The Purpose of this Blog

Your task on this blog is to write a brief summary of what we learned in class today. Include enough detail so that someone who was ill or missed the lesson can catch up with what they missed. Over the course of the term, these 'class scribe' posts will grow to be a guide book for the course, written by students for students.

With each post ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is this good enough for our guide book?
2) Will your post enable someone who wasn't here to catch up?
3) Would a graphic/video/link help to illustrate what we have learned?

Monday, 12 December 2011

Aspects of Narrative: Beginning

In today's lesson we were:

- Clarifying the expectations of Sixth form students (punctuality,

- Analysing the importance and features of beginnings of a narrative

Why is a beginning important?

A beginning helps to set the tone of the book, reading the beginning of the book determines whether we will be interested in reading the rest.

How are beginnings of narratives thresholds?

the beginning determines whether or not a reader will cross the "threshold" to a world that the author has created in order for us to be interested and be absorbed into the story.

*threshold - being taken from one place to another, in relation to a narrative our world to the author's written world.

what we need to get used to at the beginning of a book:

the different characters and their background.

narrators speech - the way they've written it. this affects the flow of how the reader interprets it.

language - author could use words that a reader has never heard before. also associated with the flow of how the reader interprets it.

the different aspects of narrative we'll be learning:


the kite runner (Hosseini)

the great gatsby (fitzgerald)


robert browning

alfred, lord tennyson

section a:

question assessing a02 - one poem from one of the poets

question assessing a01, a03, a04 - debate question on the same poet

section b:

question assessing a01, a02, a03 - aspect of narrative across three authors

we were shown a picture of a woman behind a glass looking at a dog and were asked to pretend we were 9years old and imagine what questions and things we would say if we were to see this picture. the main points were "i have a dog", "why is that woman behind a glass?" or noticing the stitch keyring.

we were given the information, 'japan, march 2011' and then had to give feedback to what we would say at our own age and the feedback was more grown up.

we found that the older we are, the more:

- alert and aware we are of things that go on around us

- influenced by things that happen, the way we feel

- we interpret things differently

- more knowledge we have about certain things/been through more, experiences

organised into chapters - one - begins with a first chapter

december 2001 - associated with a diary

"i became what i am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. i remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. that was a long time ago, but it's wrong what they say about the past, i've learned, about how you can bury it. because the past claws its way out. looking back now, i realise i have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years."

narrative - the way its told

"i", "i've" 1st person - confessional - intimate, personal

gives the impression of a journey that the speaker wants us to join them on, helps to tell the story

"frigid", "deserted", "crumbling" sets the tone, words used - dark, painful, cold, regretful

gives us the impression we are in the world of the speakers mind, somewhere thats usually guarded and hidden.

numbers - significance of using numbers in a narrative

dates used in diaries, a link age and time - flashbacks or memories

difference in time, age where things could have occured bad or good

dates link to background of characters or setting

chapters which may have importance, the order, the way its organised

"one, two..." chronological order

confessional - confessing your personal feelings, in a diary or somewhere where others will not be able to read it. expressing emotions you want to keep private.

"i became what i am today..." "i remember the precise moment..." - these quotes emphasise how personal the speaker is being, something that is private that only the speaker has experienced. a meaning that others wouldn't understand.

"the past claws its way out" - expresses that what ever the speaker has been hiding from their personal experiences has a way of being discovered and the speaker feels a fear of this. it suggests that the experience could be bad, a mistake and something they cannot forget or move on from.

language - the way its written

key to the entering of the world - "crossing the threshold"

"crumbling mud wall..." descriptive, makes the reader imagine it as if they are there

"peeking" senses - seeing and imagining what the reader is seeing and trying to portray

personification - represenation of an idea or person ,adds the effects of the narrative

beginning of learning about the authors thoughts and how it is portrayed and how we percieve it

connection between author and past

"but it's wrong what they say about the past, i've learned, about how you can bury it" - tried to forget about it, sense of returning and following him forever

"because the past claws its way out" - shows fear of their past, fear of memories or thoughts that can harm them mentally rather than physically.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Act 3 - Othello changes...

We began by looking at the striking contrast between Othello's speech by focusing on these two extracts. The language transforms and we see him finally showing signs of being heavily influenced by Iago. Although in both cases the subject of his dialouge is the same (Desdemona) his way of describing her changes, he goes from using loving and soft language to dark imagery and sees her as a mere "creature" of "appetite" and sees himself as a "toad" in a "dungeon".

To show that all it took for Othello to become like this was Iago's little 'dent' to Othello's 'shield' Sir did a...interesting demonstration:

(click on the image so you can see its content clearer, it appears blurred here for some reason)

During our reading of Act 3 more ideas were brought to our attention:

  • Iago shows his Janus nature again throughout Act 3, scene 3 when he pretends to accidently stumble on suspicions regarding Cassio and Desdemona
  • Othello begins to use more caesura in his speech thus making his lines more aggressive, short and blunt
  • line 386 sees antithesis in Othello's speech which encapsulates the complete change in his mind
  • Iago radiates vulgar kineasthetic imagery, "topped"
  • Othello demands proof of Desdemona's affair with Cassio and Iago, possibly for the first time infront of Othello, uses animalistic imagery to increase Othello's building fury to describe Cassio's "sexual dream" of Desdemona
  • This results in Othello stating "I'll tear her all to pieces" - which proves Iago succesful
  • But Iago is Protean and retreats after having done the damage with his words, "Nay this was but his dream"
  • Iago is made lieutenant
  • The structure of Othello's speech when he says "Tis gone" (line447), highlights Othello's short-lived love through this short and isolated line
  • Othello kneeling to Othello is a dramatic device
  • Iago uses imperatives to show his control over Othello now, he demands him to "have patience" and "do not rise yet"
  • Scene 4 provides juxtoposition and emphasises how oppposite Desdemona is to Iago and Othello's description of her in scene 3 - she is oblivious to Othello's "black vengance"

After having finsished reading Act 3 we were given homework to:

Create a flow chart of act 3, scene 3 showing the way Othello shifts from being confident in Desdemona to being conident in Iago. We should feature quotes from the play and then surround them with points to do with language, structure/form and character. Sir suggested that the end quote should be Othello's statement that he will tear Desdemona to pieces, meaning that the rest of the flow chart will convey the journey towards this.

Feel free to add in any points we discussed that I missed :)


Monday, 14 November 2011

Embedding Ideas about Tragedy

This lesson focused on AO3:

Explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers.

In particular, the skill being developed was:
- Applying concepts of ‘tragedy’ to both texts

The following 'Aspects of Tragedy' were referred to throughout:

Tragic hero
Uncoiling of spring
Tragic flaw
Modern domestic tragedy
Classical tragedy
Tragic inevitability

A link was made to the next unit, 'Aspects of Narrative', which explores aspects in common in narrative, for example beginnings and character development.

Looking at eight different quotations linked to tragedy, students noted their initial impressions, which aspects were relevant and how this idea can be applied to Streetcar.

