Answer either Question 1 or Question 2:
Either 1: Read carefully the poem on the opposite page.
How do the poem’s images present to you the speaker’s approach to life’s challenges and guide your feelings towards him? To help you answer this question, you might consider: the various different parts of the ‘emergency kit’ and what they mean for you the ways in which the poet creates a voice and attitude for the speaker and reveals how he sees life the impact and imagery of the last four lines, and how they make you feel about the rest of the poem “Emergency Kit”
When I find myself among a laughing tribe, I know they hide something from me; I conjure up a laughter box whose button I press to outlaugh1 them all. As long as they hear their music, they leave me free; I don’t want to surrender all I have. I am a moving stump in the forest of men and if I stray into a towering company, those more than a kilometer from the undergrowth, I release stilts from my soles; I don’t want to be looked down upon by the very top ones. I collapse the long legs when I step into where giants are the required offerings to the gods of the race.
I have a lifesaver installed in my body just in case I am knocked into some deep river; unless I come out alive, I will be declared evil – whoever wants his adversary2 to have the last word on him? So when a hunter stalks me to fill his bag, I call on my snake from nowhere to bite him. Folks, let’s drink ourselves to death in the party as long as we wear sponges in the tongue; let’s stay awake in our unending dream so that nobody will take us forgone and cheat us out of our lives. 1 2 outlaugh: laugh more than adversary: enemy.
Or 2: Read carefully this extract from a novel set in the nineteenth century.
In the novel, Mr. Clennam is trying to get information from the ‘Circumlocution Office’, a government department that prefers talking about things to doing anything. He wants to see an official called Mr. Tite Barnacle, but instead only manages to see his son. The Barnacle family occupies most of the posts in the corrupt department. How does the writing encourage you to dislike the Circumlocution Office and its officials, and admire Mr. Clennam’s ability to get around them?
To help you answer this question, you might consider: the way Barnacle Junior, the office, and its furnishings are described how the dialogue illustrates the differences between Mr. Barnacle and Mr. Clennam, and why Clennam emerges victorious the ways in which the language of the whole passage is partly comical and partly angry. Mr. Arthur Clennam made his fifth inquiry for Mr. Tite Barnacle1 one day at the Circumlocution2 Office; having on previous occasions awaited that gentleman successively in a hall, a glass case, a waiting room, and a fire-proof passage where the department seemed to keep its wind.
On this occasion Mr. Barnacle was not engaged, as he had been before, with the noble prodigy at the head of the Department; but was absent. Barnacle Junior, however, was announced as a lesser star, yet visible above the office horizon. With Barnacle Junior, he signified his desire to confer; and found that young gentleman singeing the calves of his legs at the parental fire, and supporting his spine against the mantelshelf.
It was a comfortable room, handsomely furnished in the higher official manner; and presenting stately suggestions of the absent Barnacle, in the thick carpet, the leather-covered desk to sit at, the leather-covered desk to stand at, the formidable easy-chair and hearth-rug, the interposed screen, the torn-up papers, the dispatch-boxes3 with little labels sticking out of them, like medicine bottles or dead game, and a general bamboozling4 air of How not to do it. The present Barnacle, holding Mr. Clennam’s card in his hand, had a youthful aspect, and the fluffiest little whisker, perhaps, that ever was seen.
Such a downy tip was on his callow chin, that he seemed half fledged like a young bird; and a compassionate observer might have urged, that if he had not singed the calves of his legs, he would have died of cold. He had a superior eye-glass5 dangling around his neck, but unfortunately had such flat orbits to his eyes, and such limp little eyelids, that it wouldn’t stick in when he put it up, but kept tumbling out against his waistcoat buttons with a click that discomposed him very much. ‘Oh, I say. Look here!
My father’s not in the way6, and won’t be in the way today,’ said Barnacle Junior. ‘Is there anything that I can do? ’ (Click! Eye-glass down. Barnacle Junior quite frightened and feeling all round himself, but not able to find it. ) ‘You are very good,’ said Arthur Clennam. ‘I wish however to see Mr. Barnacle. ’ ‘But I say. Look here! You haven’t got an appointment, you know,’ said Barnacle Junior.
(By this time he had found the eye-glass, and put it up again. ) ‘No,’ said Arthur Clennam. ‘That is what I wish to have. ‘But I say. Look here! Is this public business? ’ asked Barnacle Junior. (Click! Eye-glass down again. Barnacle Junior in that state of search after it, that Mr. Clennam felt it useless to reply at present. ) ‘Is it,’ said Barnacle Junior, taking heed of his visitor’s face, ‘anything about – Tonnage7 – or that sort of thing? ’ (Pausing for a reply, he opened his right eye with his hand and stuck his glass in it, in that inflammatory manner that his eye began watering dreadfully. ) ‘No,’ said Arthur, ‘it is nothing about tonnage. ’ ‘Then look here. Is it a private business? ’ ‘I really am not sure. It relates to Mr. Dorritt. ’ ‘Look here, I tell you what! You had better call at our house if you are going that way. Twenty-four, Mews Street, Grosvenor Square. My father got a slight touch of gout and is kept at home by it. ’ (The misguided young Barnacle evidently going blind on his eye-glass side, but ashamed to make any further alteration in his painful arrangements. ) ‘Thank you. I will call there now. Good morning. ’ Young Barnacle seemed discomfited at this, as not having at all expected him to go. You are quite sure,’ said Barnacle Junior, calling after him when he got to the door, unwilling to relinquish the bright business idea he had conceived; ‘that it’s nothing about Tonnage? ’ ‘Quite sure. ’ With which assurance, and rather wondering what might have taken place if it had been anything about tonnage, Mr. Clennam withdrew to pursue his inquiries. 1 2 barnacles: a shellfish that clings to the bottom of a ship circumlocution: using lots of words when a few would do 3 dispatch-boxes: boxes containing important documents 4 bamboozling: confusing 5 eye-glass: a monocle 6 not in the way: not available 7 Tonnage: a form of tax or duty.