STPM Lit Repeat Paper Term 1 [2016]

Suggested Answers

Section A (1): Critical Appreciation
Contrast is a rhetorical device through which writers identify differences between two subjects, places, persons, things or ideas.

With close reference to the poem above, discuss the use of contrast depicted by the poet using the definition of contrast given.

[ANSWER TO BE PUBLISHED SOON]

 

Section A (2): Critical Appreciation

With close reference to the extract above, discuss the use of contrast described by the writer. 

[ANSWER TO BE PUBLISHED SOON]

 

Section B (3): Poems

“Poetry appeals to the mind and arouses feelings.” Discuss how this statement is relevant in your readings of any two poems prescribed in the syllabus. 

Poetry appeals to the mind and arouses feelings. A poem can be significant to an individual because a piece can mean something significant or special to the individual. The understanding of poetry is deeply wired in our minds and a poem can link an individual’s past or thoughts to the poem. Sometimes even invoking deep feelings or breaking down in tears due to the memory the poem has invoked.

Emily Dickinson’s A Bird came down the Walk” is a poem I felt appealing and has aroused feelings of mine. The poem is just about the persona observation a bird by the walkway while having a meal. However, its the choices of words and manner of the first stanza: “A bird came down… …ate the fellow, raw.” creates the impression as if I am question watching the bird and it feels like I am inside the persona’s head instead of merely reading the persona’s poetry.

The second stanza further explains the bird’s movements on the walkway. The persona, quietly observing the bird, states how the bird drank a dew from a nearby grass and hopped to let a beetle pass, as in: “…drank a dew… …to let a beetle pass.” Despite the fact I watch nature all the time, the person’s words just illustrated that the beauty of nature can be observed just about anywhere, even by walking a walkway.

Lastly, in Dickinson’s poem, her last three stanzas, starting from “he glanced with rapid…” to “…plashless as they swim,” reminds me of the days of my childhood standing still trying to catch a near straying bird. The above phrase gives so much character and beauty into the motion of a bird flying that it is equal to a vessel steaming across the calm waters creating a lots of bubbles and waves at the back.

Judith Wright’s “Magpies is also about nature’s birds and the beauty of observing them. The first stanza which signifies a bunch of birds with their tucked wings walking along the road making a lots of noise. This stanza appeals to my mind on how lovely the poet wrote about simple birds walking with such superfluous and funny details like “…hands in pockets, left and right,” and “…tilt their heads, they stroll and talk,” makes the birds like humans because of the poet’s manner of linking it to human-like characteristics.

The second stanza also has “human-like-traits,” and demonstrates the greediness of living organisms, let it be man or animals, competition for food is always high. “who seem most nonchalant and wise,” clearly contrasts “what clashing beaks, what greedy eyes,” state the competition of food present in every organism. This appeals to my mind and arouses feelings as it reminds me of my childhood watching people feed birds and how some birds would do a lots of silly things like flapping their wings or running around or stuffing their beaks full of food just to prevent the other birds from getting more food. This also arouses my feelings because this makes me think of those unfortunate who cannot eat good food and how they would clash with one another to get more food during food-aid handouts downtown Kuala Lumpur.

On the whole, these two poems by Wright and Dickinson, with the theme, beauty of nature, signifies that just about anything in nature can be observed and made into a sweet tale. These two poems were my favourite and aroused my feelings as it is closely associated to my younger days and like said previously, a poem’s attachment solely relates to an individual, and to me, these poems caught my mind.

 

Section C (3): Short Stories: Malaysian Short Stories

The relationship between the different races in Malaysia is one of the themes in Malaysian Short Stories. Discuss with reference to any two short stories prescribed in the syllabus

In some of the stories present in Malaysian Short Stories, the relationship between different races in Malaysia are somewhat okay when compared to today. Elements of racism are however present back then, but not as rampant as today, from racial slurs to discrimination, today’s Malaysia needs to emulate the friendliness we had in the past among the different races of Malaysia.

Pretam Kaur’s “Pasang” is a classic tale of how close Malaysians were during the very early days of Malaysia. Chranpal, a 13-years-of-age boy is friends with the boys of other races and ethnic groups. Throughout the story, the young boy only wants to play top with his friends and identifies them as just friends instead of race, skin colour, or racial slurs. However, elements of very slight racism are present when the father labels the Tamil boys as people who have nothing to do, as present in: “those Tamil boys have nothing to do…” and so the Malays and assumes that, Chinese are always hardworking. This clearly contrasts Chranpal’s view of his friends, through the young boy’s eyes – his friends were three individuals, with tops and of the same age as Chranpal.

After much effort, Chranpal finally gets his top and plays top with three of his friends – a Malay and two Tamils. Throughout those parts of the story, Chranpal and his friends played the top with much joy and happiness until his top got annihilated. This story by Kaur signifies the bondage between Malaysian children and their “blindness” of colour and race and the contrast of the same matter in his father.

K.S. Maniam’s “A Dream of Vasantha,” is also another story about the relationships of fellow Malaysians of different races many years ago. Vasantha, a widow with her only child, works as a maid to make ends meet, while her son, in the early parts of the story, knows no value of hard-work his mother is going through to make ends meet. The Singh’s are generally the upper classes above Tamils and Mrs. Singh, merely treats Vasantha, her maid, cheaply and does not pay on time. This is turn provides a lots of pressure for Vasantha to organise her savings. This also shows discrimination against Tamils and that they are mere coolies that do not really deserve respect or “humanity-values” and need not be paid on time.

However, this is entirely different for Ganesh, Vasantha’s son. He is a smart student at school but lack character and attitude. At school, he is friends with Chan, a Chinese boy. Ganesh was looked down by the people around him due to his character and that he was Tamil. Throughout the story, only Ganesh’s name would echo throughout the village, and everyone thought he would never succeed. However, despite the little trouble between the people of the neighbourhood because of Ganesh, they always lived happily and harmoniously without any bloodshed or trouble.

Ganesh’s friendship with Chan is also special. Today, its uncommon to find boys or girls of different races mingling with each other in today’s national schools. The bond between Ganesh and Chan was so close that Chan’s unexpected death even made a permanent change in Ganesh’s life. Chan would help Ganesh with number and they would both play truant from school. When Chan died to illness, this  made Ganesh change to be a better person, and this in turn made the relationship between he and his mother closer.

In two of these stories, fellow Malaysians must emulate the harmony that was present with different races in the past. Despite minor racial discrimination, they lived happily and harmoniously and never in these two stories one was labelled by skin, race, or ethnicity.

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