This text was written by an English writer James Hilton. He was born in 1900. His literary success he had found at an early age. His first novel, Catherine Herself, was published in 1920, when he was 20. Several of his books were international bestsellers and some of them were successfully filmed. In the mid-1930s Hilton lived and worked in Hollywood and in 1942 won an Academy Award Oscar for his work on the screenplay. Some of his works took an issue of the English society of his time — particularly narrow-mindedness and class-consciousness. They were frequently his targets. “The passionate year” was written in 1924. This abstract is about a teacher who put his pupils off by giving a hundred lines for their disorderliness. During the lesson a boy was dropping his desk-lid. After consulting the map of desks and finding the boy’s name, the teacher gave him punishment but the teacher was misled. The boy, he named, sat in front of him. The teacher promptly punished the both. Surprisingly such measures prevented him from being ragged in the future.
The author tries to convey the following message. The relationships between teachers and pupils, adults and children are highly difficult and need being taken into consideration. Frequently, there is a certain hierarchy between the teacher and pupils. There is a lack of cooperation and partnership in relations. On the contrary, teachers stand above pupils even in the direct meaning. In this text the teacher took his seat on a raised dais. Moreover, there are school traditions which are highly difficult to eradicate. In that school it was a tradition to rag new teachers in the first night. And it reminds on some kind of game. Or the teacher will seize the power and keep control of everything, or it will do his pupils. The teacher should be very witty and ready for the ordeals in school to overcome such difficulties. The subject matter is school life.
This text can be conventionally divided into three parts. The first part describes the general atmosphere before the lesson. It may seem that everything was all right, but actually there was a feeling of forthcoming storm. The author uses a fair amount of epithets in this passage (quietly, subdued) to convey the general atmosphere in the class. In other words, the author uses many stylistically coloured words (the school straggling to their places; an atmosphere of subdued expectancy; the boys stared about them; grinned at each other). The author uses simile to strengthen the effect of expectancy. It becomes obvious that something has to happen (Speed felt rather as if he was sitting on a powder-magazine, and there was a sense in which he was eager for the storm to break). There is also certain time designation (five to seven; five past seven; a quarter past seven). The author underlines the fact that the teacher counts every minute and is ready to react when it is required. The lesson lasts too long. In the second part the author describes the occasion with the dropping desk-lid in details. The reader is in the know that the teacher gives a hundred lines to an innocent boy.
When the boy pleads for the remission, the teacher punishes both. This passage contains a portraiture and also contrast between pupils’ appearance and their behavior which is expressed by adjectives. (A bright, rather pleasant-faced boy deliberately raise a desk-lid and drop it with a bang. … A lean, rather clever-looking boy rose up in the front row and said impudently). It can mean that such an impudent conduct was prepared on purpose. Pupils tried to anger their teacher to check his reaction. There is also metaphor (the most dangerous weapon in a new Master’s armory). It is used to underline that the teacher carefully pondered about what kind of method to use to achieve the best result, to comfort this situation. The text contains both formal and colloquial words (formal: disorderliness; indignation; witticism; fulsomely; ordeal; to plead for remission; colloquial: to be hard on smb; to make a fool of oneself; to rag; to put off). It can prove the fact that the teacher and pupils speak different languages.
That is the reason of their mutual misunderstanding. The authour also uses paraphrase (insist on him; that uncanny feeling for atmosphere) to show how dangerous the situation was. The author adds a piece of teacher’s memory. Speed remembers an occasion when he was at school. He tries to look at this situation from the pupils’ point of view. This fact makes the story more realistic and the teacher tries to anticipate the pupils’ behaviour. Moreover, the author uses direct speech so that the reader could hear the voices of the characters. The second part contains a climax. (The whole assembly roared with laughter). The class exulted as their teacher was fallen for the bait. In the last part Clanwell congratulates the teacher on his successful passage of the ordeal. Clanwell told him that the pupils were preparing for a benefit performance but a teacher managed to put them off on time. It seems as if a teacher should develop a certain strategy for himself while dealing with his pupils. Firstly, a new teacher should conquer the respect and trust of his pupils in order to receive the greater benefit in the future. All in all, the emotional atmosphere changes during the text. In the beginning and in the middle it is tense, in the end it is rather ironical.