Born in Topeka, Kansas, Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) lived most of her
life in Chicago. The first African-American author to win the Pulitzer Prize - in
1950, for her poetry collection, Annie Allen - she became famous for portraying the
ordinary lives of people in the African-American community. In 1985, she became
the first African-American woman to be elected to the National Institute of Arts and
As a young child, Brooks began reading and writing poetry. Her parents en-
couraged her interest in literature and took her to poetry readings by African-
American authors. Throughout her adolescent years and early twenties, Brooks's poems appeared in various
magazines. In 1945, she published a volume of poetry entitled A Street in Bronzville, which won her nation-
al recognition as one of America's leading poets. From 1989 until her death, she was Distinguished Professor
of Literature at Chicago State University.
The story you are about to read, "Home," is a chapter from Brooks's novel Maud Martha.
What had been wanted was this always, this always to last, the talking softly on this porch, with the snake plant in the jardinière in the southwest corner, and the obstinate slip from Aunt Eppie’s magnificent Michigan fern at the left side of the friendly door. Mama, Maud Martha, and Helen rocked slowly in their rocking chairs, and looked at the late after- noon light on the lawn and at the emphatic iron of the fence and at the poplar tree. These things might soon be theirs no longer. Those shaft b and pools of light, the tree, the graceful iron, might soon be viewed pos- sessively by different eyes. Papa was to have gone that noon, during his lunch hour, to the office of the
Home Owner‘s loan. If he had not succeeded in getting another extension, they
would be leaving this house in which they had lived for more than fourteen years.
There was little hope. The Home Owners' Loan was hard. They sat, making their
"We'll be moving into a nice flat somewhere," said Mama. "Somewhere on
South Park, or Michigan, or in Washington Park Court." Those flats, as the girls
and Mama knew well, were burdens on wages twice the size of Papa's. This was
not mentioned now.
"They're much prettier than this old house," said Helen. "I have friends I'd just as soon not bring
here. And I have other friends that wouldn't come down this far for anything, unless they were in a taxi."
Yesterday, Maud Martha would have attacked her. Tomorrow she might. Today she said nothing. She
merely gazed at a little hopping robin in the tree, her tree, and tried to keep the fronts of her eyes dry.
"Well, I do know," said Mama, turning her hands over and over, "that I‘ve been getting tireder and ti-
reder of doing that firing. From October to April, there's firing to be done."
"Its just going to kill Papa!" burst out Maud Martha. He loves this house! He LIVES for this house!"
"But lately we've been helping. Harry and I," said Maud Martha. "And sometimes in March and April
and in October, and even in November, we could build a little fire in the fireplace. Sometimes the weather
was just right for that."
She knew, from the way they looked at her, that this had been a mistake. They did not want to cry.
But she felt that the little line of white, sometimes ridged with smoked purple, and all that cream-shot
saffronwould never drift across any western sky except that in back of this house. The rain would drum
with as sweet a dullness nowhere but here. The birds on South Park were mechanical birds, so no better
than the poor caught canaries in those "rich" women's sun parlors.
"It's just going to kill Papa!" burst out Maud Martha. "He loves this house! He lives for this house!"
"He lives for us," said Helen. "It's us he loves. He wouldn't want the house, except for us."
"And he'll have us," added Mama, "wherever."
"You know," Helen sighed, "if you want to know the truth, this is a relief. If this hadn't come up, we
would have gone on, just dragged on, hanging out here forever."
―It might," allowed Mama, "be an act of God. God may just have reached down and picked up the
"Yes," Maud Martha cracked in, that's what you always say - that God knows best."
Her mother looked at her quickly, decided the statement was not suspect, looked away.
Helen saw Papa coming. "There's Papa," said Helen.
They could not tell a thing from the way Papa was walking. It was that
same dear little staccato walk, one shoulder down, then the other, then no repeat, and repeat. They
watched his progress. He passed the Kennedys', he
passed the vacant lot, he passed Mrs. Blakemorc's. They wanted to hurl
themselves over the fence, into the street, and shake the truth our of his collar. He opened his gate
- the gate - and still his stride and face told them nothing.
"Hello," he said.
Mama got up and followed him through the front door. The girls knew better than to go in too.
Presently Mama's head emerged. Her eyes were lamps turned on.
"It's all right," she exclaimed. "He got it. It's all over. Everything is all right."
