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Read the extract from a novel.

William Stoner has just graduated from university. He has decided to continue his studies and not return to work on the family farm. In this passage, William tells his parents of his decision.

How does the writer memorably convey the difficulty of this moment? (Answer 75-100 Words Per Question)

To help you answer this question, you might consider:
– how the writer creates a tense atmosphere between William and his parents
– how he portrays the reactions of William’s parents
– how he reveals William’s feelings throughout the passage.


There was another silence. His parents, who looked straight ahead in the shadows cast by their own bodies, every now and then glanced sideways at their son, as if they did not wish to disturb him in his new estate.

After several minutes William Stoner leaned forward and spoke, his voice louder and more forceful than he had intended. ‘I ought to have told you sooner. I ought to have told you last summer, or this morning.’

His parents’ faces were dull and expressionless in the lamplight.
‘What I’m trying to say is, I’m not coming back with you to the farm.’
No one moved. His father said, ‘You got some things to finish up here, we can
go back in the morning and you can come on home in a few days.’
Stoner rubbed his face with his open palm. ‘That’s—not what I meant. I’m trying
to tell you I won’t be coming back to the farm at all.’

His father’s hands tightened on his kneecaps and he drew back in the chair. He
said, ‘You get yourself in some kind of trouble?’
Stoner smiled. ‘It’s nothing like that. I’m going on to school for another year,
maybe two or three.’
His father shook his head. ‘I seen you get through this evening. And the county
agent said the farm school took four years.’
Stoner tried to explain to his father what he intended to do, tried to evoke in him
his own sense of significance and purpose. He listened to his words fall as if from the mouth of another, and watched his father’s face, which received those words as a stone receives the repeated blows of a fist. When he had finished he sat with his hands clasped between his knees and his head bowed. He listened to the silence of the room.

Finally his father moved in his chair. Stoner looked up. His parents’ faces confronted him; he almost cried out to them.

‘I don’t know,’ his father said. His voice was husky and tired. ‘I didn’t figure it would turn out like this. I thought I was doing the best for you I could, sending you here. Your ma and me has always done the best we could for you.’
‘I know,’ Stoner said. He could not look at them longer. ‘Will you be all right? I could come back for a while this summer and help. I could—’
‘If you think you ought to stay here and study your books, then that’s what you ought to do. Your ma and me can manage.’

His mother was facing him, but she did not see him. Her eyes were squeezed shut; she was breathing heavily, her face twisted as if in pain, and her closed fists were pressed against her cheeks. With wonder Stoner realized that she was crying, deeply and silently, with the shame and awkwardness of one who seldom weeps. He watched her for a moment more; then he got heavily to his feet and walked out of the parlor. He found his way up the narrow stairs that led to his attic room; for a long time he lay on his bed and stared with open eyes into the darkness above him.

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Graffiti is an eye-catching way to create lively spaces in cities

Whether it’s tagging (the stylised writing of an individual or crew’s name), posters, stickers, installations, murals or mosaics, graffiti has always been a contentious issue. Countries like the US, UK and Australia have adopted aggressive – and expensive – strategies to try and eradicate graffiti.

But not all cities view graffiti as a bad thing. Over the past few decades, it’s increasingly become part of mainstream culture. Some places have actively promoted graffiti and encouraged artists to work in public spaces. Others, like Bogota in Colombia, have introduced legislation that aims to promote the responsible and legal practice of graffiti. In Singapore, the state has designated specific surfaces for graffiti.

Is graffiti art? Argue your stance as a liberal artist or a conservative. (150-200 words)

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