VARIOUS TEXTS: Textaufgabe: Excerpt from Nick Hornby's novel

Musteraufgabe für einen Grundkurs Englisch

'Hello, love, it's me.'
'Everything all right?'
'Not bad.'
What sort of week have you had?'
'Oh, you know.'
'How's the shop doing?'
'So-so. Up and down.' Up and down would be great. Up and down would imply that some days are better than others, that customers came and went. This has not been the case, frankly.
'Your dad and 1 are very worried about this recession.'
'Yeah. You said.'
'You're lucky Laura's doing so well. lf it wasn't for her I don't think either of us would ever get off to sleep.'
She's gone, Mum. She's thrown me to the wolves. The bitch has fucked off and left me. . . Nope.
Can't do it. This does not seem to be the right time for bad news.
'It's a wonder she's hung on as long as she has. I would have left you to get on with it years ago.'
Hold on, Rob. Dont let her get to you. Dont rise to the bait. Don't ... ah, fuck it.
Well, she has left me to get on with it now, so that should cheer you up.'
Where's she gone?'
'I don't bloody know. Just ... gone. Moved out. Disappeared.'
There is a long, long silence.
Hullo? Anybody there?'
And now I can hear something - the sound of my mother crying softly. What is it with mothers? What's happening here? As an adult, you know that as life goes on, you're going to spend more and more time looking after the person who started out looking after you, that's par for the course; but my mum and I swapped roles when I was about nine. Anything bad that has happened to me in the last couple of decades - detentions, bad exam marks, getting thumped, getting bunged from college, splitting up with girlfriends - has ended up like this, with Mum visibly or audibly upset. ( ... )
Since I left home, all she's done is moan, worry and send cuttings from the local newspaper describing the minor successes of old school friends. Is that good parenting? Not in my book. I want sympathy, understanding, advice and money, and not necessarily in that order, but these are alien concepts in Canning Close.
'I'm all right, if that's what's upsetting you.' I know that's not what's upsetting her.
'You know that's not what's upsetting me.'
Well, it bloody well should be, shouldn't it? Shouldn't it? Mum, I' ve just been dumped. I'm not feeling so good.' And not so bad, either - the Beatles, half a bottle of Chardonnay and Brookside have all done their stuff - but I'm not telling her that. I can't deal with me, let alone you.'
'l knew this would happen.'
Well, if you knew it would happen, what are you so cut up about?'
'What are you going to do, Rob?'
I' m going to drink the rest of a bottle of wine in front of the box. Then I'm going to bed. Then I'll get up and go to work.'
'And after that?'
'Meet a nice girl, and have children.' This is the right answer. 'lf only it was that easy.'
'lt is, I promise. Next time I speak to you, I'll have it sorted.' She's almost smiling. I can hear it. I'm beginning to see some light at the end of the long, dark telephonic tunnel.
'But what did Laura say? Do you know why she's gone?' 'Not really.' Well, I do.' This is momentarily alarming until I understand what she's on about. It's nothing to do with marriage, Mum, if that's what you mean.'
'So you say. I'd like to hear her side of it.'
Cool it. Don't let her ... Don't rise ... ah, fuck it.
'Mum, how many more times, for Christ's sake? Laura didn't want to get married. She's not that sort of girl. To coin a phrase. That's not what happens now.'
'l don't know what does happen now. Apart from you meet someone, you move in together, she goes.
You meet someone, you move in together, she goes.'
Fair point, I guess.
'Shut up, Mum.'

from: Hornby, Nick (1995): High Fidelity. London: Penguin Books: 38-41.

shop - here: a record shop
to hang on - to stay (with Rob)
Don't rise to the bait. - G: Geh'nicht darauf ein.
that's par for the course - here: that's normal
to swap roles - to change roles
to get thumped - to get hit
to get bunged from college - to get thrown out of college
Canning Close - street where Rob lives
a piece of piss (coll.) - easy to do
to be dumped - to be left
Brookside - a TV series
box - TV

1 . Sum up the content of the telephone conversation.
2. Examine how the author presents the interaction between Rob and his mother. Make sure to refer to the language and the point of view.
3. Compare Rob with Marcus (from the novel About a Boy) by analysing their respective relationships to their mothers.
4. In the excerpt at hand Rob comments on what he considers "good parenting" (I want sympathy, understanding, advice and money, and not necessarily in that order...", ll. 32-33). Write a diary entry in which Marcus explains his idea of "good parenting".

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