Suddenly, I only want to get out of there. The aroma of the soup is sickening and the tenement is too warm. I don’t want to look into his eyes anymore.
My hand is on the doorknob when he calls my name. I open the door but pause, making myself wait. But I don’t look at him.
‘Let me tell you one thing before you go, Francis. You would have fallen on that grenade, anyway. All your instincts would have made you sacrifice yourself for your comrades.’
Still trying to make me better than I am.
I close the door, my face hot and flushed under the scarf and the bandage. The coldness of the hallway hits the warmth of my flesh and I shiver. It seems that I have done nothing but shiver since I returned to Frenchtown.
His voice echoes in my ears:
Does that one sin of mine wipe away all the good things?
I go down the stairs, my footsteps echoing on the worn staircase.
Downstairs, at last after what seems like a long long time, I pause at the outside door. The sound of a pistol shot cracks the air. My hand is on the doorknob. The sound from this distance is almost like a ping-pong ball striking the table.
Comment on how language is used to present Francis’ feelings in the extract.
For a B grade:
i. Explain how does the adverb ‘only’ gives extra force to the first simple sentence.
ii. What is the effect of putting a phrase into italics?
iii. Why does Cormier use the simile of ‘a ping-pong ball striking the table’?
For an A grade:
i. ‘The aroma of the soup is sickening’ – is this the reason Francis feels sick?
ii. The staircase is described as ‘worn’ – is it just the staircase that is ‘worn’?
iii. At the end, when the gun-shot is heard, Francis has his ‘hand…on the doorknob’ – why does he mention this (what could his hand have been holding)?