CORRECTION: Tim O’BRIEN – THE COWARD
1 Read the whole text and answer the following questions briefly:
a. Who? The narrator who is a drafted soldier in the US army even though he doesn’t want to take take part in the war.Supposedly, as the story is autobiographical the narrator may well be Tim O’Brien.
b. Where? The story takes place (is set) in a USArmy training camp in Washington State, more precisely in the camp’s library, then on a bus going to Seattle, and to finish with a hotel in the same city.
c. When? The story takes place during the Vietnam War, so at the very end of the 60’s or beginning of the 70’S. We also know that it is wintertime.
d. What? The narrator is making plans to escape from (run away, flee from)the camp and in thatway, avoid being drafted and going to Nam.His plans are to take the bus to Seattle, and then to fly to Sweden to settle there.
e. Does he reach his goal? No he doesn’t. In the end, he doesn’t carry out his plans and gives up his idea of running away.
1. Read down to line 10 and find the English equivalents of:
Evasion, replier, portefeuille, bibliothèque, au lieude cela, pénible, motif, poster
Escape,fold up, wallet, library, instead, tough, ground, mail
2. Quote three sentences showing that he kept his plans secret
‘I kept my escape plans folded up in my wallet’ (line 1), ‘a secluded table in the library’, (line 1), ‘I hid the letters’ (line 8)
3. Why did he take notes on Swedish History, culture, and politics?
Because Sweden is the final stop tothe narrator’s escape plans. He wants to settle there because it is far from the USA and he doesn’t risk being taken.
Parce que la Suède est le point final à des plans d'évacuation de la narratrice. Il veut s'y installer, car il est loin d'être les Etats-Unis et il ne risque pas d'être prises.
4. What are the narrator’s feelings about himself when he wrote the letters.
When he is writing theletters, the narrator feels ill-at-ease, uncomfortable. He can’t face (assumer) what he is doing because he feels ashamed himself and embarrassed for his family. Indeed, being a deserter is regarded as unpatriotic and coward.
Quand il est écrit les lettres, le narrateur se sent mal à l'aise, mal à l'aise. Il ne peut pas faire face (centrale électrique ne) ce qu'il fait parce qu'il a honte delui-même et embarrassé de sa famille. En effet, être un déserteur est considérée comme antipatriotique et lâche.
5. How does he expect his parents to react?
The narrator expects his parents to be embarrassed about his decision. He is afraid that his parents might disapprove of his decision.
Le narrateur attend ses parents à être embarrassé de sa décision. Il a peur que ses parentsdésapprouvent sa décision.
6. What sort of man is the lieutenant? What language does he use?
The lieutenant is the kind of absolutely patriotic man who is eager to serve his country. He is a hothead ready for war action. He uses slang words.
Le lieutenant est le genre d'homme absolument patriotique qui est désireux de servir son pays. Il est une tête brûlée prête à l'action de guerre. Il utilise desmots d'argot.
7. How can you account for the narrator’s decision at the end of the text?
At the end of the text, the narrator cannot cope with (faire face à) his decision. Either he suddenly becomes aware that what he is doing is a coward thing or he is overwhelmed by his cowardice. He might also realize that fleeing means exiling himself and in consequence being alone and start a new life,which is a difficult step to take. He doesn’t achieve to summon up his courage.
À la fin du texte, le narrateur ne peut pas faire face à (faire face à) sa décision. Soit il prend soudain conscience que ce qu'il fait est une chose lâche ou il est accablé par sa lâcheté. Il pourrait aussi se rendre compte que les moyens fuient s'exiler et, en conséquence d'être seul et de commencer une nouvelle...
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