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?

Wednesday, 10 October 2012


Liminality: Symbols, Motifs and Themes
Liminal: of pertaining to, or situated at the limen (threshold); the unfixed position between any two oppositional terms; the experience of being on a threshold or a boundary; marginal
Heathcliff is liminal in the following ways:
-          He is an outsider, there is a barrier between the classes
-          His name, named after the dead- marginal position between the living and the dead
-          Borderline between a supernatural creature and a man “imp of Satan”, “dark almost as if it came from the devil”
There is Liminality between Life and Death:
-          Cathy is haunted by her own face in the mirror when she is about to die, she is already able to see her own ghost even though she is not yet dead
-          When Lockwood struggles with the ghost, the windowpane acts as a barrier between the real world and the supernatural
-          Eyes are also used within the novel as a portal into the other world. Heathcliff’s eyes always seem supernatural and connected with the underworld
Ghosts- a liminal state:
-          The borders between life and death are broken down
-          The ghosts of Heathcliff and Cathy hover together  in a liminal state
-          Strength and passion can transcend this world into a spiritual world beyond
-          Brontë uses the gothic idea of the supernatural and the transgressed ‘limen’ to demonstrate the importance of passion to her and that it is able to last beyond death
Liminality between Nature and Culture:
-          When Cathy and Heathcliff visit Thrushcross Grange, the look into the Grange through the barrier of a window. The window can be seen to symbolise the border between the nature outside and the culture within
-          Brontë uses liminality to show that society’s borders and barriers are too confining. There had to be room in life for nature and strong feelings to break through

The Uncanny

Uncanny: 'Mysterious, weird, uncomfortably strange or familiar' - OED

We looked at different explanations of the word uncanny and from these we tried to understand the word in our own way. These included:

*The barrier between the known and the unknown
*Familiar and foreign (teetering on the brink)
*A feeling of unfamiliarity and uncertainty
*The uncanny of the monumental
*The heimlich: homely and the unheimlich: unhomely

We also had to comment on the view that Wuthering Heights is filled with uncanny and disturbing occurences.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Fragmented Narrative

Lesson Objectives:

- deepen my understanding of Bronte's narrative structure
- enagage with the requirements of the Gothic exam

I found that I already knew that the narrative structure is not a simple one and is in fact very disjointed, leading the audience to question the narrators.

I would need to know if the structure stays at one certain level of complexity, or whether one narrative voice is more responsible for causing the fragmented structure than the other.

One question I have is, how would the Victorian audience have received this novel when it was first published?

complete the essay we started in class, with the question:
"How does the narrative structure of the opening of Wuthering Heights enhance the novel's Gothic qualities?"

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


We began by thinking about how the characters and readers see Lockwood, as well as how he sees himself.

- poor judgement
- odd/strange
- self centred

- unreliable
- judgemental
- self centred

- misanthropic
- romantic hero
- good at making judgements

We then focused on an article titled 'Asking questions and telling tales.' This consisted of similarities between both Lockwood and and Nick Carraway from The Great Gatsby. From this article we established that both Wuthering Heights and The Great Gatsby start with narrators who enter the story in medias res (in the middle of things) and both have to learnt to see the present in terms of the past.We made notes for each of the different sections within the article.

Limited Narrators:
- Limited vision and romantic experience, lack of knowledge.
- 'The stirring atmosphere of the town.'
- 'Im of the busy world and to its arms I must return.'

Observing the Hero:
- Narrator stumbles upon a fiercely passionate and committed man who stands in complete contrast to him
- Narrators drawn into the affairs of main characters, becoming go-betweens and an audience
- Heathcliff's behaviour switches between being moody and being friendly
- Lockwood is condescending and judgemental, yet touched

Rumour and Lies:
- Lockwood is dependent on other people's narratives to understand Heathcliff
- Heathcliff is 'rough as a saw-edge, and hard as whinstone'
- Despite regarding herself as 'one sensible soul' Nelly does behave both deviously and unsympathetically
- The version Lockwood hears of Heathcliff's life is coloured by the prejudice of Nelly
- Mystified rather than clarified, readers question the evidence given

Poor Men, Rich Women:
- Subjects of these speculations have poor and obscure origins
- Main character falls in love with woman socially out of his reach
- Narrators do not use their secure situations to commit themselves to loving a woman

The Morality of Narration:
- Moral certainty is shaken
- We are fascinated by those who take risks and stake everything to get what they want
- Heathcliff is in love with a dream that is unattainable
- If narrator is taken away the story tends to degenerate into melodrama

We then looked at four different extracts, two from Nelly and two from Lockwood. We annotated them to find what vocabulary, sentence structures, punctuation and tones the two narrators use, and what effect their linguistic choices have on the narrative voice.

- Standard English
- Complex and Compound sentences
- A wide variety of punctuation
- Staccato
- Polite, certain, concerned
- She sounds clued up and in some cases, rather wise

- High frequency vocab
- Long sentences
- A lack of punctuation
- Self-centred
- Much of his narration consists of his feelings and thoughts

Homework: Produce two paragraphs commenting on Nelly Vs. Lockwood's narrative style. Focus on the following; vocab, syntax, punctuation, tone and effect of language on narrative.

Shazia :)


Saturday, 22 September 2012

W.H- fragmentation

Multiple narrators:
The construction of multiple narrators causing framing in Wuthering Heights fragments the text, making it complex and prolix, therefore makes it hard for readers to follow and understand the story. There are various implications for which Bronté uses this. The complexity of a polyphonic text forces the reader to piece together fragments of information and make judgements about the characters for themselves. The use of framing provides subjective narrations and obfuscates the real 'truth' from the readers which may create a sense of uncertainty about the narration. However, it gives the reader multiple view points making it more interesting and allowing them unto the diegesis of the story. Also, the fact that the 'truth' gets distorted through all the sources of Nelly and recorded by Lockwood adds a sense of realism as the lack of impartiality and complexity is totally believable. 

Lockwood as a narrator:
 Lockwood is a self-indulgent, unreliable and subjective narrator as he focuses too much on himself, misinterprets relationships and characters and allows his views on others affect the way characters come across to the reader. We can see this from the very first paragraph of the story. Although, it is the first time he meets Heathcliff, he judges him immediately as describes him to ''beheld his black eyes...with a jealous resolution''. The purpose of Bronté representing Lockwood as a narrator who allows his feelings towards characters affect his writing too much, is to warn the reader that he is in fact an unreliable narrator; therefore should not believe everything that is said.

-do the questions on the sheet
-read, highlight and summarise under each heading (Lockwood's part in the summer holiday revision pack)
-read chapter two

What I found out about Nelly's narration in Chapter four: 
Nelly repeatedly specifies Heathcliff using an impersonal pronoun of "it" which suggests that she could also be an unreliable narrator. Her lack of sympathy and possible dislike towards Heathcliff to be a "dirty ragged black- hair child". This implies that she might let her bias views alter the 'truth' fail to be our source of Heathcliff's history. 


