I Tick the right answer


by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood (b. 1939) a Canadian poet, novelist, critic

(Part detective novel, part psychological thriller, Surfacing is a story of a young unnamed woman artist who returns to her hometown in Canada to find her missing father. Accompanied by a few friends, she meets her past in her childhood house, recalling events and feelings, while trying to find clues for her fathers mysterious disappearance. Little by little, the past overtakes her and drives her into the realm of wildness and madness.)

In the city, I never hid in bathrooms; I didnt like them, they were too hard and white. The only city place I can remember hiding in is behind open doors at holiday parties. I despised them, the pew-purple velvet dresses with antimacassar lace collars and the presents, voices going Oooo with envy when they were opened, and the pointless games, finding a thimble or memorising clutter on a tray. There were only two things you could be, a winner or a loser; the mothers tried to rig it so everyone got a prize, but they couldnt figure out what to do about me since I wouldnt play. At first, I ran away, but after that my mother said (10) I had to go, I had to learn to be polite; civilized, she called it. So I watched from behind the door. When I finally joined in the game of Musical Chairs, I was welcomed with triumph, like a religious convert or a political defector.

Some were disappointed; some found my crab-hermit habits amusing, they found me amusing in general. Each year it was a different school, in October or November when the first snow hit the lake, and I was the one who didnt know the local customs, like a person from another culture: on me they could try out the tricks and minor tortures theyd already used up on each other. When the boys chased and captured (20) the girls after school and tied them up with their own skipping ropes, I was the one they would forget on purpose to untie. I spent many afternoons looped to fences and gates and convenient trees, waiting for a benevolent adult to pass and free me; later I became

an escape artistof sorts, expert at undoing knots.



On better days they would all gather around, competing for me.

Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, they shouted,

Went to the river to bathe;

Adam and Eve fell in,

So who do you think was saved?

(30) I dont know, I said.

You have to answer, they said. Thats the rules.

Adam and Eve, I said craftily. They were saved.

If you dont do it right we wont play with you, they said.

Being socially retarded is like being mentally retarded, it arouses in others disgust and pity and the desire to torment and reform.



surfacing (lit. and fig.) emergingto the surface and becoming apparent

pew-purple a colour between red and blue like that on long wooden benches in a church

antimacassar a covering, usu. decorative, used on the back or arms of a chair or sofa to protect the upholstery


cluttera disorderly assortment of things


civilized civil or refined


an escape artist an entertainer who is good at freeing from ropes, chains, boxes, etc


mentally retarded one whose mental development has been slowed down



I Tick the right answer.

1 I in the text stands for .

a) a boy b) a girl c) both a girl and an adult d) we dont know

2 After reading the passage you could say that the narrators

childhood was .

a) very happy b) boring c) exciting d) tormented

3 The passage deals mainly with:

a) local customs c) childhoods sweet memories

b) childrens games d) the difficulty of being oneself in society

4 The tone of the text is:

a) aggressive b) neutral c) melancholy d) bitter

5 Some of the games mentioned in the text were .

a) chaotic games b) cruel games c) funny games d) interactive games

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