Archive for the ‘English A1’ Category

common pitfalls (IOC)

Posted: February 7, 2011 in English A1

If you fail to:

– Establishing context (speaker)

– Discuss the style, instead put time (too much) on contents

–  Interpretation order

– Title

– Dates

-Central Tension

– Running comm.

– Identify key feautures/literary devices

– Form  – content

– Structure

 

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Biographical references: Yeats was in love with Maud Gonne, obsessed with her but could not marry her as she was married, but they were friends. Mrs Kathleen Pitcher is Maud’s sister. This could be the people in the poem. Maud the mild woman and the friend her sister.

Title? Adam: man

Man’s curse, biblical reference/illusion, tempted by snake, ate the apple and sent to earth as punishment. Adam was cursed to work hard, labour was his curse. All men were cursed to do all labour and women were cursed to give labour, pain is her curse. the labour is holy and important as only the title has a biblical illusion and the rest of the poem does not. Biblical illusions are very common in his time.

Significance? life is hard like when adam was to earth from the garden of eden

Speakers?

-we: one man, on mild woman, another woman

1st stanza is yeats, 2nd stanza is Someone else, 3rd stanza yeats

Addressed? the poem is dedicated to the women he loves, only for your ears

1st Stanza: Talks about how poems are hard to right and that poetry is hard labour, also refers to hard practical work that is appreciated more than poetry. It has an understated grace. Even though poems seem to be natural and easy they are much more complicated than you think. Claim for poetry.

2nd Stanza: Claim for being beautiful. It is not easy to be beautiful and keep yourself physically beautiful. This is all said by the friend. Then  Yeats claims that even love needs hard labour. That to find the beauty of love, is hard to find and it is not easy like you can find it in books.

3rd Stanza: Moon is  metaphor and is the effects of time. Effects of time on human love. This poem was only for her ears, his lover. Strive is another word for labour that you push yourself for something, which is another implication of labour. Sad in the end not so happy.

Structure:

Rhymes with heroic couplets, ex: yet/set. Except the last couplets and the last stanza is quite different. Which also mean that there is hard labour behind the structure, and it is not just structured randomly.

English Homework!

Posted: February 2, 2011 in English A1

1. Sum up Chapter 6 in your own words and describe the key events in this chapter briefly.

– It’s Spring, Claudia says this season is like being whipped with a switch instead of a strap.

– Claudia is in an empty place alone then goes home,  finds her mother singing and acting weird, doing the same thing twice. Frieda is crying because Henry touched Frieda’s breasts. Frieda told her parents what had happened, but Henry was gone. Mr. and Mrs. MacTeer attacked him, when he came back.

– A neighbour gave Mr. MacTeer a gun. He shot at Henry and he ran away. Rosemary came and told Frieda that her father would go to jail, and Frieda hit her. Then another neighbor, Miss Dunion, came in and suggested that they take Frieda to the doctor because she might be ”ruined”.

– Frieda and Claudia don’t know what “ruined” means and worry that Frieda will become fat like the Maginot Line. They say that China and Poland are “ruined” as well but think that they are not fat because they drink whiskey.

– Frieda and Claudia decide to ask Pecola to get whisky from her father in order to keep Frieda from getting fat. They go to Pecola’s house, but no one is home. The Maginot Line is upstairs on the porch drinking root beer,  she invites the girls upstairs for a soda, but Frieda tells her that they are not allowed to visit her because she is “ruined.” The Maginot Line throws the root-beer bottle at the girls in anger, but then she laughs.

– Frieda and Claudia walk to the lakefront houses, they find Pecola at the back of one of the prettiest houses. She is surprised to see them, and they ask her why she is not afraid of the Maginot Line. Pecola is confused and talks about how nice Miss  Maginot Line and her friends are. The inside of the house is beautiful, and a small white girl comes in and asks for “Polly.” Claudia is furious that the child calls Mrs. Breedlove by this name because even Pecola calls her mother “Mrs. Breedlove.” From upstairs, the little girl calls for Polly, and Pecola accidentally pulls a freshly baked berry cobbler off the counter. The cobbler splatters on the floor and burns her, and her mother comes in and beats her. Furious, Mrs. Breedlove sends the girls away and comforts the little white girl, who has begun to cry.