The door slammed shut. Mama's footsteps hurried away.
"I think," said Helen, rocking rapidly, "I think I'll give a parry. I haven't given a party since I was ele-
ven. I'd like some of my friends to just casually see that we're homeowners."
Katherine O’Flaherty Kate Chopin (1851-1904) was born Katherine O’Flaherty in St. Louis, Mis- souri. At nineteen, she married Oscar Chopin, a Louisiana planter. When he died in 1882, leaving her in debt, Kate supported her six children by writing stories. Al- though her marriage had been happy, as a widow, she enjoyed her freedom and the popularity she achieved through her writing. In thirteen years, Chopin wrote nearly 100 stories, poems, and essays. The stories often deal with misunderstood women trapped in unhappy marriages. "The Kiss," as you'll see, is an exception.
It was still quire light out of doors, but inside with the curtains drawn and the smouldering fire sending
out a dim, uncertain glow, the room was full of deep shadows.
Brantain sat in one of these shadows; it had overtaken him and he did not mind. The obscurity lent
him courage to keep his eyes fastened as ardently as he liked upon the girl who sat in the firelight. She was
very handsome, with a certain fine, rich coloring that belongs to the healthy brune
type. She was quite
composed, as she idly stroked the satiny coat of the cat that lay curled in her lap, and she occasionally sent a
slow glance into the shadow it where her companion sat. They were talking low, of indifferent things which
plainly were not the things that occupied their thoughts. She knew that he loved her - a frank, blustering fel-
low without guile enough to conceal his feelings, and no desire to do so. For two weeks past he had sought
her society eagerly and persistently. She was confidently waiting for him to declare himself and she meant to
accept him. The rather insignificant
and unattractive Brantain was enormously rich; and she liked and re-
quired the entourage
which wealth could give her.
During one of the pauses between their talk of the last tea and the next reception
the door opened and
a young man entered whom Brantain knew quite well. The girl turned her face toward him. A stride or two
brought him to her side, and bending over her chair - before she could suspect his intention, for she did not
realize that he had not seen her visitor - he pressed an ardent, lingering kiss upon her lips.
Brantain slowly arose; so did the girl arise, but quickly, and the newcomer stood between them, a little
amusement and some defiance struggling with the confusion in his face.
"I believe," stammered Brantain, "I see that I have stayed too long. I - I had no idea - that is, I must
wish you good-bye." He was clutching his hat with both hands, and probably did not perceive that she was extending her hand to him, her presence of mind had not completely deserted her; but she could not have
trusted herself to speak.
"Hang me if I saw him sitting there, Nattie! I know it‘s deuced awkward" for you. But I hope you'll
forgive me this once - this very first break.
Why, what's the matter?"
"Don't touch me; don't come near me," she returned angrily. "What do you mean by entering the house
"I came in with your brother, as I often do," he answered coldly, in self-justification. "We came in the
side way. He went upstairs and I came in here hoping to find you. The explanation is simple enough and
ought to satisfy you that the misadventure was unavoidable. But do say that you so forgive me, Nathalie," he
"Forgive you! You don't know what you are talking about. Let me pass. It depends upon - a good deal
whether I ever forgive you."
At that next reception which she and Brantain had been talking about she approached the young man
with a delicious frankness of manner when w she saw him there.
"Will you let me speak to you a moment or two, Mr. Brantain?" she asked with an engaging but per-
turbed smile. He seemed extremely unhappy; but when she took his arm and walked away with him, seeking
a retired corner, a ray of hope mingled with the almost comical misery of his expression. She was apparently
"Perhaps I should not have sought this interview, Mr. Brantain; but - but, oh, I have been very uncom-
fortable, almost miserable since that little encounter the other afternoon. When I thought how you might
have misinterpreted it, and believed things" — hope was plainly gaining the ascendancy over misery in
Brantain's round, guileless face - "of course, I know it is nothing to you, but for my own sake I do want you
to understand that Mr. Harvy is an intimate friend of long standing. Why, we have always us been like cou-
sins - like brother and sister, I may say. He is my brother's most intimate associate and often fancies that he is
entitled to the same privileges as the family. Oh, I know it is absurd, uncalled for, to tell you this; undignified
even," she was almost weeping, "but it makes so much difference to me what you think of - of me." Her
voice had grown very low and agitated. The misery had all disappeared from Brantain's face.
