Translations Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What is taking place as Act 1 begins? Where does Act 1 take place?

The play opens with Manus working with hedge-school student Sarah. Manus is trying to teach Sarah to talk. Meanwhile, Jimmy reads from Homer's Odyssey. Manus praises Sarah warmly when she manages to repeat a sentence. Manus then directs Sarah to set out stools for the other students as he chats with Jimmy about Homer.

2. Who in literature is Jimmy obsessed with? Who does he associate this person with in real life?

Jimmy is obsessed with Athene from the Odyssey. Jimmy believes Grania, a lady who lives in their town, is like the goddess. He tries to get Manus to agree that Jimmy himself looks like Ulysses.

3. Where is Hugh in the beginning of Act 1? How does the reader find this out? What does this lead Manus to do?

Manus wonders why his father, Hugh, has not shown up for classes yet. Through the use of signs, Sarah shows him that Hugh has attended a christening and is probably enjoying drinks at a local pub. Manus decides his father will return tipsy and prepares to take charge of the classes for the night.

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