Sunday, 16 September 2012

Gothic elements in Wuthering Heights

Wutherring heights contains so many Gothic tropes that its a wonder Heathcliff is not likened to infamous figures such as Dracula and Frankenstein. It is often seen as a love story due to the blossoming romance of Hareton and Catherine, especially after the hardships dealt upon them by Heathcliff and the deaths of their parents and siblings.

we spoke at great length of the many features of a Gothic and the rank at which we thought them present in Wuthering Heights out of ten (these are my scores not the result of the entire classes):
Liminality 8/10
Medieval architecture - isolated land 7/10
Metamorphosis 3/10
complex narrative - prolix 10/10
Death or bloody imagery 10/10
binary opposition 8/10
patriarchy 8/10
horror 6/10
terror 2/10
symbols 8/10
byronic hero 9/10

we spoke briefly on the idea of Heathcliff being the byronic hero, which is the idea of a "bad boy" (as Mr Sadgrove put it) being the ultimate hero, showing how wrong can ultimately be enticing to the reader and to other characters in the story.

our next task, writing a blurb in which Wuthering heights is portrayed as a Gothic book or a love story, highlighted how even our description was littered with certain Gothic tropes. "The moors" were often described as dark, lonely or isolated when in the Gothic genre, whereas in the love story genre, i found that i did not mention the moors, but i focused more on character relationships and actions.

homework was to:
1. re-read chapter 1
2.What impression do we get of our narrator
3. What Gothic elements can we identify in this chapter.
4. Draw Wuthering heights and label with evidence from the text.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

The Gothic: Intertextuality Across Wolf Stories

‘In a Freudian, psychoanalytical interpretation, the wolf in fairy tales represents a coded acknowledgement of the dangers of suppressed or repressed sexual desire. As the embodiment of specific and immediate danger, the wolf is an ever present predator.’
  Steve Roberts, York Notes Advanced

Key question: To what extent does the wolf represent suppressed or repressed sexual desire?

Add your paragraphs below as comments, focusing on meeting the below success criteria.

1.Maintain constant focus on the question. Use the words from the question. ‘Violence’ or ‘excessive’ or ‘death’ ‘release’ ‘instinct’
2.Use at least 6 textual references per paragraph. (Can be short)
3.Analyse quotes for micro and macro. (Lang/structure) Name specific features (imagery, personification, antithesis, symbolism, metaphor etc) and pick key words
4.Sprinkle a small amount of relevant context (either Gothic- Goya, Otranto, ‘The Nightmare’- context or S/H context). Don’t bolt on.
5.Reference a critic or view. Use language that shows there is a debate – ‘arguably, could, might suggest, seems to,
6.EVAULATE different views and link to text. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

'Wolf-Alice' by Angela Carter

Key Question: How does Carter synthesise the symbols and characteristics of transformation from The Bloody Chamber in ‘Wolf-Alice’?

In ‘Wolf-Alice’, Carter’s use of mirrors and natural cycles reveals cultural anxieties about discovering identity through transformations. Wolf-Alice ‘would have called herself a wolf’ despite being a human because she identifies herself as a wolf. When she first encounters a mirror, ‘she tried to nuzzle her reflection’, demonstrating that she does not recognise her reflection. As a symbol of rationality, the mirror shows her physical transformation from girl to woman. Following her first menstruation cycle, Wolf-Alice recognises herself: ‘her relation with the mirror was now far more intimate since she saw herself in it’. The use of comparative language shows how Wolf-Alice changes as she begins puberty. Often seen as a taboo subject, Carter uses Gothic tropes of naive, virginal females and wolves to highlight the problem of talking about and exploring menstruation cycles.

Write the next paragraph answering the same question. Remember to cover all AOs. 

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

'The Company of Wolves'

How does Carter write about sexual intercourse and why does she do this?
Write a paragraph covering all AOs with six pieces of evidence.

Link to 'Vampire Weakened' article from the Guardian:

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Bloody Chamber part 2

Sorry for the late blog lads.

In this lesson we focsed on the ways and methods that Carter portrays the exploitation of women where we turned our attention to this quote:

"Carter’s talent as a writer enables her to utilise the most vivid and violent use of imagery and language to demonstrate the way in which women have been exploited in western society."

We can see clearly that the exploitation of women is a main focus in her work and her vivid and violent imagery really emphasises this. We looked deeper into this with a task to rank the types of figures that would be likely to find in her stories. We found that a 'female victim' is the most common figure under the constraints of a 'patriarchal male'; as well as a 'female hero' which in turn fits Carter's femminist view of women breaking free from patriarchy. In addition we found that the most unlikely figure would be a 'heroic male' where we find the piano tuner, the only male that could be of help to the protagonist, was blind so in fact was helpless but her mother culminates to be her saviour which also shows Carters play on stereotypical sex roles.

 Imagery is the main way that Carter draws us into her gothic diegiesis where she uses many different types of imagery: 

Visual imagery - sight
Auditory imagery - sound
Gustatory imagery - taste
Tactile imagery - touch
Olfactory imagery - smell
kinastetic imagery - movement

Imagery – the use of language to represent objects, actions, feelings, thoughts, ideas, states and experiences.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Marquis de sade, feminism and Moral Pornography.

Our learning objective was to:
- understand the term 'moral pornographer' and evaluate its relevance in The Bloody Chamber.

A debate between Gail Dines and Anna Arrowsmith highlighted two very important arguments as to whether Pornography objectifies women, or in fact poses as a way to weaken the industry and interject with women's views.

Gail Dines says that women are without a doubt 'systematically descriminated against' with pornography adding to this and 'shaping the way men think about women'. This allows people to believe women's objectification is acceptable within society, believing porn to be 'the commodification of sexuality'. She also hit out at Anna Arrowsmith claiming that Pornography certainly does not empower women and in fact as an empowered woman herself, she feels she has a 'duty' to use her 'privilege to fight for women who are descriminated against'. And it seems clear that Anna Arrowsmith 'misrepresents the lives of women in the industry'.

However, Anna Arrowsmith refuted this with her argument in which she believes women can change the way they are seen in society by having a say within the Pornography industry. She argued specifically that 'anti-porn groups in fact encourage women to see themselves as victims' when they could instead take a very passive and involved approch to change things. Although her argument was rather contradictory, I personally feel, she did make a vaild point that 'if you hand over all sexual imagery to men, you hand over that power'.

What is a Moral Pornographer?
  1. Uses pornographic material to show that all genders can possess a sexual licence.
  2. May uses pornography to critique current relations between men and women, and the physical abuse experienced by women in phallocentric cultures.
  3. Employs pornography to show women who grab their own sexuality and fight back, who also may be powered by their own violence.


Wednesday, 20 June 2012

The Bloody Chamber

In lesson today, we looked at three different reviews written in response to the book's symbolism and manipulation of both traditional roles created through norms and stereotypes, and Carter's adaption of the typical Fairy tale genre through extracting latent content from the original story, to create a new telling which has a shift in focus.

The main points found from the reviews were:

- The book challenges/pushes the boundaries of norms, and in doing so strpis the story down in a 'matter of fact' way, which manipulates traditonal characters = "Carter manages to twist the once innocent fairy tales"/ "She challenges the structure of patriarchy".

