Answering Tips – The Curse
* I believe most students have read and some might have memorized notes to answer the novel section. Remember to always give your own opinions why certain events or incidents really matter. React to the story. Show that you really understand the importance of the elements you have chosen as evidence.
*Do not restrict your answer to 3 evidence only. Be as convincing as you can. However, remember not to add something as evidence that is not in the story – remember – with close reference to the text, Always.
* The evidence must be reflected on the events you write about.
*Give reasons and evidence systematically. To show flow, use correct sequence connectors.
** Rememeber to write your answer in paragraphs ( at least 3)
**If you are not sure how to answer, make sure include all these elements
1. how many characters
2. how many events/evidence
3. how many values/lessons/themes
* manipulate your understanding of the story to fit the question – not to fit the question to what you know about the story
**always have concluding paragraph to reinforce or sum up what you have written
a) Characters and characteristics
1. Write on a character that show responsibility in her or his actions
Based on the Novel “The Curse” by Lee Sue Ann, the character that shows responsibility in her actions is Azreen Saleh. Azreen is not only a responsible sister and daughter but also a responsible student and friend .
Firstly, Azreen as a responsible sister comes back immediately when she hears of her sister’s death although at that time she is about to sit for an examination that is important for her. She postpones her examination in order of giving her sister her last respect.
Secondly, as a daughter she shows her responsibility firstly, when she spends the whole night repairing her mother’s favourite rattan basket that was broken by the heavy durians that she and Madhuri has brought in. Subsequently, with Madhuri’s help she makes a new rattan basket that looks like the one that she and Madhuri have broken. In addition to that, Azreen accepts the offer to further her studies in London for the sake of upbringing her family social status and thus could then save a lot of money to get a better treatment for her mother that is paralyzed by the bull escape incidents that she .
Thirdly, as a friend and a student, Azreen shows her responsibility when she accepts to join the school hockey team as a substitution to Hock Seng that is injured. She does that even though she knows that she will be the only girl in the team and this will tarnish her image as a girl. In fact she plays very well and almost scores a goal. In addition to that, Azreen shows that she is a responsible friend, when she brings a full basket of fresh vegetables and tomatoes to The Old Lady of the forest to replace the one that she tramples earlier when she comes to The Old Lady’s house for the first time.
In conclusion, throughout the story, Azreen shows that she is a very responsible towards her actions. In fact, I would like to have her as a friend as a friend as such is hard to come by.
2. Which character do you like the most?
The novel I have studied is ‘The Curse’ by Lee Su Ann. The novel is about the main character, Azreen, who returns from England after she finds out about her sister’s death. Upon her return, she is surrounded by many secrets. She discovers the circumstances of Madhuri’s death later in the story. At the end of the story she finds out the truth and leaves for London an orphan but more resilient and wise.
The character I like most is Azreen Salleh. She is a 20-year-old student who is studying in a university college in London on an exchange programme. She is short, bespectacled, rather bookish and outspoken.
I like Azreen because she is outspoken and she is not afraid to spoke her mind. She is vocal and says her opinions although sometimes she says the wrong things at the wrong time. She also hates her father’s treatment of her foster parents and Madhuri’s burial ceremony that is conducted without her presence. In handling the village gossip, Pn Normala, Azreen tells her off that the rain has started even before the Old Lady comes into town.
The second quality she has is she is courageous. As a child, she plays hockey and football with the boys. In the bull’s incident, she is brave enough to accept the blame for the bull’s escape instead of blaming someone else. Azreen also shows her courage by taking up the dare to knock on the Old Lady’s door when none wants to do it. In another instance, Azreen confronts her father about Madhuri’s murder despite her young age.
Azreen also has strength of character. When she returns to her village, she hears a lot of gossip surrounding her sister’s death such as as Madhuri having white blood and her death signals a curse to the villagers. Azreen feels upset but she never retaliates. Sheshows patience and strengh because she knows that whatever she does, she cannot stop the villagers from gossiping about her family. In another instance, Azreen is told that her sister is murdered. She should have been very upset about this news but she takes it calmly and does not become hysterical. Later, when she finds out that her father is the culprit who kills Madhuri, she feels no anger but regrets that it has to happen. She understands her father’s anger and shame because Madhuri has been having an illicit affair with Ashraf although she is already married to Hj Ghani. Azreen also shows a lot of strength because after all that has happened to her family, she stays composed and strong and returns to England for her examinations.