A C Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy (1904)
‘What we do feel strongly, as tragedy advances to its close, is that calamities and catastrophe follow inevitably from the deeds of men, and that the main source of these deeds is character.’

Arthur Miller, ‘Tragedy and the Common Man’ (1949)
‘It is time, I think, that we who are without kings, took up this bright thread of our history and followed it to the only place it can possibly lead in our time – the heart and spirit of the average man.’
‘I believe that the common man is as apt a subject for tragedy in its highest sense as kings were.’

Sean McEvoy, Tragedy: A Student Handbook (2009)
‘the tragic protagonist must be someone who is prepared to devote themselves to some idea or notion, which may range from a political or economic belief to the simple need for utter personal integrity in a world which demands compromises.’
‘in modern tragedy, the protagonist’s very ordinariness may also make him or her able to stand for a wider class of people, and their political views: women, the working class, and other racial groups who have struggled for emancipation during the 20th century.’

Aristotle, ‘On the Art of Poetry’ (330BC)
‘Tragedy, then, is a representation of an action that is worth serious attention, complete in itself, and of some amplitude... presented in the form of action, not narration; by means of pity and fear bringing about the purgation of such emotions.’

J A Cuddon, A Dictionary of Literary Terms (1976)
‘the tragedy, having aroused powerful feelings in the spectator, has a therapeutic effect; after the storm and climax there comes a release from tension, a calm.’

Terry Eagleton, Sweet Violence (2003)
Interpreting catharsis as the purpose of tragedy makes it ‘a kind of public therapy for those in the citizenry in danger of emotional flabbiness ... Tragedy is thus an instrument for regulating social feeling ... a refuse dump for socially undesirable emotions, or at least a retraining programme.’

Felicia H Londre, ‘A Streetcar Running Fifty Years’ in M C Roudane, The Cambridge Companion to Tennessee Williams (1997)
Williams ‘intended a balance of power between Blanche and Stanley, to show that both are complex figures whose wants and behaviours must be understood in the context of what is at stake for them.’

These ideas are valuable because they offer interesting critical ideas about tragedy and Streetcar. However, to make this value work for us, we need to weave the ideas into our writing. This is a writing tool for us to develop and add to our toolkit. By weaving in contextual references (AO4) and critical concepts of tragedy (AO3), our writing will be improved.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

The Language of Villainy

In this lesson, we had to analyse Shakespeare's presentation of Iago as a villain.

To begin with, we looked at 3 movie villains. Buddy from The Incredibles, Darth Vader from Star Wars and The Joker from Batman. We had to find out what the difference between them was. We realised that the difference was in their LANGUAGE.

While Buddy seemed to talk a lot, he didn't really have the language or even tone of voice which suggested that he was the villain. Darth Vader on the other had sounded really scary. Although he didn't talk much, the weird breathing noises he made were enough. Overall, the Joker was the most villainous villain. He had the tone of voice which showed that he was the villain but he also used different types of language to get his point across. Therefore, Joker is the villain who is most similar to Iago.

Because we were learning about the language of villainy, we were split up into four different groups who had to analyse four different types of language which were used by Iago.

These were:





Afterwards, we had a sort of Farmer's Market trading sort of thing. This enabled people from each group to move around the class and understand the types of language which other groups were doing.


Iago used this when talking to someone of a lower status/topic.

Represents 'protean' nature.

Iago manipulates Roderigo using prose and verse.

Disrupts adjacency pairs.

Uses imperatives.

Has an affect on the audience by involving them.


Opposition of phrases or words against each other.

Janus - shows Iago as two faced.

Iago is not who he is thought to be.


When a character represents his thought or feelings.

Therefore connects with the audience.

Different sides to Iago.

Has a 'protean' nature.

Sinister outlook.

Linguistically clever.


Establishes dramatic atmosphere.

Informative understanding of characters and events.

Poisoning: method of manipulation. Iago is deadly, swift, insidious.

Hell and the devil: evil intentions. Iago is evil and deceptive.

Enjoy :)

Friday, 11 November 2011

Act 3.3 - The Tipping Point

To begin with, we individually had to think of what a 'tipping point' was and how this related to Othello.

I personally thought it was a point in which everything starts to go downhill or changes for the worst, in relation to Anouilh 'the spring has started to uncoil'. This would link to Othello as we've read Iago's plan is set in motion and is now starting to take a significant place in the play.

However, after much conferring Sir gave us a final definition. This being 'the point at which something changes from one state into a new, different state.'

We then proceeded to read through Act 3 Scene 3, stopping when we felt we had come across an important part.

Here are some of the key points which make up much of what we read in the lesson:

  • Sorrowful Cassio persuades Desdemona to ask Othello to reinstate him, declaring 'my general will forget my love and service.'

  • Next, Iago arrives with Othello who slyly comments on a hurried Cassio 'ha! I like not that.'

  • Othello is then faced by a pleading Desdemona who so desperately wants her dear friend Cassio to have his job back, telling her husband 'good love, call him back.'

  • When Desdemona leaves, Iago begins to work on planting the seed of doubt in Othello's mind. Iago questions, with intent, Othello's knowledge of his former worker.

We then argued that the tipping point within Act 3 Scene 3 could be when Iago simply says in 5 mono-syllables to Othello 'Ha! I like not that.'
This is as, without saying much Iago managed to force doubt in Othello's mind and question the relationship between Desdemona and Michael Cassio.

Iago had begun to 'pour pestilence into Othello's ear', and so we analysed the ways in which Iago done this, and had forced the spring to begin uncoiling.

- Between lines 100 and 107, Iago constantly repeats Othello when being asked questions. When Othello asks "is he not honest?" Iago replies "with "honest, my lord?"

- Again, when Othello asks Iago "what dost thou think?" Iago responds "think my lord"

This is seen as Iago not using adjacency pairs, which is very common in his dialogue. I believe this is him showing his power and control over the other characters.

Desdemona also helps Iago's plan, by continually begging Othello take Cassio back and aiding her husbands mind to wander and come up with his assumptions on her real intentions behind her act.

Desdemona (asking about Cassio's reinstatement): but shall't be shortly?
Othello: the sooner, sweet, for you
Desdemona: shall't be tonight at supper?
Othello: no, not tonight.
Desdemona: why then, tomorrow night, tuesday morn, tuesday noon, or night, or wednesday night.

From a sheet, we then examined the conversation between Iago and Othello and broke it down into sub-headings.

Agenda-setting and topic changes:
Iago is very clever at controlling the conversation, without Othello even realising Iago can manage to alter the topic by focusing on Cassio and Desdemona.

First of all Othello initiates the dialogue, however later on when Iago starts to feed him information Iago begins to initiate a new conversation. Iago also interrupts Othello to quiestion Cassio's intentions.

Distribution and length of turns:
Othello's lines are longer than Iago's, however Iago's have more of an impact.

Adjacency pairs:
Iago quite often misuses adjacency pairs on purpose. When asked a question Iago usually replies with a question, this could be him authorising his power over the other characters or just confusing them in a bid to later manipulate them.

