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Tasks - The Snail-Watcher

Comprehension - True or false?

  1. Mrs Knoppert shared her husband’s interest in snails.
  2. Mr Knoppert had studied snails and their behaviour before he started his hobby.
  3. His hobby opened his eyes to the beauty of Nature.
  4. Mr Knoppert was appalled by people’s ignorance when it came to snails.
  5. His pay was raised because the company gained from his accomplishments.
  6. He loved to invite people into his study.
  7. He did not visit the study for more than two weeks.
  8. The snails covered every surface, even the ceiling.
  9. He could not open the door because the snails prevented him from it.
  10. Mrs Knoppert came to her husband’s rescue.
Key
  1. Mrs Knoppert shared her husband’s interest in snails. (F)
  2. Mr Knoppert had studied snails and their behaviour before he started his hobby. (F)
  3. His hobby opened his eyes to the beauty of Nature. (T)
  4. Mr Knoppert was appalled by people’s ignorance when it came to snails. (T)
  5. His pay was raised because the company gained from his accomplishments. (T)
  6. He loved to invite people into his study. (F)
  7. He did not visit the study for more than two weeks. (T)
  8. The snails covered every surface, even the ceiling. (T)
  9. He could not open the door because the snails prevented him from it. (T)
  10. Mrs Knoppert came to her husband’s rescue. (F)

Literary Analysis

  1. In which way is “The Snail-Watcher” a classical short story? Use "How to Analyze a Short Story". Consider characters, setting, suspense and plots.
  2. What is the point of view in the story? How does this affect the story?
  3. Give a characterization of the protagonist. Do you think he is insane?
  4. Is this short story representative of Patricia Highsmith's literary production (see presentation of author)?
  5. What is it in her background that might explain her interest in the surreal?
  6. List some of the most evident contrasts in the last part of the short story. Why do you think the author includes these contrasts? How do they make you feel?
  7. Discuss the meaning of the last sentence.

Oral

Find various recipes with snails (escargot). It may be served in many ways, e.g. as ragout, baked, fried and in soup, butter and sauces. Choose your favourite snail dish and explain to your classmates how it is prepared.

Research

Check this web site: compulsive_disorder

1. Does the protagonist in "The Snail-Watcher" suffer from an obsession?
2. Why do you think he behaves the way he does?
3. What kind of treatment is suggested for obsessive and compulsive disorders? What do you think might have helped Mr Knoppert?

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