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Charlie is taking me by the hand, leading me because he knows I don’t want to go. I’ve never worn a collar before and it’s choking me. My boots are strange and heavy on my feet. My heart is heavy too, because I dread what I am going to. Charlie has told me often how terrible this school-place is: about Mr Munnings and his raging tempers and the long whipping cane he hangs on the wall above his desk.
Big Joe doesn’t have to go to school and I don’t think that’s fair at all. He’s much older than me. He’s even older than Charlie and he’s never been to school. He stays at home with Mother, and sits up in his tree singing Oranges and Lemons, and laughing. Big Joe is always happy, always laughing. I wish I could be happy like him. I wish I could be at home like him. I don’t want to go with Charlie. I don’t want to go to school.
I look back, over my shoulder, hoping for a reprieve, hoping that Mother will come running after me and take me home. But she doesn’t come, and school and Mr Munnings and his cane are getting closer with every step.
Question Set 1 (Comprehension)
1. Why is the narrator afraid of Mr.Munnings? Give two reasons.
2. Write two things mentioned in the text that the narrator is wearing.
3. Write 5 details about Big Joe.
4. Where is Charlie taking the narrator?
5. What does he hope for?
6. What is the feeling created in these paragraphs?
Question Set 2 (Craft and Analysis)
1. What are the words and phrases that create a sense of fear?
2. How is the narrator different from Big Joe?
3. Why do you think that Big Joe does not have to go to school?
4. ‘My heart is heavy’ – What does this mean?
Question Set 3 (Creative Tasks)
1. Write 3 things that you like about school.
2. Write 3 things you dislike about school.
3. Write 3 things that you would change in your school.
4. Write a dialogue between Mr. Munnings and the narrator. (10 Lines)