for EFL teachers / in English / reading / resources / speaking · 19 listopada 2014

Who is to blame? The woman, her husband, her lover, the stranger?

With this post I want to take your students to the land of a debate, discussion and moral dillema. Who is guilty? Whose fault is it? These are the questions likely to be asked. I am sure you know plenty of similar tales. Obviously not real life stories, they provoke thinking of various aspects of people’s  behaviour.

You may want to pre-teach structures for  expressing opinion, agreeing/ disagreeing. Make students read the story and ask to pair up in order to debate over the blame of the characters involved. If they cannot find the only one person responsible, encourage to make an ordered  list starting from the most  responsible to the least.

Facilitate and monitor, jotting down all the communication fails which will be dealt with  in follow-up stage. After the matter has been discussed in pairs, you may form bigger groups to confront students with other’s opinions. I am sure you know more of such debate topics. I would be over the moon if you shared them with me:-)

A young married woman, who was very lonely because her husband spent most of his time working, decided to take a lover. Her husband was on a busines trip so she agreed to spend a night in her lover’s house on the opposite bank of the river where she lived. To get back to her house before her husband returned, she left at dawn the next morning and in order to reach home, she had to cross a bridge.

Unfortunately there was a maniac on the bridge who threatened her, and refused to let her cross. She ran to a stranger to ask for help, but he refused to help her unless she gave him some money. She did not have any, and explained this to him, but the stranger refused to do anything unless he was paid in advance.

The woman decided to go to her lover for money, but he refused and asked to stay with him. She did not want to, so she went to see a childhood friend who lived near her lover. Her friend was a bachelor and had always declared his love for her, but she never accepted him. She decided to tell him whole story, and asked him for help. He refused to help her because he was dissapointed in the way she had behaved.

The woman went back to the bridge, and when the stranger still refused to help her, she decided to try to cross on her own.The maniac killed her.


Which of these people has most responsibility for her death: the woman, her husband, her lover, the starnger, her childhood friend, or the maniac?