The co-operative principle:
Iago says very little in each response however it is so powerful and said in a doubtful but manipulative way. It is also partly relevant as he is feeding Othello with false information regarding Desdemona and Cassio. Othello's lines are both lengthy and passionate, they are said calmly but you sense he is bothered and slightly irritated by the accusations Iago is subconsciously making him conjure up.

Politeness principles:
Iago reassures Othello "Cassio, I dare be sworn I think that he is honest" this shows Iago is purposely trying to defend Cassio. But by saying 'think' he is showing Othello he is doubtful, resulting in Othello also doubting Cassio.

Modes of address:
Iago always calls Othello 'my lord', this distinguishes the difference between the way Iago speaks to certain characters or could be a form of Iago's manipualtion. Also, Othello refers to Iago as 'honest Iago' which conveys to the audience how much Iago has managed to deceive the other characters.

Taboo words:
Iago uses the word 'cuckold', meaning when a husband has cheated on his wife, against Othello. This is snide and is used as by now Iago is becoming agitated by previous rumors of Iago's wife Emilia cheating with Othello, and wants Othello to think the worst of Desdemona and Cassio.

Iago says to Othello "my lord, you know I love you", this conveys Iago as having foresight into which Cassio is supposedly going to betray Othello and so Iagois preparing to take his place in Othello's high regards. However, Othello believes Iago is simply saying he will be there for him no matter what.


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Iago pulls the strings

In the previous lesson, we read through Act 2 Scene 3 of Othello with the aim of considering the theme of reputation. The scene is set the night of when they arrived in Cyprus. In the scene, Iago uses a lot of imagery through two of his soliloquies and engineers the situation to his advantage. We see Iago manipulating and controlling events and start to take charge of the play.  

He talks to the audience about how he is planning on betraying Cassio by Othello relieving him of his duty and rank of lieutenant. Iago describes his actions as a “Divinity of hell,” creating the “blackest sins” towards Othello. This also gives the audience an image of Iago’s views about Othello. We will be exploring Iago’s language in more detail next lesson.

In his last speech, Iago says “how am I then a villain to counsel Cassio to this parallel course directly to his good?” This would give the audience an in-depth breakdown of his plan and giving a brief second opinion of Iago’s actions and make the audience question themselves. His question directly challenges the audience and makes us question his motives even further -  does Iago really want to help Cassio? But as we read on, we do find out that part of his plan is to make Othello angry with Cassio, thinking that Desdemona and Cassio are having an affair. Iago ensures that Cassio loses his reputation and that his own is improved in Othello’s mind.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Hi guys, sorry for the late post!

So in the lesson before last, we were given the questions to choose from for our coursework piece. In order for us to answer one of these questions to the best of our ability, we were going to have to closely analyse the contents of a successful essay.

Sir gave us a sheet of how we can improve our writing academically:
  • Use thesis statements.
  • Using topic sentences which make a distinct, interesting point linked to the thesis statement.
  • Embedding quotations.
  • Analysing language at word-level.
  • Comment on the effects (interpretations).
  • Using connectives to guide the reader through your argument.
  • Drawing upon prior learning and reusing it.
  • Proof reading for clarity and precision.

For Fridays lesson we firstly chose to look at what makes a strong thesis statement. Sir likened a thesis statement to a film trailer, and asked us to explain why we thought this would be. We came up with things such as:
  • it giving the reader an insight to the contents of the essay they will be reading.
  • it should draw the reader in, making them interested enough to want to read on.
  • it will familiarise your reader, preventing any 'surprises' along the way.
  • it should aim to keep them reading, until the end.

After this, we focused on the topic sentence, which starts your paragraph.
We were given 3 already, taken from some of our essays, and asked to slightly improve them so they had more of a powerful effect on the reader.

An example of one of these being:
"Blanche sees herself as superior to those at Elysian Fields, making it easier for her to have a fall from grace, as a tragic protagonist would."

This was then improved to be:
"Blanche sees herself as superior to those at Elysian Fields, making it easier for her to have a fall from grace. This is also a key factor present in a tragic protagonists story"

We then moved onto reading scene 7.

During this, it had been revealed that Stanley had had a dispute with his wife Stella over the events that had occurred in Blanches previous life. In which Stella was refusing to believe this new information about her beloved older sister.

We also witnessed a new, gentler side to Stanley which was unexpected after seeing his brutality towards Stella during an argument.

This took us on to noting down the differences in Stanley's behaviour and language when talking to Blanche and Stella.

Stanley towards Blanche:

- (to Stella about Mitch and Blanche) "he's not going to jump in a tank with a school of sharks - now!"

- (to Stella about Blanche) "She'll go on a bus, and she'll like it!"

- (directly to Blanche) "Hey, canary bird! Toots! Get OUT of the BATHROOM! Must I speak more plainly?"

Here we see Stanley does not hold back in speaking his mind when talking to Blanche, he isn't really bothered about hurting her feelings.

Stanley towards Stella:

- (stage directions) Stanley looks uncomfortable. "I wouldn't be expecting Mitch over tonight"

- (stage directions) Stanley comes up and takes Stella gently by the shoulders.

- (directly to Stella) "Sure I can see how you would be upset by this"

With these it is evident Stanley refrains from talking bluntly to his wife as he cares deeply for her and doesn't want to hurt her.

Finally we briefly answered the question 'Is Stanley guilty of bringing about Blanche's Tragedy?'

When thinking about the answer, we thought he could be either 2 things.

  • He could be seen as a 'catalyst' in which he is just the item that speeds up a reaction but is not at all used. In this case he would be the spark as he has exposed Blanche to her younger sister and he is not effected by it.
  • or he could simply be the sole reason for bringing about Blanche's tragedy.

I hope this is good enough!

Sophie. :-)

Friday, 4 November 2011

Blanche's Story: Exploring Streetcar on stage and film

Read the following essay over the weekend and write down what you learn for Tuesday's lesson.

Blanche's Story. Exploring Streetcar on stage and film.

Richard Jacobs explores changes made in the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire to throw light on the original playscript.

Let’s take a look at two sections of Streetcar, in the middle and at the end, by thinking about two contexts for the play. The first context is formal and historical; the second is institutional. We’ll see that the contexts coincide in the treatment of the story at the play’s centre.

There’s a group of American plays from the late 1940s and early 1950s which share a particular formal device. In them a crucial sequence of events happens not on stage, but before the curtain goes up. The play’s protagonists have to undergo a recognition or rediscovery of this story. It has to be re-presented or re-narrated. The effects of the original events, and the consequent effects of revisiting them, are what drive the play’s emotional intensities.

This technique has its roots in classical tragedy. It seems designed to give theatre something of the illusory three-dimensional qualities and inwardness which we associate with nineteenth century novels. By shifting the balance of narrative so that the most crucial material is in the past, to be recovered during stage-time, the playwright increases the illusion of the character’s depth, of the kind that we tend to associate with novel-reading, perhaps because we read internally and privately.
This is, anyway, what we find in Tennessee Williams’s A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman and The Crucible. We’ll look at one painfully buried story in Streetcar and see what happens when it moves from the stage to the screen.
Blanche is 30 and wants to be younger. She’s an alcoholic. She obsessively bathes. She has problems with truth and with the past. But one man falls happily into her embroidered version of herself and it is to the sympathetic Mitch that she unburdens herself of the crucial story of the events that changed everything. She married young and, as is revealed in the first scene, ‘the boy died’. On the whole the 1951 film, for which Williams had screenplay responsibility, sticks pretty closely to the playscript, but let’s look at the significantly different treatment of Blanche’s story. Here’s the story as told in the film.

