Jack London. The Apostate (adapted for intermediate)

The Apostate by Jack London. English Stories for Intermediate. This is one more story by Jack London from the collection of «Stories in English for intermediate». The story «The Apostate» is about a boy whose childhood is very similar to Jack London’s. It tells us about the life of children in America at the end of the 19th century. Hunger, exhaustion and labor were their destiny at that time.

The text of the story is divided into 8 parts, each of them has 7 new words to learn.

Copyright  © Englishstory.ru, 2016. Adaptation by T. Nabeeva

«THE APOSTATE» (Jack London’s story in English adapted for intermediate)

If your English is good enough, you can read Jack London. The Apostate (in the original)

Words to Learn:

  1. hold tight – держать крепко
  2. give up – сдаться
  3. smell – 1. сущ. неприятный запах, 2. гл. неприятно пахнуть
  4. save – экономить
  5. space – место
  6. share – доля
  7. complain – жаловаться

«If you don’t get up, Johnny, I won’t give you to eat!»

The boy didn’t move and his mother shook him by the shoulder. She was a sad tired woman, and every morning she came and tried to pull the bed-clothes off the boy but he held them tight.

«Leave me alone!»  he protested. But she continued waking him up.

When he felt the cold of the room, his eyes opened.  And he gave up.

«All right,» he said.

She took the lamp and left him in darkness.

He did not mind the darkness. He put on his clothes and went out into the kitchen,  pulled a chair to the table and sat down.

«Johnny!» his mother called.

He stood up from the chair, and, without a word, went to the sink. It was a dirty sink. A smell came up from it. But he didn’t notice it. That a sink should smell was natural to him.

«You must wash yourself once a day without being told,» his mother told him.

He dried himself on a dirty towel.

without being told – без напоминания

She put two cups of coffee on the table.

«I wish we didn’t live so far away,» she said when he sat down. «I try to do the best I can. You know that. But we can save a dollar on the rent, and we have more space here. You know that.»

He didn’t listen to her. He heard it all before, many times. She was always talking about how hard it was to live so far from the factory.

He ate the bread and drank the hot and muddy liquid, named coffee. Johnny never drank real coffee and found the drink excellent. That was one of the few of his illusions about life.  As he was finishing the bread, he began to watch if there was more coffee. His mother noticed it.

«Now, don’t be greedy, Johnny,» was her comment. «You’ve had your share. Your brothers and sisters are smaller than you.»

He did not answer. He was not talkative and he didn’t complain. He finished his coffee and stood up.

A distant whistle was heard. She looked at the alarm-clock on the shelf which showed half-past five.  «We’ve got to run,» she said. And they went down the stairs.

The Apostate. Part 2

Words to Learn:

  1. due to – из-за
  2. although – хотя
  3. indifferent – безразличный
  4. settle down – установиться
  5. darkness – темнота

It was clear and cold outside. The stars were still in the sky, and the city laid in darkness. Both Johnny and his mother were walking silently.

After fifteen minutes, his mother turned to the right. «Don’t be late,» was her final words from out of the dark.

He didn’t answer, going his way. The doors of the factory were open. He joined other workers and soon took his place at one of the machines.

overseer — надсмотрщик

Johnny was a perfect worker and some time ago he was proud of that.  But it didn’t mean anything to him anymore. Now from the perfect worker he had become the perfect machine. When his work went wrong, it was with him as with the machine, due to bad material.

The boy working next to Johnny hated the overseer who kept watching him from a distance. He said terrible words although the overseer didn’t hear them because of the noise.

Johnny was indifferent. He knew that it was useless to hate the overseer. Machines were made to go in certain ways and to perform certain tasks. It was the same with the overseer.

At eleven o’clock there came the director of the factory, accompanied by a young man. He was well-dressed and wore a white shirt.

He looked at the boys working. Sometimes he stopped and asked questions. When he did so, he had to shout to make himself heard.

to make himself heard – чтобы его было слышно

When he came up to Johnny, he caught him by the arm and got him out of the machine. His arm was pretty skinny. The director noticed that.

«Look at those legs. The boy’s got the rickets. »

rickets — рахит

Johnny listened, but did not understand. He was not interested in future ills.

«Now, my boy, I want you to tell me the truth,» the inspector shouted, getting close to the boy’s ear. «How old are you?»

«Fourteen,» Johnny lied. He said that so loudly that he started to cough.

«Looks sixteen at least,» said the director.

«Or sixty,» said the inspector.

«He’s always looked that way.»

They passed on, and Johnny returned to his work. The monotony settled down again. The long morning and the longer afternoon finished. The whistle meant the work was over. Darkness fell when Johnny went out through the factory gate.

* * *

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9 thoughts on “Jack London. The Apostate (adapted for intermediate)
  1. ksen20 says:

    Добрый день.Большое спасибо за ваш прекрасный сайт,случайно зашла и теперь не могу оторваться.Такое удовольствие читать на английском языке,узнавать новое и вспоминать,что забылось.Спасибо за ваш труд!

    • Tatiana says:

      Здравствуйте! Читайте и получайте удовольствие))

  2. twysvetlana says:

    Чтение этой книги подтвердило.что мой уровень-Pre intermediate.Но я с удовольствием читаю книги и Intermediate.Мне очень нравится объяснение слов на английском языке.это расширяет и закрепляет словарный запас.

    • Tatiana says:

      Светлана, спасибо за ваш feedback! Раз нравится объяснение слов на английском, то уровень скорее intermediate)

  3. twysvetlana says:

    I’ve completed reading this story.I liked it.I would want to know the boy’s fate.That time was heavy and unhappy for children. I thankful you for reading such short stories.

    • Tatiana says:

      Svetlana, you are a very devoted reader. Thank you for your feedback!

  4. Kish-Mish says:

    Я даже всплакнул на 8 странице

    • Tatiana says:

      Спасибо, что читаете рассказы Джека Лондона на сайте!

  5. Екатерина says:

    it’s a beautiful story, has a really strong plot! I think that there are few people in the world who can be able to do this hard work at the age of 14, instead of playing games with their friends and go to school like other children do.

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