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, 25 January 2012

Aspects of Narrative: KEY MOMENTS.

*identify and analyse key moments in the first half of The Kite Runner.

How do 'Key Moments' help to tell a story?

- changes the narrative (shift in focus)
- changes readers perspective and opinion of characters
- changes setting à when Amir moves to USA
- they pose as milestones, which other aspects help to bring together
- changes the course of the narrative
- 'culminates' à when many smaller key moments lead up to big key moment.


Amir's 'mean streak' (20) - STRUCTURE

- A time gap is represented through the spacing between one paragraph and another. This shows the conversation between Baba and Rahim Khan, had been playing at the forefront of Amir's mind over night.
- Among the smaller paragraph, it is set in its own one-line paragraph. The paragraph decrease to this single line. This builds tension, giving a conclusive idea, proving he does have a 'mean streak'.
- Lack of detail in the moment, showing he is reluctant to talk about the conversation.
- Maybe there is more significance in what isn't said than what is said. This shows that he may not want to show emotion, and prove Baba right; that he is weak.
- Lack of description in aftermath of conversation, contrasting with usual vivid descriptions throughout the book. This demonstrates juxtaposition from highly descriptive conversation - "I could see him searching, reaching for the right words" - between Baba and Rahim Khan, signals change.
- Reported speech compared to direct speech, shows a reduction of speech entirely.

Reporting of a Dream (30) - FORM

- In a dream, there are limitless possibilities, anything can happen. This can be a form of foreshadowing as it could give a preview of what could occur later on, what Amir wants to happen.
- Hassan's dream dominates Amir's story. But Hassan firstly mentions Amir showing his priority lies with Amir. This could also show Amir's selfishness as he would probably have cut Hassan short if the dream didn't involve him.
- "I almost apologized, but I didn't". This looks back at the idea of Amir's 'mean streak', showing it is present.
- In the dream, Amir enters the lake first, shortly followed by Hassan. This is a clear indication to Amir's sense of leadership in their relationship, also he sees Hassan as easily manipulated as he adores Amir so much.
- Within the dream, the monster is non-existent. Which shows it is easier for Amir to defeat; it could be just a figure of his imagination.
- The monster is also likened to that of the monster in Amir’s mind represented by the constant guilt he feels, which he battles to keep under control after the rape.

Sign of healing (40) - LANGUAGE

- Hassan's language changes from chatty to barely even responsive. The doctor is always polite but Hassan appears scared, repeating 'oh'. This foreshadows the fact Hassan will soon become mute as a result of the rape ordeal.
- Repetition of 'oh' also shows he finds it hard to adapt to new situations.
- Lack of words within key moment, show his fear and shortness of vocabulary to respond to the kindness of Baba. This clearly highlights Hassan's illiteracy, as usually he can hold a conversation however not so much now.
- Hassan’s naivety and innocence shows itself as he is focused entirely on whether it will hurt.
- He is stunned at the gesture Baba had given to him, with a simple "thank you". Again, saying only a few words when he speaks. Showing Hassan is out of his depth at this point.


Sunday, 22 January 2012


At the start of this lesson we looked at who we think rules the world? men or women.
The ideas we gathered were; that no gender is superior or inferior to the other. We live in a patriarchal society where men are domineering and women are trying to get a fairer chance.

We drew a world with the word 'diegesis' in the middle, meaning the world of the story or narrative. Along with this word we learnt two other words:
*homodiegetic narrator - a narrator who is also a character in the world of the story he tells. (for example, amir in the kite runner)
*heterodiegetic narratore - a narrator who is outside of the world of the story he tells. (for example, morgan freeman in shawshank redemption)

In this lesson we looked at the narrative poem, Godiva (written in 1842), who is the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia. Leofric was an evil man who raised the taxes but then the people in the town would be left starving, Godiva who felt sorry for them, asked her husband to lower them. He challenged her to ride around the town naked and then he would lower them. He didn't think she would go through with it but when she did she was known as a top figure of Coventry.

We noticed that Godiva was a framed narrative as it is a story within a story, it starts with a prologue with a narrative voice with retrospective phrases. Then the second part sets up the narrative for a second time with a concurrent version.
*retrospective - past
*concurrent - present
The prologue; sets up the narrative, the place and the characters.
"I waited for the train of Coventry;
I hung with grooms and porters on the bridge,
To watch the three tall spires; and there I shaped
The city's ancient legend into this:"
It creates a narrative gap of mystery as it doesn't reveal a lot and ends with 'this'. We discovered that it could have been Tennyson who wrote the prologue.