2. Discuss and analyse the incident with Henry.

Frieda is crying because Henry touched her breasts. Frieda told her parents what had happened, but Henry was gone. Mr. and Mrs. MacTeer attacked him, when he came back. A neighbour gave Mr. MacTeer a gun. He shot at Henry and he ran away. Rosemary came and told Frieda that her father would go to jail, and Frieda hit her. Then another neighbor, Miss Dunion, came in and suggested that they take Frieda to the doctor because she might be ”ruined”. Frieda and Claudia don’t know what “ruined” means and worry that Frieda will become fat like the Maginot Line. They say that China and Poland are “ruined” as well but think that they are not fat because they drink whiskey.

3. Sum up chapter 7 in your own words and describe the key events in this chapter briefly.

–  Mrs. Breedlove’s story, grows up in Alabama as Pauline Williams, and when she is two years old, she impales her foot on a nail, afterward, she walks with a slight limp, and she believes that this accident made her destiny. During her childhood, she is isolated from other family members, and therefore cultivates her own pleasures. She enjoys arranging things, creating order and being perfect. Her family moves to Kentucky, Pauline is put in charge of caring for the house and her two younger siblings, Chicken and Pie. She enjoys this life, but once she turns fifteen, she becomes restless and she begins to dream of a stranger; a man, or a god who will take her away with him.

– stranger arrives, pauline is standing in the garden and hears a young man whistling. Suddenly she feels him tickling her bad foot and turns to meet the gaze of Cholly Breedlove. They fall in love, and he is nice to here. They decide to marry and move up north to Lorain, Ohio, where there are more jobs. Then life becomes more difficult. Pauline feels lonely and isolated, and she is surprised by how unfriendly the other women are. They are amused by her country ways. She begins to long for clothes that will make the women look at her differently, and she and Cholly begin to argue about money. Cholly’s drinking becomes a problem.

– Pauline gets her first job as a housekeeper in a white woman’s house. The white woman is well-off but petty and foolish. Her family has dirty habits. One day, Cholly shows up at the woman’s house drunk and demands money, and Pauline leaves her job. The woman will not give her the job back or the rest of her pay unless Pauline leaves Cholly. Pauline refuses and is left without money for cooking gas.

–  Pauline realizes she is pregnant. Cholly is happy and their marriage improves, but Pauline is still lonely in their apartment. She takes refuge in the movies and develops destructive ideas about physical beauty and romantic love. She tries to make herself look like a movie star, but then while chewing candy at a movie, she loses one of her front teeth. From then on, she feels ugly, and she and Cholly begin to fight again. Her first baby fails to fill the hole in her life. She talks to her second baby in the womb, vowing to love her no matter what. When she gives birth in the hospital, a doctor tells a group of students that black women do not feel pain while giving birth; they are “just like horses.” Despite this insult, Pauline is pleased with her new baby, Pecola, but knows the baby is ugly.

– Pauline then takes on her identity as martyr. She joins the church and becomes the family breadwinner, securing a job with the Fishers, a wealthy family who appreciate her good work. She loves her work because it allows her to make things beautiful and orderly. She begins to neglect her own house and family. At times, she remembers the good times with Cholly, when their lovemaking turned everything into rainbows. Now their lovemaking occurs while he is drunk and she is half-asleep.

4. Look further into how this chapter is narrated.

4.morrison shifts perspectives so the readers to use different ways of judging characters. The perspective of Pecola’s mother in the previous chapter was that she behaved terribly towards her daughter but in this chapter we get to know why she did that. Here our perception changes and we get to know that things got like this because of her complicated past.
Pauline narrated this chapter herself so and it gets more personal.
Pauline creates narratives to explain her life.
Morrison uses color to emphasize the beauty of Pauline and Cholly’s relationship. Pauline describes the green flash of the june bugs that she misses from her hometown. When she falls in love with Cholly, this green imagery merges with a memory of having her hips stained purple while picking berries and the yellow of her mother’s lemonade. When she remembers her and Cholly’s lovemaking, these colors reappear and form a rainbow. This repetition gives a lyricism to Pauline’s memories.

