Solved by verified expert:time of post it 20/06/2019I have a catch-up, so In order to prepare well for it, I need you to do analysis and summary for the following short stories.1 Shirley Saad Amina2 Catherine Lim Paper3 Krishnan Varma The Grass-Eaters4 Sheila Roberts The Weekenders
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Shirley Saad was born in Cairo in 1947 to a ubanese father and a Polish~
Rumanian mother. Saad was educated at St. Clare’s College by Irish i?-Uns and
spoke english, French, and Italian until the 1952 revo-lution in w~ii:h.- Gamal
Abdel Nasser gained power, after which the study of Arabic bea:zme mandlitory
in the schools. In 1961 her family moved to Lebanon. Largely self-taught, Saad
was influenced by reading the nuoels of Hanan al-Shaykh and, while she lived
in Abu Dhabi, started writing sturies about restrictions imposed on wumen in
the Arabic world. “Amina” sympathizes with the plight of a w&man who -has
just given birth to a child and is apprehensive that her husband will take another wife if the child is not a scm .
.Amina opened her.eyes and for a moment wondered where she was.
Then she remembered and a moan escaped her lips. The English nurse
hunied over and bent down, “Don’t you worry now/’ she said. ”You’ll
be fine and the baby is all right.”
Amina asked, not daring to hope, “Is it a boy or a girl?”
“A girl,” replied the nurse cheerfully. “A beautiful, bouncing, four
kilograms girl. Mabruk, congratulations.”
“Allah yi barek fi omrek,” murmured Amina as she sank back on her
pillows. Another girl!
What a catascrophe. What would happen to her now? She had
brought four girls into the worl~, four girls in .six years of ma:qiagE!. She
felt tears running down her cheeks, and remembered how happy and
proud she had been when her mother told her that she was engaged to
She had seen Hamid twice, once at her cousin’s house when he arrived· unexpectedly. The girls all scattered to their quarters to put on
their maskS and veils. The next time, he came with his father to ask for
her hand in marriage. The houseboy serving the coffee told the Iridian
housegirl who in turn, ran and told her mistress. So, she had gone
peek through the partition between the men’s and women’s majlis. She
saw Hamid and his father sipping coffee and being congratulated by all
the men in the family. They embraced and rubbed noses, big smiles on
Amina remembered her wedding, the noise and the bustle, her hennaed hands and fee~, the whispers among the older women which
frightened her and the anticipation. Finally, she found herself alone
with this stranger, who had turneei out to be very kind and gentle and
Well, there would be no henna and celebration for this girl. God,
why couldn’t she have a boy? Just one, that’s all she wanted, just one
little baby boy.
She wished the midwife hadn’t told her when she had that miscarriage that it had been a ~Y· The only one in six years, and she had to
go and lose it. It was her fault too. She had no business climbing a ladder at five months. She slipped and fell and the doctors kept her in the
hospital for a week, then told her she was all right and could go home.
But there was no movement~ no life, so she went back to the hospital
and after two weeks of tests and X-rays and hope and despair, they finilly decided the baby was dead.
After that, she had two more girls, and noW the fourth.- . _
Would Hamid divorce her? Would he take a second wife? His older
brother had been pressing for two. years now, urging him to take a second wife. Hamiel loved -Amina and his daughters, but he was human.
He did ha,re all that money and the social and political position and no
boy to leave it tO; .
Her mother came in, then her sisters-in.,.law. Each one kissed her
and said “Mabruk,” but she could tell they were not really happy. Her
mother was especially fearful for her daughter’-s future and felt that
some o£ the disgrace fell on her and the family too. The sisters-in-law
were secretly jubilant, because they had boys. Hamid’s social status and
half his fortune would revert to their own sons-if he never had any boys
of his own. Of course, he was still young and he and Amina might try
again. But for the moment the in-laws left reassured and falsely com-miserated with Amina on her bad luck.
“It is God’s will,” they munnured, smiling under their masks. Their
mouths were sad, but Amina could see the ~e in their eyes. “God’s
will be done.”
Friends started coming into the room. They kissed Amina and said
“Mabruk,” then sat on the floor, cross-legged. Arranging their. r~bes
around them, they sipped coffee from little thimble cups, eating fruits
Her cousin Huda came too. She wore a long, velvet dress, embroidered on the sides and bodice, loose and flowing, to conceal her belly.
She was in her sixth month and looked radiantly serene. She sat on the
carpet and sipped her coffee.