In conclusion, there are many qualities in Azreen that I admire and she is the character that I like most in the story.
3. Write on a character whom I think is exemplary
a) In the Curse by Lee Sue Ann, the character whom I think is exemplary is The Old Lady of the forest. Throughout the novel, she shows strength of character and wisdom.
When she first moves to the village as a newlywed, she is popular among the villagers and she enjoys a blissful marital life with her husband. Everything changes as her husband who becomes an alcoholic starts to abuse her and finally she retaliates and kills him. From then on, the villagers treat her like an outcast. She is forced to move out of the village and makes an abandoned house her home. She lives alone for years until she befriends Azreen and becomes her mentor and will console her whenever she has a fight with her parents.
When Asraf approaches The Old Lady for help, she is hesitant about going back to the village. Yet she agrees and doing so, she puts her life at risk. When she is trapped in the burning house, she tells Azreen to save herself and she perishes in the fire. Even at death’s door, she reminds Azreen about the importance of forgiveness and tells her to heed all the advice she has given her.
The Old Lady is therefore an exemplary character as she is strong, wise and honourable.
b) Based on the novel The Curse by Lee Sue Ann, the character that I consider exemplary is Azreen because she is courageous and brave. She shows resilience and she always fight for what she believes in.
Firstly, Azreen who does not believe the villagers tales about The Old Lady is being brave by accepting her friend’s challenge to firstly knocking on the door of The Old lady and then meet her in person. . Subsequently, she befriends The Old Lady and makes her, her precious confidante and counselor.
In addition, Azreen is courageous by confronting Puan Normala’s mob outside Mohd Asraf’s house when Nek once again has fallen ill and died in order to stop her from entering Nek’s house. Although she is outnumbered, she dares to face Puan Normala’s horde to protect Nek’s house from them. Moreover, she confronts a group of men led by Asraf who goes to the Old lady’s house to seek revenge after Nek dies as they believe the Old lady has poisoned Nek.
It is a dog-eat-dog world out there and we must be brave and courageous to overcome our daily obstacles and stand for our own rights. We should not be intimidated by our fear and we must be like Azreen in order to survive the world.
The second exemplary qualities of Azreen is that she portrays resilience throughout the story and she constantly fights for what she believes in. This can be seen when Azreen does not give up and is determine and resilience to seek the truth of Madhuri’s death even though others do not want to tell her the truth. She asks Asraf and The Old Lady about Madhuri’s death and slowly gather evidences and finally she knows the truth about Madhuri’s killing.
In her village, a woman should be conservative and well mannered but Azreen is a contrast to that and thus she is hated but she ignores the villagers’ perception of her, as she believes that women have their own rights. This can be seen as she befriends Asraf and joins the boys’ hockey team and similarly makes The Old Lady her best friend.
In this cruel world, we must stand for our own right and fight for what we believe in. We must follow Azreen’s resilience to make this world a better place.
4. Write on a character that I admire / like
In The Curse by Lee Su Ann, the main character, Azreen, returns to Malaysia to mourn the loss of her sister, Madhuri. Azreen is studying in the United Kingdom. Azreen senses a cover up about her sister’s death and she decides to investigate further.
In her quest to find the truth, Azreen faces challenges. She really wants to discover the truth behind Madhuri’s death because she knows that the rumour is not true. She believes that it is more than meets the eyes. Azreen also needs to settle the secret feuds within her family and with the villagers. Azreen’s relationship especially with her father is strained. There is no actual communication between them. Azreen also needs to forgive , bury the past and move on with her life and her future. If she is unable to do that, Azreen will not find peace with herself.
The intelligent Azreen listens, observes, questions and sifts things in her mind. She needs to find the conclusive truth. She hears vicious rumours about Madhuri’s death. Her death is a curse to the village. This is confirmed by the Old Lady. In the maze of events which unfold, the past mergers into the present. Azreen finally confronts her father, Encik Saleh, who defiantly admits his crime. Madhuri was having an affair with Mohd Asraf. When the affair became known, Encik Saleh could not contain his anger. In a fit of rage, he accidentally killed faithless Madhuri.
