Using historical narrative to teach history – Characterisation

Look at this opening of Little Hatshepsut again:

Like a miracle, a light rain had drifted in from the sea. The sea was a long, long way off and Ahmes looked at it as if it was some strange emissary from Hapi.  Rain was rare in her world. Little pock marks on the river below her. It looked pretty but she still thought the rain was sad. It was also a little cold, and Ahmes retreated beneath the roof of the shrine… Still she could see the water below her.  The river did not mind the rain at all; it simply took those pock marks and swallowed them up. The river is, it just is, she thought… I should not be sad either.

But she was.

She sat in her family’s shrine on the low cliff above the river, a favourite spot of hers…

1.         What does the revelation that Ahmes thinks the rain is some strange emissary of the god Hapi tell us about her character and the world she lives in?

2.         Note that the rare rain is part of ‘her world’. Why do you think the writer describes the world as ‘hers’?

3.  Even though she thinks the sight of rain on the river is pretty she still thought the rain was sad… what does this imply about how the character is feeling?

4. Do we get told straight away why Ahmes is sad?

5. Why do you think the writer does not tell us this straight away?


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