- Challenges typical patriarchal rules within society, and highlights the oppression of women = "challenges notions of male superiority and the objectification of women"

By reading the opening pages to 'The Bloody Chamber', we found that the female character's destiny could be seen as meaning she must delve into the unknown, and in turn leave her girlhood behind.
Also, the idea that her new life and setting is "beyond the grasp of my imagination", makes it seem like a "magic place, the fairy castle" which links to the idea that because magic and fairy stories are not seen as real, they require imagination to bring them to life. Therefore, the fact that this is beyond her imagination, can empahsise her movement towards the unknown.
Carter's stories also often break free from the traditonal conventions and has blurry distinctions,meaning that there is no clear distinction between the stories' break away from the norms.


Monday, 18 June 2012

The Snow Child


The features of gothic that we looked at all surrounded the themes of supernatural monsters, ancient medieval architecture and the more dominant themes of death and blood. We also looked at the most common language features of gothic too which is the excess and exaggeration of feelings and emotion, for example there is no like or dislike or perhaps even love, but only lust and obsession or burning hatred. This ensures the readers emotions become excessive and therefore become immersed in the story.


After looking at the snow child we discussed which parts of it were parts of the gothic culture. The appearance of the countess at the beginning, all clothed in black as they left an ancient medieval castle, planted the story firmly in the gothic culture, while the unrealistic apparition of “the snow child” emphasised the Gothic characteristics.

Angela Carter states that “My intention was not to do 'versions' or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, 'adult' fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories and to use it as the beginnings of new stories.” We see clearly from “The Snow Child” that it is not a remake or a gruesome rendition but it took the characteristics and distributed them through the other characters. Such as the sick nature of queen from the actual story is given to the count from “The Snow Child” while the character that plays snow white still embodies innocence and trust.

Ray T

Monday, 11 June 2012

Introduction to the Gothic - Punter

Year 12

1) Read David Punter's essay on the Gothic.

 2) Make notes in your book.

 3) Link ideas to our own definition of the Gothic, and adapt this working definition if necessary.

4) Comment on the blog post to demonstrate you've read the article.


