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(The metaphors in this story and the characters of captain Javert and Mr. Valjean are borrowed from the story of Les Miserables written by Victor Hugo)

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His mind was working overtime. He was perspiring profusely. He searched for his small towel and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. The back of his shirt was wet and soaked. He removed his face cap and tilted the a/c vents all to himself. Brad was having a preview in his mind how the meeting would go. He cleared his throat and struggled to swallow some saliva. He was dry. He brought out his water bottle from the cup holder and drank from it. He cleared his throat again and opened his mouth to speak but no sound came forth. He shut his eyes tightly and reclined the back rest of the Toyota Camry car. Mr. Moss coughed a little. Brad was startled. He opened his eyes and pulled the back rest up again.

Mr. Moss’s eyes were glued to the road. He glanced sideways every now and then to look at the side mirrors. He opened the glove compartment of the car and brought out a can of hazel nuts. He opened it and popped some nuts into his mouth. He did not offer, Brad a piece. Brad knew that anytime his dad offered nothing it meant “till we sort this case out, we ain’t buddies.”

A gazelle leapt across the road and Mr. Moss let out a little yelp followed by a swear word. He flipped through the channels. He settled at the classic FM station that was playing the Rhapsody by the Vienna Clarinet Connection. Was it a deliberate attempt to annoy him? Mr. Moss knew how Brad hated Rhapsodies but he settled for it.

“Dad could you turn it down a little bit?” Brad muscled some courage to say.

Mr. Moss did not say a word. He popped some more nuts into his mouth and the road opened up to a wider dual carriageway and Mr. Moss, stepped up the gas and put the car on cruise control at 120km/hr. This was their first time of using the new route since the completion of the road and they were approaching the toll gate. Brad glanced at the google map and it indicated thirty minutes to destination.

Mr. Moss coughed and rolled down the glass and spat out the sputum on the road. The breeze fastened some of the sputum to the sides of the car creating such a mess.

Why was Mr. Moss acting like this today? He would normally use a tissue to house his phlegm. He was so reckless this morning. Perhaps he was stressed Brad thought, after all, he had taken a day’s unpaid leave to visit his school to check things out for himself. Things were a little tight at the moment and his dad needed every dime. His older brother was at uni and needed some support. Since after the departure of his mum, his dad had changed considerably, Brad thought. He worked more, laughed less and kept to himself a bit more.

Brad remembered Mr. Biney his RE teacher who always talked about God. “Call upon Him in the day of trouble and He will answer you.”

He bowed his heart and mimicked talking to someone, an invisible person.

The weather changed and it began to drizzle, the wipers were making the abrasive noises as it struggled to wipe the windscreen of the car. The music had changed now to Les Miserables musical – ‘Do you hear the people sing?’ Brad’s mind quickly went to his English teacher’s lesson on spider diagram – write down the keywords. He thought of angry men, slaves, sing, barricade, join us, hear, music, beating of your heart, echoes beating of heart, fight, right, people who will not be slaves again. He wondered who would join him to sing this song of freedom. He didn’t want to be a slave again to fear. He wondered if any teacher in the school would chip in a good word for him. Only one he thought, then the trip would not have been a total waste.

Brad’s father had decided that he would see every single teacher to get an idea about his son’s performance. He could not be paying such exorbitant fees for his son to produce such a result. In his mind he had already made up his mind that he will sort Brad out. He knew he had to slow down with work and spend more time with him. The options he was left with were not so palatable. Brad would have to transfer to a government school where schooling would be free. He would have to seek for a good school. He would have to relocate to the catchment area in order to qualify for a placement. Is that what the family needed now? The other option was a faith school. For you to qualify for a placement you needed to be an active member of the church. He didn’t go to church. His head began to ache. Then he heard “To the barricades.” He wished he had a barricade to run to now. Brad thought of Rev. Biney. If only he could see Rev. Biney, maybe he would chip in a good word for him. His dad had said that the only way he would allow him to stay in that school was if only there would be one teacher shower a flowery praise on him, that would be his life line.