5. Give your own account about how Cholly Breedloves story after reading chapter 8.

– Cholly’s point of view in this chapter. Understanding how it was possible for Cholly to commit incest does not change our knowledge that he has caused tremendous suffering to his daughter but does change the how we look at him. Cholly’s violence is not frightening because it is senseless; it is frightening because it makes all too much sense, given the kind of life he has lived. Knowing Cholly’s story may not change the horror of what he does, but it does make his action more bearable to us.

– We sympathize with Cholly not only because he has suffered abandonment, sexual humiliation, and racism, but because there was once real beauty and joy in his life. We are given a long description about the breaking and eating of the watermelon, as if it were “[t]he nasty-sweet guts of the earth.” Cholly’s childlike joy in sharing the heart of the watermelon with Blue Jack is vividly rendered.

6. Discuss the effect Cholly’s account of the rape has for the story – for the reader’s perception and interpretation of the story?

7. Sum up chapter 9 in your own words and describe the key events in this chapter briefly.

-Story Soaphead Church “Reader, Adviser, and Interpreter of Dreams” in Lorain’s black community. A light-skinned West Indian, raised in a family proud of its mixed blood. His family has always been academically and politically ambitious, and always corrupt. Family members have always tried to marry other light-skinned people, and, if unable to do so, they have married one another. Soaphead Church’s father was a sadistic schoolmaster and his half-Chinese mother died soon after he was born. Born Elihue Micah Whitcomb, Soaphead Church soon learned the art of self-deception and developed a fascination and revulsion for dirt and decay.

Soaphead married a woman named Velma, but she left him two months afterward. Next, he pursued the ministry but soon discovered that the profession was not right for him. He studied psychiatry and other social sciences, took different jobs, and finally came to Lorain. He rents a back room from an elderly lady named Bertha Reese, and his only hardship is her old dog, Bob, which disgusts him with its runny eyes. Soaphead buys poison to kill the dog but is too repulsed to go near it.

At this point, Pecola comes to ask him to give her blue eyes. He is touched by this request—his own attraction to whiteness makes it easily comprehensible. He knows he cannot help her, but he tells her to give meat—which he has secretly poisoned—to the dog. He tells her that if the dog reacts, her wish will be granted. The dog convulses and dies, and Pecola runs away.

Soaphead then writes a rambling and incoherent letter to God in which we learn more about his understanding of his life. He still feels rejected by Velma, who left him “the way people leave a hotel room.” He describes his love for the newly budding breasts of young girls (we have already been told that he is a pedophile). He remembers two girls, Doreen and Sugar Babe, who let him touch them in exchange for money and sweets. He tells God that he did not touch Pecola and brags that he has rivaled God by granting her wish—she will not literally have blue eyes, but she will believe she does. Soaphead closes his letter and thinks lovingly about all the miscellaneous objects he has collected. He is asleep when his landlord discovers her dead dog.

8. Soaphead is made into a parody not only to make obvious to us that he is a bad person. Through his character, Morrison also wishes to critique yet another deceptive method of dealing with racial self-hatred. While education may seem to be an escape, the Western education that Soaphead’s family has received reinforces and even exaggerates their self-denial and perversity. While religion may be an escape, it also promotes self-denial and encourages a dangerous, delusional self-righteousness. True freedom and happiness, Morrison suggests, come from a feeling of connectedness with one’s own body, not a denial of it.