All along, Azreen secretly resents her parents who favoured Madhuri. She hates her father for his unjust punishments. She detests Madhuri for stealing Asraf’s affections. Thus she seeks out the Old Lady, who counsels her and helps her come to terms with herself. The Old Lady helps Azreen to see herself and how people treat her from a different perspective. Resentment would only make Azreen more miserable and she would not be able to live a fulfilling life.
When the Old Lady dies, Azreen is devastated. She finds refuge in nature. When she stands up at the cliff top that her annger finally subsides. She forgive everyone who had hurt her in the past. Azreen leaves the island and forges ahead with her new life. Yes, she has become an orphan but all her life challenges make her a wiser and more loving person.
1) The Curse by Lee Su Ann has many lessons for its readers. One of the lessons, truth will be known and secrets will not last forever. There are a few characters who keep secrets and eventually the secrets are exposed.
First, Mohd. Asraf and Madhuri. They were secret lovers. They planned secretly to run away to Kuala Lumpur. After Madhuri died followed by his grandmother’s death, he almost lost his mind. Keeping his secret love was very difficult. He was easily influenced by Puan Normala that his grandmother was poisoned by Old Lady. That was the reason he burned the Old Lady’s house causing her death. Finally, he realises his mistakes and comes to his senses.
Second, En Saleh Abdullah, Azreen’s father. He was always proud of Madhuri. Madhuri made him proud when she agreed to marry the village headman, Haji Ghani. When her affair was discovered, Encik Saleh gets very angry and accidentally killed Madhuri. He never tells anyone and until Azreen confronts him. Actually, he is ashamed because the daughter he was really proud of, had an affair and tried to run away. He keeps seeing a ghost. He suffers a heart attack and dies.
In conclusion, dark secrets only make life difficult. The evidence in the story has shown us that. Any dark secrets we have, may destroy our lives. We may lose the people we love. Always be true to ourselves and do not take advantage of others. Always think before we act.
2) The Curse’ is the novel written by Lee Su Ann which has many lessons that can be used in our lives. Today, I am going to write on one lesson which really captured my attention in the novel that is ‘courage’.
The value of ‘courage’ can be seen clearly in Azreen’s character. Azreen was a good friend with the Old Lady who became a precious confidante and counsellor despite ignoring the warnings and prejudices of the villagers. Azreen was determined to friends with the Old Lady till the last minute of the Old Lady’s life.As a child, she was not allowed to visit the Old Lady by her parents. Even the villagers warned Azreen that the Old Lady is a witch. This shows that Azreen is very courageous for accepting the Old Lady for what she is. From this, I learnt to be courageous in order to speak and act according to what I think is right. I also learnt not to judge others by listening to rumors and to think practically.
Azreen also showed courage when she took the blame for the bull’s escape in order to save Mohd Asraf. At first, she wanted to help Asraf out from the wicked farm owner, Mr. Mohan and his sons who were accusing Asraf for letting the bull out. But to her dismay, she had to accept the faith of her mother loosing a leg when her father hit into the bull and met with an accident. Even though Azreen was only helping Asraf at first, but she took the blame and had to carry it for the rest of her life. I saw Azreen as a very courageous person in this situation and agree to what she had done. She taught me to stand up for my believes in my life and this will really help me a lot in the future.
Last but not least, I also find Azreen as a courageous person when she challenged her father to reveal the truth behind Madhuri’s death. Azreen was very sure that Madhuri was killed by her father because she found the stain of the rubber tree sap on the ‘parang’. When she put all the details together, she came to a conclusion and told her father straight that he was the one who killed Madhuri. Here, we can see that Azreen was too bold and had the courage to speak the truth even to her father when she was sure that her sister was killed. This scene opened my mind that I should be honest and bold to say what I think is right in my life.
3. One important lesson that I have learnt from the novel The Curse is that we should not listen to gossip or spread rumours. It is a great injustice for those who have to defend themselves for something that might not be true.
