Tyres – Questions

Matías Ripoll, Marcos Okecki y Tomás braun.

These are the questions and answers about the story «Tyres» writen by Adam Thorpe.

1. (pp396/397) Sum up his boyhood thoughts, opinions and feelings.

2. What attitude does the father, Monsieur Andre Paulhan, have towards the Germans, the Resistance and to his son’s (Raoul) involvement in the war and resistance?

3. Describe his first meeting and emotions with the young girl when Raoul was 14/15 in 1940 and three years later at 17/18. (P399/400)

4. How do these lines reflect the Raoul’s feelings at the end of the story: “Someone who, if suddenly no longer there, can leave a hole in your heart, and a feeling of doom until the moment he or she reappears.”

5 p401 How involved in the Resistance does Raoul think that the young girl and his father are? What does the threat: “Try a nail or two” imply about the father?

6. (p402) What does Raoul do to bring the girl closer to him? How does his father react?

7. Describe Andre’s feelings about religion and about the Petain government. P403 and elsewhere.

8 Finally the romance with Cecile Viala is in the open with Raoul’s family p403/404 How would you describe their feelings for each other?

9.( p405) What has prompted Raoul to sabotage the Gestapo officer’s inner tube?

10. What is the faint hope Raoul has for Cecile as she accepts the ride in the car?

11 . The story ends with a reluctant mood to shift with the times. Explain how this is true.

1- Raoul, since he was a kid, he wanted to help his father at work, to continue the legacy. We can see this through the quotation “I started helping my father as soon as I could stand upright”. In addition, this is also hyperbole because he began to assist his father in the factory as soon as he has the qualities. Moreover, through the extract “I was at first scared of the hiss of the compressors, of the great blade that took off the rubber(…). I learnt to see a tyre as sad, when its chin lay flat on the ground, melting away” we can see that despite the fact that at first he was scared of the tools of the factory, he then with the pass of the years he started to know all the parts of the tools and to see the tyres as if they weren’t only objects, he personified them as if they were sad or happy not if they were inflated or flat.

2- His father was neutral with the germans and the resistance because he didn’t hate them nor like them. He worked for them only with the objective of having a living. Moreover, he asked a friend of him not to send the letter for his son to join the army. This happened because he didn’t want him to leave the family company nor die and end the tradition of the family.

3- When Raoul saw the girl for the first time, he had a crush for her. At this time of the story, he changes from ordinary(war) to extraordinary(love). In addition, he describes her in a very childish way, as we can see in the following quotation: “Her skin was so olive that one never saw her blush”. In their second meeting, he showed his matureness, because he had the courage to talk to her. They had an extensive conversation and since then they always greeted each other.

4- These lines foreshadow what is going to happen to Raoul. He said that he was scared that maybe he fell in love and finally she could leave him leaving a hole in his heart. This reflects what is going to happen to Raoul in the end because the girl dies and he is heartbroken.

5- Raoul thinks that his father is in a neutral and doubtful position because he, for one side doesn’t like them because they are in a war against them, however, he has to work for a living so he helps the germans and the maquisards in the company. Moreover, he knows that the girl is very involved in the resistance. Because of this reason, he decides to sabotage the the German car. He loves the girl and also, he is in his rebel years. He is 17 so he wants to be against his father although he said not to do it.

6- After a month the girl had stopped to thank Raoul, he wanted to talk to her again so he “decided to do something clownish, to make her stop again”. He stood in the middle of the road with a bucket full of stones and earth and started to pour it into the pot-hole. Raoul, whose plan succeeded, made the gorgeous girl stop. About his Andre’s reaction, he started to suspect about the girl’s participation in Raoul’s life when he mentioned: “Wipe that bloody stupid grin off your face, or I’ll think you’re up to something”. Raoul, after this order, doubted about what had been happening to his father.

7- First, Andre’s feelings about the catholics were not positive. As Raoul transmits, he “disliked the catholics with a two-hundred-year-old force flowing in his veins”, this means that he did not tolerate them even in the minimum way. In addition, he was against the idea that the Jews were murdered by the Germans. He knew that “the war was a personal attack to his bussiness” because, when he had jews clients, they were taken away and killed by the Germans. This meant, that his company would have less people to be pleased, which meant less cars that would make their economy fall.

8-To begin with, Raoul felt he didn’t deserve Cecile. He had been in love with her since the time he saw her for the first time. He could not talk to her because of his shyness upon the woman who had his head thinking in other things than war or surviving. Cecile caused that Raoul saw the world in a different way, as if it was “the world was suddenly like an immense garden in which we could wander at will”. This means that, for a moment, they were free from the Germans, from war. The extraordinary side was present while they were together.

9- Raoul’s mind, when his moment to fix, or sabotage the car arrived, started to get full of different thoughts and concerns. He first thought about what could happen to him if he sabotaged it, he knew that maybe, if he was caught, he would end up as the people in the museum. However, on the other hand, he remembered the words of the man in the cafe. He didn’t know what to do, his mind was about to explode. Finally, he decided to sabotage the car. He did this firstly, because he loved the girl, that was one of the things that he cared the most. Secondly, because of the words of the man in the cafe and, finally, because he was in his rebel years. Raoul, was 17, and this was the age that he did what he wanted without caring what his father said.

10- As Raoul was running towards the luggage, he saw Cécile having a conversation with the German Maybach and her bicycle placed on the locker. He felt a “kind of terrible chill, which made my heart slow, though it was pumping hard to keep my speed up”. This means that he felt depressed to the extent of having his heart with a low rhythm, however, as he was deeply in love with her, his heart had to beat hard to so that he could run. Moreover, he felt that she was forced to go with the Maybach because of the circumstance she was in.

11- There was a moment where Raoul passed the best period of his life, as he started a relationship with Cecile, after many years of shyness. However, at the end of the story, his feelings of love and happiness became doom and darkness, as Cecile tragically died on a car accident, where she entered a nazi car and crashed on a tree. This situation became even worse, because he had the fault; a member of the maquis had told him to repair German cars in a wrong way, otherwise they would think he was a collaborator. He did this with the Maybach’s luggage, where Cecile later on passed away. This tragedy affected his life completely. At the moment, he still tries to explain what happened. He didn’t get married and he has no children. In addition, he left his father’s business.

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