Sitting at his classroom desk, and looking through the window pane, he saw a large man with his hair rustling in the wind walking down briskly and a much younger version of him trudging behind him. They disappeared out of view. Then a rap on the door. This was going to be the deciding factor. All the teachers they had visited said how great a potential Brad had, however if there was no conscious effort for him to translate that into success, his continual stay at the school would be a waste of funds and everybody knew how expensive St.Xavier’s school was.

Mr. Moss always ended his conversations with the teacher politely. “Thanks so much for your time” and would walk away. He would tuck in the little notebook into his pocket.

“Come on in.”

“Good morning Mr. Biney” Mr. Moss said stretching forth his hand.

“Rev. Biney” Brad corrected. The first time he had spoken in three hours.

“Sorry Rev. Biney. I am Mr. Moss, Brad’s father.”

“Good morning. Good to see you” Rev. Biney replied.

“Please tell me about Brad and be honest.”

Rev. Biney remembered the last time, they had a staff meeting and discussed his case. It seemed hopeless and knowing how the dad was struggling to pay his fees and Brad not being able to cope with the work and even more so, his behavioral tendencies. He needed real help and the father needed to transfer him to a school closer to where he lived to enable him keep an eye on him so that his interests would best be catered for.  It was decided that it was best to ask his dad to withdraw him from the school. Could he lie to this man? His heart sank.

“Mr. Moss, I have always enjoyed teaching Brad. He is such a lively young person, so full of energy.”

“Thanks.”

“I have always enjoyed the perspectives he brings to the lesson. Very moral and very justifiable. His sense of justice is very apt and he hates seeing people being downtrodden. He is compassionate and forgives easily. I think he will make a good priest.” That voice “To the barricades” came resounding to him.

Brad was like a man awakened out of a sudden slumber.

Was that the problem with inspector Javert who was determined to ruin the life of Mr. Valjean for stealing a piece of bread? What was his crime at St. Xaviers that he will have to be banished to the monastery?

Uwem Mbot Umana©2020

 

Answer the following questions:  Total marks 56

  1. How does Brad feel at the beginning of the story. Give evidence from the text to support your answer. 5 marks
  2. What is the relationship between Mr. Moss and Brad? Give an evidence from the text to support your answer. 5 marks
  3. How is the atmosphere established in the beginning of the text? Give a quotation from the text to support your answer. 5 marks
  4. What happened to Brad’s mum? 1 mark
  5. “Why was Mr. Moss acting like this today?” Explain in your own words what you think this question mean. 5 marks
  6. “He wondered who would join him to sing this song of freedom.” Explain in your own words the meaning of this statement. 5 marks
  7. What does Rev. Biney represent to Brad in this story? 5 marks
  8. Describe Mr. Moss in your own words – his physical looks, his feelings, etc. 5 marks
  9. In your own words, explain the feelings of Brad after the meeting with Rev. Biney. 10 marks
  10. Write five questions you would like to ask Brad- write in the first person. 10 marks

 

 

13 Comments

  1. 1. He was freaking out.
    1b. My evidence is from the story it said” His mind worked overtime. He was perspiring profusely. He searched for his small towel and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. The back of his shirt was wet and soaked. He removed his face cap and tilted the a/c vent to himself. He struggled to swallow some saliva. ”
    2. The relationship between Mr. Moss and Brad was cordial.
    2b. My evidence is from the story, it said”Mr. Moss let out a little yelp followed by a swear word. He flipped through the channels. He settled at the classic FM station that was playing the Rhapsody by the vienna Clarinet Connection. Was it a deliberate attempt to annoy him? Mr. Moss knew how Brad hated the Rhapsodies but he settled for it?
    3. The atmosphere was apprehensive.
    3b. It said in the story his mind was working overtime. He was perspiring profusely. He searched for his small towel and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. The back of his shirt was wet and soaked. He removed his face cap and tilted the a/c vents all to himself. Brad was having a preview in his mind how the meeting would go. He cleared his throat and struggled to swallow some saliva. ”
    4. In the story Brad’s mom was dead.
    5. I think this question means that Mr Moss was acting unusual that particular day.
    6. I think this expression means who would agree or help him with the problem he’s facing.
    7. Rev. Biney represents to Brad as a’ lively young person, so full of energy. ‘
    8. He’s physical looks in the story said he had a stern look and behavior his feelings, He was a bit worried, angry and concerned about the money that was wasted by his son through his education.
    9. He was shocked about the decision they made for him to be banished to the monastery.
    10. I would like to ask Brad from my own point of view.
    A. What was Brad’s problem in school?
    B. What was his distraction in school?
    C. Was he scared to ask questions in class.
    D. Was he lazy in school?
    E. Has he realized that his father didn’t have enough money?

