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'The Test' by Angelica Gibbs

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Rebekah Phenix

on 11 June 2015

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Transcript of 'The Test' by Angelica Gibbs

This story was first published in
The New Yorker o
n the 15th June 1940
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'The Test' by Angelica Gibbs
The Setting

Answer the following questions about the setting in your jotter in FULL SENTENCES. (These are to make up some of your full and comprehensive notes for the exam)
1. Which country do you think the story is set in? (1)
2. Which word in paragraph 5 tells you the story is set in this country? (1)
3. Which word in paragraph 35 tells you that it is set in this country? (1)
4. Which word in paragraph 24 tells you the story is set in that country? (1)
5. Which word used in paragraphs 26 and 31 tells you the story is set in that country? (1)
6. Look at paragraphs 30 and 32, which ares of the country is this story set in?
1. Look at paragraph 31. What does Marian do which drivers do not need to do nowadays? (1)
2. Did you spot anything else in the story that helped you work out the place or time setting? (1)
These answers all help to place the story in a historical context. Marian is a young black woman living in one of the northern states of the USA.

The fact that she has to put out her hand to signal when she turns in the road make it clear that she is driving a car made before indicator lights became standard. (It can’t be simply that she owns an old car.
We are told the car belongs to her employer who is wealthy enough to employ staff and not have to work.) This helps to place the story in time – it is taking place around 1940.
It is important to remember that America was a much more racially divided country in those days. The situation was much worse in the southern states but even in the north, where the story is set, few good jobs were open to black people. Not many black people had any education beyond high school level.

The big civil rights movements of the 1950s and 60s, and black leaders like Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, were not yet active. Although many in America were aware of the injustice around them, there was very little they felt they could do about it.

Historical Context
Historical Context
Extension Task:
Take on the persona of Marian. Write a short diary entry, documenting your day.
Outline what happened and your thoughts and feelings about the situation - how oppressed you felt and so forth...
Learning Objective:

To have a greater understanding of the context of 1940s America and the racist attitudes many African-Americans were subjugated to.
Full transcript