Amina thought bitterly, “She already has two daughters and three
sons. What does she need another baby for? She’s not so young any
As if she had read her thoughts, Huda said, “This is my last baby. It
will be the baby for my old age. The others are married or away at
school all day. An empty house is a sad house. You need many sons
and daughters to keep· your husband happy. You are still young,
Amina. God has given you four daughters, maybe the next four will be
boys. God’s will be done.”
Cathirine Lim is one of Singapore’s foremost writers. She currentiy works for
the Cwrriculum Deoelopment Institute of Singapore, writing English language
in5tructional materials for use in the primAry schools. Her widely pr~ised collections of short stories include Little I;ronies-Storie5 of Sin~apore (1978),
from which NPaper” is taken, Or Else, The Lightning God ~d Other
Stories (1980), and The Shadow of a Shadow .of a Dream~love Stories
of Singapore (1981). She is also the author oftwo novels, They Do Return
(1982) and The Serpent’s Tooth (1983). Her short stories 1mt>e been compared
to those of Gu:y de Maupassant for their accuracy of observation, clarity in presentation of character, and precise detail. Lim’s stories reoeal” a wealth of information about the forces, customs, and pressures that shape the lives of the
Chinese community in Singapore, a densely populated metropolis in which
Chinese, Malay, and Indian cultures coexist jlnd thrirJe .. NPaper” is set against
the turbulent background of the Singapore Stock Exchange, a vollztile financial
market reflecting the seemingly limitless possibilities of one of the uiorld’s most
productive financial, industrial, and commercial centers. This story dramatically explores how the lure of euy money leads a man and his wife to tragic
He wanted it, he dreamed of it, he hankered after it, as an addict after
his opiate. Once the notion of a big beautiful house had lodg~d itself in
his imagination, Tay Soon nurtured it until it became the. consuming
passion of his ·life. A house. A dream house such as he had seen on his
drives With his Wife·arid children along the roads bordering the prestigious housing estates on t;he island, and in the glossy pages of Homes
and Modern Living. Or rather, it was a house which was an amalgam of
the best, the most beautiful aspects of the houses he had seen. He knew
every detail of his dream house already, from the aluminum sliding
doors to the actual shade of the dining room carpet to the shape of the
swimming pool. Kidney. He rather liked the shape. He was not
ashamed of the enthusiasm with which he spoke pf the dream house,
an enthusiasm that belonged to women only, he was told. Indeed, his
enthusiasm was so great that it had infected his wife and even his children, small though they were. Soon his wife Yee Lian was describing to
her sister Yee Yeng, the dream house in all its perfection of shape and
decor, and the quldren were telling their cousins and ,friends, ”My
daddy says that when our house is ready . . .”
They talked of the dream house endlessly. It had become a reality
stronger than the reality of the small terrace house which they were
sharing with Tay Soon’s mother, to whom it belonged. Tay Soon’s
mother, whose little business of selling bottled curries and vegetable
preserves which she made herself, left her little time for dreams,
clucked her tongue and shook her head and made sarcastic ·remarks
about the ambitiousness of young people nowadays.
“What’s wrong with this house we’re staying in?” she asked -petulantly. “Aren’t we all comfortable in it?”
Not as long as you have your horrid ancestral altars all over the
place, and your grotesque sense of .colour-imagine painting the
kitchen wall bright pink. But Yee Lian was tactful enough to keep
the remarks to herself, or to make them only to her sister Yee Yeng; otherwise they were sw-e to reach the old lady,. and there would be no end
to ht:r sharp tongue.
The house—,the dream house-it would be a far cry from the little
terrace house in which they were all staying now, and Tay Soon and
Yee Lian talked endlessly about it, and it grew magnificently in their
imaginations, this dream house of theirs with its timbered ceiling and
panelled wails and sunken circular sitting room which was to be carpeted ir. rich amber. It was no empty dream, for there was much money
in the bank already. Forty thousand dollars had been Sa.ved. The house
would cost many times that, but Tay Soon and Yee Lian with their good
salaries would be ablei:o manage very well ..Once they took care of the
down payment, they would be able to pay back monthly over a period
of ten years-fifteen, twenty-what did it -matter how long it took as
long as the dream house was theirs? It had become the -symbol of the
_ peak of earthly achievement, and all of Tay Soon’s energies and devotion were directed towards its ·realisation. His mother said, “You’re a
show-off; what’s so.gPmd about marble flooring and a swimming pool?
Why don’t you put :yo’l!I’ money to better use?” .But -t.,e forty thousand
gre.w steadily, and after Tay Soon and Yee Lian had put in every cent of
their annual bonuses, it grew to forty eight thotisand, and husband and
wife smiled at the smooth way their plans were going.