Blanche: He was a boy, just a boy, when I was a very young girl. When I was 16, I made the discovery – love. All at once and much, much too completely. It was like you suddenly turned a blinding light on something that had always been half in shadow, that’s how it struck the world for me. But I was unlucky. Deluded. There was something about the boy, a nervousness, a tenderness, an uncertainty, and I didn’t understand. I didn’t understand why this boy, who wrote poetry, didn’t seem to be able to do anything else. He lost every job. He came to me for help. I didn’t know that. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know anything except I loved him unendurably. At night I pretended to sleep. I heard him crying, crying, crying the way a lost child cries.
Mitch: I don’t understand.
Blanche: No, no, neither did I. And that’s why … [pause] I killed him.
Mitch: You …
Blanche: One night we drove out to a place called Moon Lake Casino. We danced the Varsouviana. Suddenly in the middle of the dance the boy I had married broke away from me and ran out of the casino. A few moments later – a shot! I ran out – all did – all ran and gathered about the terrible thing at the edge of the lake. He’d stuck the revolver into his mouth, and fired. It was because – on the dance-floor – unable to stop myself – I’d said: ‘You’re weak. I’ve lost respect for you. I despise you.’ And then the searchlight which had been turned on the world was turned off again and never for one moment since has there been any light that’s stronger than this.

And that, for cinema audiences, presumably leaves a big black hole. This key moment, offered by Blanche as a way of understanding her present self, has at its centre an absence, an inexplicable gap. Expecting an explanation to a secret narrative – her young husband’s suicide – we meet instead incomprehension. Is this because suicide in ‘real’ life is often incomprehensible? Or is it that there’s something missing here, something suppressed?

Here you need to take another look at the playscript version of Blanche’s ‘he was a boy’ speech in Scene 6 (Penguin edition p.182; Methuen edition p. 56).

In the playscript we get a name – the ‘Grey’ boy, neither one thing or the other. And there was something missing. The boy’s tenderness ‘wasn’t like a man’s’ and Blanche’s response to him is ‘you disgust me’, not (as in the film) ‘I despise you’. It’s the story of a gay boy who, as elsewhere in Williams’s work, failed to prove the heterosexual lie in bed. Blanche, in rather veiled language, calls it her not being ‘able to give him the help he needed’. There’s a veil on these words too: ‘a room that I thought was empty … but had two people in it’. That’s presumably two young men in a bed. Allan had a secret and illicit sex-life; the boy in the filmscript ‘didn’t seem to be able to do anything’ apart from, possibly, want his mother – or want Blanche to be his mother.

Despite the veiling, Blanche’s guilty sense of failure and inadequacy (overplayed in the filmscript’s ‘I killed him’) are clear as the source of her own vulnerability. In the playscript Williams has to veil the language in order to avoid the moral and legal problems surrounding the representation of homosexuality in the media, but it is quite clearly there under the surface. But the process of veiling becomes critical in the filmscript. There the gay issue vanishes completely. Forbidden sexuality is the root problem of the secret narrative, but institutional pressures on the filmmakers mean it has to be erased from the film.

Richard Jacobs teaches English at the College of Richard Collyer in Horsham, and lectures at the University of Brighton. His book A Beginners’ Guide to Critical Reading: an Anthology of Literary Texts is published by Routledge.

This article first appeared in emagazine 14, December 2001.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Coursework Essay

Hi guys, really sorry for a delay on the blog.

On Monday, we started the lesson by writing which character we sympathise with the most. Although some students did feel sympathy towards Blanche to an extent as she has had a traumatic past with the loss of her husband and house in Belle Reve, this point was contradicted because she brings it all onto herself. For example, due to Blanche's husband- Alan Grey being homosexual, she told him that he "disgusts her" thus resulting him to commit suicide. Therefore, more people in the class started feeling more sorry for Stella, as she is in the middle of her husband and Blanche's clash in opinions.
Secondly, we looked at the criteria, due dates and the questions for the coursework about Streetcar. We analysed what "tools" we need to write a good essay, they were;
- Language analysis (AO2): zoom in on the epigraph (Mr Gall corrected that what we thought was the epilogue is actually the epigraph) include types of imagery; dichotomy (a split between two opposed parts), binary opposition (directly contrasting terms)
- Context (AO4): historical, social and cultural.
- Phrasing sentences, impressive vocabulary, variety of punctuation and correct spelling!
- Topic sentences (AO1) , powerful paragraphing.
- Theatrical devices: music of 'blue piano' every time Stanley is present in the scene, stage directions, lighting. Proximity of privacy available in the house, which builds up the atmosphere.
- Plurality (AO3): include more than one point of view of a certain aspect.
- Dichotomy between Blanche and Stanley's different opinions on morals/social values.
- Value system of Old South (AO4): mixture of social classes and patriarchy (where men has more power than women)
- Embedding critical interpretation
- Foreshadowing a conflict based on structure throughout the scenes.

We then drew a table based on writing experience. This is an example of my table;


Areas for development

Analysing language

Embed critical interpretations

Spelling and punctuation

Foreshadowing conflicts


Value system of Old South

Powerful paragraphing

Embed theatrical devices

Weave quotes

Phrasing sentences

Thirdly, we answered the question of "How does Blanche's conduct with the 'young man' expose her sexual desire and unreasonable morality?" by including multiple interpretations.
Some people's views are that Blanche should not have exposed her sexual to a young man. due to the fact that he is much younger than her. Also, this challenges Blanche as this sort of behaviour is uncharacteristic of the Old South. However, some people think that Blanche's flirtatious behaviour is acceptable as it is typical of her own behaviour because she flirts with every male.

Towards the end of the lesson, we read through scene 6. In this scene, we see Blanche almost breaking her barrier that she puts up. When Mitch asks her about her past, she rolls her eye which is only visible to the audience. This is very unusual coming from Blanche as the audience can tell for the first time that she's playing a role.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Bradley, where are you????

Bradley - you are responsible for blogging about the learning of the last two Othello lessons. Please ensure this is done ASAP but before the end of the half term at the latest.

Mr S

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

A Streetcar Named Desire - Fragility and Flirting

In today's lesson we:

  • interpreted Blanche's behaviour with and towards men.

  • understood the importance of desire for the play.

Firstly we discussed and described the behaviour of a moth which comes indoors. We found that they are drawn to the light, repeatedly flutter towards it, swoop around the room or just stay on wall not moving.
We then connected this to the play and we saw that the moth could be Blanche who wants the attention of the male characters especially Mitch and this is similar to a moth attracted to a light and constantly moving towards it.