"Then you do really care what I think, Miss Nathalie? May I call you Miss Nathalie?" They turned into
a mi long, dim corridor that was lined on either side with tall, graceful plants. They walked slowly to the
very end of it. When they turned to retrace their steps Brantain's face was radiant and hers was triumphant.
Harvy was among the guests at the wedding; and he sought her out in a rare moment when she stood
"Your husband," he said, smiling, "has sent me over to kiss you."
A quick blush suffused her face and round polished throat. "I suppose it's natural for a man to feel and
act generously on an occasion of this kind. He tells me he doesn't want his marriage to interrupt wholly that
pleasant intimacy which has existed between you and me. I don't know what you've been telling him," with
an insolent smile, "but he has sent me here to kiss you."
She felt like a chess player who, by the clever handling of his pieces, sees the game taking the course
intended. Her eyes were bright and tender with a smile as they glanced up into his; and her lips looked hun-
gry for the kiss which they invited.
"But, you know," he went on quietly, "I didn't tell him so, it would have seemed ungrateful, but I can
tell you. I've stopped kissing women; it's dangerous."
Well, she had Brantain and his million left. A person can‘t have everything in this world; and it was a
little unreasonable of her to expect it.
THE GLOSSARY OF LITERARY TERMS 1. Allegory - a comрarison which is protracted and sustained with a double meaning metaphorically implied.
Allegory is often used in fables, parables and fiction.
2. Alliteration - a repetition of the same consonant at the beginning of neighbouring words or accented syl-
"themerry month of May; "the winnowing wind" (G. Keats)
"welling water's winsome word" (A.Ch. Swinburne)
3. Allusion - a reference to specific places, persons, literary characters or historical events known to the
reader that, by some association, have come to stand for a certain thing or an idea.
The Three Graces of Rome (goddesses of beauty, joy and femalecharm). "To dress - to dine, and then if to dine, to sleep - to sleep, to dream. And then what dreams might come." (Galsworthy)
4. Anadiplosis (catch repetition, "doubling") - the repetition of the initial, middle or final word or word-
group in a sentence or clause at the beginning of the next with the adjunct idea.
"But Brutus says he was ambitious; And Brutus is an honorable man..." (W. Shakespeare)
5. Anaphora ("carrying back") - the repetition of the first word or a word-group in several successive sen-
tences, clauses or phrases.
"How many days will finish up the year, How many years a mortal man may live." (W. Shakespeare)
6. Anticlimax - a slackening of tension in a sentence or longer piece of writing wherein the ideas fall off in
dignity, or become less important at the close.
"The wind sung..., and the sailors swore" (G. Byron)
7. Antithesis - the juxtaposition of sharply contrasting ideas in balanced or parallel words, phases or gram-
matical structures. Antithesis is often based on the use of antonyms and is aimed at emphasizing contrasting
"Too brief for our passion, too long for our peace, were these hours..." (G. Byron)
"Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great!" (G. Byron)
8. Antonomasia - the use of a proper name to express a general idea or a substitution of an epithet, or de-
scriptive phrase, or official title for a proper name.
"theNapoleon of crime" (A. Conan Doyle)
"theGioconda Smile" (A. Huxley)
9. Aposiopesis - (incomplete representation) the sudden intentional breaking off in speech, without complet-
ing a thought, as if a speaker was unable or unwilling to speak his mind. What is not finished is implied.
"Ifyou hadn't left your own people, your goddamned old Westberry, Saragota, Palm Beach people to take me on" - (E Hemingway)
10. Assonance - agreement of vowel sounds.
"weak and weary" (E.A. Poe)
11. Asyndeton ("bounding together") - the deliberate avoidance of conjunctions (connectives).
... no units, no flowers, no leaves, no birds..." (Th. Hood)
12. Bathos - a ludicrous descent from the elevated to the commonplace.
13. Burlesque - the comical treatment of a serious subject; often the caricature of the spirit of a serious work.
14. Chiaroscuro ("bright-dark") - a sort of writing in which opposite emotions are mingled.
15. Chiasmus ("cross arrangement") - Inversion in the second phrase of order followed in first.
"Down dropt the breeze, the sails dropt down" (S.T. Coleridge)
16. Cliché - a stereotyped unoriginal phrase often springing from mental "laziness" (Frank Whitaker); an
outworn commonplace phrase that has become hackneyed.
