Friday, 14 March 2014

Your next essay assignment:

Explore the role of the narrator in the short story The Bloody Chamber.

1000 word essay including word count. 
Include lots of quotations from the text
Use literary critics (see the handout from the lesson)
Remember to think about production (when it was written and why it was written - how Carter was responding to 2nd Wave Feminism and what 2nd Wave Feminism is). Think about how the different readers would respond to the text - then and now.

Narrative voice: 

third person/first person
do they have an agenda?
What is their lexical field - what are the types of words that they use that help create a distinct character's voice
Known or anonymous?
What is the tone? 
What is the style?
How do they use time?
What do they include and what don't they include? 

What does Carter do?
Why does she do this?
How does her use of narrative voice fit in with the other themes of the story itself and other stories in the collection? 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Ideas about Act One Scene three

Banquo: He calls the witches instruments of darkness, suggesting that they are from hell and that they are not to be trusted. The use of the words instruments means that even the witches themselves might not be in control and are simply being used themselves.
Banquo is being characterised in a more positive way – he is not being tempted or deceived, but is looking at the witches as though they are evil. Macbeth contrasts with this.

He says that the witches’ news is both good and bad mixed up in one – both positive and evil simultaneously. This links to the emerging theme of the play – Foul is Fair – the mixing and reversal of opposites where a good thing can in fact be evil – much like the news that Macbeth has just received from the witches.
He is very disturbed by the power of the witches – he feels that the witches have read his mind – they know that he secretly wants to be king. This would suggest that he has for some time wanted to kill Duncan.
He is trying to justify his ambitions to himself: If chance will have me king, why chance will crown me. If it is his destiny to become king then he will not try to stop events from unfolding. If he follows this idea and lets events unfold naturally then this means that he will not kill the king. This is because if he kills the king then he starts to make his own destiny. However, we have already seen him make his own destiny – ‘disdaining fortune’.

We see him at this moment struggling with himself – the two halves of his character are arguing out together what they want and what they will do. He is a divided, dual and conflicted character.

Act One Scene Four:

Summary of the scene:

The king declares that Malcolm his eldest son will become his heir.
Macbeth invites the King to stay with him and his wife and he will contact his wife to let her know that the king is on his way.
We learn that the original Thane of C. has died. He has been executed because of treason. He has repented for what he has done -  he regrets what he’s done. He meets death as though life is meaningless and has no value.

Dramatic irony:
Definition – when the audience knows something or has information that the characters in the play do not have.
What impact does this level of knowledge have upon the drama: This makes the relationship between the audience and the characters disjointed – we feel strangely powerless because we want to be able to let the characters know but we can’t. It shows that characters can be two-faced – we can be aware of their true personality and intentions. We get to see events as they happen – there is no narrator in the way shaping, changing and manipulating.

Macbeth says that his duties are to the king – it is job to protect the king and yet all the time we know that he wants to kill the king and take that power.
Whenever Duncan praises Macbeth is a source of dramatic irony because we know that he doesn't deserve it.

Stars hide your fires – Macbeth has an urge in him to do something evil.
Duncan says that you can’t depend on someone’s appearance to suggest that they are honest.
The Thane of Cawdor: the old one dies and Macbeth has taken his place – Macbeth will become this traitor who has no care for life. He will die.
Duncan is going to visit Macbeth’s house – it feels almost inevitable that something is going to happen.

Act One Scene Five:
Lady Macbeth doubts herself sometimes
Characterised to seem either equal to or more powerful than Macbeth
Portrayed to be amoral and this is the aspect that seems to be missing from Macbeth if he is to kill Duncan.
She is portrayed as being devious and cunning: ‘pour my spirits into thine ear’. This shows deviousness because she is planning to poison Macbeth’s mind by convincing him to do something that she herself wants.
She likes to think of herself as powerful and strong, but the reality is that she is weak and scared. This is shown through her desire to be stronger – she cannot escape from the reality of her weakness but wishes that she could. Her weakness and fear is also shown when she snaps at the messenger.
She may be sadistic – she seems to be excited at the prospect of Duncan dying.
She is scared of herself – She wants ‘thick night’ because she wants to hide from both herself and from God when she kills Duncan.
‘Unsex me’: she doesn't want to be feminine because her femininity doesn't match with her evilness.

Act One, Scene 7
Macbeth’s soliloquy:
If they do kill the king that it should be done quickly because he doesn’t want the king to have a painful death. It may also mean that there is less time for him to have to think about it – he can’t cope with the fear and stress of having to plan the murder. Also he may be anxious in case they are discovered.
Macbeth gives a list of reasons for why he should not kill that king. He’s his kin’s man – they are the same family. Also, he is the host – traditionally that meant that you had to protect, feed and care for your guests.
He is worried about being judged in the afterlife – he wants to jump the life to come and he fears judgement – he is scared that he will go to hell.
He is scared of setting off a chain reaction of revenge and murder.
He reveals how much he likes Duncan – he presents Duncan as king in a very positive way. Duncan is a good king.
Macbeth uses the extended metaphor of using spurs to prick a jumping horse but believes that he will ultimately fall.

The purpose of this speech is that Macbeth is trying to persuade himself. In fact, he persuades himself not to kill Duncan.

