The Interpreter - Penguin Readers

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The Interpreter c Pearson Education Limited 2008. The Interpreter - Teacher's notes of 3. Teacher's notes. LEVEL 3. PENGUIN READERS. Teacher Support ...

Teacher’s notes

LEVEL 3

PENGUIN READERS Teacher Support Programme

The Interpreter Chapter 4: Tobin learns that Silvia has in the past been involved in a Matoban protest group, and that her family was killed by Zuwanie’s soldiers. Chapter 5: Outside her apartment, Silvia sees a man wearing one of her African masks signaling to her that she shouldn’t talk. After this, Tobin and Dot watch her from an apartment across the street. Later, the man who scared Silvia is killed by the well-dressed African man.

About the movie The Interpreter has been called “a political thriller for the 21st century.” Its director, Sidney Pollack, has made many famous movies, including Tootsie and Out of Africa. He specializes, however, in stories that involve intrigue and corruption in high places, most notably in the movies like Three Days of the Condor, Absence of Malice and John Grisham’s The Firm.

Summary The story revolves around Silvia Broome, an interpreter at the United Nations in New York, who is from Matobo (a fictional African country). Chapter 1: The story begins with a scene in Matobo, Africa. A black African man and a white man are shot dead. Another white man with long, dark hair takes some photos. A well-dressed African man shows up. The scene changes to the U.N. building in New York. Silvia overhears an assassination plot. The plotters see Silvia and chase her, but she escapes. Chapter 2: The next day, the well-dressed African man watches Silvia, but she doesn’t see him. In the U.N., the French Ambassador speaks of sending Zuwanie, the president of Matobo, for trial before the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. Silvia realizes that the target of the plot appears to be Zuwanie, and she reports to the U.N. security service. Two Secret Service agents, Tobin Keller and Dot Woods, are sent to interview her. Tobin thinks she is lying. Chapter 3: Secret Service agents collect information on Zuwanie, the Matoban rebel leaders, and Silvia. The welldressed African man watches Silvia and the Secret Service agents. Tobin struggles to accept the fact that he has lost his wife; she was killed in a car accident.

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Chapter 6: The cleaners who work at the U.N. building are questioned. Jamal, the man outside Silvia’s apartment, had been a cleaner there. Silvia’s friend, Philippe, contacts Silvia. Chapter 7: Silvia learns from Philippe that one of the rebel chiefs, whom she once loved, has been killed. Now what happened in the first half of Chapter 1 is a little bit clearer, but Philippe lies to Silvia about her brother. Despite the possibility of Silvia’s being involved in the assassination plot, Tobin ends up protecting her. The two grow close as events unfold. Chapter 8: Silvia gets on a bus, where she meets KumanKuman, a Matoban rebel leader who lives in New York. She accuses him of killing her ex-boyfriend, but it seems that he has nothing to do with it. When she gets off the bus, a bomb explodes, killing Kuman-Kuman and a secret service agent. It is revealed that the well-dressed African is called Jean Gamba, and he is the one who left the bomb on the bus. Chapter 9: The desperate private nature of Silvia is unveiled. She tells Tobin about her past and her brother in Africa and the reason why she came to the U.N. He embraces her. Chapter 10: Tobin and Dot are called to a hotel room where they find the body of Philippe, who has killed himself. He has left a note for Silvia. Tobin takes the note to Silvia, and she learns that her brother has been shot dead. Chapter 11: Tobin sees an intruder in Silvia’s apartment. He kills him and finds out that it was Jean Gamba. Silvia is nowhere to be found. Chapter 12: Zuwanie, the president of Matobo, arrives in New York to speak at the U.N., in an attempt to avoid the indictment. Now Tobin knows that Marcus Matu, the Matoban Ambassador’s assistant, is the one he is after. The Interpreter - Teacher’s notes

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Teacher’s notes

PENGUIN READERS Teacher Support Programme

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The Interpreter Chapter 13: As Zuwanie begins to speak, Matu aims a rifle at him from an interpreter’s booth. When he is about to fire, Nils Lud, Zuwanie’s head of security, arrives and shoots him twice. Security personnel push Zuwanie into the safe room for his protection. Tobin discovers that the rifle meant to kill Zuwanie did not work. It was an elaborate ploy by Zuwanie to make it look as though someone wanted to kill him. Chapter 14: In the confusion, Silvia attempts to take revenge on Zuwanie, and Tobin arrives just in time to persuade her not to kill him. Chapter 15: Zuwanie returns to the assembly hall to read out the names of the people he had murdered. Silvia is expelled from the U.N., and she decides to return to Matobo.

Background and themes The United Nations: The inside of the U.N. and the diplomatic world is largely unexplored territory in the world of movies. Decisions made in the U.N. have a huge impact everywhere. This story features the inner dynamics of this organization.

Discussion activities Chapters 1–3 Before reading 1 Discuss: Talk about the United Nations. Put students into small groups. Ask them to discuss the following questions: • What are the aims of the United Nations? • How successful is it, do you think? Later, ask each group to share their opinions with the rest of the class.

After reading 2 Discuss: Put students into small groups. Ask them to discuss the following questions: • Who are the fair-haired white man and the black African man in Chapter 1? • How do you think they will be important later in the story? 3 Role play: Put students into groups of three. Ask them to discuss how to stop the killing in Matobo. Student A: You think Dr. Zuwanie should be sent to the International Criminal Court. Student B: You think Matobo should solve its own problems. Student C: You think that the U.N. should help the rebel leaders and send soldiers into Matobo.