  2. 1. Brad feels scared and nervous.
    1b. My evidence from the story: ” He was perspiring profusely. He searched for his small towel and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. The back of his shirt was wet and soaked. He removed his face cap and titled the a/c vents all to himself. Brad was having a preview in his mind how the meeting would go.
    2. The relationship between Mr Moss and Brad was unfriendly.
    2b. My evidence from the story: ” Mr Moss’s eyes were glued to the road. He glanced sideways every now and then to look at the side mirrors. ( He never looked or glanced at Brad while in the car.) He opened the glove compartment of the car and brought out a can of hazel nuts. He opened it and popped some nuts into his mouth. He did not offer, Brad a piece. Brad knew that anytime his dad offered nothing it meant “till we sort out this case out, we ain’t buddies.” ” He flipped through the channels. ( Mr Moss) He settled at the classic FM station that was playing the Rhapsody by the vienna Clarinet Connection. Was it a deliberate attempt to annoy him? Mr Moss knew how Brad hated Rhapsodies but he settled for it.”
    3. At the beginning of the story the atmosphere was tense. From the story: ( ” He was perspiring profusely. He searched for his small towel and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead. The back of his shirt was wet and soaked. He removed his face cap and tilted the a/c vents all to himself. Brad was having a preview in his mind how the meeting would go.”
    4. According to the story Brad’s mom “departed.”
    5. It meant that Mr. Moss never acted that way before ( ” Mr. Moss coughed and rolled down the glass and spat out the sputum on the road. The breeze fastened some of the sputum to the sides of the car creating such a mess.”) Normally he was proper or acted properly. ( “He would normally use a tissue to house his phlegm.”)
    6. I think this expression means that he wondered who would share this problem he’s facing.
    7. To Brad, Rev. Biney represents the inspector Javert who was determined to ruin the life of Mr. Valjean for stealing a piece of bread.
    8. Mr. Moss physical appearance looked stern and strict. His feelings, shows he is caring ( when he decides to visit Brad’s school to ask about his progress in his studies.) He is also hardworking.
    9. He was shocked about the decision that was made for him to be sent to the monastery.
    10. The questions I would like to ask Brad from my own point of view is:
    A. What was his challenge in school?
    B. Were the assignments given to him much or difficult to attempt?
    C. Has he ever thought or realized that his father didn’t have enough money to continue with the payment of his school fees?
    D. Were the classes a little boring?
    E. Was he a little lazy in school?