Throughout the poem, Godiva is shown to be a powerful woman through the language. We determined that Godiva is different from The Lady of Shallot and Mariana. Godiva does things that she believes in and doesn't let anything get her down. Whereas, The Lady of Shallot and Mariana were victims to patriarchy and didn't seem to be strong women like Godiva. leofric is shown throughout the poem as a manipulative man who sees Godiva as his possesion.

Saturday, 21 January 2012

aspects of narrative: PLACES

Aspects of Narrative: PLACES

*interpret the function of place in The Kite Runner.
*Analyse how place is constructed using structure, language and form.

Why did Amir leave Afghanistan?
- There was a war taking place and Russia was taking over the territory and gaining a sense of power and control over the country.
- Leaving was his idea of escaping from the past and gaining a new lifestyle in new, unfamiliar surroundings.
- At the age of 18, he has a sense of independence from his Baba, and a new surrounding would allow him to break free from this patronising control Baba has over him.

Why did Amir return to Afghanistan?
- Because he recieved a call from his friend Rahim Khan, during which he was reassured that "there is a way to be good again."

DIASPORA = the spread of culture to different areas.

A SENSE OF PLACE = ‘effects in fiction are plural and interconnected, each drawing on and contributing to all the others’
What is meant by this is that it is difficult to focus on an individual aspect of narrative, as we often link more than one together, such as setting with place, and beginning with end.

AFGHANISTAN 1981 – We thought about why this image would upset Baba and formed the idea that this image demonstrates the country to be deteriorating. This would upset Baba as he is witnessing his home land transforming into this fallen country, though he is proud of its previous state from his upbringing, therefore it is saddening to witness such a change, as he is aware of the poor conditions his home land now provides and is certain it will not change.

In the opening of Chapter 10, a sense of place is identified through:
- A different language being included, shown through the use of italics.
- Auditory imagery emphasises the echoes within his mind.
- Senses. Taste – “ throat tasting bile.”
- Physical reaction to this place – symptoms of an anxiety attack every time he thinks about the past. Not familiar with the new surroundings.
- His sickness implies that it is not a physical place, but a metaphorical place, as it is within his mind, buried amongst his thoughts.
- No longer a happy place where he grew up, but a place he is now uneasy in, as if he is unfamiliar with it.
- Foreshadowing – constant reference to memories. Suggests he is trying to relieve a sense of comfort by reliving happy memories of the place from his past with Baba.

We then watched a clip of Inge Missmahl stating the conditions within Afghanistan:
- Average age = 17
- 70% of the population are illiterate
- Most of the population have grown up amongst the war
- Recites the words; shame, fear, bad health, cultural conflict, poor country, malnutrition.
These conditions emphasise the poverty within Afghanistan, and the unbearable living conditions found within the country.

We looked at the opening of Chapter 11. We established that Baba does not fit in to the new place, he is uncomfortable with the surroundings he is now forced to face. This is presented in the first two lines:
Baba loved the idea of America.
It was living in America that gave him an ulcer.
By looking at the language in the line “Baba was the lone Republican in our building” we can identify his incongruity within the new place.
“lone” = different, separate, individual.
“our” = together, shared, ownership, integration.

This displays structural juxtaposition as the contradicting ideas are within the same sentence.

Sense of place -> refugee finding it hard to adapt to new conditions -> adjusting to new home -> memories tie him to his old home -> his afghan culture.
These ties will drag them back to Afghanistan.

We then looked at the opening of Chapter 13 and identified a sense of place in California and Afghan culture still present:
- Their home language, displayed in italics
- The ceremony = a tradition from Afghan culture
- Ford = symbol of American industry
- Auditory imagery – afghan music playing as a way of celebrating their traditions
- Greeting in their cultural way
These aspects included suggest the characters are presenting the idea of ‘Diaspora’ as they are merging their Afghan culture with their current place.

‘With The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini has used the story to reflect on the historical events that surround it, but also uses the history to highlight the protagonist’s journey.’

Hosseini does this by using an individual's experience to highlight a national and cultural problem: that of how Afghanistan can move on from conflict.

What is the function of ‘place’ in telling the story?
- Its function is to elaborate the culture within the story. The place helps to tell the story by building the situation up. We are presented with the idea that another place would create a different situation; therefore the significance of this specific place is displayed. Also, the place within the story represents different themes. In this story, Afghanistan represents the themes of conflict and disputation. Whilst America represents the themes of security, safety and opportunity.