It was a time of growing interest in the stock market. The quotations
for stocks and shares were climbing the charts, .and the crowds in the
rooms of the broking houses were growing perceptibly. Might we not
do something about this? Yee Lian said to her husband. Do you know
that Dr. Soo bought Rustan Banking for four dollars and today ‘the
shares are worth seven dollars each? The temptat;ion was great. The rewards were almost immediate. Thirty thousand dollars’ worth of NBE
became BJty-five thousand almost overnight. Tay Soon and Yee Lian
whooped. They put their remaining eighteen thousand in. Far East
Mart. Three days later the shares were worth twice that muchdt was
not to be imagined that things could stop here. Tay Soon secured a loan
frpm his bank and put twenty thousand in OHTE. This was a particularly lucky share; it shot up to four times its value in three days.
“Oh, this is too much, too much,” cried Yee Lian in her ecstasy, and
she sat down with pencil and paper, and found after a few minutes’ cal-
culation that they had made a cool one hundred thousand in a matter of
And now there was to be no stopping. The newspapers w~e full of
it, everybody was talking about it, it was in the very air. There was
plenty of money to be made in the stock exchange by those who had
guts-money to be made by the hour, by the minute, for the prices of
stocks and shares were rising faster than anyone could keep track of
them! Dr. Soo was said-he laughingly dismissed it as a silly rumourDr. Soo Wf!.S said to have made two million dollars already. If he sold all
his shares now, he would be a millionaire twice over. And Yee Yeng,
Yee Lian’s sister, who had been urged. with sisterly goodwill to come
join the others make’money, laughed–happily to find that the shares she
had bought for foux twenty on Tuesday had risen to seven runety-five
on Friday-she laughed and thanked Yee Lian who advised her not to
sell yet, it was going further, it would hit the ten dollar mark by next
week. And Tay Soon both laughed and cursed-cursed that he had
failed to buy a share at nine dollars which a few days later had bit seventeen dollars! Yee Lian said reproachfully, ‘1 thought! told you to buy
it, darling,” and Tay Soon had beaten his forehead in despair-and said,
“I know, I know, why didn’t I! Big fool that I am!” And he had another
reason to curse himself-he sold five thousand West Parkes at sixteen.
twenty-three per share, and saw, to his horror, West Parkes climb to
eighteen ninety the very next day!
”I’ll never sell now,” he vowed. ”I’ll hold on. I won’t be so foolish.”
And the frenzy continued. Husband and wife couldn’t talk or think of
anything else. They thought fondly of their shares…:….. going to be worth
a million altogether soon. A million! In the peak of good humour, Yee
Lian went to her mother-in-law, forgetting the past insults, and advised
her to join the others by buying some shares; she would get her broker
to buy them immediately for her, there was- sure money. in it. The old
lady refused curtly, and to her son later, she showed great annoyance;
scolding him for being so foolish as to put all his money in those worthless shares. ”Worthless!’~ exploded Tay Soon. “Do you know, Mother, if
I sold all my shares today, I would have the money to buy fifty terrace
houses like the one you have?”
His wife said, “Oh, we’ll just leave her aJ_one. I was kind enough .to.
offer to help her make money. But since she’s so nasty and ungrateful/
we’ll leave her alone.” The comforting, triumphant though~ was that
soon, very· soon, they would be able to purchase their dream house; it’
would be even more magnificent than tht;; one they had dreamt of, since
they had made almost a -Yee Lian preferred not to say the sum. There:
was the old superstitious fear of losing something when it is too often:
. or too directly referred to, and Yee Lian had cautioned her husband not
to make mention of their gains.
“Not to worry, not to worry,” he said jovially, not superstitious like
his wife.”After all, it’s just paper gains so far.”
The downward slide, or the bursting of the bubble as the newspa-
pers dramatically called it, did not initially cause much alarm. For the
speculators all expected the shares to bounce back to their original
strength an4 thence contil;l.ue the phenomenal growth. But. that did not
happen. The slide continued.
Tay Soon said nervously, “Shall we sell? Do you think we should 13
·sell?” but Yee Uan said stoutly, “There is talk that this decline is a technical thing only-it will be.over soon, and then the rise will.continue.
After all, see wpat is happening in Hong Kong and London and New
York. Things are as goodas ever.”
”We’re still making, so not to worry,” said Yee Lian &fter a feY” 14
days. Tleir gains were pared by half. A few days later, their gains were
pared to marginal.
