Sunday, 30 January 2011

Sir Ken Robinson's RSA Lecture on Changing the Paradigms of Education

Poetic Devices in Songs

I just love this!

A Time Line of Literary Theory from Early History

The theories from the nineteenth century and onwards are missing. But this does give an idea of what went before for theories of interpreting texts.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

An acronym to help plan an answer for unseen poetry

This is is just a prompt for the main areas and it does not include poetic technique such as assonance, alliteration, enjambement, sibilance, narrators, etc. BUT this is a good framework to start you off with ideas for making sense of a poem.

FLIRT -  Do YOU flirt with poetry?

Form and Structure

Language (Lexis)

Imagery (similes, metaphors and personification, etc.)

Rhythm and Rhyme

Tone (the attitude of the speaker to the content/audience) AND Themes

Brighton Rock - Articles and Reviews on Graham Greene

Greene's point on how the novel is about the contrast between ethical and religious minds is central, here. I fully agree.

The Great Gatsby - An Audio Version

Posted by Mrs Knapp who teaches Woodbridge High School,  Ohio in the USA.

Scroll down to the last link and begin there.
An Audio Version of The Great Gatsby

The Great Gatsby - Audio Interview with Critics

Great for getting other interpretations of this text for AO3.

Slate Online Magazine interviews two critics on The Great Gatsby

Friday, 28 January 2011

Brighton Rock's Production Notes (the new film version)

These production notes for the new film version of Brighton Rock reveal the director, Roland Joffe's interpretation of the novel. Worth a look!

Brighton Rock Production Notes

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Themes and ideas around relationships in Captain Corelli's Mandolin and The Great Gatsby for AO3

Themes and ideas which connect the novels

The theme of relationships and its sub themes

Remember that when you select appropriate chapters and passages from these chapters you need to focus on relationships which confront readers with powerful emotions!  Consider emotive climaxes or passages in which characters reflect on events in which emotions are running high.
  • honour/dishonour
  • education (Tom and Nick - New Haven (Yale - like a club/status and self education for Dr Iannis/Pelagia and Mandras
  • cynicism and shallowness - maintained in conversations early in Gatsby
  • education
  • various forms of love and friendship
  • music and having fun
  • betrayal and deceit
  • the high moral tone of both Carraway and de Bernieres’s third person narrator
  • the position of women
  • communities
  • change and characters. Nick Carraway develops and changes as he approaches 30 and uses different symbols.
  • writing
  • waste - Correlli’s and Pelagia’s relationship/ Gatsby and Daisy’s. Unfulfilled relationships. Whether Daisy was worth what Gatsby was prepared to do for her.
  • death and loss
  • wealth and deprivation and the effects of each
  • idealism and materialism and how they affect characters
  • patriotism
  • gangsterism/  death from outside: Hitler/
  • geography of place
  • the mystique of the eponymous characters
  • the narrators who admire and describe them.
  • modernism and post modernism.
  • what others have you noticed?

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin AO4 Historical Context

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin  AO4 Historical Context
The international context in the early 1990s
The brutal wars in the Balkans, particularly in Bosnia-Herzogovina are relevant, as were the attitudes of Western governments towards them. Rape camps were established by Bosnian Serbs and the war between the Muslim populations was greeted with wringing of hands  by the West, even though the Serbs were behaving like nazis with “ethnic cleansing”.   There were also reports of some counter massacres by Bosnian muslim troops, too.
The UK context of the novel in the 1990s.
A context closely aligned to the theme of relationships is the decline of community. In the early 1990s when de Bernieres wrote his novel there was a  sense of nostalgia for a more innocent past in which communities thrived and people knew each other. In the UK home-ownership was increasing but the country was in the throws of a recession with house prices going down and many were in negative equity and under pressure to leave their homes.
People had become more selfish and selfishness was seen as a good thing by the Tory government as they promoted business and small businesses. The sense of  community was in decline: “there is no such thing as society,” Margeret Thatcher.
In the novel there is a strong sense of community at the beginning of the novel. It is close-knit and is seen in a particularly naive way with Velasarious and his cannon. Dr Iannis treats diverse members of his community in the opening chapter. They may be divided politically but the war unites this community against the enemies of Greece. The community actually grows with the Italians and La Scala and Corelli joining Pelagia and Iannis becoming a member of their family, especially when he and Pelagia fall in love. Carlo is accepted, too.
The novel then charts the erosion of this community through the death of Carlo, who is buried as if he was a Kefalonian Giant with Dr. Iannis, ironically adopting the role of ancient priest, reading a moving oration over Carlo's body. With this, the novel delves deep into its parallel, ancient Greek literary context. Other characters also signal  the fading of community: Corelli has to leaven his new-formed family and other characters die or are killed off: Mandras wanders wounded into the ocean and Kokolios and Stamatis are killed during the Civil War;  a changed and broken Dr. Iannis  later dies saving his family in the 1953 earthquake, while there is a real and symbolic destruction of the community in the village; later Dresoula’s death severs remaining ties with old values of the past. 
Younger characters, such as Antonia and her husband, are later seduced by the privileges and wealth that their education gives them as they become successful business people and leave their early political ideals of socialism behind. 
The position of women changes on the island from the description of them in the early chapters, especially Dr Iannia’s first chapter, to the later chapters. They become much more independent and break free more the cultural binds that holds them in check in the early part of the novel. Drusoula, for instance, becomes a tavern keeper. 
One of the main features of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is the growing independence of women, as long as they have the money and connections to finance being flappers, etc. Jordan Baker, whose name is a combination of impressive automobiles from the period is an example of an independent woman of the 20s who is described as being like “a young cadet’ and willing to cheat a little in golf and in life to get her own way. 
Only Alekos who was part of the original community and even then was apart, looks down, Olympian-like and ageless who has seen the changes in everyone, but has seemingly not changed himself.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Alf Fields is charting gold to reach between $1558 and $1642

I haven't made a gold post for some time. This seems as good a time as any to post this link to Alf Field's latest analysis of gold and where it is headed soon. He addresses his comments to "Mr Gold," Jim Sinclair, who expects gold to reach $1650 in the near future.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Two sets of analysis on "The Great Gatsby" and key quotatations

This is a good analytical overview.