  3. No1. At the beginning of the story, Brad was so tensed up—”His mind was working overtime”, “He was perspiring profusely.” He was so tensed up to the point where he was sweating in an air-conditioned vehicle—”He removed his face cap and tilted the a/c vents all to himself.”
    All these took place because Brad was very nervous about what awaited him at his school that day. He was even startled at the slightest sound made around him. That is, from the passage: “Mr. Moss coughed a little. Brad was startled.”
    In a nutshell, Brad was feeling extremely nervous at the beginning of the story.
    No2. Mr. Moss was not in a very good relationship with his son, (Brad), at the time. This can be seen from the passage where Mr. Moss opened a can of hazel nuts, started eating and didn’t offer Brad a piece.
    No3. The atmosphere at the beginning of the text was very tense. This can be seen in the quotation: “He” (Brad), “cleared his throat again and opened his mouth to speak but no sound came forth.”
    No4. She passed away.
    No5. This question was asked out of curiosity. From the text, the question implies that Mr. Moss was not acting like his normal self on that day. This is clearly stated in the text by:
    —”Why was Mr. Moss acting like this today? He would normally use a tissue to house his phlegm. He was so reckless this morning.”
    No6. Brad knew that his father was not in the mood to communicate freely with him. So when the song; “Do you hear the people sing”, began to play, the very words of the song attempted to lift his spirits.
    For he didn’t want to be a slave again to fear. But as his father was in that state, he could not have him join him in singing “this song of freedom.”
    No7. •Rev. Biney represented clearly, “Brad’s last hope.”
    •He represented the light at the end of Brad’s tunnel.
    •He represented the silver lining in Brad’s cloud.
    -For he thought, “If only he could see Rev. Biney, maybe he would chip in a good word for him.”
    No8. Mr. Moss, probably would have looked very disorganized (in his physical appearance), at the time. This can be seen from the way he: “popped some nuts into his mouth”, and the way he: “coughed and rolled down the glass and spat out the sputum on the road.”
    Mr. Moss was a man who was going through difficult times, resulting from:
    –The passing away of his wife.
    –And his son Brad, was not performing well at school; upon all the money and resources he had put into Brad’s education.
    Lastly, Mr. Moss was trying his best to be a responsible father. He was determined to get to the bottom of Brad’s case and find a solution to his problem.
    No9. After the meeting with Rev. Biney, Brad felt like a criminal who had just received the penalty for his crime. To him, becoming a priest was a ‘punishment’.
    •His feelings at that time, were mixed: surprise/shock, disappointment and sadness.
    No10. a.) Brad, what were your thoughts at the time you were extremely nervous?
    b.) How did you feel when your father kept on ignoring you?
    c.) What were your feelings toward your father on the way to your school?
    d.) How did you feel when at last, your father approached Rev. Biney to inquire about your case?
    e.) How disappointed were you at Rev. Biney’s final comment about you?

  4. 1. Nervous and agitated
    “His mind was working overtime. He was sweating profusely. He searched for his small towel and wiped the beads of sweat from his forehead……”

    2. Father – Son Relationship
    “Sorry Rev. Biney. I am Mr. Moss, Brad’s father.”

    3. Tensed
    “…. Mr. Moss coughed a little. Brad was startled.”

    4. She died.

    5. It refers to the reason as to why he was behaving at that moment, being unusual, as it seems surprising to see him do things he doesn’t do.

    6. Who would help him out. Who would give him the word of confidence and assurance his father badly needed to keep him at St. Xavier’s.

    7.His last and only hope. His ace in the hole.

    8. Mr. Moss is a large man, with disheveled hair. He is optimistic to the core, have a certain regard for politeness, discipline, and rules, he is one that he is willing to believe and do anything for one as long as he could see the gain in it. He puts things off, doesn’t get things done until the last hour.

    9. He felt bad. His last hope was dashed.

    10. (i) If he could have asked Rev. Biney a question, what would he have asked?
    (ii) If he was behaving so poorly in his grades, what could have caused it? Why hadn’t he talked to his father, or anyone about him?

  5. 1a. Brad was nervous and afraid.
    b. his mind was working overtime, and he was perspiring profusely.

    2a. Mr. Moss was Brad’s Dad.
    b. Dad could you turn it down a little bit? Brad muscled some courage to say.

    3a. The atmosphere was tensed.
    b. He was perspiring profusely, the back of his shirt was wet and soaked.