 Mr Gall

The Gothic
Professor David Punter takes you beyond the stereotypes of modern Goth style, with a survey of the origins of the Gothic and its key features.
What is the Gothic? You might initially think of ‘Goth culture’ – black robes, black lips, vampire fixations, a certain type of music. Or perhaps Gothic films, which have a long history from Hammer horror through to far more recent remakes of Gothic texts like Dracula and Frankenstein. But the Gothic, in fact, has an even longer history and a broader cultural spread. Asking the questions when, where, what and why might help pin down this fascinating and long-lived cultural phenonmenon.
When is the Gothic?
In some ways, this is the most confusing question of all. We might want to trace the Gothic back to the original Goths, whose history is now mostly lost but who have been credited with a part in the last days of the Roman Empire and the sack of Rome. But the Goths left almost no written records, and were mostly unheard of until the ‘first Gothic revival’ in the late eighteenth century. In Britain this revival involved a series of attempts to ‘return to roots’, in contrast to the classical model revered in the earlier eighteenth century.
The notion of the Gothic as a reaction against the classical tradition had a considerable impact during the romantic period, and affected almost all the major romantic writers in different ways. William Blake was an upholder of the Gothic as against the classical. Coleridge’s ballad ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ is distinctly Gothic in its use of supernatural machinery.
It is against this background that we see the emergence of the Gothic novel, as part of a second ‘Gothic revival’, in the nineteenth century. This time it was an architectural revival which looked back to the great English medieval cathedrals for inspiration, rather than to the Greek and Roman architecture which had so greatly influenced the period of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century. (Perhaps the best-known example of the ‘neo-gothic style’ is the Houses of Parliament.) The crucial features of this style were ornateness, soaring perspectives – part of the Gothic preoccupation with the sublime – and a kind of religious intensity.
From this time on, the Gothic has continued to exert an influence. We can find it in the ghost story, which became extraordinarily popular during the Edwardian period when writers such as Arthur Conan Doyle, M.R. James and H.G. Wells (despite his scientific turn of mind) wrote a number of distinctly Gothic tales. And we can find it in the more contemporary period with the evolution of the horror story in the hands of writers like Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell and Dean Koontz. We can find it too in parodies of the Gothic, from Jane Austen’s early nineteenth-century satire Northanger Abbey, written at the height of the Gothic novel craze, to more modern pastiches and parodies.
Where is the Gothic?
So the Gothic stands for a continuing set of revivals, or ways of revivifying the past but where do we find it? The Gothicism of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries was far more broadly spread than just Britain. German culture was particularly crucial, with any number of ‘Gothic plays’ produced during the period, some by rather poor writers but others by major figures such as Schiller. This German Gothic drama, interestingly, provides the roots of that staple of nineteenth-century English culture, the melodrama, with its swooning maidens, moustache-twirling villains and upright heroes. In France, the infamous Marquis de Sade wrote the first major criticism of the Gothic, attributing its growth to the dangers and terrors of the French Revolution.
The Gothic was also influential in America from the late nineteenth century onwards. Almost all of today’s writers of horror fiction look back to Edgar Allan Poe as their master; but more traditionally-minded American writers, such as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James wrote Gothic too. James’s novella The Turn of the Screw, often filmed, remains one of the most startling, and indeed inexplicable, of Gothic works, with a panoply of ghosts and a narrator of the utmost unreliability – not for nothing was one well-known critical article on the book titled ‘The Squirm of the True’!
What is the Gothic?
1. Texts
Despite its variety, the central ground of the Gothic remains a series of novels written in Britain between, roughly, 1760 and 1830. The very first of these is often said to be Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, although to the modern reader Walpole’s giant helmets, speaking pictures and other supernatural paraphernalia may seem comic rather than Gothic. The works which were perceived at the time as most distinctively Gothic were those of Ann Radcliffe – chiefly The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian – and The Monk by Matthew Lewis. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, though now usually seen as Gothic, appeared a little late in the period and was arguably more concerned with the perils of scientific experimentation than with the problems of ghosts and haunting which preoccupied the Gothic.
The second wave in the late nineteenth century was, perhaps, an accompaniment to fin de siècle notions of decadence and degeneration: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau and Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Another less well-known but fascinating Gothic text from this period is Richard Marsh’s The Beetle.
2. Motifs
We may prefer to define the Gothic by a series of motifs. The principal one is the Gothic castle, as in Dracula’s castle and in works by Walpole, Radcliffe and many later writers, Angela Carter among them. The castle is gloomy, forbidding, a place where maidens find themselves persecuted by feudal barons, a reference to a medieval past which somehow remains as the site of our worst fears and terrors.
The persecuted – or at least pursued – maiden is another major motif, the idea of somebody defenceless exposed to tyranny and loss. As, of course, is the ghost. Ghosts have never been absent from literature – think, for example, of Shakespeare’s Hamlet – but in the Gothic we are constantly in the presence of ghosts, or at least of phenomena which might be considered ghostly, even if, as in the case of Radcliffe, they are usually explained away in the final few pages.
Then, of course, there is the vampire, who makes his first significant appearance in John Polidori’s The Vampyre but becomes a source of obsession in much nineteenth-century literature. A particularly interesting example is the lesbian vampire in Sheridan LeFanu’s Carmilla, although it is Stoker’s Dracula who has most indelibly fixed himself in the minds of English readers.
And alongside these, there are all manner of monsters – Mary Shelley’s is the most obvious – as well as zombies and the walking dead. A further, long-lived motif is the double. The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde is the most obvious example. The life-or-death experience of discovering, or being discovered by a double, runs right through Gothic literature.
3. Mood
Alternatively, one might think of Gothic more in terms of mood. From the earliest days of Gothic fiction, it has been conventional to make a distinction between ‘terror’ and ‘horror’: ‘terror’ being something more shadowy, more insubstantial, harder to pin down, ‘horror’ standing for gross physical shock. But whichever way one looks at this, the central mood of the Gothic is fear.
In the Gothic, this mood always has something to do with the past, with ‘what comes back’, with the ‘revenant’. Usually the ghost that returns in the Gothic has some connection with an evil deed the protagonist has committed in the past, although occasionally there seems little clear reason for the ‘return’ – Walter de la Mare’s short stories contain some good examples of what we might call ‘undeserved haunting’.
4. Outside the mainstream
These days – although perhaps also at the time of the ‘original Gothic’ – the Gothic is conventionally identified as a specific subgenre of literature. This is at its most obvious in bookshops, where ‘horror’ is set apart from other fiction, and systematically marked out by publishers, with black, glossy covers, and so on, as a sub-genre on a level with science fiction, fantasy and romance. Gothic, then, is perhaps partly defined, and has been for two centuries, as a form of writing not wholly within the ‘mainstream’, even though its effects can be felt in many other mainstream works such as Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre or the novels of Dickens.
Why is the Gothic?
This is a very complicated question, with six possible answers, that might apply in a mingled way to any specific text.
1. Social
Some argue that the Gothic is a response to anxieties that the ancient feudal, aristocratic order might return to unsettle bourgeois conventions, a set of conventions which, on the surface, seemed certain of dominance during the eighteenth century but which were, perhaps, not quite as secure as they seemed. De Sade’s theory was that the Gothic was related to the French Revolution; but perhaps it might be better to say that the Gothic is related to the uncertainties of revolution in general, of how sure we can be that forces that seem utterly defeated might not live on in a different form.
2. Psychological
Freud famously identified the unconscious as that place in the mind from which nothing ever goes away: thus ghosts and hauntings are figures arising from our psychological past, figures of fear that we thought we had banished but which continue to live on inside us. There is a clear connection with the world of dreams; many commentators on dreams have said, for example, that in our dreams we are frequently objects of pursuit – thus the pursued maiden would be an instance of dreams writ large. We might also say that Gothic fiction enacts our fear of death but perhaps also the reverse, that it represents our fear of immortality, of living a life – like Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner – from which no release is possible.
3. Feminist
Then again, we might point to the preponderance of suffering women in the Gothic, and say that what the Gothic really enacts is a struggle between the genders, a struggle in which men always have the upper hand. Texts such as Jane Eyre, of course, partially reverse this idea, since Jane, in a sense, ‘wins’; but what she wins is an aged and blinded version of the man she loves. Certainly a great deal of Gothic fiction has been written by women, from Radcliffe through to Rice; and, much Gothic fiction, emblematically Dracula, seems to form itself around what psychologists might call ‘eve-of-wedding fantasies’ – those fantasies of lost freedom which women in particular have – or have had – before marriage (though ironically at the height of the Gothic, women had little freedom to lose!). There is a whole strand of criticism devoted to the ‘female Gothic’ – one of its main arguments hinges on the motif of the castle and its relation to the constrained domestic sphere which most women, in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, were forced to inhabit.
4. Scientific/technological
Gothic, perhaps, tests the limits of the human. It does so in relation to ghosts, hauntings and the undead; but it also does so, most obviously in Frankenstein, in relation to the role of the divine and the question of how human ambition might overstep the boundaries of creation – this is, of course, also a gender argument, since Frankenstein also usurps the role of women in reproduction. The Gothic, though, might be seen as tracing the limits of what is possible for the human, and thus as questioning how far scientific and technological development might enable people to extend themselves without threat of divine retaliation – The Island of Doctor Moreau is one example of this, as are some of the graphic novels of Neil Gaiman. Behind it all lies a question of the value of science as opposed to human feeling.
5. Passions
The earliest writers of the Gothic (and critics of it) made it clear that they were ‘against reason’ – they did not accept the classic Enlightenment view that humans are mainly driven by reason. On the contrary: the Gothic reminds us that we are mainly driven by our passions. This may be a good or a bad thing. It may be a good thing insofar as we might feel emotional intensity towards certain people or causes; it may be a bad thing insofar as it drives us into obsession or madness. At all events, the Gothic deals in illicit desires, in what is prohibited by society; it deals in emotional extremes, whether terror or love; it deals in the terrifying forces which, in so many modern films, may besiege the ordinary house or ordinary lives, and sees them as evidence for forces inside ourselves with which we find it difficult, if not impossible, to come to terms.
6. Popular culture
And so I return to where I began, with popular culture. Gothic was, from its inception, a ‘popular’ form. Ghost stories were regularly published in Dickens’s Christmas annuals. More recently, there is the long-running series of M.R. James’s ghost stories shown on television at Christmas. Now, of course, with the huge stands of horror fiction in the bookshops, we may say that the Gothic has come into its own again.
There is no one simple definition of the Gothic. Perhaps most useful of all is to think of it in terms of certain key cultural and literary oppositions: barbarity versus civilisation; the wild versus the domestic (or domesticated); the supernatural versus the apparently ‘natural’; that which lies beyond human understanding compared with that which we ordinarily encompass; the unconscious as opposed to the waking mind; passion versus reason; night versus day. And in so doing, perhaps we can make more sense of the connections between the Gothic in romantic poetry, or the nineteenth-century Gothic novel and its modern descendents, the Gothic film or Goth fashion style. Try applying these oppositions to the text you’re reading, whether it be an early novel, a short story or poem and see where they take you in understanding the essential qualities of this very rich and varied genre.
Professor David Punter teaches at the University of Bristol.
This article first appeared in emagazine 29. 