"the Iron Duke"; the iron curtain. 17. Climax (gradation) - an ascending series or scale when the ideas are presented in the order of rising im-
"Janet Spence's parlour-maid was ugly on purpose...,malignantly, criminally ugly." (A. Huxley)
"She rose - shesprung - she clung to his embrace" (G. Byron)
18. Collision ("shock") - the opposition, struggle of forces or characters in drama, poetry or fiction.
19. Complication ("folding together") - the engagement of contending forces, ideas in a play or narration.
20. Conflict (see collision)
21. Contrast - juxtaposition of unlike characters, ideas or images to heighten the effect; opposed to grada-
tion. "Caesar and Napoleon" (to contrast is to align the two sets of differences and distinctions).
22. Denouement - the solution, clarification or unraveling of the plot of a piece of writing; the unwinding of
23. Detachment ("separation")
1) A separating of a secondary part of a sentence with the aim of emphasizing it.
2) A manner of narration in which the-author stands aloof from and is unaffected by the events and charac-
ters he portrays.
24. Discord ("disagreement") - a want of harmony or agreement between persons, or between style and sub-
ject-matter of a piece of writing.
25. Dislocation - breach in the word order; the violation of the rule of proximity having a comical effect as
"...Monument to John Smith who was shot as a mark of affection by his brother" (epitaphy)
26. Ellipsis ("defect") - the omission of a word or words necessary for the complete syntactical construction
of a sentence but not necessary for understanding it.
Don't know. Couldn't come. 27. Epithet ("addition") - an attributive characterization of a person, thing or phenomenon. An epithet
creates an image and reveals the emotionally coloured individual attitude of the author towards the object
spoken of. There are the so-called conversational (standing) epithets, kind of literary cliché: green wood; true love; virgin land. 28. Epistrophe ("over + address") - the repetition of sounds or words in successive clauses or sentences at
the end of relatively complete fragments of speech. (Edgar Poe's ``Raven'')
29. Flash-back - turning back to earlier experiences in order to deepen the meaning of present experiences.
Modern writers often resort to this device.
30. Framing (``ring repetition'') - a kind of repetition in which the opening word is repeated at the end of a
sense-group or a sentence.
"Nowonder his father wanted to know what Bosinney meant, no wonder." (G. Galsworthy)
31. Gradation (``step'') - the arrangement of ideas in such a way that each succeeding one rises above its
predecessor in impact (impressiveness or force).
"little by little, bit by bit, and day by day, and year by year..." (Ch. Dickens)
32. Grotesque - fantastic exaggeration aimed at representing human beings or their lives as comically dis-
torted, awkward, often implying the confusion (interweaving) of the fantastic and the real.
33. Hyperbole ("transference") - a figure of speech consisting in exaggerating or extravagant statement used
to express strong feeling or to produce a strong impression and not intended to be understood literally.
``To cross the world to find you a pin." (A. Coppard)
34. Imagery - figurative language intended to evoke a picture or idea in the mind of the reader; figures of
speech collectively. ``An Image is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of
time''. (Ezra Pound)
35. Intrigue - the plot of a literary work; a complicated (involved, intricate) scheme of actions and events.
36 Irony - the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning for the purpose of ridicule; an ex-
pression or utterance marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meanings.
37. Leitmotif (-iv) ("leading motive") - the theme associated throughout a literary work with a certain cha-
racter, event or emotion.
38. Litotes ("plain, simple") - a type of ironical understatement made for emphasis; an affirmation expressed
by denying its contrary:
He is not half bad... He had not been unhappy the whole day. (E. Hemingway)
39. Local colour - the background stressed so as to suggest a particular place or region with its peculiarities.
40. Malapropism ("not to the purpose") - a grotesque misuse of words based on a blunder in the use of
words. The term owes its origin to Sheridan's character, Mrs Malaprop, noted for amusing substitution of one
word for another:
illiterate for obliterate.
prostitute for procrastinate 41. Message (idea) - the main idea of a piece of literature carried indirectly through the characters, events
and the author's conceptions.