    4. She died.

    5. This means that Mr. Moss, usually will spit into a tissue and not out of the window.

    6. He meant who was going to speak good of him to his Dad, which will help him feel free from the tension.

    7. The barricades.

    8. Mr Moss seems a like a tall muscular man, he was unhappy and kept to himself.

    9. Brad was shocked and suprised and wondered if he was been banished to the monastery like Mr. Valjean .

    10.(1) why are you so scared of your Dad?
    (2). why don’t you like Rhapsodies?
    (3). How do you know when your Dad does not respond to you, it be means until we sort things out?
    (4). Why did you not want to leave the school?
    (5). Will you like to become a priest?

  6. 1.a. Brad was scared.
    b. His mind was working overtime, he was perspiring profusely.

    2a. Brad’s Dad.
    b. Sorry Rev. Biney I am Moss, Brad’s father.

    3a. The atmosphere was scary.
    b. He opened his mouth to speak but no sound came forth.

    4. She had died.

    5. Mr. Moss usually spites into a tissue.

    6. He meant someone who would speak well of him that will make him free.

    7. The barricades.

    8. Mr. Moss was a large sized Man, and was sad and lonely.

    9. Brad was shocked and thought he was been punished by been sent to the monastery like Mr Valjean.

    10.(1) why are you not doing well in school?
    (2) why can’t you talk things over with your Dad?
    (3) why do you like your school?
    (4) Do you like Rev. Biney?
    (5) Did u like his suggestion?

  7. 1. He was afraid, scared, nervous and previewed in his mind how the meeting would go.
    b. “He cleared his throat again and opened his mouth to speak but no sound came forth.”
    2. Mr. Moss was Brad’s father.
    b. “Brad knew that anytime his dad din’t offer Brad a peice ment ’till we sort this case out bvddies.”
    3. His dad was not happy with his son.
    b. ”till we sort this case out we ain’t buddies.”
    4. His mother passed away.
    5. Ordinarily, Mr. Moss is a gentle man that will normally use tissue to house his phlegm. He was
    not a reckless driver but because he is stressed and since the death of his wife he has changed
    considerably. He worked more, laughed less and kept to himself a bit more.
    6. He was looking for someone that will be kind enough to say good things to the hearing of his father.
    7. Mr. Biney helped him to sing the song of freedom.
    8. Mr. Moss is a hardworking man he pays an exorbitant fee for his son but no co-operation, he
    wants his sons to grow up well, He feels he needs to spend more time with them.
    9. “Brad was like a man awakened out of a sudden slumber”. He was happy that someone had joined
    him to sing the song of freedom. His wishes had finally come true. Someone had told his dad good things about him in order to stay
    at the school.
    10. Brad would you be able to correct your mistakes?
    b. How would you be able to be focus on your studies to make your father happy?
    c.Brad what would be your reaction if you see people downtrodden?
    d. How close where you to your father before he said “till we sort this case out, we ain’t buddies”?
    e. Brad how would you have done things differently in order to prevent what happened?

  8. 1. Brad was nervous,scared and was sweating profusely.
    b. ” Mr. Moss coughed a little, Brad was startled”.
    2. Mr. Moss was Brads dad.
    b.“Sorry Rev. Biney. I am Mr. Moss, Brad’s father.”
    3. Mr. Moss was not pleased with his son.
    b. “Till we sort this case out,we ain’t buddies”.
    4.His mom is late.
    5.Mr. Moss would normally use tissue to house his phlegm. He is not a reckless driver, but this
    morning he was stressed. He had taken an unpaid leave to visit his son’s school to check things out
    for himself, though things are a little tight at the moment and he needed every dime. Since the
    death of his wife, he needs to work more to be able to support his family.
    6. He was looking fouth to see who will make good remark about him to his father to move from
    the mess he has brougth to himself.
    7. He was a saviour to him and perhaps he sang the song of freedom for him.
    8. Mr. Moss is a large man with long hair, he needs an honest appriasal of Brad, in his mind he thinks
    he needs to sort Brad out and to do this needs to spend more time with him.
    9. He was like a man awakened from a sudden slumber he was happy that someone had
    made his father not to take him out of the school, he felt like a big load lifted out of his neck.
    10. Brad what are the perspectives that you bring to lessons?
    b. Brad can you share with me your sense of justices?
    c. Brad if you see people been downtrodden what will you do?
    d. Brad what would you have done if Rev. Biney was not in the school that day or if the
    teachers did not make good remarks about you?
    e.Brad do you think you can still be a priest?