Africa: Matobo is a fictional country in the vicinity of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. Its language, Ku, is also invented. But the problems of post-colonial struggle, warring tribal factions and institutionalized corruption are very real.

Chapters 4–6 Before reading

Secrets and truth: The choice we all have to make between telling the truth and keeping secrets is another issue very relevant to modern times. The conflict between the two is acted out in this story, as in real life, on both a personal and global scale. The personal element centers between the two main characters, Silvia Broome and Tobin Keller. Silvia, a U.N. interpreter, is a sophisticated, international woman who loves music and believes in the power of words over violence. Tobin, on the other hand, is a Secret Service agent used to dealing with the ugly, base side of human nature. He is used to a world of deadlines and action, not music and words. Tobin struggles to trust a woman whose life is built around secrets. Silvia is afraid to trust a man who might expose the dark secrets of her past. In the end, Silvia–a woman who believes in the art of diplomacy–feels forced to resort to violence. Tobin–a man who usually shoots first and asks questions later–is the only one who can remind her of the higher power of mercy.

After reading

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4 Discuss: Have students work in groups to discuss the following: Silvia says, “People don’t always cry when they feel sad.” Do you agree? What do you usually do when you feel sad? 5 Discuss: Talk about the characters. Put students into small groups. Ask them to talk about these people: Nils Lud, Tobin Keller, Ajene Xola, Simon, Philippe, Marcus Matu, Jad Jamal, Kuman-Kuman. Which of them should Silvia be afraid of, and why? 6 Role play: Have students work in pairs to act out the following conversation. Student A: You are Tobin Keller’s boss. You want to know if Silvia is dangerous or not. Ask Tobin about her. Student B: You are Tobin. Answer your boss’s questions about Silvia. Is she dangerous or not?

Chapters 7–9 Before reading 7 Discuss: Put students into small groups. Ask them to discuss the reasons why people in Matobo don’t name the dead. Later, ask each group to share their opinions with the rest of the class.

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Teacher’s notes

PENGUIN READERS Teacher Support Programme

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The Interpreter After reading

Extra activities

8 Discuss: Words vs. guns. Put students into small groups. Ask them to discuss the following question: Silvia says, “Words are slower and quieter than guns. But they’re the only way to stop the killing.” Do you agree with her? Why, or why not? 9 Discuss: Talk about Jean Gamba. Have students work in pairs or small groups to discuss the following questions: • Who is Jean Gamba? • What bad things has he done in the story? • Who is he working for? • What will happen to him next, do you think?

14 Discuss: Put students into groups to discuss the following question: The U.S.A. does not recognize the International Criminal Court. Is the U.S.A. right? 15 Discuss: Have a whole-class discussion by asking this question: What do you think will happen to Zuwanie? What will happen to Matobo? 16 Role play: Have students work in groups of three to act out the following conversation. Student A: You are a lawyer. You think that Dr. Zuwanie planned the death of Simon and Xola, Jad Jamal, Kuman-Kuman, and Marcus Matu. Explain your reasons. Student B: You are Zuwanie’s lawyer. You think that Dr. Zuwanie did not know anything about these crimes. Try to prove that Jean Gamba and Nils Lud were the real murderers. Student C: You are the judge. Listen to the lawyers and ask them questions. Then decide who has given the best reasons. 17 Write: Have students work in small groups to write a short story about Silvia’s first year back in Africa. This could be done in class or as a homework assignment. When the stories are ready, ask each group to read out the story or make a classroom display so that students can read other groups’ stories. 18 Pair work: Put students into pairs. Have them discuss the following lines from the story. What do they mean? Do you agree with them? Why, or why not? • “To stop sadness, you must save a life.” • “People only have to think that someone is trying to kill him. That’s enough to make him stronger.” • “Countries aren’t important now. Only companies, international companies.” • “We can hear a whisper above the noise of a thousand soldiers when it is telling the truth.” 19 Role play: Put students into pairs. Ask them to act out the following interview. Student A: You want a job as an interpreter. Tell the interviewer why you want this job. Answer the interviewer’s questions. Student B: You are the interviewer. Ask Student A about his / her qualifications, experience, plans for the future. Will Student A be a good interpreter?

Chapters 10 –12 Before reading 10 Pair work: Have students work in pairs and go back to the first half of Chapter 1 and ask the following questions: Who are the fair-haired white man and the black African man? Who is another white man with long, dark hair? Who is the well-dressed African man?

After reading 11 Discuss: Put students into small groups. Ask them to discuss the following questions: • Why did Philippe kill himself ? • Who wants to kill Zuwanie, and why? • Was Jean Gamba working for Zuwanie or the rebels? How do you know? • Silvia says, “I’m going home.” Where is she going? Why?

Chapters 13 –15 Before reading 12 Guess: Lead a whole-class discussion by asking these questions: President Zuwanie will soon start to speak in the main hall. Do you think he will be killed? Who is going to kill him, do you think? What do you think will happen? How do you think the story ends?

After reading 13 Role play: Put students into pairs. Ask them to act out this conversation. Student A: You are Tobin. You want to be with Silvia, but you know you can’t. Tell her how you feel. Student B: You are Silvia. You want Tobin to come to Africa with you. Tell him why.

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Vocabulary activities For the Word List and vocabulary activities, go to www.penguinreaders.com.

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