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Something Old, Something New


Paul Hanson

on 14 July 2014

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Transcript of Something Old, Something New

'Something old, Something New'
by Leila Aboulela

The Devil Is In The Detail
Green Pen Marking
Does you writing include:
a point
a quotation
an explanation
key words
effects on the reader
poetic terms
With your shoulder partner, go through the story again and underline the most important quotations.
Next, decide on the ten you think are key to understanding the text.
In your EPs,
explore what imagine to be the central theme of the story.
quotations/language methods
interpretations/specific detail/multiple meanings/functions
Effect on reader:
what are you supposed to think/feel?
‘His luggage was mostly presents for her family. She had told him on the phone what to get and how much to get.’

On first reading, these two sentences just appear to be giving us information about what the character has brought with him to Khartoum. They are easily overlooked.

However, these sentences are crucial to the story as a whole because they tell us a huge amount about: a) the characters, b) the characters’ relationship, c) the woman’s family, d) the cultural traditions and intricacies bound up in the proposed marriage and e) what the marriage means to both parties.

You could argue that the fact that the woman has given the man instructions about what gifts and how many of them to buy is crucial to how we, the reader, will view the marriage. Western readers might be suspicious; they might think that there are elements here of ‘buying’ the woman’s family, and the fact that the man is compliant with the woman’s wishes might make us view him as naïve or a victim in some way. A western reader might also conclude that the gifts are a key part of the marriage no gifts, no marriage; no dowry, no marriage. The writer is almost certainly aware of the various nuances of these two sentences and may even have ‘planted’ them for us to find. She may be hoping to work with, challenge or even manipulate commonly held assumptions or beliefs.
‘Her country disturbed him.’
‘she told them that the peanut soup was good a speciality but his teacher wanted the humus salad and he ordered the lentil soup instead because it was familiar.’
‘He left her an extra tip that day; it was not often that people laughed at his jokes.’
‘He did not know her well enough. He had yet to see her hair, he had yet to know what she looked like when she cried.’
‘On a street corner, money was exchanged between them.’
You are going to argue for the significance of your choices in terms of plot, character, setting or context. On the next slide is an example.
Discuss with your shoulder partner the three most significant aspects of the story. You might consider:
Quick Practice
Full transcript