42. Metaphor ("transference") - an implied comparison between two seemingly different things.
Dead (trite) metaphors have entered the language long ago and are commonly used without being noticed:
the leg of the chair; the eye of the needle Established metaphors add meaning and colour to the expression:
"He is a bull in a china shop", "a wet blanket" Creative metaphors are coined by the writer to fit a particular situation:
"When Einstein broke ... open the old concept of length knowledge jumped forward" (Stuart Chase)
43. Metonymy - a figure of speech consisting in the use of one word for another denoting a thing of which it
is part or with which it is associated (the effect for the cause; the instrument for the action; the container for
the vines of France (King of France) (W. Shakespeare)
the milk of Burgundy (the Duke of Burgundy) (W. Shakespeare)
44. Onomatopoeia ("sound imitation") - the use of words in which the sound is suggestive of the object or
action designated: crack, jazz, whistle, etc
45. Oxymoron ("sharp + foolish") - a figure of speech consisting in the use of an epithet or attributive phrase
(a modifier) in contradiction to the noun it defines.
proud humility (W. Shakespeare)
speaking silence (G. Byron)
46. Paradox ("irregular, wrong opinion") - a statement which though it appears to be self-contradictory, nev-
ertheless involves truth.
"Wine costs money; blood costs nothing." (B. Shaw)
47. Parallelism - the similarity of the syntactical structure of successive phrases, clauses or sentences. Paral-
lel constructions are often accompanied by the repetition of one or more words. This device usually implies
"Shewas a good servant, she walked softly, she was a determined woman, she walked precisely." (G.
48. Periphrasis ("all round + speaking") - the use of a longer phrasing with descriptive epithets, abstract
terms etc in place of a possible shorter and plainer form of expression, aimed at representing the author's idea
in a roundabout way.
the better sex - women the seven-hilled city - Rome organs of vision - eyes 49. Personification - a kind of metaphor; endows a thing, a phenomenon or an abstract notion with features
peculiar to a human being. The attribution of personal form, nature or characteristic; the representation of a
thing or abstraction as a person.
"Confusion spoke"; "Vice is a monster" 50. Pleonasm (redundancy) - an over-fullness of words in speaking or writing. More words than necessary
are used to express the idea, either as a fault of style or a device purposely used for special force or clearness.
(B. Shaw's plays)
51. Polysyndeton - repetition of conjunction(s) in close succession as one of the homogeneous parts, or
clauses, or sentences, opposed to asyndeton.
"They were all three from Milan and one of them was to be a lawyer, and one was to be a painter, and one had intended to be a soldier..." (E. Hemingway)
52. Redundance, -cy("to rise in waves") see pleonasm.
53. Repetition - a reiteration of the same word or phrase with the view of expressiveness. Repetition of all
kinds is widely used in poetry and prose.
54. Retardation (delayed utterance) - an intentional delay in the completion of the phrases or clauses ex-
pressing modality of thought, time and the like to detain the conclusion of the utterance.
55. Rhythm - the measured flow of words and phrases in an utterance.
56. Sarcasm - bitter, socially or politically aimed irony.
57. Satire ("medley") - use of ridicule, irony, sarcasm in writing or speech for the purpose of exposing some
moral or social vice.
58. Simile - a figure of speech in which two objects are compared, one of them being likened to the other; a
kind of comparison introduced with the help of special grammatical means (conjunctions: as if, like) or sug-
gested by such verbs as resemble, remind and seem.
plain as the nose on your face; different as chalk from cheese; run like a hare 59. Stock character - a stereotyped character recognized as belonging to the established class:
Sherlock Holmes - a masterly detective Bill Sykes - a heavy villain Soames Forsyte - the man of property
60. Suspense - a device to produce a state of uncertainty, usually with anxiety or expectation. The deliberate
sustaining of anticipation by means of postponing; the retarding of the satisfaction of knowing how it all
61. Symploce ("interweaving") - a syntactic stylistic device consisting in the repetition of a word or phrase at
the beginning and of another at the end of successive clauses; a device combining anaphora and epistrophe.
62. Synecdoche - a figure of speech by which a part is put for the whole, or the whole for a part, or an indi-
vidual for a class, etc.
"Тhe Goth, the Christian - Time-War-Flood and Fire; havedealt upon the seven-hilled City's pride.'' (G. By-
63. Synonymic repetition - the repetition of the same notion by means of different synonyms.
64. Understatement - a statement which deliberately errs on the side of moderation which does not
represent with completeness all the aspects of a case thus avoiding the truth. Numerous instances are found
in ``Alice in Wonderland" by L. Carroll.
It's rather a nuisance. I dislike that woman.