When Azreen returns home to grieve the death of Madhuri, she has to listen to vicious rumours spread by Puan Normala. Puan Normala is the village most prolific gossip monger. She believes the village is cursed because innocent MAdhuri was murdered. Her body was covered with ‘white blood’ when found at the rubber estate. Moreover, Puan Normala claims that there were strange noises coming from the woods. At the same time, she also says that the wild animal were restless. According to her, these are all signs of more evil to come. It is very hurtful to listen to especially to Azreen who has just lost her only sister.
Azreen fights to seek the truth. She confronts Mohd Asraf and learns that he and Madhuri had an affair. They were secret lovers. Both of them planned to elope. It is not something Azreen wants to hear because her sister, Madhuri, was a married woman. Azreen confronts her sullen father. Awang the bomoh had told Azreen earlier that Madhuri was not her blood sister. Awang also had told Azreen about Madhuri’s biological mother. Confronted by Azreen and his own guilt, Encik Saleh admits that he had killed Madhuri. He was in rage he saw her with another man. When he attacked Madhuri, she fell and her head hit a cup of latex. The latex stained her dress, giving rise to the ‘white blood’ rumour. This also indicates to the villagers that Madhuri was a scarlet woman.
The prejudiced villagers also outcast the wise Old Lady. She is Azreen’s true friend and someone that Azreen confides in. They spread rumours that she was a witch who had murdered her husband. However, Azreen still befriends Old Lady because she knows the truth. The Old Lady had killed her husband in self-defence. When her husband was alive, he was very abusive to the Old Lady. Her husband was cruel to her. If she did not defend herself, she would have died. Something got to give. The vicious rumours make the Old Lady live in isolation. Her wisdom and knowledge are seen as threat. Even when she showed an act of kindness by treating Mohd Asraf’s grandmother, she was not accepted by the villagers. She was accused of having ulterior motives. That is why when the grandmother died, Mohd Asraf burned her house with her in it. Mohd Asraf was consumed with grief and the need to seek revenge. He really believed the rumour that the Old Lady was a witch. The fire resulted in the death of the Old Lady.
Both these incidents demonstrate that rumours can be damaging. We must seek the truth rationally and intelligently. We must investigate like what Azreen has done. At the end, truth will ultimately prevail.
There are many moral values found in The Curse by Lee Su Ann. The story is set in an island off Langkawi Island. The Curse revolves around the events surrounding the death of a village girl, Madhuri, who is also the adopted sister of themain character, Azreen.
The first moral value is bravery. This value is shown by Azreen. First, even as a young girl she takes challenges and tries to prove to her friends that the Old Lady is not an evil witch. When she is yelled at for entering the Old Lady’s house and destroying her vegetable garden, Azreen bravely defends herself. In fact, she returns the next day and repairs the trampled garden. Her action wins the Old Lady’s heart.
The second evidence is when Azreen bravely takes the blame for Mohd Asraf in the bull incident. She demonstrates courage.The same bull later injures her mother’s leg causing he to lose the use of her leg. She was blamed and scolded by her father as well as the villagers. She bravely endures that and never tells anyone of what really happened.
Her bravery is once again tested. The third event that displays her bravery is when she tries to tackle the angry mob who are about to attack the the Old Lady. When the Old Lady’s house is in fire, Azreen tries to rescue the Old Lady but at the end she has to be rescued by her father. When the Old Lady dies in the tragic fire, she confronts Mohd Asraf like a wildcat.
Finally, towards the end of the story, she finds out the secret that her father has been keeping. She confronts her father about Madhuri’s murder until he is forced to confess about the truth. She is very brave to confront people whom she knows have done wrong to others. At the same time she is very brave when defending herself and the people she loves.
1) Write on an important event.
In the novel ‘The Curse’ by Lee Su Ann, an important event is the outbreak of the fire which results in the Old Lady’s death.
Firstly, it is an important event because after this event, it creates a domino effect on a number of other events which in turn helps Azreen to finally solve the mystery behind her sister’s murder. The fire enrages Azreen and ‘like a wildcat’, she confronts Mohd Asraf. He apologises and admits that he had been too grief-stricken to be rational when he has lost two important people in his life – his secret lover, Madhuri and his grandmother, Nek. After the fire which kills the Old Lady who is trapped in the fire, Awang, the bomoh informs Azreen that Madhuri is not her biological sister. The secret about Madhuri’s identity is finally disclosed by Azreen’s father who reveals that Madhuri is adopted. Moreover, the village Pontianak is actually Madhuri’s biological mother who returns to the village to seek revenge over her daughter’s death. According to Awang, the ‘ghostly figure’ is also the “vengeful spirit” that has killed Azreen’s chicken.
