A. Think about a 'before and after' moment in your life. Before you realised something that made your life change. Maybe it was when you passed your school or university exams, decided to get married or found you were going to have a baby. All these events have a 'before you knew' and 'after you knew' moment. Imagine how you felt during that time.
B. Open the link below and read the first page of the story without using your dictionary.
The writer describes a moment in someone's life.
Which things are not mentioned:
1) taking a shower
2) drinking tea
3) doing a puzzle
4) washing clothes
5) taking a walk
6) coming home from work
7) finding theatre tickets
As you've probably guessed, the text is about Chloe's sister Anna finding a lump on her body and how later she would have to go to hospital to be treated for cancer.
The writer focuses our attention on those moments before and after learning something that changes our lives and the things which evoke those emotions.
C) Read the text again and answer these questions
1. What reminds Joseph, Chloe's workmate, of that 'before and after' moment?
2. How does he feel when he listens to that music now?
3. What does the writer mean by 'her brain bristled indignantly'?
4. When we read the sentence which begins 'And after – doctors...' how does the writer want us to feel?
5. What does Chloe do while she waits for the tea to be ready?
6. Before she starts the machine what does she do?
7. What does she find in Dan's shirt and why isn't she surprised?
8. Why was she worried about Dan going to the theatre?
Now check your answers:
1. What reminds Joseph, Chloe's workmate, of that before and after moment? Listening to Bach
2. How does he feel when he listens to that music now? He doesn't feel good (he says, “I used to love that”).
3. What does the writer mean by 'her brain bristled indignantly'? Anna's mind refused to believe there was a lump on her body.
4. When we read the sentence which begins 'And after – doctors...' how does the writer want us to feel? Worried and sad for Anna. We think it will be a long and unhappy process for her.
5. What does Chloe do while she waits for the tea to be ready? She puts some washing in the washing machine.
6. Before she starts the machine what does she do? She checks the clothes to make sure there is nothing in the pockets.
7. What does she find in Dan's shirt and why isn't she surprised? Two ticket stubs. He went to a business conference in New York.
8. Why was she worried about Dan going to the theatre? Chloe was worried because he hadn't mentioned it to her and Hedda Gabler was an unusual choice to people to take to the theatre.
Finally, think about a before and after moment in your or your friend's life.
Try to write an introductory page of a story with a minimum of five paragraphs.
Slowly introduce the characters in a similar way to the text above.
Show how the normal before moments contrast with the after moments.
When you've finished, double check it, especially your spelling.