Gradi Yanto's analysis of love in this novel is well worth reading.

Revision:The Great Gatsby Quotes ( from The Student Room )

Written in 1925, The Great Gatsby was symbolic and manifest of all the pre-crash hubris and prosperity that engulfed America at the time. The following quotes are intended to highlight and explicate some of the key themes and reveal something of the characters in The Great Gatsby.
Page 7 "Reserving judgements is a matter of infinite hope."
Page 8 "Gatsby turned out all right at the end; it is what preyed on Gatsby, what foul dust floated in the wake of his dreams that temporarily closed out my interest in the abortive sorrows and short-winded elations of men."
Page 9 "The Middle West now seemed like the ragged edge of the universe"
Page 9 "I was...a pathfinder, an original settler."
Page 10 "To the wingless a more interesting phenomenon is their (W/E Egg) dissimilarity in every particular except shape and size."
Page 12 "It was a body (Tom's) capable of enormous leverage - a cruel body."
Page 18 "'Civilization's going to pieces,' broke out Tom violently. 'I've gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read The Rise of the Colored Empires by this man Goddard?'"
Page 18 "The idea is if we don't look out the white race will be - will be utterly submerged. It's all scientific stuff; it's been proved." - Tom
Page 18 "[us whites] who are the dominant race" - Tom
Page 24 "I know. I've been everywhere and seen everything and done everything...Sophisticated - God, I'm sophisticated!" - Daisy
Page 26 "This is a valley of ashes - a fantastic farm where ashes grow like wheat..."
Page 32 "everything that happened has a dim hazy cast over it"
Page 47 "What realism! Knew when to stop, too - didn't cut the pages. But what do you want? What do you expect?"
Page 48 "I had taken two finger-bowls of champagne, and the scene had changed before my eyes into something significant, elemental, and profound."
Page 63 "I'll tell you God's truth" - Gatsby
Page 92 "The rich get richer and the poor get - children."
Page 92 "There must have been moments even that afternoon when Daisy tumbled short of his dreams - no through her own fault but because of the colossal vitality of his illusion. It had gone beyond her, beyond everything. He had thrown himself into it with a creative passion..."
Page 95 "The truth was that Jay Gatsby...sprang from his Platonic conception of himself."
Page 95 "He was a son of God...and he must be about His Father's business, the service of a vast, vulgar, and meretricious beauty."
Page 100-101 "It is invariably saddening to look through new eyes at things upon which you have expended your own powers of adjustment."
Page 106 "Can't repeat the past?...Why of course you can!" - Gatsby
Page 107 "when his unutterable visions to her perishable breath, his mind would never romp again like the mind of God."
Page 108 "his [Gatsby] career as Trimalchio was over."
Page 113 "What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon? Cried Daisy, and the day after that, and the next thirty years?"
Page 115 "Her voice is full of money"
Page 118 "It occurred to me that there was no difference between men, in intelligence or race, so profound as the difference between the sick and the well."
Page 142 "He had committed himself to the following of a grail."
Page 142 "Daisy, gleaming like silver, safe and proud above the hot struggles of the poor"
Page 146 "'They're a rotten crowd', I shouted across the lawn. 'You're worth the whole damn bunch put together.'"
Page 147 "his incorruptible dream" (vs. Gatsby's corruption)
Page 155-156 "I found myself on Gatsby's side, and alone."
Page 170 "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy - they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made..."
Page 171 "I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes - a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder."
Page 167 "After Gatsby's death the East was haunted for me like that, distorted beyond my eye's power of correction."
Page 172 "tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further...And on fine morning - / So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

The Great Gatsby - characters and their names

Jordan Baker -  Daisy’s friend, a woman with whom Nick becomes romantically involved during the course of the novel. A competitive golfer, Jordan represents one of the “new women” of the 1920s—cynical, boyish, and self-centered. Jordan is beautiful, but also dishonest: she cheated in order to win her first golf tournament and continually bends the truth.

Her name is composed from two well known automobile makers from before and during the 1920s. What do you think is the significance of that?

The Great Gatsby - sixty second reviews

You can click through the video afterwards to others. It's snappy and well done. Of course, you will need depth by reading the novel carefully and THINKING about its themes, characters, language and motifs through its chapters, passages, paragraphs and its sentences.

A contemporary review of "The Great Gatsby"

F. Scott Fitzgerald died broke in 1940. His wife, Zelda, had been committed to a mental institution in the early 30s and Fitzgerald's books were out of print; he was a forgotten man. In the years since publishing greatest novel from 1925 his work seemed increasingly irrelevant.

These are contemporary resources from the 1920s when he published his greatest novel.  It has modest reviews, with only a few notable critics, one of whom was T.S. Eliot, praising Fitzgerald's novel as the most significant step forward in American literature since William James.

Hamptons-serenade: Long Island and its associations going back to "The Great Gatsby"

A must-read piece from a decade-old article from The New York Times on the Hamptons and the lives of the rich on Long Island. At the time when the article was published the US and world's stock markets were at their highs!

The Great Gatsby Study Guide

This is concise and useful.

Brighton Rock notes

About Me

I teach Film, Media and English Lit.