Secondly, it is an important event because we are finally shown the reason for Madhuri’s murder and the culprit. When Azreen confronts her father, Encik Saleh defiantly confesses that he had accidentally murdered Madhuri after learning that Madhuri, a married woman, commits an adultery when she secretly sees another man.He confronts Madhuri and during the struggle, Madhuri falls to the ground and her head knocks over the latex cup which stains her clothes. A distraught Azreen flees after hearing the shocking news while Encik Saleh comes face-to-face with the shadowy woman – Madhuri’s mother who nears him with a parang in her hand. Saleh collapses and dies of a heart attack.
Thirdly, the fire at the Old Lady’s house is the climax of the novel. From that point onwards, events dramatically unfold and Azreen gets to the bottom of the mystery. Azreen puts the pieces of facts here and there together and begins to understand the reasons behind the cover-up of Madhuri’s murder by her husband, Haji Ghani. Most importantly, we are also exposed to the crime of the villagers who are willing to do anything including planning an attack on the innocent and harmless Old Lady just because of superstition. Under the instigation of Puan Normala, the villagers are convinced to believe that the Old Lady possesses a special power to turn people into rats and squirrels, so the latter is accused to be an evil witch who brings all the misfortunes and bad omen to the village. In fact, when the rain continues to pour for more than four days, causing the town to be flooded, the Old Lady is blamed to have put the curse on the village. From this event, we can see how gullible the villagers are to believe the vicious rumours spread by the village gossiper, Puan Normala. She does not seem to care about the destruction she causes. Her irrational behaviour thus destroys the reputations of victims such as the Old Lady even in the eyes of children. At the same time, through this event too that we see the purity of the Old Lady’s heart. Despite being ostracised by the villagers, the Old Lady bears no grudges and is still willing to help people like Asraf’s Nek. More importantly, the Old Lady at the point of her death before the burning house collapses on her, she reminds Azreen to forgive all the villagers who have wronged her.
In conclusion, the fire is the most important event as it is the catalyst for many more events in which makes the stories more interesting.
Write on the theme of love
‘The Curse’ written by Lee Su Ann touches on many aspects of life. Basically, all the aspects revolve around our own community and can be used as guidance in our life.
The theme of ‘love’ which is actually the main conflict in this whole novel. Firstly, we can see this aspect between mother and child when we read how loving was Azreen towards her mother when she came back from London. She realized her mother still does not know about the death of her sister, Madhuri. Azreen took over the duty to take care of her mother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease which was getting worse. Azreen cooked porridge for her mother like Madhuri used to do and fed her. This shows that Azreen loves her mother very much and feels responsible to take care of her after her sister’s death.
The concept of ‘love’ can also be seen through Encik Saleh who loves his daughters very much but does not know how to show it. He kept his love within him and was always looking fierce and angry towards his daughters and wife. He loved his family very much and that is why he worked hard on the farm.He also repairs chicken coop, repairs fencse and roofs and chops wood in order to earn a living for his family. As a hard-working man, he wanted to give his family the best out of him due to his love towards them which he does not show openly. Here, I admit that I admire Encik Saleh as a loving father towards his family but he should have shown his love in a more appropriate way.
Lastly, the concept of love can be seen in the characters of the Old Lady and Azreen. Azreen was very lucky to find a meaningful and comfortable relationship with the Old Lady of the forest. She was very close to the Old Lady until she told her all her secrets. She always goes and visits the Old Lady whenever she felt bored, angry or happy. This shows that Azreen really loves the Old Lady and does not give a single thought to what the villagers say about the Old Lady. Azreen’s love towards the Old Lady was very strong until she was willing to go into the burning house in order to save the Old Lady. But, faith wins. The Old Lady died in the fire while Azreen was saved by her father due to his love towards his daughter.
As we can see, the concept of ‘love’ is very strong throughout the novel. Each and every character in this novel has the desire to love and to be loved.