We then looked at a picture of a butterfly and discussed the difference between a moth and a butterfly and noticed that a butterfly is beautiful and is fragile and delicate while a moth is an ugly insect and isn't seen in the same way as a butterfly.
Again, we connected it to the play and the character of Blanche. We said that:
"Blanche is a combination of a moth and a butterfly. A moth is an insect that outstays their welcome, and is fragile and delicate when attracted to the light. This is similar to Blanche who has to have dimmed light attracted to her. A butterfly is an insect that is beautiful in a different kind of way and attracts the attention of people because of their beauty. This is similar to Blanche as she attracts the attention of Mitch and other male characters."

We then read Scene Five and came across a long piece of dialogue from Blanche, she spoke to Stella about how she really felt and why she acted the way she did. In her speech she used some words that linked to light and gave the impression of a moth.
They were:

  • glow

  • shimmer

  • fading

  • soft colours

  • lantern

  • storm(dark, lightning)

  • butterfly wings

We had to make a table of all the things that could have influenced Blanche.
Personal - Blanche losing her husband when he killed himself.
Social - Blanche socialises in a different way to how others around her would socialise. Example; Blanche socialises with her sister and in a quiet manner, Stanley plays poker with his friends and drinks whiskey.
Political - Blanche is more in touch with Old South values than New South values where Stella now lives.
Historical - The way Blanche has grown up and the values she was taught by her parents is different to the way the New South is.
Gendered - Female who is sexually desired.
Racial - Her values make her look down on the New South and the way they do things.
Sexual - The way she interacts with men in a sexual way/sexually desired.

At the end of Scene Five, Blanche met a new male character and flirted with him which eventually turned into a kiss. We discussed that now we know Blanche likes young men because they are able to keep up with her sexual needs and that it brings memories back of her past.
We made another table of the merits and problems between Blanche's men; Mitch and the Young Man.

Mitch: MERITS - can have sex with Blanche
give her attention
trying to be romantic/flowers
"Rosencavalier" Blanche refers to Mitch as this - playing the role
soft and caring
PROBLEMS - still lives with his mother
not young enough for her
Young Man: MERITS - he's young
PROBLEMS - he's young

Finally we were giving the question "is the episode with the young subscription collector an illustration of Blanche's tragic character or a dramatic device necessary to the plot?" We had to decide which category she came under and the factors for this.
Illustration of Blanche's tragic character was seen to be the best one because

  • of her need for young men

  • the remembrance of her past with her young husband

  • sexual desires

  • necessity to follow through with her sexual desires.


Monday, 17 October 2011

Perception Survey for Mr Gall

In order to increase my understanding of the class' perceptions at the beginning of their AS-level English Literature, please complete the following survey:

Click here to take survey

The survey is comprised of 10 statements. For each statement, please respond according to how you feel, from 'strongly agree' to 'strongly disagree'. There is space for you to make a comment - please do, if you have a valuable idea to add. The survey is anonymous so be honest; this will help to ensure your learning needs are met.

A Streetcar Named Desire - Contrasting Imagery

In this lesson we learned to understand how Williams uses dichotomies in scene 4 of the play; as well as comment on the impact on the plays Binary Oppositions.

So a Dichotomy is a division into two contradicting or mutual parts. This became a factor when we looked at Blanche's and Stella's different views.

And a Binary Opposition is contrasting directly opposed terms that are independent in its meaning but related in some form. for example night and day, or rational or irrational.

The first task we did was to look at a large list of words that had a connection to the play; with these words we would link them to those that are related - this was our introduction to Binary Oppositions.

We came up with many ideas and links with these words but the main oppositions we looked at were:

- Reason & Truth

- Illusion & Lies

- Disordered & Wild

- Ordered & Civilised

These were the oppositions that we were focusing on before we continued to analyse scene 4.

This task helped us to identify the dichotomies within the scene and class them under these binary oppositions which was needed as we analysed Blanche's and Stella's conversation.

Scene 4

As we went through the scene we categorised different quotes under the main binary oppositions. For example we looked at how Blanche believes that Stella is in a position that she doesn't want to be in, which would go under "illusion and lies" whereas Stella believes that there is no place she rather be than where she is now, which would alternatively go under "reason and truth". This contrast between views was seen a frequently during Blanche's and Stella's conversation. From here we saw that through different perspectives of the characters we can interpret some of the characters views differently, as well as highlight where Williams applied these dichotomies. In addition we found that we were working in AO3 as a range of interpretations can be formed.

Despite looking at what the characters said we also worked at AO2, looking at HOW Blanche uses language to create effect and stress her points to Stella, like her frequent pausing, interrupting herself as she tries to make sense of what she is trying to say.

That's all I could think of...


Friday, 7 October 2011

Public & Private - Othello: Act 1, Scene 3

The class began with us trying to differentiate between something being exotic and something being different. While it was just a matter of how each individual looked at it here are some ideas that we came up with:

-refers to something foreign
-different but with some intrigue
-used to attract or appeal to someone e.g.
-could indicate something being brought over from a abroad, so it's exotic to its new surroundings (e.g. a fruit or parrot)
-could also be used negatively i.e with Sarah Bartman who was exhibited as a freak attraction during the 19th century due to her African descent and her "exoticness"

-something that stands out because it is out of place
-something that doesn't fit the mould or breaks conventions
-to not be the same as one another

Mr Sadgrove then higlighted to us that this ties into the way that Othello, "the Moor" may pervcieve himself or the way others may percieve him, is he exotic? is he different? do either of these have negative or positive implications?

Act 1, Scene 2...
We were then divided into sets of "Brobantio's" and "Othello's" and we were given the task to use the play to quote lines most relevant in revealing Othello's character.

After making our lists we were put into groups with one Othello and a few Brabantio's. The Brabantio's of the group were to surround the Othello of the group and use quotes from the text to accuse him while also trying to mirror the tone that Brabantio would use to accuse him with, meanwhile the Othello of the group had to stand in the middle of the group and respond to Brabantio's dialogue with quotes from the play actually said by Othello and also try and reflect the tone that Othello would use for these lines.

An example of these exchanges:

-We found that while Brabantio was attacking Othello and name calling him in public, Othello's responses were always very calm and confident.

-His ability to manage the situation and use the power of words to create
tranquilty and order contrasts greatly to the impression we are given of him, as a bad leader, by Iago in Act 1, Scene 1.

Act 1, Scene 3...
We were introuduced to the term DICHOTEMY when one thing is split in two. This was significant to the next scene we were about to read as it is a split between the public and personal lives of both Brabantio and Othello (the matter of Desdemona and matters of the state).

While reading through this scene we focused on a few things:

-Othello's importance to the Duke

-The fact that Othello is refered to as "the valiant Moor" by a Senator, valiant suggests that Othello's bravery is recognised and he is somewhat respected meanwhile Moor suggests that this word has almost become Othello's identity and that it used to take away from the compliment to his bravery.

