The pieces of silver is a story about a poor young boy named Clement. This story is set in the Carribean. The old headmaster is retiring and the children all have to bring silver coins for his retirement fund. There are a few who are too poor to bring threepence inclunding Clement. At school the acting head Mr Chase brings these pupils to the front and marks chalk upon their head and makes references to Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar when Brutus betrayes his friend Caesar. After this the school laughs and taunts at the poor boys.

After school Clement goes back to his ‘house’ and askes his mother for the money. She delegates this to his father. Clement does the same to him but the answer is no. After staying outside Clements sister, Evelina, talks to him and suggestes that they go singing, at the end of an evening they go to a large house and sing. The elderly man gives them a sixpence. The man is Mr. Megahey their retiring teacher. The next day at school Clement takes all the money raised and uses it so the rest of the poor children don’t have to go through another ordeal.

Mr. Chase is the acting headmaster and he is promt, stout and pompous. (line 1 ‘at five minutes to ten, the bell started to ring’. Line 15 ‘the stout, pompous, acting headmaster came to the window that opened off his platform on to the playing field, still making an unnecessary clangour with his bell’. ) Mr. Chase is very strict so all the students have to line up very straight and in assembely they have sing then pray then they have to bring money for their retiring teacher.

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Before all this they are checked for clean teeth, brushed hair and clean hands if this is failed they are caned with a stick. Those that didn’t bring money (a minimum of threepence) were called to the platform at the front of the hall. An X was planted on their head and they were called Bruteses while being laughed at for being poor. And Clement had to recite this passage from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (lines80-99). Mr Chase causes Clement to feel bad about himself and his life because he is poor and most of the school is not.

Mr. Chase amplifies this feeling when he makes him recite a passage that says he is a betrayer of Mr. Megahey and has a mark to prove it. He will continue this as well unless money turns up. This behavior causes some children to miss school and can put some children off of going to school to continue the poverty and continue the prejujice of some people. Clements parents are very different his mother is caring but won’t do anything without the allowence of the father. lines 139-151).

She knows thatat this period of time that the men were in control of the family and they worked while women did housework and cook. Dave his father is a poor labourman who takes care of what little money they have and even tough he may not know the torture that happens at school he will never let Clement have threepence even if he did know unlike Clements mother. (lines155-169) Dave is almost deafened and the whole family respects him and don’t stay for arguments.

Both parents are hard working so show Clement to do just so but they have different views on things so could confuse Clement on issues later in life. E. g. to let children have money. Dave the father is also jelous and angry at people like Mr Megahey and this is shown by both parents and this is read by Clement and this could be what he becomes. Evelina is Clement’s older sister (line 123) and has his mothers understanding but unlike her mother she uses herself to help Clement and goes singing (185) after they go singing and get money off Mr.

Megahey they go home and Evelina also tells Clement to take the money and use it to help the others. Evelina is unselfish and caring and is a good influence to Clement. Clement has agood family but outside there is people who are horrible and who are selfish and uncaring to peoples of lower class. For a good influence Clement should start with the people closest to him and listen less to the wrong sort of people.


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