 

 

 

Song by John Donne Comments

Posted: January 19, 2011 in English A1
 

Tone

The tone is very cynical andsatiric
It is not known, but one can assume that Donne or someone he cared about very much was hurt by a woman’s infidelity, and Donne expressed that frustration in this poem. It seems he’s lost all hope in honest and fair women completely; since he goes on about how hard one would have to search to find a trace of an honest woman. Therefore, we can assume that he believed the woman who betrayed him was special as well: that he had searched far and wide to find a very special woman.
The speaker first asks who he is speaking to to do impossible things (catching falling stars, recite history perfectly, see who grabs the devils foot), and then he asks them to do something a little more feasible: not to be hurt when one is envious – not to be bothered by envy.
Then, he says that if this person is born with the natural ability to see unbelievable sights or things that are rare if not non-existent, to go search ten thousand days and nights (about 27 years) until the hair on their head is white (they are older – the person who he is speaking to is older already, understands the “whips and scorns” of life). After searching for such a long time with such an amazing seeing ability, the speaker says that this person will see all sorts of strange wonders but never “a woman true and fair.”
IF this supernatural person happens to come across one woman who happens to be honest, the speaker says that even she will fall short of true morality – “yet she / will be/ false.”
Donne also uses to poem’s structure to emphasize his points throughout the poem. After the person would search everywhere and see fantastic things, they would
“swear /
No where”
lives an honest women. Even on a web page, that separation has a very separate, rigid, firm, definite connotation that affirms his belief. In the last stanza, Donne uses that effect again. Even if the seeker finds one woman who happens to seem slightly honest and good, even
“She /
Will be”
dishonest eventually as well. The separation of the 7th and 8th lines is a very efficient method of defining the meaning of this poem.
By using comparisons and poem structure, Donne achieves an effect of utter cynicism and satire.

 

 

Poetic Devices

Besides comparisons and poetic shape, there are several other devices used in the poem to convey Donne’s meaning. Therhyme scheme is abab ddd: more than the scheme, the words that are used in each stanza are emphasized more by the scheme. For example, in the last stanza, Donne writes about the pleasantly surprising event of finding an honest women. The “abab” scheme has a very sing-songy sound to it that sounds as if Donne is actually making fun of someone who would believe the possiblity of finding an honest women. To exaggerate the satire even more, he rhymes the next 2 lines as if to tease the reader into finding out what happanes next in this soap opera. In the last 3 lines, he confrims the female’s infidelity and defines it with the solid pounding of the rhyming line endings.
Some more poetic devices include alliteration, echo, and diction. The first use of alliteration is in line 10: “strange sights.” Obviously that repetition is used to emphasize just how “invisible” (line 11) honest women are. In line 22, Donne uses “might meet” almost as an oxymoron to emphasize woman’s predictability in being unfaithful. The continuous idea that is repeated throughout this poem is that of woman’s unfaithfulness: “No where / Lives a women true and fair… Yet she / Will be / False.” There are some word choices by Donne that pin-point the message he’s trying to convey in the poem: “ten thousand” as a hyperbole to emphasize how hard one should search to find a trace of an honest women; “Age snow white hairs” – by personifying Air, Donne zeroes in on the audience to let us really understand why he’s using so much reprtition in the 2nd stanza – by saying the seeker is getting focused on by Age, he’s really asking us to understand his point of view in realizing how rare honest and fair women are; “Lives” – in line 18,there is an interesting idea that since Donne differentiated between all women and those living women, he could be saying that the only honest women who ever lived was his wife, and this could change the poem’s tone to very reminiscient and wistful – however, that idea is repudiated by the fact that the his Songs and Sonnetswere released long before he even married Anne More; “pilgrimage” – once again, Donne is simply reinforcing the massive efforts one would have to make to find an honest women.
John Donne, as a metaphysical poet, was very colloquial in his poems as far as their rhythm. He wrote in a similar fashion to how his peers communicated. That, as well as the other devices, achieves a very matter-of-fact tone as if he were telling one of his friends, “by the way, there is no honest women alive.”

