Tutorial worksheet 1

Can Themba. "The Suit"

Questions on the text:

1. How would you describe the man who is presented at the outset of the short story? What kind of work does he do? In what kind of domestic circumstances does he live? Are there any contradictions in the description?

2. How would you describe the man’s relationship with his wife at the beginning of the short story?

3. Is there anything stereotypical in the author’s description of Philemon and Matilda?

4. What does Maphikela tell Philamon?

5. How does Philamon react to what Maphikela tells him?

6. What does the semi-dressed man leave behind in Philamon and Matilde’s bedroom? What does Philamon do with it?

7. Philamon says they have a visitor. What instructions does Philamon give Matilde in regard to taking care of their visitor? How important is this to Philamon?

8. How does Philamon "drown his sorrows"?

9. What does Philamon instruct Matilde to do with their visitor at the meal table? How often must she do this?

10. What kind of book does Philamon read?

11. Why does Matilde join a women’s cultural club?

12. Why does Philamon call "their visitor" an "albatross"?

13. What does Philamon find when he returns home drunk?

14. Why is the short story called "The Suit"? How "Western" or "European" would you say Philamon and Matilde’s life-style and quality of life are? What is Can Themba doing in this short story?

15. How does "The Suit" work as a short story? What is the main idea Can Themba expresses?