There is talk of a recovery, msisted Yee .Lian. Do you know, Tay 1s
5ooi)., Dr. Sao’s wife is buying up some OHTE and West Parkes now?
She says these two are sure to rise. She has some inside information
that these two ·a.re going to clinlb past the forty-dollar markTay-Soon sold all his shares and”put1:he money in OHTE and West 16
Parkes. OHTE and West Parkes crashed shortly afterwards. Some be~
gan to say the shares were not worth the paper of the certificates.
“Oh, I can’t believe, I can’t believe it,” gasped Yee. Lian, pale .and 17
sick. Tay Soon looked in mute horror at her.
“All our money was in OHTE and West Parkes/’ he said, his lips 18
“That stupid Soo woman!” shrieked Yee Lian. ‘1 think she deliber- 19
ately led me astr~y with her advice! She’s always been jealous of meever since she knew we were going to build a house grander than
. . “How are we going to get our house nowr asked Tay Soon in deep 20
distress, and for the first time he wept. He wept like a child, for the loss
of. a).l his money, for the loss of ~e dream house that he ha~ nev.er
stopped loving and worshipping.
The pain bit into his very mind and soul, so .that he was like a mad- 21
man, unable to go to his office to work~ unable to do anything but
had;nt the b.roking houses, watching with frenzied anxiety for .OHTE
and West Parkes to show him hope. But there was no hope. The decline
continued with gleeful rapidity. His broker advised hiiii. to sell, before
‘it was too late, but he shrieked angrily, ”What! Sell at a fraction at
which I bought them! How can this be tolerated!”
And he went on hoping against hope.
He began to have wild dreams in which he sometimes laughed and 23
sometimes screamed. His wife Yee Lian was afraid and she ran sobbing
to her sister who never failed to remind her curtly that all her savings
were gone, simply because when she had wanted to sell, Yee Lian had
advised her not to.
“But what is your sorrow compared to mine,” wept Yee Lian, “see 24
what’s happening to my husband. He’s cracking up! He talks to himself, he doesn’t eat, he has nightmares, he beats the children. Oh, he’s
Her mother-in-law took charge of the situation, while Yee Lian,
wide-eyed in mute horror at the terrible change that had come over her
husband, shrank away and looked to her two small children for comfort. Tight-lipped and grim, the elderly woman made herbal medicines
for Tay Soon, brewing and straining for hours, and got a Chinese
medicine man to come to have a look at him.
“There is a devil in him/’ said the medicine man, and he proceeded
to .make him a drink which he mixed with the ashes of a piece of prayer
paper. Btit Tay Soon grew worse. He lay in bed, w~te, haggard. and
delirious, seeming to be beyond the touch of healing ..In the end~ Yee
Lian, on the advice of her sister and friends, put him in hospital.
“I have money left for the funeral,” whimpered the frightened Yee.
Lian only a week later, but her mother-in-law sharply retorted, “You
leave everything to me! I have the money for his funeral, and I shall
give him the best! He wanted a beautiful house all his· life; I shall give
him a beautiful house now!”
She went to· the man who was well-known on the island for his
beautiful houses, and she ordered the best. It would come to nearly a
thousand dollars, said the man, a thin, wizened fellow whose funereal
gauntness and pallor seemed to be a concession to his calling.
That doesn’t matter, she said, I want the best. The house is to be
made of superior paper, she instructed, and he was to make it to her
specifications. She recollected that he, Tay Soon, had often spoken of
marble flooring, a timbered ceiling and a kidney’-shaped swimming
pool. Could he.simulate all these in paper?
The thin, wizened man said, “I’ve neve1· done anything· like that before. All my paper houses for the dead have been the usual-kind-! can
put in paper furniture and paper cars, paper utensils for the kitchen·
and paper servants, all that the dead will need in the other world. But I
shall try to put in what you’.ve asked for. Only it will cost ;more/’
The house.. when it was ready, was most beautitul to see.. It·stood:
seven feet tall, a delicate framework of wire and thin bamboo strips
covered with finely worked paper of a myriad colours. Little silver.
flowers, scattered liberany throughout the entire structure, gave a car~
nival atmosphere. There was a paper swimming pool (round, as the·
man had not understood “kidney”) which had to be fitted inside the·
house itself, as there was no provision for a garden or surrounding
grounds. Inside the house· were paper figures; there were at least four
servants to attend to the needs of the master who was posed beside two
cars, one distinctly a Chevrolet and the other a Mercedes.
At the appointed time, the paper house was brought to Tay Soon’s
grave and set on fire there. It burned brilliantly, and in three minu …
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