 

The Flea by John Donne Comments

Posted: January 19, 2011 in English A1

Overall explanation

My copy of the poem notes that “Fleas were a popular subject for jocose[humorous] and amatory[love] poetry in all countries at the Renaissance”. Their popularity stems from an event that happened in a literary salon (a place where poets and others came to recite poetry and converse). The salon was run by two ladies, and on on occassion a flea happened to land upon one lady’s breast. The poets were amazed at the creature’s audacity, and were inspired to write poetry about the beast. It soon became fashionable among poets to write poems about fleas.In this poem, the “I” of the poem is lying in bed with his lover, and trying to get her to give her virginity to him. (It could, of course, quite easily be a FEMALE “I” trying to seduce a MALE, but I will stick with one for convenience). While lying there, he notices a flea, which has obviously bitten them both. Since the 17-century idea was of sex as a “mingling of the blood”, he realises that by mixing their bloods together in its body, the flea has done what she didn’t dare to do. Then, he argues, since the flea has done it, why shouldn’t they? To back up his argument, he refers to the marriage ceremony, which states that “man and woman shall be one flesh”. He argues that since they have mingled their bloods and are therefore “one blood”, they are practically “one flesh” and are therefore married!

Not only does that reinforce his seduction argument, but it also provides ammunition for him to defend himself when the female does the next logical thing and moves to kill the flea. Donne argues that by spilling his blood and hers by killing the flea, she is practically committing murder. Not only that, but by breaking the holy bond of marriage she is committing sacrilege!

However, the flea finally is killed, and the poet is forced to change tactics. There, he argues, killing the flea was easy, and as you say it hasn’t harmed us – well, yielding to me will be just as easy and painless.

This poem borrows a lot of religious imagery, because it helps add an aburd authority to the poem, as Donne tries to argue that what they are about to do is not only supported by God, but to not do it would be heretical.

    Poetic Devices

    • Direct address: Marke this flea
    • Repetition: And Marke this
    • Conceits: Flea > Church > Flea

    Movement Within the Poem

    • First stanza: Contemplative and whimsical
    • Second stanza: Becomes more absurd, pace gets faster
    • Third stanza: Slowing and reversal of argument.
    • Not a good idea to write down, but interesting to note that the pace of the poem follows that of sex – a gradual build-up of intensity leading to the sudden, climactic… death of a flea.

    Imagery

    • Much religious imagery:
    • Confess it
    • one blood made of two(pregnancy)
    • three lives in one flea (holy trinity)

    Generally

    • Circular argument. The flea starts and ends as nothing.
    • Hijacking of marriage ceremony. The Anglican marriage ceremony includes the lines

      Man shall be joined unto his wife and they two shall be one flesh.

    • Argument gains confidence throughout the stanzas, and is then abruptly turned around.
    • Note the role of the female in this poem – her objections are never noted, just reacted to, and she makes the most powerful statement in the poem, yet it is a non-verbal statement (her crushing of the flea)
    • There is a lot of hyperbole in this poem, a technique that Donne often uses to make a point.
    • One blood made of two – in Donne’s time, the sex act was though to be a “mingling of the bloods” – so the line is both lewd and playful, especially as it is followed by the teasing And this, alas, is more than wee would doe.
    • Purpled thy naile- purple was a very expensive colour, associated with royalty and romance. Also note that in the first two lines of this stanza Donne is arguing that the death of the flea is more important than the loss of virginity.
    The Poem Annotations
    Because I could not stop for Death, cckc: alliteration; Death, He: personification/metaphor
    He kindly stopped for me; e,y: end rhyme
    The carriage held but just ourselves el and el:internal rhyme
    And Immortality. Immortality: This word rhymes with civility in Stanza 2, Line 4
    .
    .
    We slowly drove, heknew no haste, e:internal rhyme; kn, n: alliteration
    And I had put away hhhh:alliteration
    My labor, and my leisure too, lll:alliteration
    For his civility. civility: politeness, courtesy
    .
    .
    We passed the school, where children strove We passed: The repetition of these words at the beginning of
    At recess, in the ring; of three lines constitutes anaphora. rr:alliteration
    We passed the fields of gazing grain, school, fields, setting sun: symbols. School is the morning of
    We passed the setting sun. life, childhood; fields, midday of life, the working years; setting
    . sun, the evening of life, dying. gazing: ripe
    .
    .
    Or rather, he passed us; he passed: personification of sun
    The dews grew quivering and chill, ew: internal rhyme. gossamer gown: wedding dress for
    For only gossamer my gown, marrying death; gg: alliteration. tippet: scarf for neck and
    My tippet only tulle. shoulders; tulle: netting. tt: alliteration.
    .
    .
    We paused before a house that seemed house: her tomb, where she will “reside” during eternity
    A swelling of the ground; ss: alliteration with an “s” sound
    The roof was scarcely visible, ss: alliteration with a “z” sound
    The cornice but a mound. cornice: horizontal molding along top of a wall
    .
    .
    Since then ’tis centuries, and yet each ’tis centuries: centuries have passed since her death
    Feels shorter than the day shorter than the day: paradox in which a century is shorter
    I first surmised the horses’ heads than a day
    Were toward eternity. hh: alliteration