How is ‘place’ constructed in the text?
- Through language, description, imagery, senses. These features allow the reader to create an idea of the place in their mind, enabling them to visualise the surroundings. Also through juxtapositions as the two different countries are displayed through two different ideas, contrasted together.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Mariana by Alfred Tennyson

Wednesday 18th January- Mr Sadrove

At the beginning of the class, we looked at what at a photograph of the Spice Girls and think if it represented "girl power". Discussing with the class, a few ideas came up was about how women were made subordinate in a patriarchal society and culture. The point of talking about girl power was to compare it to a woman named Mariana and see if she represents girl power by fighting back to whatever has happened to her.

Secondly, we looked at only the first two lines of the poem and talk about how the setting is used

With blackest moss the flower- plots
Were thickly crusted, one and all:

We discussed about how the word "blackest" gives off a negative and dark imagery, perhaps creating the ambience of the poem through the opening. A lot of ideas that arose were the sense of things decaying and deteriorating. Due to "moss" growing only after something or some place has been abandoned for a long time, this could maybe be a metaphor for the Mariana's life and how she too has be abandoned by someone. The word "crusted" connotes for lack of life and gives off an imagery of stasis. Moving on the aspects of narrative, these constant links to settings in the opening of the poem, insinuates it's importance just like in "The Lady of Shalott", where if Tennyson didn't write about the setting, the vital contrast between the two places could not be shown.

Thirdly, we read an extract about 'The Sense of Place' and how it was a quite late development in the history of poems. Mikhail Bakhtin had declared about how in early romance novels in the mid 1800's, the setting was "interchangeable backcloths for the plot" of the poem. This tells us how in the olden times, the setting wasn't particularly important and the poets made no attempt on making the readers "see" the surroundings of the character(s). In contrast, a modern poem, Mariana, Tennyson uses hyperbolic lexical choice creating a mental landscape for the readers to really see the surroundings. Moving away from the tunnel vision and explore the setting in order to create a lifeless atmosphere to echo the character's passive state. The purpose of setting is vital as it creates a sensory impact on the character, therefore the reader. It is said to open "people's eyes to the sublime beauty of landscape".

Lastly, we read the poem and analysing different aspects of narrative, such as; setting, title, epigraph, ring composition and the focalised narration (third person limited narration) of the first stanza.
A new structural term that we learnt in this lesson was the "ring composition". It is a structural device where a narrative is organised by symmetrically repeated material, which can be achieved by a word, image, rhyme e.t.c, or just in simple words its where the poem starts and ends at the same place. Also, just to clarify, a pathetic fallacy is where a person's feeling is used to inanimate objects or surroundings. For example; "the lonely moated grange" in this poem.

Historical context:
Mariana, who is originally from a Shakespearean play called "Measure for Measure". The protagonist lives outside Venetian society in a secluded "moated grange". She is betrothed to Angelo, who broke off their engagement and throughout the poem she seems to be waiting for him to return, whom unfortunately never does.

Again, similar to The Lady of Shalott, the poem is written in trochaic tetrameter containing four trochaic foot and eight tetrameters. The stanzas are divided into three quatrains (four lines) with the rhyming scheme of A B A B C D D C E F E F. The rhyming couplets are trapped in the middle of the poem by the quatrains showing her place geographically as she is in the centre, surrounded by a moat which is similar to The Lady of Shalott, who is detached from the rest of the world by being placed in an island. Here, we receive a sense of isolation and abandonment both the characters. However, the significant difference is that the Lady does acts upon the curse and out of her comfort zone, representing "girl power". In contrast to Mariana, who pities herself and hopes to die.
There is a repetition of the last quatrain in every stanza, suggesting the lack of movement of the character, mentally and physically.

The final point I'd like to mention is that in the first stanza, the objects are described to be not fulfilling their potential and doing the exact opposite of what they're supposed to be doing. This can be seen as the "nails" are rusty and falling off, instead of holding something in place. The sheds are "broken" and looks "sad and strange", which is a form of pathetic fallacy.

So, this is all what we did this lesson, I hope to have covered all the aspects of narrative and new terms we learnt that lesson. If there is any confusion or anything I have missed out on, feel feel to ask me or comment on the blog.

Lisa (:

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

The Lady Of Shallot

The lady of shallot is a poem by Alfred Tennyson, based on the Arthurian legend of morte d' arthur by Thomas Mallory.

the poem begins with the setting being laid out by the first stanza:

On either side the river lie
long fields of barley and of rye
that clothe the wold and meet the sky;
To many tower'd Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
gazing where the lilies blow
round an island there below,
the island of shallot

this stanza sets out the land that the poem is based upon, with large fields and a river surrounding the city of Camelot, the repetition of "to many tower'd Camelot" shows that everyone knows of Camelot and often travel there, while the contrast of the many towers of Camelot and the island of shallot being described as "below" could possibly be a metaphor for heaven and earth.

