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Musterlösung 2014: Textverständnis und Analyse: Fiktionaler Text "Kiswana Browne" by. G. Naylor (LK)


Hinweis: Die Prozentangaben in Klammern zeigt die Gewichtung der einzelnen Aufgaben.

  1. Outline the information about Kiswana Browne and her situation. (30 %)
  2. Analyze how the author presents Kiswana’s uneasiness about her mother’s intrusion. (30 %)



Kiswana Browne’s former name was Melanie (l.35) but at the age of 23 (ll.42f.) she changed it to the African name Kiswana (l.49). She resides in an apartment of her own at Brewster Place, an urban area with decaying buildings and a high number of African American inhabitants (see introduction). Her apartment is located on the sixth floor and consists of only one room (l.1). The elevator is out of order (ll.44f.) and she does not possess a phone (ll.50f.).

Kiswana is currently unemployed (l.30) and spends her time daydreaming instead of looking for work (l.6). She does not make great efforts in order to find a job and tries to convince her mother of the contrary (l.21). Furthermore, Kiswana tells her that she will continue her search the following day (ll.55f.), which is only a pretext of postponing the unpleasant task of seeking an employment.
Furthermore, Kiswana pretends to be an adult (l.69), which she is not, and tries to imitate the speech and behaviour she has watched on television (ll.72f.). In fact, she feels alone and misses living together with her parents but she hides these feelings from her mother (ll.79-81).

(193 words)


The author uses several stylistic devices to present Kiswana’s uneasiness about her mother’s intrusion.

When realizing that her mother is approaching her apartment, Kiswana is really surprised and starts talking to herself, which is narrated in direct speech with an exclamation mark at the end of the sentence [“O, God, it’s Mama!” (l.20)]. Throughout the encounter, she has to cope with a lot of other feelings as well, such as guilt [“guiltily” (l.20); “silently” (l.60)], hurry [“hurriedly”(l.21); “quickly” (l.61] or desperation [“desperately” (l.25); “unsuccessfully” (l.66); “desperately” (l.69)], which are expressed with strong adverbs to provide a more explicit description.

Furthermore, metaphors are used to evoke a picture in the reader’s mind and therefore make the story more vivid. The “transfer from one realm to another” (l.18) means that it takes some time for Kiswana to realize that her mother is going to visit her because she is daydreaming and thus situated in her own little world. The word “realm” is usually used for different countries or spiritual worlds like realm of the dead or realm of the gods. Another metaphor is applied when Kiswana checks her apartment “her eyes [taking] a final flight” (ll.23f.), which obviously does not imply that her eyeballs are able to fly but that she is looking for potential weak points her mother might criticize. Moreover, when her mother discovers her having been daydreaming, Kiswana “[throws] her shoulders back (…) [trying] to disguise her embarrassment” (ll.66f.). This represents a metaphorical way of describing the protagonist as she changes her stance and hides her feelings.

The author also uses a hyperbole to emphasize Kiswana’s uneasiness and to produce a humorous effect. The protagonist is so frightened of her mother that she considers her untidy apartment a “slight misdemeanor” (ll.24f.), an expression which is used for delinquencies or behaviour against the law and for which people are usually brought to court. The chaotic state of the apartment is stressed by the application of anaphora [“And there had been”; “And it was”; “And besides…” (ll.27-33)], which is employed to illustrate Kiswana’s imperfection considering her household and to enumerate in detail the things that have to be taken care of as well as her respective reaction to her mother’s potential criticism.

(384 words)

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