2) Write on the theme of forgiveness
Lee Su Ann, the writer of the novel ‘The Curse’ had brought up many themes in her writing. One of the themes that I liked very much in this novel is ‘forgiveness’ which was clearly portrayed in Azreen’s character.
As we know from the beginning, Azreen is a very outspoken, aggressive and stubborn character but towards the ending of the story she had learnt to forgive others. Azreen was very much influenced by the Old Lady who begged Azreen to learn to forgive others at the time of her death. We can see very much that Azreen kept her promise when she forgave Mohd Asraf who had deliberately played with her emotions. All the while Azreen thought Asraf liked her but, Asraf was actually falling for Madhuri and when he admitted that to Azreen, she was speechless at first. Azreen hid herself from Asraf by running away until she reached the cliff of the hills when Asraf confessed his love towards Madhuri. But as time passed, her anger melted away slowly and she forgave Asraf as the Old Lady had told to her just before she died.
Azreen too learnt to forgive her father who murdered Madhuri. Even though she felt sad at first but she did not feel angry or resentment at him but she realized that she had lost her only father that she used to know as a very hot-tempered man. Slowly Azreen forgave her father but she could not see him eye to eye so she left him alone and that was the time when Encik Saleh had a heart attack and collapsed. But if at all Azreen had not promised the Old Lady to forgive others, I do not think that she would forgive her father for murdering Madhuri.
Azreen too forgave Madhuri for all the hurt and resentment she caused in Azreen’s life. Azreen was jealous of Madhuri’s beauty and genteel behavior. She was the favorite daughter. She also resented Madhuri as Madhuri was able to captivate Asraf who eventually fell in love with her. But, when Azreen discovers that Madhuri was adopted and the truth about Madhuri’s murder at the hands of her own father, she feels nothing but pity for poor Madhuri . Finally she forgives her sister, Madhuri.
Last but not least, Azreen also forgave Asraf and wished him luck from the bottom of her heart when he left Langkawi to take a teaching course in KL. When she read a note from him, she did not feel angry but she smiled after reading the note and also questioned herself whether she had learnt to forgive others. From Azreen’s character, I too learnt to forgive others in my life if they hurt my feelings. Being revengeful will not give us anything in life except the negative value.
From the evidence above, the theme of ‘forgiveness’ had been portrayed very well in this novel through the protagonist, Azreen. I hope each and every human will learn to forgive others in their life.
3) Write on the theme of ‘Mother’s Love’
The novel ‘The Curse’ by Lee Su Ann touches on many values that are useful in our daily lives. As for me, I am touched with the value of mother’s love in this novel.
Azreen’s mother is forever seen talking nonsense since her Alzheimer’s disease was becoming worse. She was not given a name in this novel but always referred to as ‘Mak’. Azreen felt guilty because she was the one who was responsible for her mother to loose one of her leg. Even though, we know that Azreen admitted leaving the gate of the farm open but actually she was only helping Mohd Asraf from being blamed. Due to her act, her parents met with an accident when her father’s motorcycle hit the bull. Azreen’s mother never hated Azreen for what had happened and she always loved Azreen. She even told Azreen that it was not her fault that she lost her leg in the accident. This proves that ‘Mak’ was never angry towards Azreen and she accepts what happened to her as faith. This shows the true love that a mother has for her child even though she is in pain.
Another incident that showed how true a mother’s love is when Madhuri’s mother, the mad lady who strolled in the village and always watched over her daughter. Even though Madhuri was raised by Encik Saleh and his wife from a baby, the mad lady always kept herself close to Madhuri. She used to watch Madhuri and Azreen when they come back from school. This shows that she still loved her daughter even though she gave in when her baby was lost. She knew she could not raise Madhuri in a proper way so she just kept quite when Encik Saleh took the baby and decided to raise the child. But as a mother, she still loved Madhuri and always sees how her daughter is living with her foster parents from far. This is what we call mother’s love. Even if the child is not with the real mother but she always pray for her child to lead a happy life and that is why she took revenge against Encik Saleh who killed Madhuri.
From these two mothers, the readers are shown the value of love that a mother has for a child. Both mothers in this novel are not normal in certain ways but their love for their children did not fade but they loved their daughters very much in their own different ways.