Fictional text (2), learnattack

Fictional text (2), learnattack

Fictional text (2)

Task 1


Read the text carefully. Describe the encounter between the narrator and her customer.

Can I Help You?

Her lips are white, too white. Or maybe it’s not her teeth, it’s the contrast created by the pink, diseased, old-lady’s gums that makes her smile unnatural. Her eyes do not help – they are far too squinty and sparkling, and day-old mascara clings to the inside corners. She wears a crisp white pantsuit. Expensive and appropriate. She smells of perfume and old money. A printed silk shirt hangs loosely off her frail shoulders. The baubles on her spider-fingers tap against the glass bakery counter, a call to attention for my co-workers and me. I stop stacking the bread shelf and turn to the counter where she stands, impatient. We make eye contact. Realizing my mistake, I shift my eyes and look pleadingly at Cassandra, my co-worker. She returns my gaze with a look that seems to say, you saw her first. You deal with her. James, the other cashier, is elbow-deep in the sink. Sighing, I brush the breadcrumbs from my hands and step up to the counter. “Can I help you?” I return her saccharine stare with one of my own. I can not help wondering if she practices strategic breathing exercises. “Hello dear how are you oh wonderful I want to take three of your plain croissants and oh no dear one that looks overdone yes those ones to the left and so two of those delicious looking scones oh they are just to die for dear me you I want to take a baguette – I’ll take a baguette – I’ll take a baguette Than the ones you just gave me? “It takes me a couple of seconds to realize she has stopped talking. I blink. “Actually, ma’am, they’re all from the same batch, we just did not have any of those loaves on display.” “Oh well those look better than the ones you’ve got so would you be a dear and put those back and give me the new ones oh thank you dear. “I do as she asks. I’ve worked at this bakery for four years, and in that time have learned that for our affluent customers, the concepts of logic and sincerity are as foreign as the cleaning ladies they employ. It seems the reason and compassion for the working class. I ring up at the register, and they walk out, high heels clicking. The stench of her perfume lingers. I turn to face Cassandra. We both smile. “Can you believe some of the people who come in here?” “I know, seriously.” [. ]

(© Reprinted with the permission by Teen Ink magazine and

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exercise 2


Analysis in detail what makes the lady so repugnang to the narrator.

  • Character’s outward appearance:
  • Her way of speaking:
  • Her actions:
  • What she says:
  • What others say / do:

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