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Discussion of the text

1. In what tenor is the extract written (dry, matter-of-fact, iron­ical, pathetic)?

2. What clue to Strickland's character does the extract contain? Did he value the material well-being or was he possessed by his pas­sion for painting to the exclusion of everything else? What was his attitude towards the people he came in contact with? What impression did he produce on them? Was he very scrupulous in his dealings with them?

3. How does the author sketch the old trader's portrait? What elements enter into its composition? What is the author's attitude towards the old man? How is it revealed, in the epithets employed to characterize him?

4. How does the author project himself into the narration? 5. What created a change in public opinion of Strickland's pictures in Tahiti? Was it the realization of their artistic merits or the money that they could fetch?

6. What did the old trader and his wife think of the picture before Strickland died and became renowned? Did they think much of the picture afterwards? Did they try to conceal their feelings?

7. Where can we feel the subtle undercurrent of the author's irony? What was the primary demerit of the picture as set forth by M. Cohen's wife? Why could they not hang up the picture? What makes the author's attitude towards such narrow approach to art evident? 8. Note the choice of words in which the characters of the book qualify Strickland's pictures. How do they accentuate the contrast between the real value of the canvases and their evaluation by the man — in — the — street?

9. How many times is the word " money" reiterated? How could you account for the repeated use of this word, which acquires the charac­ter of a refrain in the selection under study? [107]

10. How does the syntactical pattern of sentences assist the author in expressing his sarcasm at the short-sightedness, at the limitation of the public understanding of art? Note the use of emphatic constructions.

11. Give a summary of your comments on the extract. State it message.


Remarkable (a)

Discover (v)

Peculiarity (n)

Starve (v)

Dwell (v)

Turn up (v)

Escape (v)

Loan (n)

Singular (a)

Resemble (v)

Wander (v)

Masterpiece (n)



To come in contact with somebody

To be in (constant) need of something

To be beyond one's means

To make allowances

To have a sympathy for something or somebody

To get hold of somebody

To make head or tail of something

To lay one's hands on something

To play a joke on someone

To be taken aback

To lose one’s head

To collect oneself


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