Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Revising "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" : revision using concept maps

Use the concepts in conjunction with past questions to construct concept maps. Ensure that you select at least two chapters/passages and produce a map with a hierarchy of ideas from top to bottom or from the bottom to the top or from the centre. The least important concepts should be on the outside of your map.

(You should also identify the chapters/passages by their chapter number and titles) 

Use the prompts in questions to get at the underlying assessment objectives. For instance, the word "presentation" is an AO2  word and " relationships which convey powerful emotion highlights AOs 3-4.

Select key passages from chapters to focus on to get depth in your concept maps and essays.

AO1 literary terms, understanding and expression





Critical reception

Critical approaches

Description (purple passages)



Historiographic –fiction  ( real events with fictitious characters  - a post modern form )






Multiple Narrative






Parallel narratives


Polyphony and polyphonic ( many voices in its style of narration )




Tone/ attitudes of the narrator to the characters

How the narrative is affected by: the first, third person omniscient, parallel narrative, intrusive narrative, interior dialogues, polyphony, etc.

Focalising - Does the narrator identify /empathise from the POV of a character for more than a few paragraphs?

AO2 (Remember that AO2 can act as a springboard in questions into AOs 3-4)


• characters and fate and their relationship with the Island;

• typical and atypical characters;

• contrasts between characters;

• characters in conflict;

• characters’ inner conflicts;

• writer’s development of relationships between characters;

• presentation of characters’ perceptions of each other;

• characters’ dialogue; interior monologues, writing/memoirs;

• external and internal presentations;

• writer’s tone(s) in presenting characters. Are they presented sympathetically or unsympathetically?

AO2 Structure/Plot

• stance of the narrator(s) mostly empathy with the characters except for Hector;

• the presentation of characters’ perception of events; multiple narrations, the third person narrator focalising from a character's POV, through self contained chapters, etc.

• plot as vehicle of theme, e.g. the love story of Pelagia and Corelli used to carry themes of love and war, the history of the island, education, fate, the changing role of women etc. ;

• structure of the plot – unpredictable, yet linear, self-contained chapters;

• pace: sometimes de Berniere's gives historical and cultural detail that slows down the development of the plot. For instance the chapter on the saint;

• degree of credibility of events.

AO2 Style and Tone

• use of period detail; descriptions of the Island and its history, description of events, etc.;

• irony, satire, hyperbole, (e.g. The pamphlet on Mussolini) and "The Great Spikey Rustball");

• elegance of syntax; purple passages (description); unusual words to create tone, mystique, status, etc.;

• the comic and the tragic -i.e. - pathos and bathos

AO2 Structure and language shape meanings.

Setting and Situation

• use of period detail - the Kephenion, etc.

• social rituals - Saint Gerasimos's feast day(s), modes of address; La Scala, etc.

• symbolic implications of motorbikes, goats, cats, the olive groves, events

• locations focused on, Iannis's house, Argostoli, Casa Nostra, Mount Aenos, etc.

AO2 Themes
Love and War


History and myth



Debt and Sacrifice

Barbarism and Heroism

Death and Resurrection

The Ephemeral and the Eternal

Division and Re-union

AO 3 (your own and other readings of the text)

Remember that your own argument constitutes AO3. Drawing attention to ambiguity is another good thing to do for AO3.

Other interpretations

Great authors -
It’s important because de Bernieres made his name by writing it!
Close reading matters (AO1 and 3)
De Bernieres’ biography does not matter
The historical context is not important
The writer’s art is what the reader should be able to appreciate.

The economic struggle between classes matters
The causes of conflict between the rich and the poor
You need to relate the text to the social context to its author.
You need to understand the historical context in which the text was written and read.

Literature teaches its readers something, and helps them to become better people.
Good literature is basically moral and uplifting.
It is important to consider the themes in the text, to understand
its moral purpose.

The Text needs to have a reader before it can mean anything.
Meaning can be constructed from the text by filling in the gaps, making connections and predictions, and seeing how far these expectations of it are confirmed or disappointed.
The ‘mistakes’ a reader makes when predicting what will happen in a text are an important part of the meaning.

It does not matter when a text was written, or who it was written by, or even what it is about.
Language is used not simply to describe the world, but to construct it.
What matters is how a text is constructed: its form, its overall structure and the patterns of language in it, especially pairs of opposites.
Texts from popular culture, societies, belief systems (ideologies) are all structures which can be explored and analysed like a literary text.
Some critics who, like me, were interested in patterns and structures became more interested in the gaps, silences and absences (what is not there) in texts. They became known as post-structuralists.

This is all about the unconscious.
What matters is what is glossed over or ‘repressed’. You need to look beyond the obvious surface meaning to what the text is ‘really’ about.
What are the representations of psychological states or phases in the Tale?
The emotional conflicts between the characters or groups in a text is more important than its wider context.

• I read historical and other relevant texts, alongside the literary ones, in order to see more clearly the context in which the literature was produced, and to recover its history.
•I am interested in pre-twentieth century texts, often those written in the Renaissance, for example Shakespeare. I look at the ways these texts have been packaged and consumed in the present day.
•What matters is analysing the text closely, in order to question previous ways in which the text has been read.
•The word ‘cultural‘ in my label means that I consider all forms of culture, popular as well as high culture, to be relevant; ‘materialist’ means that I believe that it is impossible for any form of culture to be independent of economic and political systems.

‘Feminine’ and ‘masculine’ are ideas constructed by our culture, and it is important to be aware of this when reading texts from periods and cultures different from our own.
I prefer to read literature written by women, which explores women’s experience of the world.
What matters is how women are represented in texts written by men, and how these texts display the power relations between the sexes.

AO4 What it means for a modern reader and readers over time

The Cultural Contexts

Mothers and Sons

Greek mythology - Odysseus, Penelope, etc.

Daughters and Doweries

Honour and Shame

Saints and Superstitions

The pastoral and the Olympian (Goatherds – Alekos looking down from the mountain)

Barbarians and Civil War

Burial and Resurrection

Mandolins and Composers – Corelli and Weber

The Historical Contexts

Life on the Greek island of Cephelonia

The Second World War – Occupation by the Italians and Germans

The Greek Civil War after World War II.

The earthquake of 1953

Economic and social change, particularly for women over time

Historiographic fiction


Homer’s “The Odessey”

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I teach Film, Media and English Lit.