Complete Year 12 Review Survey

Year 12 Follow the link to complete the survey: Thanks Mr Gall

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Browning's 'The Bishop Orders his Tomb'

'The Bishop Orders his Tomb'

Rome, 15--

Vanity, saith the preacher, vanity!
Draw round my bed: is Anselm keeping back?
Nephews -sons mine ... ah God, I know not! Well —
She, men would have to be your mother once,
Old Gandolf envied me, so fair she was!
What’s done is done, and she is dead beside,
Dead long ago, and I am Bishop since;
And as she died so must we die ourselves,
And thence ye may perceive the world’s a dream.
Life, how and what is it? As here I lie
In this state-chamber, dying by degrees,
Hours and long hours in the dead night, I ask
“Do I live, am I dead?” Peace, peace seems all.
St Praxed’s ever was the church for peace;
And so, about this tomb of mine. I fought
With tooth and nail to save my niche, ye know:
— Old Gandolf cozened me, despite my care;
Shrewd was that snatch from out the corner South
He graced his carrion with, God curse the same!
Yet still my niche is not so cramped but thence
One sees the pulpit o’ the epistle-side,
And somewhat of the choir, those silent seats,
And up into the aery dome where live
The angels, and a sunbeam’s sure to lurk:
And I shall fill my slab of basalt there,
And ’neath my tabernacle take my rest,
With those nine columns round me, two and two,
The odd one at my feet where Anselm stands:
Peach-blossom marble all, the rare, the ripe
As fresh-poured red wine of a mighty pulse.
- Old Gandolf with his paltry onion-stone,
Put me where I may look at him! True peach,
Rosy and flawless: how I earned the prize!
Draw close: that conflagration of my church
- What then? So much was saved if aught were missed!
My sons, ye would not be my death? Go dig
The white-grape vineyard where the oil-press stood,
Drop water gently till the surface sinks,
And if ye find...ah God, I know not, I!...
Bedded in store of rotten fig-leaves soft,
And corded up in a tight olive-frail,
Some lump, ah God, of lapis lazuli,
Big as a Jew’s head cut off at the nape,
Blue as a vein o’er the Madonna’s breast...
Sons, all have I bequeathed you, villas, all,
That brave Frascati villa with its bath,
So, let the blue lump poise between my knees,
Like God the Father’s globe on both his hands
Ye worship in the Jesu Church so gay,
For Gandolf shall not choose but see and burst!
Swift as a weaver’s shuttle fleet our years:
Man goeth to the grave, and where is he?
Did I say basalt for my slab, sons? Black -
’Twas ever antique-black I meant! How else
Shall ye contrast my frieze to come beneath?
The bas-relief in bronze ye promised me,
Those Pans and Nymphs ye wot of, and perchance
Some tripon, thyrsus, with a vase or so,
The Saviour at his sermon on the mount,
St Praxed in a glory, and one Pan
Ready to twitch the Nymph’s last garment off,
And Moses with the tables...but I know
Ye mark me not! What do they whisper thee,
Child of my bowels, Anselm? Ah, ye hope
To revel down my villas while I gasp
Bricked o’er with beggar’s mouldy travertine
Which Gandolf from his tomb-top chuckles at!
Nay, boys, ye love me -all of jasper, then!
’Tis jasper ye stand pledged to, lest I grieve.
My bath must needs be left behind, alas!
One block, pure green as a pistachio-nut,
There’s plenty jasper somewhere in the world -
And have I not St Praxed’s ear to pray
Horses for ye, and brown Greek manuscripts,
And mistresses with great smooth marbly limbs?
That’s if ye carve my epitaph aright,
Choice Latin, picked phrase, Tully’s every word,
No gaudy ware like Gandolf’s second line -
Tully, my masters? Ulpian serves his need!
And then how I shall lie through centuries,
And hear the blessed mutter of the mass,
And see God made and eaten all day long,
And feel the steady candle-flame, and taste
Good strong thick stupefying incense-smoke!
For as I lie here, hours of the dead night,
Dying in state and by such slow degrees,
I fold my arms as if they clasped a crook,
And stretch my feet forth straight as stone can point,
And let the bedclothes for a mort-cloth drop
Into great laps and folds of sculptor’s-work:
And as yon tapers dwindle, and strange thoughts
Grow, with a certain humming in my ears,
About the life before I lived this life,
And this life too, popes, cardinals and priests,
St Praxed at his sermon on the mount,
Your tall pale mother with her talking eyes,
And new-found agate urns as fresh as day,
And marble’s language, Latin pure, discreet,
- Aha, ELUCESCEBAT quoth our friend?
No Tully, said I, Ulpian at the best!
Evil and brief hath been my pilgrimage.
All lapis, all, sons! Else I give the Pope
My villas: will ye ever eat my heart?
Ever your eyes were as a lizard’s quick,
They glitter like your mother’s for my soul,
Or ye would heighten my impoverished frieze,
Piece out its starved design, and fill my vase
With grapes, and add a vizor and a Term,
And to the tripod ye would tie a lynx
That in his struggle throws the thyrsus down,
To comfort me on my entablature
Whereon I am to lie till I must ask
“Do I live, am I dead?” There, leave me, there!
For ye have stabbed me with ingratitude
To death -ye wish it -God, ye wish it! Stone -
Gritsone, a-crumble! Clammy squares which sweat
As if the corpse they keep were oozing through -
And no more lapis to delight the world!
Well, go! I bless ye. Fewer tapers there,
But in a row: and, going, turn your backs
- Ay, like departing altar-ministrants,
And leave me in my church, the church for peace,
That I may watch at leisure if he leers -
Old Gandolf, at me, from his onion-stone,
As still he envied me, so fair she was!

For your homework, analyse how Browning uses beginnings and one other aspect (voice/ character?) to tell the story in this poem.

Chapters 5-6

In today's lesson we were looking at how Fitzgerald uses different types of narration to tell the story of The Great Gatsby in chapters 5 & 6.

First we looked at the Tredellon Structure:

*Modified 1st person: Fitzgerald uses this because the disadvantage of having only one persons narration is that they cannot tell you about what has occurred at events which the narrator wasn't involved in. Therefore another character tells the 1st person narrator about these events. The narrator then filters this information through to the reader. Fitzgerald also uses another technique in The Great Gatsby by making Nick (the 1st person narrator) put some of Gatsby's narrative into his own words.

*Scenic Method: Fitzgerald borrowed this method from Henry James. The novelist dramatises the scenes by making the narrator produce a running commentary of images instead of just retelling a story. The narrator then directs you to the things he sees e.g:body language, actions.


Extradiegetic narrator: is part of the diegesis but tells a story within the the diegeis.

Intradiegetic narrator: is part of the diegesis but tells a story that creates or is set in another diegesis.

Nick is a extradiegetic homodiegetic narrator in The Great Gatsby

There are 7 ways in which Fitzgerald modifies the first person narration:

1. Recounting dialogue between character.

2. Direct quotation of another character's sustained account. (Jordan as an intradiegetic narrator)

3. Paraphrasing another character's words.

4. Piecing together fragments of a story into a continuous narrative in Nick's voice.

5. Speculation about what might have happened.

6. Speculation about how a character might have felt. ('he must have felt')

7. Evocations of another character's consciousness. ('he felt')

By Mumtas

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

the great gatsby character

We learned that f. scott fitzgerald uses of specific detail , gives more mystery to characters. When we first meet Gatsby we only get a description of his smile and nothing else, giving us more mystery towards him as we can never make a true picture of what he looks like. We also noticed that because he is always leaving or having to get the phone we get this theme or which he always disappears.

