Sandpiper activity

We read the Sandpiper by Ahdaf Soueif in Literature. We had to watch this video summarising the story and then a Slideshare and aswer its questions. [TASK] 

Worksheet #1

1. The woman wanted to avoid making patterns on the sand because she had the idea that patterns should be made by nature only and didn´t want her feet to change its course beacuse of her. So balancing, she put her toes of bare foot on the hot stones and took a long time to reach the end of the path and get to the sea. This walk through the path symbolises her desire of being passive and not disturb the loveless life.

2. This quotation is said by the protagonist narrator of the story in the first paragraph where she is walking cautiosly on the hot stones so as not to make any pattern while she steps. She is devaluing herself when she says there is no point in deciphering a pattern she had caused, that only nature was responsible for these paterns.

3. The way in how she balances herself in the stones can be symbolised as her balancing between 2 different cultures and countries (English and Egyptian), trying to do nothing wrong to upset her husband´s family and to adapt to their new customs, habits and foods. She describes it as “not easy” as it was very difficult, she wanted to return to her native country and would have liked her child to grow up there.

4. The sea, where the woman goes to find peace and relax, is a metaphor for the woman’s life and the changes that happened to her. I can say this because the sea is always changing, is not constant, as the protagonist’s residence, habits, clothes, customs, and also feelings.

5. The image described by the unnamed woman in this paragraph shows how she dig her hands into the sand and then a wave came and brushed away the sand, collapsing the walls she had made that covered her hands, leaving them wet so as to then “easily brush away”. Maybe this description represents how she tried to hold on to her origins, but it was very difficult because no one let her do nothing, and had to adapt to all new things.

Worksheet #2

1. The last sentence mirrors the woman’s attemp to try and understand what has happened to her husband, marriage and inhability to grasp her Egyptian way of life that it is imposed on her when she visits Egypt each summer. She explains that her culture and country fades away as she tries to adjust to her husband’s new country.

2. She reverts back to her own country and culture because she feels left out and isolated in this new Egyptian world where everything is differnt: food, manners, customs, language, her “need to be protected from the sun, the mosquitoes, the salads, the drinking water”. And all this things, her foreigness, sarted to irritate her husband. As a consequence this implications and problems of adjustment to this new reality, their relationship started to collapse.

3. In paragraph 2, the narrator portrays herself sitting where the sea water rolled in and withdrew from the shore with its “filled white edge nibbling (taking very small bites) at the sand”. She explained that every upcoming wave was different. Sometimes, she says, the wave would barely touch her feet, but other times it would twist around her and pull back, shifting another layer of sand from below her. And this process was repeated every time.

4. For 12 years they had been married and loved each other, they had spent a lot of happy moments together. One of them was when they walked in the sunset along the water’s edge, “kicking at the spray”; another one was when they went to the park and read the newspaper, “late nights at the movies”, when he met her at the bus stop after she came back from work.

5. When they both lived in the UK, they used to go to the park and read the newspaper, they used to meet at the bus top after she finished work. But all these memories were missed but “with no great sense of loss”, not with sadness. It appeared to be as if they were still there, to “be called upon”, for them to live them again whenever they wanted.

Worksheet #3

1. Through this quotation she explains how she felt in this new country compared to hers: the UK. She said that she was in Africa which was very insignificant in comparisson to her native country.

2. The woman’s happines towards her baby was infinit. She states that “nature had worked admirable”. The unnamed woman touched her belly and felt the gentle punch and id it again and again. She understood what the baby wanted and sat in a certain way so that she could sit in a more realxed position. She loved his baby.

3. This quotation may refer to her state of mind: now, living in Egypt in her husband’s country, she feels lost and lonely and her own country fades in the distance.

4. In this paragraph what she is trying to transmit through this repetition and ophrase is that she would have liked her child to be ‘hers’, not to have grown up in her husband’s land. She reflects and thinks that it could have been better if she had left with Lucy before she was raised in the foreign land and accoustomed to her husband’s country language, customs, habits, manners, religion. Lucy is the only reason she stayed in this placed where she definitely didn’t belong.

5. She thinks Egypt is a place she doesn’t belong to due to some things. For example the fact that she isn’t let to do any domestic work. Um Sabir, her husband’s nanny, did everything in the house and didn’t even let her make her bed. She used to say “Shame, shame. What am I here for? Keep your hands nice and soft. Go and rest.” Neither she could cook, or do the shopping. She felt useless and wanted to be useful for something.

6. The unnamed mother wouldn’t leave her husband because that would mean leaving her daughter too. And she thinks that at this age, Lucy needs both his father and her mother, then when she gets old, she can decide and choose by herself, she will be independant and then she can go away.

Worksheet #4

1. In this quote, the woman is explaining how she feels good of being used by her daughter as a mattress in which Lucy fits herself into her body. She feels useful only by doing this because the maid (Um Sabir) doesn’t let her do anything, not even her own bed.

2. What she means in this phrase is that she could rest in peace and tranquil because she had her most important things by her side and didn’t have to worry about losing them. The narrator includes this paragraph in the story because it is similar to her and Lucy lying on bed: she had the most important thing between her arms and so she could sleep at ease.


4. I think that a woman would feel weak, undervalued, and sad about being that woman. Especially because she was an educated and liberated woman living in another country which wasn’t her own.

5. Egypt is a male dominated country. Currently, the state of women’s rights in Egypt is extremely poor. In 2013, Egypt was ranked as the worst country in the Arab World for women. Lower-class families have tended to withdraw females from school as they reached puberty to minimize their interaction with males. Maybe this unnamed woman must have felt lonely and very sad also because of the different realities, maybe she fealt undervalued and felt that her rights weren’t respected in Egypt compared to in the UK.

6. Lucy’s parents both love her too much to continue being together till she grows up and autonomous and free to choose. Her father is glad to have rher child living and born in his country, but her mother is sad, unhappy and feels lonely because HIS son would have different language, customs and be accustoumed to other things that are completely different from the things she would have liked to teach her.

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