The pieces of silver
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The Pieces Of Silver- Karl Sealy * Themes * Class issues * Difference In Culture * Poverty * Fear and respect * Innocence * Discrimination * Consequences * Education * Ignorance * Family issues * Relationships between teachers and pupils * Cultural Markers * The title * Karl Sealy's title can be viewed as both childish for the children's perspective yet mature from an adult's perspective. * The childish view includes the notion of the Pieces of Silver being related to Pirates of the Caribbean or pieces of treasure. * The adult view however includes the notion that the pieces of silver can be related to Judas who betrays Jesus in the bible for 30 pieces of silver. Karl Sealy sets up from the outset that money will be handed over as a betrayal. * Both of these views together illustrate the concept that the story will contain a childish and mature perspective to life between the children and adults. Although the adult world seems like the most mature way of interpreting the title, Karl Sealy endeavours to increase the children's role in society by giving them an aim.(The pieces of silver) * Language * In the first line, Karl uses the phrase "pall of silence" which can be interpreted as a reference to a coffin covering. He uses the bell as an enemy to the children because when it rings, a pall silence settles over the noisy playfield. ...read more.
* There is an element of fear and discipline portrayed. -------- Inversion Of The Norms * "The schoolmaster did not order the school to be seated as was the normal custom after prayers." This quotation is very effective because it confirms that that the school was regimented but Karl Sealy is trying to build up tension by changing the norms. This quotation makes the school's order break down. Ironically, in the proceeding part of the story, the school's order does break down when the children can not afford the money for Mr Megahey's leaving present. (Line 42-43) * Comparison between the teachers and students * There is a clear inversion of the social norms. In paragraph 2, the boys are "waiting for inspection", glancing "apprehensively" (worriedly) and the reader is given a clear description of the boys' level of poverty. * Karl Sealy describes the boys as having "dusty, naked feet" portraying the notion of the boys as being helpless and in need of basic clothing. * Many of the boys tried to "feverishly" make their nails "presentable". This shows the strong idea of the boys being dirty for no fault of their own but even so, they endeavour to make themselves look good in front of the bullish members of staff out of respect. * Karl Sealy contrasts the teachers' appearance and behaviour in paragraph 3 by describing them as a "leisurely bunch" who were "laughing, joking" in "quiet voices" as they "sauntered towards the boys". ...read more.
(line 27) * This confirms the school as being ordered and regimented. * The first words of the headmaster are "Shun". * This word is an abbreviated version of attention and it can also mean to be pushed away from a community. * The word's abbreviation makes it sound more aggressive and monosyllabic. * The entire school of boys flung their hands to their heads when the headmaster starts talking giving the notion of fear, discipline and respect as well as the notion of the children trying to protect themselves. * Line 48-moist fists shows fear. * The Children Are Portrayed As Better Than The Teachers * "The schoolmaster announced a hymn and emitting an untrue faltering note invited the scholars to take it. The boys rendered a rich improvement of the sound." * This quote emphasizes that the boys have got the potential of doing better than the teachers. There is also a concept of the children outnumbering the teacher and therefore rendering a rich improvement of the sound. The acting schoolmaster's untrue faltering note is very ironic because there is a notion of him as acting untruly. He makes unnecessary comments and is not needed in the school community. * Teachers Like Children Only By How Much They Offer * " No commendation seemed due to the donor of threepence. A sixpence was held up between forefinger and thumb of the receiving teacher and displayed before the class, while the name of the boy who had presented it was repeated some half a dozen times." ...read more.
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