Monday, 25 June 2007

Study Mat for an effective first reading of Louis de Bernieres' "Captain Corelli's Mandolin"

I call these "Study Mats" because they can be covered in plastic and laid out on students' tables, etc. It's an old idea but worth doing.

What you need to consider as you annotate your text on your first and second reading

AO1 (10%)
Can you write about the text?
Can you show knowledge and understanding of it?
Are you able to use appropriate literary terms about it?
Show insights?
Write about it clearly and accurately?

AO2 Genre and Period• plot construction and development
• content and the treatment of recurring themes
• the defining characteristics of the writer’s work?
• historiographical/postmodernist fiction.

AO3 Methods –Characterisation (5%)
How do the characters develop? Do they change or do they remain the same? (Are they flat or round?)
Internal conflicts and tensions –what are the opposing desires and values in characters’ minds?
characters functions and roles – what are they? Do they change?
Characters’ situations – how are characters affected by the places or situations they find themselves in?
language and ideas – what ideas are associated with characters and how do they use language?
What is the main imagery and symbolism of the novel?

AO3 The style of narration (5%)
-Variation in narrative voices/perspectives
-Why does de Berniere’s vary the style of narration between chapters and even sometimes within a chapter?
-tone: what is the attitude of the narrator(s) to characters and events? Does the tone change? How do characters use tone in their relationships with one another?
-What is the relationship between the narrator(s) and reader at various points in the novel? (For instance, is it didactic, intrusive, informative, etc.
Style and Forms
Satire – who or what is made to look foolish and why? Is the use of satire gentle, savage or dark? What is its corrective function in the text?
-Is irony important and does it emerge out of the situations faced by the characters, structure of the novel or black humour?
-Elegance in syntax and description
-Use of period detail
Settings and situation
How does de Berniere’s use period detail?
Social rituals: the kephenion, eating, etc.
Symbolic associations including “roots”, music, names, etc.
The significance of locations
Structure and Plot
Stance of the narrators – critical, ironic, intrusive, etc.
Plot as a vehicle of them: the changing roles of women, love and waste, the long history of repeated suffering on the Island, the Romoi and Hellenes, etc.
Structure of the plot – predictable/unpredictable
Pace when does the narrative(s) slow down or pick up speed? Why?
Degree of credibility of events.

AO4 Opinions and Interpretations (10%)
How is the novel and de Bernieres’ treatment of its ideas/themes, etc viewed by other readers?
How has it been received by various critics? What are the reasons for their views?
What are the different perspectives offered by different critical standpoints? For instance, a feminist critique, a Marxist view, etc (See the link for Introduction to literary theory for ideas on this.)

AO5 Social and Historical Contexts And Themes (5%)
What are the recurring themes –the main messages and ideas? For instance: love and loss, honour and dishonour, nobility and sacrifice, wasted lives, various forms of love, fate, education, history, the position of women, being Greek, etc.
What are the social and historical contexts?
The literary context? (post-modernism)
What significant events take place in the novel? (The Italian/German invasion, the earthquake, growing commercialism in Cephalonia and how this affected lives, beliefs and social behaviour, etc.
What was the context in which the novel was written by de Berniere’s? (the early 1990s). What wars were taking place then in the Balkans and what moral questions/dilemmas did they pose for the population of Europe and its leaders?

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About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.