-We focused on Othello's speech after he is told to speak for himself regarding the charges against him, we sat in a circle as a class and covered the speech with each person reading till the next punctuation mark. The impact of the pauses and the intensity of Othello's words were illuminated by this activity, we concluded that more depth is added to Othello's character through this speech as his genuine nature and humbility come through for example he says "Rude am I in my speech". Also we imagined Othello to say lines such as "I won his daughter" with power and emotion through the help of the Iambic Pentameter which would really stress the word "won".

-Also, we zoomed further into the linguistic devices used by Shakespeare when studying another of Othello's speeches later on in the scene. In order to better understand Othello's life and just how exotic and different his life is we concentrated on the aspects of his life that he lists. We worked in groups to act out freeze frames for atleast six of the things he mentions he has faced in this speech.

I think I've covered everything we did :)

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A Streetcar Named Desire - scene three.

We began by focusing on an image by Van Gogh.

colours in the image = bold, harmonising, warm, autumnal and exaggerated.

brush strokes in the image = flowing, vertical.

composition in the image = claustrophobic and cramped around the edges due to clutter, but spacious and open in the centre.

The setting of Stanley's poker night is based around this image, so from this we identified that the atmosphere would be rather tense, anxious and also serious as poker is often classed as a serious game.

Next we focused on A02 language analysis which consists of 6 different types of imagery. We found examples of each of these within scene three.

1) visual = descriptions of what you can see
- poker table with chips, cards and whiskey on it

2) auditory = descriptions of sound
- blue piano music in the background
- Stanley slapping Stella
- shouting amongst Eunice and Stanley

3) olfactory = descriptions of smell
- whiskey
- watermelon

4) gustatory = descriptions of taste
- whiskey
- watermelon

5) kinaesthetic = describes movement
- Stanley hitting Stella
- the men pinning Stanley down
- Stanley chasing Stella
- Stanley slamming the radio down

6) tactile = descriptions of touch
- Stanley placing his head on Stella's belly
- Stella pulling him up to her
- the men pinning Stanley down

Finally we looked at arguments both for and against the quote "poker shouldn't be played in a house with women."


- poker is considered to be a man's game, therefore women shouldn't be connected to this.

- the environment during a poker game can become manly and rather aggressive, an environment women should not be subjected to.

- it's time for men to spend away from their partners and to bond with their friends.

- its a serious, money centred game, and is therefore not connected to femininity.


- the game would continue all night and the men would not go home without a woman calling it off.

- women may need to supervise the men's drinking habits as they could become rowdy and rather argumentative.

- with women around, the atmosphere would become more light-hearted and not so tense.

Friday, 30 September 2011


On thursday, in groups we discussed our own interpretation of how the play- Othello should be started. We had to include what time of day it was, what actions takes place. In addition we had to create a 4 line of Iambic Pentameter summarising what Othello would say. The group I was in came up with an idea of Othello being at the centre of the stage saying;

"Judge me not by the colour of my skin,

As colour does not show what lies within,

but I shall hope to impress my lady,


We then started reading , the play actually starts off at a street in night in a midst of an argument between two characters- Iago and Roderigo. The conflict is about Roderigo getting a promotion when he had never fought in war: this decision is made by the leader Othello, making him look like a bad leader. This angers Iago, therfore he goes to the street outside Desdemona's (Othello's secret wife) fathers' (Brabanzio) house and shouts out accusations about his daughter having sex with a black man by saying "beast with two back". Although Iago doesn't reveal Othello's identification, he uses animalistic and bestial language to describe Othello's identification. For example; "an old black ram", kinesthetic and visual imagery is created, this proves the stereotype of black people as sexual predators because of Othello's age. This manipulates Brabantio who is still in denial that his daughter being married, let alone being married to a black man.

To summarise, so far we can tell that Iago's character is very bitter and boastfull who will not consider others feelings by the things he says. However, Othello can only be seen as a bad leader.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Streetcar Named Desire - AOs

In this English lesson we focused on the Assessment Objectives and how they will help us to answer essay questions. There are 4 AOs: A01, Ao2, A03 and Ao4.

AO1: Write detailed, original and expressive answers which are linked to the question. Use vocabulary linked to the topic.

AO2: Show in depth understanding in looking at how structure, form and language shape meaning.

AO3: Look at similarities and differences between different literary texts. Use thoughts and opinions of other readers.

AO4: Show understanding of the importance of the contexts in which literary texts are written and recieved.

We then went on to talk about Modern Domestic Tragedy and how it's different from earlier tragedies. These included the fact that modern tragedies tend to look inwards while earlier tragedies looked ourwards. There was also a distinct difference with how deaths were shown. In earlier tragedies deaths were shown on stage. In modern tragedies deaths usually happen quietly and are concealed from the audience. Modern tragedies are much more likely to appeal to audiences nowadays because they contain characters who are ordinary. Earlier tragedies usually contained princes and kings as the protagonists. These points and more helped us to understand the main similarities and differences between modern and earlier tragedies.

We spent the rest of the lesson reading and trying to find faults with Mr Gall's essay question.(which was AO4)
How does Blanche's initial interactions with the locals of Elysian Fields highlight her incongruity?
Although the answer looked good, it lacked certain details. This activity helped us to really understand the Assessment Objectives and put them into action. By looking over someones else's answer, it became easier for us to see where we could make improvements.

Overall, the lesson was about improving our essay answers and making sure that we understood how we could do this.

(P.S: Sorry about the length, I really didnt know what to talk about)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

A Streetcar named Desire - Blanche

The lesson focused on how Tennessee Williams characterises Blanche, and how she fits into the outdated model of the American South; where citizens were placed into a class based on race/skin colour.

A playwright gives a character its ‘personality’ through what they do and how they do it.

What a playwright does to create the ‘character’:

- Give the character a name.

- Create a history.

- Create an image of the character through their appearance.

- I.e. looks, clothing, etc.

- Invest in the qualities of the character.

- The attitudes/idea of the character.

How a playwright does it:

- Interaction of characters

- Their behaviour

- Dramatic devices

- Imagery

- I.e. symbols, motifs.

- Language used

Whilst watching a clip of Scarlett O'Hara from ‘Gone with the Wind’, which was also set during the Civil War in the American South, we used what playwrights do to ‘label’ our own ideas of her characterisation. Then, whilst reading ‘A Streetcar named Desire’, we created another mind map for Blanche DuBois’ characterisation. Other than just writing about what playwrights do, we also included examples of how the do it. For example, she is in denial when she says is not a ‘drunkard’ when she had just a couple of tumblers of whisky.

After characterising Blanche, you could see that her personality/attitude/appearance is incongruous to the setting as New Orleans is not segregated and people live together ‘harmoniously’ regardless of race.

tragedy and melodrama

Tragedy and melodrama are two very different things, melodrama is very over dramatic and seems as if every problem has a way out, or a safety net, tragedy is described by aristotle as "inevitable", no chance of rescue, a spiral down into one's doom. Anouille likened tragedy to a spring, possibly as a symbol of tension and bottling up emotions, to explosivley releasing them and release, or also that the spring has no beginning opr end, but just a continuous spiral. A tragedy is usually about a person in high esteem or power, falling because of a certain characteristic flaw, some examples of this are achilles ,who was dipped in the river styx, and his heel, which was a symbol of his arrogance, or MacBeth, once king of scotland, let down by his greed.

