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Short story: "Thicker than Water" by Henry Barbour (Klausuraufgaben)

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"Thicker than Water" by Henry Barbour


Write a summary of the short story, describe setting and atmosphere in your first paragraph.

The short story "Thicker than Water” by Henry Barbour deals with a boy show rescues his sister by giving her his blood in a blood-transfusion. The story takes place in a hospital and stretches over some hours. The main characters in it are four people. An injured girl, Nell, her brother, a doctor and his friend. The atmosphere is full of haste and exciting, because Nell has not much time until she dies. So everything has to happen very quick.
A young girl, Nell, lays in the hospital and is going to die, because her neck is hurt. The doctor finds out, that her last chance to live is a blood-transfusion by one of her family members. First they can’t find anyone, but suddenly a nurse enters and tells them that they found Nell’s brother. After that the doctor’s friend, Markham, runs to him and tells him very quickly, that the last chance for his sister is a transfusion of his blood. First the brother is unsure, what to do, but then he says yes and goes with Markham. During the transfusion, Nell’s brother gives up himself and asks the doctor when he has to die. After that, the doctor asks Markham if he hadn’t told him, that he must not die. Markham tells him that he won’t. Then Doctor Burroughs explains to Nell’s brother,m that he will not die and that he is very brave.


Mark in your copy of the text: turning point, climax, classify the ending

climax: line 39
turning point: line 41
ending: closed ending


Examine the boy’s actions or reactions and describe the development of his feelings. What did he actually think when Markham explained to him that a blood-transfusion was necessary to save his sister’s life?

The boy fells very desperate, when Markham explains to him that a blood-transfusion is the last chance for his sister, because Markham explains him the transfusion to fast and leaves out, that there is no danger for him. So he thinks, that he must die and is unsure what to do. Safe his own or his sister’s life? In his inner conflict he decides to help her and give up his life "stop talking like that! I’m here ain’t I?” (line 30). While the transfusion he feels even worse and decides to ask the doctor "[...] how soon will I have to die?” (line 41). After the doctor explained him, that he doesn’t has to die, he feels hope again and feels better.


In spite of it the boy agreed to the transfusion. Imagine yourself in his place. How would you react? Give reasons.

I think if I would be in such a situation, I would act in the same way like the boy in the story. It’s really a difficult situation, but I don’t think, that I would be able to love with the fault of "killing” my sister or any other member of my family. Sure I would be very, very unhappy and desperate if I had to die then, but in my opinion to rescue another life is stronger reason than saving your own life, if it is a person who you love.
Klausur mit Lösung: Die Kurzgeschichte "Thicker than Water" von Henry Barbour musste mit folgenden Aufgaben bearbeitet werden:
1.Write a summary
2.Mark in your copy of the text
3.Examine the boy"s reactions
4.How would you react? (561 Wörter)
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