How does this affect the audiences' perception of Macbeth:
He’s weak because he is too scared to commit murder. It seems strange that he doesn't want to kill because he is a warrior.
Alternatively, it could be argued that that speech actually shows that he is stronger because he is able to reason with and control the evil side of himself. This is very different to Lady Macbeth who does not have this level of self-control

How does Lady Macbeth persuade Macbeth to kill Duncan?
She questions his manhood and she tells him that he isn't a man: ‘then you were a man’
She tells him that they will blame the murder on the chamberlain men
She makes him feel as if he has gone a bit insane ‘shall be a fume in the receipt of reason’.
He’s a different man to the one who originally proposed the idea: ‘what beast was it then that made you break this enterprise to me’
Macbeth says that she is so strong and determined and war-like that she can only produce male children ‘bring forth men only children’.
What does Lady Macbeth claim she would be prepared to do?
Lady Macbeth says that she is so set on and determined to kill Duncan that she would even be prepared to kill her own child because she has promised to kill the king – she would do anything if she had given her word to do it. Even murder a child.

Today it is very windy and Georgia got pushed into a bin (5th December 2013). She says that it was horrible. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

Homework for Act 1, Scene 3

To finish off the work that we did in class today (Friday 29th Nov.), I would like you to have a look at two key areas of this Act 1, Scene 3.

1. The first is a short section of dialogue spoken by Banquo in which he warns Macbeth not to trust the witches entirely. 

Make notes on any thing that you think is interesting or important about this.

2. Next, have a look at Macbeth's section of dialogue after he has found out that he is Thane of Cawdor. He speaks in asides and at this moment Shakespeare reveals a great deal about this character's thoughts, fears and ambitions.

Make notes on anything that you think is interesting or important. 

Due the first lesson that we have next week for whole class discussion.

Class discussion notes so far - Act 1, Scene 1 - Act 1, Scene 3

Possible question:
What is the play’s mystery?

Act one, scene one
Where there’s good there’s bad
The duality of man – there is good and evil in everyone
Much of the play is written in blank verse – this is poetry that is written in iambic pentameter
Foreshadowing: there will be a battle and that they are going to meet Macbeth
Pathetic fallacy – thunder and lightening represents the evil, horror and the unpredictability
Use of rhyme represents the chanting and the spell of the witches – the prophecy.
The theme of good and evil is Gothic – the use of mirror images is a key symbol and conceit within the wider gothic genre
The use of cats and toads – the animals most commonly associated with witches – it was thought they watches could adopt these shapes and voices.

Act One, Scene two
What has occurred in the battle according to the character of the captain?

Mcdonwald has rebelled against king Duncan
Macbeth is the hero in the battle – he beheaded McDonwald and stuck the head on the battlements. As well as this he disemboweled him. At this stage in the play, McD. Is the Thane of Cawdor.
As a result of his heroic action, Macbeth is given the now empty title of Thane of Cawdor
They are attacked twice and each time Macbeth is victorious.
McD is fighting with the King of Norway in order to try and overthrow Duncan. At the beginning of the play Macbeth saves Duncan’s crown.
Another warrior involved in the battle who is fighting alongside Macbeth is Banquo.

Questions for characterisation of Macbeth in this scene:
How is Macbeth characterised?
To what extent does the initial characterisation of Macbeth reflect the theme of the duality of man?
Hero? Villain? Anti Hero? What are we meant to think at this stage in the play?

Act One, Scene 3
The scene begins with the plans for murder of the first witch. Shakespeare has done this because he wants to show that they play around with people’s lives and to show their power and to show their rash evil and cruelty. They are defying nature and this is shown because they are taking away life and reversing growth. They are in effect torturing him.

Why is this being shown to us at this point in the play: This foreshadows how they will go on to control Macbeth. Also, that they are going to play with his life and make it miserable. There is a mirroring between the Captain of the ship and Macbeth – the wife seems to be the cause for the disasters. Also, there is no end to the Captain’s suffering and this is the exact experience felt by Macbeth. They torture the captain, they go on to torture Macbeth.

What are the key events in this scene?
  1. Macbeth and B. see the witches but don’t really know what they are
  2. They seem to sense that these three beings are evil – ‘imperfect’
  3. B. seems to insult them – the addition of humour? – they have beards and their gender is not clear.  This may suggest that they are not human – they are some form of  supernatural force
  4. The witches tell the two men that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and then king
  5. Macbeth and B. seem to brush this to one side and do not believe that this is possible. Macbeth may  be angry that they have said this – he does not understand why they have let him know. He is either angry or tempted by the suggestion – this is backed up by Banquo’s observations of Macbeth directly after hearing the witches’ prophecy. Macbeth ‘starts’ – this may show his excitement at power; he doesn’t want them to say it. He seems to be scared that they can see into his mind and the deeper implication is that he has been thinking about becoming king already.
  6. At the end after the witches disappear, M. and B. talk together as though they want the events to come true. Evidence: your children shall be kings.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Write an essay homework

Based upon the work covered in class, write a 1000 word essay about The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.

You can choose the focus but do need a clear focus and a clear opinion that you spend the essay trying to convince me is right.

Due Friday 11th 

Print out and bring to the lesson

Find a poem Homework

You need to find a poem that you genuinely like. This needs to be a discovery. It needs to be a poem that you actually respond to.

Don't just grab something off the internet, print it off and bring it along and think that this will pacify me. 

I will also bring a poem along. 

This is as close to show and tell as we will get. 

Homework due for our next lesson - Friday 11th October.

I have left a range of poetry books in the silent study area of sixth form. 

Friday, 27 September 2013

Assessment Objectives

Listed below are the assessment objectives as they apply to this unit:

AO1 Articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, and coherent, accurate written expression.

AO2 Demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts.

AO3 Explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers.

AO4 Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.