Tragedy can be many things, on one hand it could be the horrible act of death and suffering, but on the other it could be "an art form, to confront difficult human experiances" tragedy, according to aristotle, is a catharsis. tragedy can on some ocasions purge the body. people can occasionally feel better when something empathises with them, such as sad music, or tragic moments from movies or books.

a tragedy is a representation of an action that is whole and complete and of a certain magnitude. a whole is what has a beginning a middle and an end.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

A street car named desire

Today in class we began to look into the historical content of a street car named desire, we were put in too groups of four and asked to analyse a text to see what we could find out about the conflicts of the American civil war and how the war can be linked to tragedy. In our groups we all choose parts of the text different parts of the text to analyse for example one group looked at the author, Tennessee Williamsand, life. Others choose to look at the conflict between the north and south and how it links to A street car named desire and others choose to look more into the south and how they feel they have no shame or care that they use slaves .

We also looked at the conflicts of different people groups such as genders, races, sexuality and poor and rich and how it links to the book . We also spent 10 minutes looking at the epigraph

And so it was I entered the broken world

To trace the visionary company of love, its voice

an instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)

but not for long to hold each desperate choice.

We then choose out key words that might have more of a meaning to tragedy such as broken world, love, instant and desperate choice. Finally we looked at the difference between freedom and equality and how if someone has freedom to do whatever they like and follow the American dream then they can’t really have equality as it limits a person’s dream to a what everyone else gets as well as this we looked at the Greek concept Elysium and how that relates to the south of being this place of heaven while the rest America is this sort of underworld.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Introduction to Tragedy

Can art make suffering less painful?

Year 12 thought that while art cannot make suffering less painful, it can be a helpful accompaniment. For example, listening to emotive music can legitimate certain emotions.

Dramatic Genres: Tragedy

40% of AS
Othello (Shakespeare) and A Streetcar Named Desire (Williams)
Assessed by two pieces of coursework:
A study of an aspect of the dramatic/tragic genre with regard to a Shakespeare play. (1200 – 1500 words)
A study of an aspect of the dramatic/tragic genre with regard to another play. (1200 – 1500 words)
One of the pieces of coursework can be in the form of a re-creative exercise, accompanied by a commentary.

I have known tragedy in the life of a man driven back into silence, in an unregarding working life. In his ordinary and private death, I saw a terrifying loss of connection between men, and even between father and son: a loss of connection which was, however, a particular historical and social fact. (Raymond Williams, 1979)
Analysing this quotation, Year 12 noted that the man is "ordinary" and has an "unregarding working life", meaning he is what was called 'working class'. This man is disconnected from others, perhaps due to societal pressures suggested by "driven", or he is choosen "silence". At the point of his death, he shares a commonality with all others. Yet, paradoxically, his death marks his complete dislocation from life.

Tragedy is the art form created to confront the most difficult experiences we face: death, loss, injustice, thwarted passion, despair. (Jennifer Wallace, 2007)
Year 12 thought of examples for the five "experiences", which included loss of a loved one, heartbreak, an employment/vocational crisis and a complete abandoning of hope.

Year 12, for homework, are analysing 'United in grief for a tragic hero', an article marking the death of George Best from The Guardian. Questions to consider when decoding “tragic hero”: what makes George Best a tragic hero? How does the language of the article work to assert this status?

Friday, 29 April 2011

Final Preparation Before Mock Exam

Due to the fact that we had a mock exam later the same day, our lesson consisted of the class going over any major issues they had with the exam and general essay writing.
As a class we did not have a lot to go over in terms of problems regarding the exam; issues that we did look at were things such as how to write a thesis statement for the section B portion of the exam and how to focus on aspects of narrative during our essays.

After this discussion, Sir put up two section B questions and asked us to pick one and prepare a plan for it. The general format of the plan was:

- Thesis statement/introduction - Must name aspect, acknowledge how the named aspect applies to all three texts respectively and take up the invitation to debate.
E.g. "In the works of Fitzgerald, McEwan and Tennyson endings are use to show a characters isolation, give the reader closure and to show the stagnation of a character."
- Body paragraph one - Text one
- Body paragraph two - Text two
- Body paragraph three - Text three
- Conclusion - (Not compulsory, but preferred.)

Mr Chatterley asked one person to volunteer for each question to tell the class their plan so as to act as a template. These plans were put up on the board and the class continued to discuss what the author of the plan did correctly and what needed to be improved.

After this we each received a sheet with a band six essay answer to section B. The class was asked to identify the essay's thesis statement.
Once this was done we were told to write an answer to the question we previously choose in the lesson an made a plan for using the band six essay as a guide along with our own plan.

We used the time till the end of the lesson to write our answer which concluded the lesson; after school we had a mock exam where we applied the practice we received in this lesson and hopefully did well in.

Good luck everyone.
Roman A.

Monday, 18 April 2011


1984 George Orwell A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man James Joyce A Prayer for Owen Meany John Irving A Room with a View EM Forster An Equal Music Vikram Seth Alice's Adventures In Wonderland Lewis Carroll American Pastoral Philip Roth At Swim Two Birds Flann O'Brien Atlas Shrugged Ayn Rand Atonement Ian McEwan Beloved Toni Morrison Birdsong Sebastian Faulks Blood Meridian Cormac McCarthy Brave New World Aldous Huxley Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh Captain Corelli's Mandolin Louis de Bernieres Catch-22 Joseph Heller Clarissa Samuel Richardson Crime and Punishment Fyodor Dostoevsky Dangerous Liaisons Pierre Choderlos De Laclos Daniel Deronda George Eliot Don Quixote Miguel de Cervantes Dracula Bram Stoker Emma Jane Austen Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury Fight Club Chuck Palahniuk For Whom the Bell Tolls Ernest Hemingway Frankenstein Mary Shelley Great Expectations Charles Dickens Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad Invisible Man Ralph Ellison Jane Eyre Charlotte Bronte Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy LA Confidential James Ellroy Les Miserables Victor Hugo Light in August William Faulkner Little Women Louisa May Alcott Lolita Vladimir Nabokov Lord Of The Flies William Golding Madame Bovary Gustave Flaubert Memoirs of a Geisha Arthur Golden Middlemarch George Eliot Midnight's Children Salman Rushdie Money Martin Amis Mrs Dalloway Virginia Woolf Naked Lunch William S Borroughs Of Human Bondage WS Maugham On the Road Jack Kerouac One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Ken Kesey One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel Garcia Marquez Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury Pilgrim's Progress John Bunyan Rebecca Daphne du Maurier Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe Scoop Evelyn Waugh Slaughterhouse-Five Kurt Vonnegut Sophie's Choice William Styron Tess of the D'Urbervilles Thomas Hardy The Alchemist Paulo Coelho The Bell Jar Sylvia Plath The Big Sleep Raymond Chandler The Black Sheep Honore De Balzac The Catcher in the Rye J D Salinger The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas The Executioner's Song Norman Mailer The God Of Small Things Arundhati Roy The Godfather Mario Puzo The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck The Great Gatsby F Scott Fitgerald The Handmaid's Tale Margaret Atwood The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams The Hobbit JRR Tolkien The Kite Runner Khaled Hosseini The Magus John Fowles The Name of the Rose Umberto Eco The New York Trilogy Paul Auster The Picture of Dorian Gray Oscar Wilde The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Muriel Spark The Scarlet Letter Nathaniel Hawthorne The Secret History Donna Tartt The Stranger Albert Camus The Thirty-Nine Steps John Buchan The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas The Trial Franz Kafka The Unbearable Lightness of Being Milan Kundera The Woman White Wilkie Collins Things Fall Apart Chinua Achebe To the Lighthouse Virginia Woolf Trainspotting Irvine Welsh Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson Wide Sargasso Sea Jean Rhys Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert Pirsig