The Fitzgerald specific detail and style of gives us even more mystery for all the characters other then nick.

Gatsby-smile and hair.
Daisy- white and voice
Tom-eyes and hair
Jordan- figure

oh and the last character which is well hidden the 1920's. I wont go into that just yet.

Tyrun McDonnell

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Browning's 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin'

After re-reading this long poem by Browning, add a comment. In your comment, briefly state what is happening in each section (narrative). Then, highlight two or three key aspects of narrative for each section (e.g. character, place). Return to the blog before Friday's lesson so that you are familiar with the poem.

Robert Browning's 'The Pied Piper of Hamelin'

A Child's Story

1 Hamelin Town's in Brunswick,
2 By famous Hanover city;
3 The river Weser, deep and wide,
4 Washes its wall on the southern side;
5 A pleasanter spot you never spied;
6 But, when begins my ditty,
7 Almost five hundred years ago,
8 To see the townsfolk suffer so
9 From vermin, was a pity.

10 Rats!
11 They fought the dogs and killed the cats,
12 And bit the babies in the cradles,
13 And ate the cheeses out of the vats,
14 And licked the soup from the cooks' own ladles,
15 Split open the kegs of salted sprats,
16 Made nests inside men's Sunday hats,
17 And even spoiled the women's chats,
18 By drowning their speaking
19 With shrieking and squeaking
20 In fifty different sharps and flats.

21 At last the people in a body
22 To the Town Hall came flocking:
23 ``Tis clear,'' cried they, ``our Mayor's a noddy;
24 ``And as for our Corporation -- shocking
25 ``To think we buy gowns lined with ermine
26 ``For dolts that can't or won't determine
27 ``What's best to rid us of our vermin!
28 ``You hope, because you're old and obese,
29 ``To find in the furry civic robe ease?
30 ``Rouse up, sirs! Give your brains a racking
31 ``To find the remedy we're lacking,
32 ``Or, sure as fate, we'll send you packing!''
33 At this the Mayor and Corporation
34 Quaked with a mighty consternation.

35 An hour they sat in council,
36 At length the Mayor broke silence:
37 ``For a guilder I'd my ermine gown sell;
38 ``I wish I were a mile hence!
39 ``It's easy to bid one rack one's brain --
40 ``I'm sure my poor head aches again,
41 ``I've scratched it so, and all in vain
42 ``Oh for a trap, a trap, a trap!''
43 Just as he said this, what should hap
44 At the chamber door but a gentle tap?
45 ``Bless us,'' cried the Mayor, ``what's that?''
46 (With the Corporation as he sat,
47 Looking little though wondrous fat;
48 Nor brighter was his eye, nor moister
49 Than a too-long-opened oyster,
50 Save when at noon his paunch grew mutinous
51 For a plate of turtle green and glutinous)
52 `Only a scraping of shoes on the mat?
53 ``Anything like the sound of a rat
54 ``Makes my heart go pit-a-pat!''

55 ``Come in!'' -- the Mayor cried, looking bigger
56 And in did come the strangest figure!
57 His queer long coat from heel to head
58 Was half of yellow and half of red,
59 And he himself was tall and thin,
60 With sharp blue eyes, each like a pin,
61 And light loose hair, yet swarthy skin
62 No tuft on cheek nor beard on chin,
63 But lips where smile went out and in;
64 There was no guessing his kith and kin:
65 And nobody could enough admire
66 The tall man and his quaint attire.
67 Quoth one: ``It's as my great-grandsire,
68 ``Starting up at the Trump of Doom's tone,
69 ``Had walked this way from his painted tombstone!''

70 He advanced to the council-table:
71 And, ``Please your honours,'' said he, ``I'm able,
72 ``By means of a secret charm, to draw
73 ``All creatures living beneath the sun,
74 ``That creep or swim or fly or run,
75 ``After me so as you never saw!
76 ``And I chiefly use my charm
77 ``On creatures that do people harm,
78 ``The mole and toad and newt and viper;
79 ``And people call me the Pied Piper.''
80 (And here they noticed round his neck
81 A scarf of red and yellow stripe,
82 To match with his coat of the self-same cheque;
83 And at the scarf's end hung a pipe;
84 And his fingers, they noticed, were ever straying
85 As if impatient to be playing
86 Upon this pipe, as low it dangled
87 Over his vesture so old-fangled.)
88 ``Yet,'' said he, ``poor piper as I am,
89 ``In Tartary I freed the Cham,
90 ``Last June, from his huge swarms of gnats,
91 ``I eased in Asia the Nizam
92 ``Of a monstrous brood of vampyre-bats:
93 ``And as for what your brain bewilders,
94 ``If I can rid your town of rats
95 ``Will you give me a thousand guilders?''
96 ``One? fifty thousand!'' -- was the exclamation
97 Of the astonished Mayor and Corporation.

98 Into the street the Piper stept,
99 Smiling first a little smile,
100 As if he knew what magic slept
101 In his quiet pipe the while;
102 Then, like a musical adept,
103 To blow the pipe his lips he wrinkled,
104 And green and blue his sharp eyes twinkled,
105 Like a candle-flame where salt is sprinkled;
106 And ere three shrill notes the pipe uttered,
107 You heard as if an army muttered;
108 And the muttering grew to a grumbling;
109 And the grumbling grew to a mighty rumbling;
110 And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
111 Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
112 Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
113 Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
114 Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
115 Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
116 Families by tens and dozens,
117 Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives --
118 Followed the Piper for their lives.
119 From street to street he piped advancing,
120 And step for step they followed dancing,
121 Until they came to the river Weser
122 Wherein all plunged and perished!
123 -- Save one who, stout as Julius Caesar,
124 Swam across and lived to carry
125 (As he, the manuscript he cherished)
126 To Rat-land home his commentary:
127 Which was, ``At the first shrill notes of the pipe,
128 ``I heard a sound as of scraping tripe,
129 ``And putting apples, wondrous ripe,
130 ``Into a cider-press's gripe:
131 ``And a moving away of pickle-tub-boards,
132 ``And a leaving ajar of conserve-cupboards,
133 ``And a drawing the corks of train-oil-flasks,
134 ``And a breaking the hoops of butter-casks:
135 ``And it seemed as if a voice
136 ``(Sweeter far than by harp or by psaltery
137 ``Is breathed) called out, `Oh rats, rejoice!
138 ```The world is grown to one vast drysaltery!
139 ```So munch on, crunch on, take your nuncheon,
140 ```Breakfast, supper, dinner, luncheon!'
141 ``And just as a bulky sugar-puncheon,
142 ``All ready staved, like a great sun shone
143 ``Glorious scarce an inch before me,
144 ``Just as methought it said, `Come, bore me!'
145 `` -- I found the Weser rolling o'er me.''

146 You should have heard the Hamelin people
147 Ringing the bells till they rocked the steeple
148 ``Go,'' cried the Mayor, ``and get long poles,
149 ``Poke out the nests and block up the holes!
150 ``Consult with carpenters and builders,
151 ``And leave in our town not even a trace
152 ``Of the rats!'' -- when suddenly, up the face
153 Of the Piper perked in the market-place,
154 With a, ``First, if you please, my thousand guilders!''