  9. ANSWERS

    1. Brad was working overnight. he was perspiring profesuly. she searched for his towel and wipe his forehead.

    2. Mr. Moss and Brad are not close because they never talked to each other and they were both uncomfortable with each other.

    3. The atmosphere was not mentioned in the first text of the story.

    4. Brad’s mum was not mentioned in the story.

    5. Mr.Moss was nervous because of his new job.

    6. I think he said that I’m wondering who would join him to sing the song freedom.

    7. I think that rev.biney represents Brad’s father because Brad always listens to him.

    8. Mr.Moss is an old man, he is about 65 years old, he is always nervous and he panics alot when things are not that difficult.

    9. Brad felt sad because, his father had to work to earn some money for his school fees, he was depressed and you didn’t like it.

    10. a.why did you feel sad about when having the staff meeting with rev.biney?
    b. why were you nervous when you heard you were going to have a meeting?
    c

  10. 1. Brad feels very tensed. It was said at the beginning of the story that “His mind was working overtime and he was having a preview of how the meeting would go”.

    2. Mr Moss is Brad’s father. An evidence can be drawn from the paragraph which tells that Brad’s father(Mr Moss) decided to have a meeting with every single teacher yo get an idea about the performance of his son(Brad).

    3. The atmosphere established in the beginning is a very tensed atmosphere filled with Anxiety. It explained in the beginning that Brad’s mind was working overtime and he wasn’t chatting with his father.

    4. Brad’s mum died.

    5. The question means that Brad’s father was acting careless and reckless that morning and it was unlike him.

    6. The statement means that He(Brad) wondered who would help him out of his present dilemma.

    7. Rev. Biney represents a cormforter to Brad in this story.

    8. Mr Moss is a man with a large physique. He became distressed and traumatized after the demise of his wife. He worked more, laughed less and kept to himself a bit more.

    9. Brad felt like a man awakened out of sudden slumber. This means that Brad felt Startled and a bit relieved.

    10. a.I would like to ask Brad What his offence was
    b. I would like to ask Brad How his performance truly is at school?
    c. I would like to ask Brad If he’d like to continue schooling at St. Xavier

  11. 1 Brad was afraid, tense and anxious.
    Evidence; Brad’s reactions in the car during the drive, Also the line in paragraph seven that says ‘he didn’t want to be a slave to FEAR again.
    2. Mr Moss is Brad’s father
    Evidence; the line where Brad says “Dad could you turn it down a little bit?”
    3 The atmosphere is tense
    Supportive quotation from text; He was perspiring profusely. And ‘Brad knew that anytime his dad offered nothing it meant “till we sort this case out, we ain’t buddies.”
    4 Brad’s mum died (departed)
    5 The question means: Why was Mr. Moss being reckless that day, why was he acting unusual like by spitting out sputum on the road, why was he acting unlike himself
    6 Brad wondered if any of his teachers would speak good about him
    7 Rev. Biney represents Brad’s salvation, his last hope, his life line
    8 Mr Moss is a large man, he feels bad about the fact that he pays exorbitant school fees yet Brad his son doesn’t do well academically, he knows that he has to do something serious about Brad’s academics, he realizes that he needs to spend more time with Brad.
    9 Brad is utterly shocked at Rev. Biney’s final suggestion, he doesn’t want to be a priest, this was not what he had expected, he wonders what he has done to deserve this
    10 I would like to ask Brad
    A. What exactly happened to his mother?
    B. Does he realize that he needs help in his academics? If yes, since when did he realize this
    C. What challenges does he face in school?
    D. What challenges does he face at home?
    E. What does he like about St. Xavier’s school

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