Wednesday, 30 March 2011


I got picked again for the blog. To be honest, I don't think my name got picked out of the cup, but I was the only one that laughed when Mr. Sadgrove buckled (hahahaha) so he picked me. *Anyway, the focus of the lesson was settings - mainy in the The Great Gatsby, but also in the other texts we've been studying. So, the first thing we had to do was to write a headline for 'Town Tattle' (the magazine on the table in Mytle's apartment) focusing on the events in Chapter 4 and 5. For Chapter 4's headline I wrote ' GATSBY TO DAISY: "I WANT YOU BACK" ' and for Chapter 5 I wrote 'DAISY AND GATSBY'S FLING -PAGES 5 AND 6!". Don't know why, but when Mr. Sadgrove asked everyone what headlines they had done, the word 'revealed' kept coming up. *We then moved on, and listened (once again) to Nicholas Tredell (aka 'egghead' according to Mr. Sadgrove). Tredell commented on the use of 1st person narrator and -briefly - the use of Jordan as a modified 1st person narrator. Tredell said that the use of a first person narrator creates intamacy, involvement and immediacy between the narrator and the audience. However, Tredell also spoke of the negative side of a 1st person narrator. Sticking to a first person narrator, he said, means the narrator cannot always tell you about something, and how everything filters through Nick, which makes it debatable whether something is totally factual. *Then, we disussed 'Pathetic Fallacy'. This is defined as "when the inanimate reflects mood or sense or ideas. It's a form of personification." After this, we split in to 4/5 groups and each group was designated a setting in The Great Gatsby to study. The 4 settings were East Egg, West Eggm The Valley of the Ashes and New York. We then split up in to another 4/5 groups and discussed our respective settings that we had studied and made notes on each one. Homework: - Read all of The Great Gatsby (Tuesday) *NOTE TO EVERYONE: IF YOU'RE WRITING THE BLOG AND YOU HAVEN'T PUBLISHED IT, DO NOT CLICK ON 'CHECK PRINITING BALANCE'. IT CHANGED THE PAGE AND I HAD TO WRITE THE WHOLE BLOODY BLOG AGAIN. *Daniel.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Hey guys, welcome to the amazingness that is my blog. In the lesson we most prominently began reading Chapter 4, but also gained quite a large insight into the elusive Gatsby's character.

Starter- Facebook Status Update for Gatsby: Unfortunately, I haven't added Gatsby on Facebook so I couldn't view his status at the time of posting. The process went something like "Send Friend Request->Friend Request Pending->Friend Request Denied"... When asked why I decided that this was the case, I wrote: "I hear" and "I think", the most prominent phrases regarding Gatsby himself- they reveal that he never wants anyone to get close, and that no-one actually knows who he truly is. With a reputation based on rumours, it may ruin his reputation if he starts accepting facebook Friend Requests..

Insight into Nick's Character

We then watched a video with a person that described various facets of Nick’s character (I say person, he’s more of an authority)- a person who, deliberately, RUINED the end of the book. For all those who it didn’t get ruined for, I’m a sore loser- so I must say that GATSBY DIES. Thanks for that DVD Man.. We were asked to identify and note down the three most important things out of the stuff that he said... these are: 1) The most complex and perhaps difficult character to see- due to his self effasive nature.

2) Two conflicting viewpoints are highlighted in his character, these are:

o Nick is the consciousness of the novel, and thus is tolerant but appropriately judgmental. He learns from his experiences, is reliable- and goes through moral growth. In a sense, he is the hero.

o Nick is an obtuse, self righteous narrator that shows no insight into his own motives. He leaves the novel as clueless as he was from the beginning.

3) Nick is an enigma of opinions, no one point of view can be definitely decided can be decided

Insight into Gatsby’s Character Well, we did one of those circles overlapping diagram thingies, but as I don’t have the capabilities to do so here, I’ll stick to the classical method of subheadings. Yay.

Gossip Killed Someone, Related to Kaiser Wilhelm, Went to Oxford, Was a Spy

Gossip/Fact In the Army

Facts Likes Green Lights, Lives on West Egg, Man likes to party, Likes English people (?)

Afterwards, we began reading Chapter 4, and the unrelenting list of guests to the Great Gatsby’s parties that he feels we have to know. From them, a few choice words can be chosen:

Hand Ran Over, Fight, Suicide, Drowned, Nose Shot Off.

These should reveal something pretty obvious about Gatsby: he is surrounded by violence. When we wonder why Nick tells us these things that perhaps he should have kept in confidence the anwser can be found quite easily: He believes that there is safety in the numbers of names he mentioned, he believes that it gives the annomity. But perhaps moreso- he takes some sort of pride in having met these people, perhaps he wants to be disgusted, but just isn’t.

Impressions of Gatsby

These are my impressions of him so far, if you don't agree, then comment with your disagreement. I will still be the one whose right however. The association with those that have the potential to, and some that have, commited criminal acts shines a somewhat negative light on the elusive Gatsby- he loses some of his hard earned annomity to the "foul dust" that trails him, and try as he might to rise above these unfortuneate acquaintances - they will forever tarnish perception of him and add a nasty bias to the deduction of the motivation behind his actions.


-Discuss characterisation of gatsby Ch1-4

-Discuss characterisation of Wolfstein- mention "selective detail"

-Why might Jordan narrate part of the story?

-Comment on the timeshift -Read Ch.4 & 5 -COMMENT MY BLOG!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011


The first task was to draw a mask of the Duke of Ferrara emphasizing certain features of his face to outline certain emotions or characteristics that he reveals within the poem.

Our second task was to choose songs that described or related to certain characters that we have studied from Browning's poems.

The characters are:
Duke of Ferrara
Fra Lippo Lippi
The Bishop
Porphyria's lover

After this our next task was to create a script in which the Bishop (from "The Bishop Orders his Tomb") and Fra Lippo Lippi are conversing. The first line of this script had to be "So this is purgatory..." and the conversation should have explored the characters views on religion and other themes such as art and hypocrisy etc.

The last task was to read the poem "The Pied Piper of Hamelin" and write a short summary of the poem afterwards.

Comment on the blog listing your songs for the characters
Research themes Browning has included in his poetry and possible suggestions for why