BACCALAUREAT BLANC S - CORRECTION
1. Mayadevi is the main character. Say what her full name is and give one quotation to prove that she is Indian.
Her full name is Mayadevi Barnerjee and she is Indian (l.11-12 “sitting with all kinds of half-castes” – l.33 “Though Mayadevi was shivering in her cotton sari” – l.51 “they were speaking Bengali”)
2. Say how she is related to Amit and Martha.
Mayadevi is Amit’s mother and Martha’s mother-in-law.
or Amit is Mayadevi’s son and Martha is her daughter-in-law
a) In what country do the three characters meet?
The three characters meet in England.
b) Explain what Mayadevi is doing there.
Mayadevi is visitin her son Amit who lives in England.
4. What adjectives best apply to Mayadevi in the first part of the passage (from l.1 to l.20)? Justify in each case with a quotation from the text.
distant : “stood staring at him as if he were a total stranger” (l.5)
authoritarian : “told her to pick up her son suitcase and take her to his home” (l.16-17)
reproachful : “ashamed to touch your mother’s feet are you” (l.10)
a) Draw Amit's portrait (age, occupation, family and social status).
Amit is a fifty-year-old upper middle class dentist. He is married to Martha. He is a member of the Royal College of Dentists and a very old London club. He is famous / successful.
b) Would you say that his attitude corresponds to this portrait? Explain in your own words and justify by quoting the text.
His attitude does not correspond to his portrait at all. He is a brilliant dentist but he acts as a child when his mother is with him. He does not dare deny / contradict her. In spite of his age and social status, he still behaves like a submissive child.
line 14-15 “an irrational fear jolted his memory and he said in a whining, childish voice, “No, Ma ... I ... so many people here,” stammering helplessly.”
line 4 “did not dare raise his arm and wave to his mother”
line 7 “surreptitiously tried to look as if...”
6. ll.19-20 “'they drove to the semi-detached house in the beautiful, green, tree-lined suburbs in unbroken, stony silence.” Account for the atmosphere in the car. (30 words)
The atmosphere in the car is quite tense. Nobody dares to speak though it is a long since Mayadedi hasn’t seen her son. Amit is ill-at-ease in his mother’s presence. Mayadevi is cold as ice.
7. From line 21 onwards, where is the scene set?
The scene is set at Amit’s and Martha’s house.
8. Given the social link between the two women, does Martha fulfil her role? Give four quotations to support your answer.
Yes, she does (fulfil her role)
line 22-23 “welcome to England, Mrs Banerjee. Hope you had a nice flight,” Martha, Amit’s wife said cheerfully.
line 27 “she beamed at her mother-in-law”
line 28 “come and see your room and then we will have a nice cup of tea”
line 29 “hope you like the new curtains we put up for you”*
line 31 “genuine affection”
line 35 “should we turn up the central heating”
line 40 “Martha’s smiling face”
line 42 “brand new soap”
line “pretty, flowered hand towels Martha had put out for her”
9. Is Martha rewarded for her efforts? Explain in your own words. (20 words)
No she isn’t. In spite of all her efforts, her mother-in-law keeps on ignoring her. She is scornful towards her and even finds everything dirty in the house.
10. How can you account for Mayadevi's attitude towards Martha? (30 words)
Mayadevi probably disagrees with the fact that Amit left India to settle with Martha. She would prefer her to be Indian. Mayadevi behaves as if she were still in India, and so as if Amit were still his little boy. She seems to rule over the family.
11. Is Amit a supportive husband? Analyse his behaviour to prove your point. (30 words)
No, he isn’t. Whenever his mother criticizes Martha, he does not try to defend her. On the one hand, he does not dare to confront his mother and on the other hand, he never sides with his wife. Although she has made many efforts, he never acknowledges them. He behaves like a coward. He even goes as far as hiding behind his wife’s back.
12. Translate into French from l. 47 to l. 49 “Ma, she can hear you...” to “...Surprisingly she did.”
“Mère, elle entend ce que vous dites » dit Amit qui jeta un regard inquiet en direction de la porte de la cuisine, même s’ils s’exprimaient en Bengali. « Vous devez être fatiguée. Et si vous mangiez le riz que j’ai préparé pour vous avant d’aller vous coucher ? » suggéra-t-il, espérant ardemment qu’elle accepterait ; ce qu’elle fit, à sa grande surprise.