155 A thousand guilders! The Mayor looked blue;
156 So did the Corporation too.
157 For council dinners made rare havoc
158 With Claret, Moselle, Vin-de-Grave, Hock;
159 And half the money would replenish
160 Their cellar's biggest butt with Rhenish.
161 To pay this sum to a wandering fellow
162 With a gipsy coat of red and yellow!
163 ``Beside,'' quoth the Mayor with a knowing wink,
164 ``Our business was done at the river's brink;
165 ``We saw with our eyes the vermin sink,
166 ``And what's dead can't come to life, I think.
167 ``So, friend, we're not the folks to shrink
168 ``From the duty of giving you something to drink,
169 ``And a matter of money to put in your poke;
170 ``But as for the guilders, what we spoke
171 ``Of them, as you very well know, was in joke.
172 ``Beside, our losses have made us thrifty.
173 ``A thousand guilders! Come, take fifty!''

174 The Piper's face fell, and he cried,
175 ``No trifling! I can't wait, beside!
176 ``I've promised to visit by dinner-time
177 ``Bagdad, and accept the prime
178 ``Of the Head-Cook's pottage, all he's rich in,
179 ``For having left, in the Caliph's kitchen,
180 ``Of a nest of scorpions no survivor:
181 ``With him I proved no bargain-driver,
182 ``With you, don't think I'll bate a stiver!
183 ``And folks who put me in a passion
184 ``May find me pipe after another fashion.''

185 ``How?'' cried the Mayor, ``d'ye think I brook
186 ``Being worse treated than a Cook?
187 ``Insulted by a lazy ribald
188 ``With idle pipe and vesture piebald?
189 ``You threaten us, fellow? Do your worst,
190 ``Blow your pipe there till you burst!''

191 Once more he stept into the street,
192 And to his lips again
193 Laid his long pipe of smooth straight cane;
194 And ere he blew three notes (such sweet
195 Soft notes as yet musician's cunning
196 Never gave the enraptured air)
197 There was a rustling that seemed like a bustling
198 Of merry crowds justling at pitching and hustling,
199 Small feet were pattering, wooden shoes clattering,
200 Little hands clapping and little tongues chattering,
201 And, like fowls in a farm-yard when barley is scattering,
202 Out came the children running.
203 All the little boys and girls,
204 With rosy cheeks and flaxen curls,
205 And sparkling eyes and teeth like pearls,
206 Tripping and skipping, ran merrily after
207 The wonderful music with shouting and laughter.

208 The Mayor was dumb, and the Council stood
209 As if they were changed into blocks of wood,
210 Unable to move a step, or cry
211 To the children merrily skipping by,
212 -- Could only follow with the eye
213 That joyous crowd at the Piper's back.
214 But how the Mayor was on the rack,
215 And the wretched Council's bosoms beat,
216 As the Piper turned from the High Street
217 To where the Weser rolled its waters
218 Right in the way of their sons and daughters!
219 However he turned from South to West,
220 And to Koppelberg Hill his steps addressed,
221 And after him the children pressed;
222 Great was the joy in every breast.
223 ``He never can cross that mighty top!
224 ``He's forced to let the piping drop,
225 ``And we shall see our children stop!''
226 When, lo, as they reached the mountain-side,
227 A wondrous portal opened wide,
228 As if a cavern was suddenly hollowed;
229 And the Piper advanced and the children followed,
230 And when all were in to the very last,
231 The door in the mountain-side shut fast.
232 Did I say, all? No! One was lame,
233 And could not dance the whole of the way;
234 And in after years, if you would blame
235 His sadness, he was used to say, --
236 ``It's dull in our town since my playmates left!
237 ``I can't forget that I'm bereft
238 ``Of all the pleasant sights they see,
239 ``Which the Piper also promised me.
240 ``For he led us, he said, to a joyous land,
241 ``Joining the town and just at hand,
242 ``Where waters gushed and fruit-trees grew,
243 ``And flowers put forth a fairer hue,
244 ``And everything was strange and new;
245 ``The sparrows were brighter than peacocks here,
246 ``And their dogs outran our fallow deer,
247 ``And honey-bees had lost their stings,
248 ``And horses were born with eagles' wings;
249 ``And just as I became assured
250 ``My lame foot would be speedily cured,
251 ``The music stopped and I stood still,
252 ``And found myself outside the hill,
253 ``Left alone against my will,
254 ``To go now limping as before,
255 ``And never hear of that country more!''

256 Alas, alas for Hamelin!
257 There came into many a burgher's pate
258 A text which says that heaven's gate
259 Opes to the rich at as easy rate
260 As the needle's eye takes a camel in!
261 The mayor sent East, West, North and South,
262 To offer the Piper, by word of mouth,
263 Wherever it was men's lot to find him,
264 Silver and gold to his heart's content,
265 If he'd only return the way he went,
266 And bring the children behind him.
267 But when they saw 'twas a lost endeavour,
268 And Piper and dancers were gone for ever,
269 They made a decree that lawyers never
270 Should think their records dated duly
271 If, after the day of the month and year,
272 These words did not as well appear,
273 ``And so long after what happened here
274 ``On the Twenty-second of July,
275 ``Thirteen hundred and seventy-six:''
276 And the better in memory to fix
277 The place of the children's last retreat,
278 They called it, the Pied Piper's Street --
279 Where any one playing on pipe or tabor,
280 Was sure for the future to lose his labour.
281 Nor suffered they hostelry or tavern
282 To shock with mirth a street so solemn;
283 But opposite the place of the cavern
284 They wrote the story on a column,
285 And on the great church-window painted
286 The same, to make the world acquainted
287 How their children were stolen away,
288 And there it stands to this very day.
289 And I must not omit to say
290 That in Transylvania there's a tribe
291 Of alien people who ascribe
292 The outlandish ways and dress
293 On which their neighbours lay such stress,
294 To their fathers and mothers having risen
295 Out of some subterraneous prison
296 Into which they were trepanned
297 Long time ago in a mighty band
298 Out of Hamelin town in Brunswick land,
299 But how or why, they don't understand.

300 So, Willy, let me and you be wipers
301 Of scores out with all men -- especially pipers!
302 And, whether they pipe us free from rats or from mice,
303 If we've promised them aught, let us keep our promise!

Mr Gall

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Exploring Symbols and Setting.

*consider the importance of place in the novel.
*analyse symbolism, motifs and settings.

We then summarised the importance of one setting within The Great Gatsby, in 23 words.

"The two eggs are of vital importance in the novel as they show the effects of the economic changes that have taken place"

We then looked at an extract from David Lodge, in which he explained the changes of the function of setting and the importance it has. After, we came up with our own ideas:

  • Novelists make the readers "see" the setting through vivid descriptions, this is fairly new in novels.

  • Setting can reflect characters and can emphasise their feelings, moods.

  • Settings have equal importance to characters. Are just as animated as characters.

  • Can also reflect themes, events, social context.

