberately dropped a desk-lid with a bang. By consulting the map of the desks Speed knew the boy’s name to be Worsley. But he doubted the pronunciation of the name. And here the author put the teacher in difficult situation. On the one hand Speed must react to the boy’s behavior, keep his words to punish disorderliness, gain his standing, but on the other hand he must not make a fool of himself. But Speed coped with this problem. He made up his mind to have a risk, to make a dangerous step. He resorted to witticism. Speed said that however the boy called himself Wawsley or Wurssley he had a hundred lines.

With the help of the periphrasis outrageously bold adventure, epithet uncanny feeling for atmosphere it becomes evident that a gaining a firm standing is not easy task, but it requires confidence, riskiness. The military terms f.e. weapon, armoury, recoil give ironic tone to the text and suggest that teaching like a war requires strategic skills and skills to act promptly in unexpected situations. One wrong decision or action and you can lose the war; one wrong decision or action and you can fail the trial and lose prestige and children’s respectfulness.

So It is obvious to my mind that it is necessary to have a lot of knowledge, skills and strength in order to gain a firm standing .

Later on the author mentioned that the whole class laughed so loudly that Speed was frightened a little thinking that children ragged him again by pretending to go off into hysterics of laughter. But when laughter subsided one boy rose up and said that he was Worsley but he didn’t do anything. And it is the climax of the text to my mind. Can Speed make a mistake and make a fool of himself. What will he do? But Speed did not lose his head. He put that boy off too. He said that the boy whose name turned out to be Naylor had a hundred lines too. The class laughed again. But this laughter expressed respectfulness. In spite of the boys’ pleading they however paid the penalty.

Here we come across the metonymy assembly which proves that the whole class, each person put the teacher to the test. Such word as impudently, ellipsis in hot indignation also prove this idea and stress outrageous pupils’ behavior. The attachment and at the same time exclamatory sentence supposing they did not stop laughing disclose he teacher’s nervous inner state. But at the same time the nouns respectfulness, merriment, remission, the verb plead, judicial terms punish, pay the penalty show that Speed stood the test and managed to gain a firm standing from the very beginning.