the next stanza includes a description of the island of shallot

Four Gray walls, and four Gray towers
overlook a space of flowers
and the silent isle imbowers
the lady of shallot

the use of four Gray walls and four Gray towers, dulls your sense of colour, and seems boring and monotonous, the word "space" used in the next line shows emptiness in the island save for a few flowers in the middle, while silence shows the lack of action in the castle. this drastically contrasts with the image we receive of Camelot, everything seems to be moving;

willows whiten, aspens quiver
little breezes dusk and shiver
thro' the wave that runs for ever
by the island in the river
flowing down to Camelot;

The fact that everything seems to be moving even the slightest breeze, adds the sense of feeling that Camelot is a happy place, full of action and movement, and the word "by" insinuates that even the wave wants to avoid the island of shallot

Throughout the poem we notice huge amounts of contrast between both Camelot and shallot, but they are always linked together through the rhyme scheme of A, A, A, A, B, C, C, C, B
with Camelot and shallot linked so closely we are forced as the reader to analyse their differences and compare how we view them from different points of view.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Point of View - Narrative Perspective

In the previous lesson, we looked at aspects of narrative, points of view. we have already established that 'The Kite Runner' is told in the first person point of view by the main character Amir who tells us his life as a child 'til a specific event happens that changs his life.

‘IF YOU REALLY WANT TO HEAR about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two haemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretty personal about them. They're quite touchy about anything like that, especially my father. They're nice and all, I'm not saying that-but they're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything.’ The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger.

This is told in a first person point of view, as the narrator uses 'I' alot and straight away starts to tell us small parts of his/her life. We can also tell that it is being told by a younger person (teenager.) 1. Because they mention there parents 2. The languaged used " And all that David Copperfield kind of crap" is something s typical teenager would say. We could also say, if we were to read the entire story, we as the reader would go through the narrators life as he/she does and neither one would know what is to happen next.

‘LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth, and it would not be wonderful to meet a Megalosaurus, forty feet long or so, waddling like an elephantine lizard up Holborn Hill. Smoke lowering down from chimney-pots, making a soft black drizzle, with flakes of soot in it as big as full-grown snow-flakes — gone into mourning, one might imagine, for the death of the sun. Dogs, undistinguishable in mire. Horses, scarcely better; splashed to their very blinkers. Foot passengers, jostling one another’s umbrellas in a general infection of ill-temper, and losing their foot-hold at street-corners, where tens of thousands of other foot passengers have been slipping and sliding since the day broke (if the day ever broke), adding new deposits to the crust upon crust of mud, sticking at those points tenaciously to the pavement, and accumulating at compound interest.’ Bleak House, Charles Dickens.

This is told in Third person. we can tell becuse the word 'I' is not used. We are told at the very beginning, where we are, London. The entire extract is a very descriptive, painting us an image of what is infront of us when we read. unlike the other extract, being told in Third person gives us a different view on the story. either knowing whats going to happen before it eventully does happpen. A first person story might not be as descriptive as a Thrid person story, mainly because we are concentrated on one or more character, for instance 'The Kite Runner.' We follow the story of one main character, every other character we have mett so far has been described and introduced to us from our main character. We have not heard directly from the other characters.


Friday, 6 January 2012

Aspects of Narrative

Today in lesson we:

Firstly looked at four cartoons which all showed the same story, except they told the story from different points of view. The first cartoon showed the story from a the man's point of view and had an element of pace and movement about it, whereas the second was from the woman's, and had more of a static feel about it. However, we recognised that both of them had the key aspect of character. The third focused more on the the dialogue, and lacked focus on detail/setting with focus being more on the actions of the characters. The last cartoon contains the key aspects of detail and setting, with this version of the story making readers look at attention to detail.

We associated the first stanza of the poem "The Lady of Shalott" with the fourth cartoon, as like each picture, the poem goes into great detail.


- Setting
- Characters- Sir Lancelot/Lady of Shalott
- Structural contrast- Shalott vs Camelot
- Title
- Beginning/end

Tells a story:
- Openings
- Key moments
- Endings
- Other structure points= settings/places/type of story/source
- Language
- Structure
- Form

We also looked at how Camelot and Shalott differ, for example Camelot is where all of the action and real world activity is happening, whereas Shalott is quiet and inactive.
Real world activity (Camelot):
- "Long fields of barley and rye"
- "road runs"
- "up and down the people go"
- "river winding clearly"
- "Only reapers, reaping early"
- "Song that echoes"
- "Knights come running"

Shalott- inactivity:
- "silent isle imbowers"
- "a space of flowers"
- "who hath seen her wave her hand?"
- "four gray walls and four gray towers"

Lastly, we looked at how the poet tells the story through key aspects, using language, structure and form.