Symbol: an image that stands for something bigger (idea, belief, feeling)

Motif: recurring word, phrase, image, object or idea that runs through a text. Motifs are part of the structure of a novel and can be used to develop themes.

Themes: an ida/concept/ issue that runs throughout. We might see this as what the story is 'about'. Themes might be seen through motifs.

In groups, we then began to look at different objects, analysing what they could symbolise.

- industrialisation
- new wealth
- modernism
- transport
- feeling of empowerment
- 'fallic' representation
- direction/ lack of
- society becoming mechanical/ robotic
- overtaking romanticism
- mobility (social)

- envy
- money
- isolation
- jealousy
- nature
- success
- positivity

- Nick's observant behaviour
- Fitzgerald's detailed writing
- deception
- hidden truth
- omniscience
- judgement
- honesty

- wealth
- seclusion
- change in social mobility
- closure
- protection
- new life
- fragility

- death
- damage to land
- grey = modernity taking over
- lifelessness

What is symbolic realism?
Symbolic realism is when an object/idea/concept is taken from the real world and transformed into something else, something magical.

In partners, we then focused on a setting and the symbol behind that.

Me and Jack looked at 'The Valley of Ashes':

colour: grey, dull, monotonous.
symbolic realism: the Valley of Ashes can be seen as the lost world between the two eggs. The image created can also forebode the dark times of what is to come, the wall street crash, a time of unexpected bleak sadness.
repeated images: ash-grey men, grey cars, grey land.
mood and atmosphere (nick): Nick sees the valley of ashes as the full extent of modernism. This is the effect of industrialisation.
style - (romantic modernism): The description of the Valley of Ashes lacks romantic language, as modernism has taken over.
contrasts with other settings: The Valley of Ashes, compared to other settings lacks a sense of romanticism. It is very bland and opens Nick's eyes to an unfamilar sight.


Sunday, 4 March 2012

'Porphyria's Lover' by Robert Browning


Interpret the principal aspects of ‘Porphyria’s Lover’
Apply this analysis in answering an Aa question

We first considered different actions lovers might take if they could not be with their love, for example: write a song, move on, win them over.

Reading the dramatic monologue 'Porphyria's Lover', we were able to recognise key moments when Porphyria enters the cottage, when the man responds to her declaration of love, the strangling, followed by the final scene, where the emotionally unstable man recognises an absence of punishment.

Students retold the narrative pictorially in order to engage with the narrative, which was successfully reduced.

The following model for Aa answer was shared:

Browning also establishes characters who contrast with one another to anticipate what will happen to Porphyria at the hands of the dominant male character. The man is introduced as an emotionally unstable listener: ‘I listened with a heart fit to break.’ The metaphor ‘fit to break’ reinforces how fragile his emotions are for the rain and ‘sullen wind’ may break his heart. Porphyria, on the other hand, is described according to her actions: ‘straight / She shut the cold out and the storm, / And kneeled and made the cheerless grate / Blaze up’. Anaphora here emphasises Porphyria’s listed actions. Because the man is thoughtful whereas Porphyria is active, the two characters are set up as conflicting. This contrast between the two central figures helps establish an opposition which is at the heart of the narrative: all of Porphyria’s actions are stopped as a result of the man’s instability.

Students recognised that the topic sentence does more than identify an aspect and say it 'helps to tell the story'. We focused on ensuring the topic sentence shows a clear link to the narrative in hand: it should be specific, interesting and track connections from previous paragraphs.

Together, the class wrote the following paragraph analysing the aspect place:
Browning also uses place in order to set up an atmosphere which reflects the narrator’s unstable emotional state. Pathetic fallacy creates a physical portrayal of the male’s chaotic emotions: ‘The rain set early in to-night, / The sullen wind was soon awake’. The personification of the ‘sullen wind’ introduces the idea of a depressive atmosphere which is beginning to arise. Porphyria tries to make the atmosphere inside the cottage comfortable, yet the dark atmosphere seems to make what happens to Porphyria inevitable. Place initiates a sense of foreboding, making the reader aware that the narrative will have tragic or fatal consequences.

It was helpful to note before beginning writing that for the narrative, place reflected the man's dark emotions. This helped to focus our analysis of the aspect's function for the narrative of Porphyria's murder.

Next steps:

Students are to comment on this blog and then add their homework, another paragraph analysing character, voice or key moment.

New revision sessions:

From Tuesday, all students will be required to attend after-school revision sessions from 3.30 - 4.30pm each Tuesdays. These classes will be treated as normal lessons and therefore attendance is mandatory. The sessions will focus on exam preparation.

Mr Gall

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Great Gatsby: Narration and Portrayal of Nick

So in this lesson we focused mainly on the characterisation of Nick and how he tells the story in The Great Gatsby. We also looked at how romantic images, motifs, symbols and ideas are combined with modern styles. We gathered that this use of modern style mixed with romanticism interrupts the narrative and shows corruption of the modern world on romance.

We then moved onto our analysis of chapter two where we made some headlines to summarise: "TOM BREAKS MISTRESSES NOSE".

Analysing nick as a character we found him to be quite judgemental and contradictory, which we found is reflected in the way he tells the story. Like in chapter two when Nick is drunk we suddenly find him calling Ms Wilson by her first name, Myrtle, this expresses nick unreliability when telling the story and gives us an insight into Nicks complex character.

We also looked at a significant quote from nick that pretty much summarises nicks character and his narrative manner at the same time in chapter 2 (page 24).

"I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life"

This quote bring us to see the complexities of Nicks character and links very nicely with the way that we have to remember that nick is telling the story from a retrospective point of view however we often find him switching frames - from being a homodiegetic narrator speaking concurrently, to almost as a hetrodiegetic narrator, retrospectively reporting what is going on. i.e. "Gatsby turned out alright in the end" even though at that point of the story he hasn't even met Mr Gatsby yet.

We then looked at the role of the narrator.

David lodge, The Art of Fiction.

"The choice of the point of view from which the story is told…fundamentally affects the way readers will respond, emotionally and morally, to the fictional character and their actions."

The narrator is used to:
•Present information.

The narrator may also:
•Comment and judge (used by Fitzgerald)
•Directly address the reader
•Be a participant in the story (used by Fitzgerald)
•Be a detached observer (used by Fitzgerald)
•Be ‘transparent’, appearing to speak with the voice of the author

We then looked at the advantages and disadvantages of first person narrative

•Emotional involvement
•A sense of immediacy
•We can identify with narrator

•We only get one viewpoint
•We don't get to see everything

From this we found that Fitzgerald has modified the first person narrative that nick portrays and very smartly makes Nick's character have knowledge of other people and events as well as other characters giving information during dialogue. This allows the reader to have a wider view of the diegesis world that Fitzgerald has created in a way that works around the disadvantages of first person narrative.



  1. comment on this damn blog with character/narritve sheet

  2. read chapter 3

  3. watch video with bold man (W:\English\ENGLISH MR SADGROVE\Year 12\Gatsby videos\VIDEO_TS) even though i dont think it works.