A1. This passage is a first person narration of himself in elementary school, told to be “Thirty-five years ago.” John Wickham, the author, titles the passage “The First time I met George” which gives a blatantly obvious indication of what the passage is about.
Being quite descriptive of his narration by giving the time frame and the full name of George, the author paints a picture of two children in that time for the reader. His elaboration on the use of friends is a reference to how the definitions and ideals of friendship may have changed since his time of writing and the actual event. The writer’s tone to the passage is clearly a subjective one as he describes his reactions to seeing George to be influenced by his past or present situation, an example of which can be seen in the narrator’s “… little envy of his fortune in having a fathers hand to clutch…” referring to his feelings to his own lack of support. His description of George regarding the theme which is “first impressions”, as George was ‘frightened” on his first day, clearly expresses to the reader the situation.
The purpose is to entertain, for the most part, but also holds a simple message, of how small gestures can change a great deal. There is an overall air of frankness in the passage given the personal feel of the narration with references to the writers feelings such as, “That made me angry…” or the use of the term “…us humbler folk” when referring to his grade with a tinge of sarcasm.
The narrator shows his initial dislike towards George due to his then childish feeling of unfairness felt when George was favored by his headmaster, however, to prove the claim of the passage that first impressions shouldn’t let you define a person forever; the writer uses the “simple gesture” that allows a bond of friendship to be formed through that act of generosity. I believe through this and the vernacular like, “They put him to sit next to me,” the narrator allows the reader through his own eyes and experiences change the idea that many people hold about the overrated importance of first impressions.