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I was about a hundred feet away from him when Pappy hollered, "Henry! Your brother's home! Henry!"
Henry emerged from the barn holding a feed bucket. "What?" he yelled. Then he saw Jamie. He whooped, dropped the bucket and broke into a run, and so did Jamie. Henry's bad leg made him awkward, but he seemed not to notice it. He pelted forward with the joyous abandon of a schoolboy. 5 I realized I'd never seen my husband run before. It was like glimpsing another side of him, secret and unsuspected.
They came together ten feet in front of me. Clapped each other on the back, pulled apart, searched each other's faces: ritual. I stood outside of it and waited.
"You look good, brother," Jamie said. "You always did love farming." 10 "You look like hell," Henry replied. "Don't sugarcoat it, now." "You need to put some meat on those bones of yours, get some good Mississippi sun on your
face." "That's why I'm here." 15 "How'd you get out here?" "I hitched my way from Greenville I met one of your neighbors at the general store in town. He
dropped me off at the bridge." "Why didn't Eboline drive you?" "One of the girls wasn't feeling well. Sick headache or some such thing. Eboline said they'd be 20
down this weekend." "I'm glad you didn't wait," Henry said. Jamie turned to me then, looking at me in that way he had—as if he were really seeing me and
taking me in whole. He held his hands out. "Laura," he said. I went to him and gave him a hug. He felt light against me, insubstantial. His ribs protruded like 25
the black keys of a piano. I could pick him up, I thought, and had a sudden irrational urge to do so. I stepped back hastily, flustered. Aware of his eyes on me.
"Welcome home, Jamie," I said. "It's good to see you." "You too, sweet sister-in-law. How are you liking it here in Henry's version of paradise?" I was spared from lying by the old man. "You'd think a son would see fit to greet his father," he 30
bellowed from the porch. "Ah, the dear, sweet voice of our pappy," said Jamie. "I'd forgotten how much I missed hearing
it. Henry picked up one of Jamie's suitcases and we headed toward the house. "I think he's lonely
here," Henry said. "He misses Mama, and Greenville." 35 "Oh, is that the excuse he's using these days?" "No. He doesn't make excuses, you know that," Henry said. "He's missed you too, Jamie." [...] "If you say so, brother," Jamie said, throwing an arm around Henry's shoulder. "I'm not gonna
argue with you today. But I have to say, it's mighty good of you to have taken him in and put up with him all these months." 40
Henry shrugged. "He's our father," he said. I felt a ripple of envy, which I saw echoed on Jamie's face. How simple things were for Henry! How
I wished sometimes that I could join him in his stark, right-angled world, where everything was either right or wrong and there was no doubt which was which. What unimaginable luxury, never to wrestle with whether or why, never to lie awake nights wondering what if 45
AT SUPPER THAT NIGHT, Jamie regaled us with stories about his travels overseas. [...] Henry was the only one of us who seemed impatient with Jamie's stories. I could tell by the
crease between his eyebrows, which got deeper and deeper as the evening wore on. Finally he blurted out, "And that's what you've been doing all these months, instead of coming home?" 50
"I needed some time," said Jamie. "To play in the snow and eat fancy foreign bread."
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We all heal in our own ways, brother."
Henry made a gesture that took in Jamie's appearance. "Well , if this is what you call healing, 55 I'd hate to see what hurting is." Jamie sighed and passed a hand across his face. The veins on the back of his hand stood out like blue cords.
"Are you hurt, Uncle Jamie?" asked Isabelle worriedly. "Everybody was hurt some in the war, little Bella. But I'll be all right. [...]" I would heal him, I thought. I would cook food to strengthen him, play music to soothe him, tell 60
stories to make him smile. Not the weary smile he wore tonight, but the radiant, reckless grin he'd given me on the dance floor of the Peabody Hotel so many years before. The war had dimmed him , but I would bring him back to himself.
Hillary Jordan, Mudbound, 2008
NOTE AUX CANDIIDATS Les candidats traiteront le sujet sur la copie qui leur sera fournie et veilleront à : respecter l'ordre des questions et reporter la numérotation sur la
copie ;(numéro et lettre repère, le cas échéant ; exemple : 8b) faire précéder les citations de la mention de la ligne ; composer des phrases complètes à chaque fois qu’il leur est demandé de
rédiger la réponse respecter le nombre de mots indiqué qui constitue une exigence minimale. En
l’absence d'indication, les candidats répondront brièvement à la question posée.
I - COMPREHENSION
1. a) Who are the characters present in the scene? b) How are they related to each other? c) Who is telling the story?
2. a) Where does the scene take place? b) Say in one sentence which particular event is happening on that day. c) Why did Jamie go away? d) 1.50: "And that's what you've been doing all these months ...?" Explain what he has been
3. Describe Jamie's physical appearance. Answer in your own words and justify with two quotes from the text.
4. a) Describe Henry's feelings at seeing Jamie. Justify your answer with two quotes. b) What does the way Henry reacts reveal about him to the narrator? Answer in your own words (20 words).
5. l.60-61: "Not the weary smile he wore tonight, but the radiant, reckless grin he'd given me on the dance floor of the Peabody Hotel so many years before." a) What does the change in Jamie's smile reveal about him? (30 words) b) What does this sentence reveal about the characters' relationship so many years before?
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6. What do you understand about the narrator's feelings towards Jamie now? Justify with two quotes from two different parts of the text - one quote for each part. (30 words, quotes not included).
7. a) Describe Henry's personality as seen through the narrator's eyes. Justify your answer with two quotes. (30 words, quotes not included) b) What does the portrait the narrator draws of Henry tell us about the narrator's personality and the way she sees her own life? Justify your answer with one quote. (30 words, quote not included)
II - EXPRESSION Choose one of the following subjects:
1. Do you think having a simple vision of life contributes to happiness? (300 words, +/- 10%)
or 2. Imagine the diary entry the narrator wrote after the evening "on the dance floor of the
Peabody Hotel" (1.61). (300 words, +/- 10%)