    Characters

    Narrator: She is a woman who calmly accepts death. In fact, she seems to welcome death as a suitor who she plans “marry.”
    Death: The suitor who comes calling for the narrator to escort her to eternity.
    Immortality: A passenger in the carriage.
    Children: Boys and girls at play in a schoolyard. They symbolize early life.

    Stanza Format

    Each of the six stanzas has four lines. A four-line stanza is called a quatrain.

    Meter

    In each stanza, the first line has eight syllables (four feet); the second, six syllables (three feet); the third, eight syllables (four feet); and the fourth, six syllables (three feet). In each line (whether eight or six syllables), the first syllable is unstressed, the second is stressed, the third is unstressed, the fourth is stressed, and so on. Thus, the first and third lines of each stanza are in iambic tetrameter, and the second and fourth lines are in iambic trimeter. The following example demonstrates the metric scheme of the first two lines of Stanza 1. The unstressed syllables are in red; the stressed are in blue capital. Over each pair of syllables is a number representing the foot. Also, a black line separates the feet.

     

    Commentary

    Because I Could Not Stop for Death” reveals Emily Dickinson’s calm acceptance of death. It is surprising that she presents the experience as being no more frightening than receiving a gentleman caller–in this case, her fiancé.
    …….The journey to the grave begins in Stanza 1, when Death comes calling in a carriage in which Immortality is also a passenger. As the trip continues in Stanza 2, the carriage trundles along at an easy, unhurried pace, perhaps suggesting that death has arrived in the form of a disease or debility that takes its time to kill. Then, in Stanza 3, the author appears to review the stages of her life: childhood (the recess scene), maturity (the ripe, hence, “gazing” grain), and the descent into death (the setting sun)–as she passes to the other side. There, she experiences a chill because she is not warmly dressed. In fact, her garments are more appropriate for a wedding, representing a new beginning, than for a funeral, representing an end.
    …….Her description of the grave as her “house” indicates how comfortable she feels about death. There after centuries pass, so pleasant is her new life that time seems to stand still, feeling “shorter than a Day.”
    …….The overall theme of the poem seems to be that death is not to be feared since it is a natural part of the endless cycle of nature. Her view of death may also reflect her personality and religious beliefs. On the one hand, as a spinster, she was somewhat reclusive and introspective, tending to dwell on loneliness and death. On the other hand, as a Christian and a Bible reader, she was optimistic about her ultimate fate and appeared to see death as a friend.

    IOC help

    Posted: January 19, 2011 in English A1

    20 min. preparation

    • Make organized and helpful notes
    • Read between the lines
    • 3-4 key ideas, Recognize! Note!
    • Content
    • Interpretation
    • Tone
    • Pace
    • Form
    • Syntax
    • Tension
    • Poetic devices
    • What is interesting?
    • Put it in a context, RELATE
    • Compare to other poems written by author/poem