Class Test


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Das Aufgabenbeispiel und die Musterlösung stammen aus: 
Materialien Schulentwicklung
Qualitätsentwicklung und Qualitätssicherung
Aufgabenbeispiele Klasse 10
MSWWF 1998, S. 39ff



Janet Frame: The Linesman

Three men arrived yesterday with their van and equipment to repair the telephone lines leading to the house opposite. Two of the men stayed at work in the house. The third carried his ladder and set it up against the telegraph pole twenty-five yards from the house. He climbed the ladder and beyond it to the top of the pole where, with his feet resting on the iron rungs which are embedded at intervals in the sides of the pole, he began his work, his hands being made free after he had adjusted his safety harness. He was not likely to fall. I did not see him climb the pole. I looked from my window and saw him already working, twisting, arranging wires, screwing, unscrewing, leaning back from the pole, dependent upon his safety belt, trusting in it, seeming in a position of comfort and security.

I stared at him. I was reluctant to leave the window because I was so intent upon watching the linesman at work, and because I wanted to see him descend from the pole when his work was finished.

People in the houses near the telegraph pole had drawn their curtains; they did not wish to be spied upon. He was in an excellent position for spying, with a clear view into the front rooms of half a dozen houses.

The clouds, curds and whey, were churned from south to north across the sky. It was one of the first Sundays of spring. Washing was blowing on the clotheslines in back gardens; youths were lying in attitudes of surrender beneath the dismantled bellies of scooters; women were sweeping the Saturday night refuse from their share of the pavement. Perhaps it was time for me to have something to eat - a cup of coffee a biscuit, anything to occupy the ever marauding despair.

But still I could not leave my position at the window. I stared at the linesman until I had to screw up my eyes to avoid the bright stabs of spring light. I watched the work, the snipping, twisting, joining, screwing, unscrewing of bolts. And all the time I was afraid to leave the window. I kept my eyes fixed upon the linesman slung in his safety harness at the top of the telegraph pole.

You see, I was hoping that he might fall.



linesman especially British English: someone whose job is to take care of telephone wires
rung step on a ladder
safety harness dt. Sicherheitsgurt
curds dt. Quark
whey dt. Molke
churn here: wirbeln
dismantle take to pieces; dismantle an engine
marauding dt. hier: nach Sensationen suchen





1.  What does the narrator observe when looking out of the window?

2. Describe the narrator's behaviour, thoughts and feelings.

3. At the end of the story the narrator admits that he/she was hoping that the linesman would fall.

  • a. Comment on the narrator's wish.


    b. Continue the story. Say what might happen and 
        describe the narrator's reaction.