Down and out in paris and london

Down and out in Paris and London was a engaging read. Orwell tells of his experiences in Paris and portrays it to us from his perspective. He depicts the difficulties he went thought during the time, when he underwent poverty for the first time. One thing i’ve noticed in most of these essays is that they are all very detailed. Orwell is able to describe his feelings and emotions as well as different events in great detail giving the readers a clear perspective of the situation.

His description of poverty is very interesting. He explains that people who don’t have money, don’t worry as much. He describes poverty as something much more simple than what people would usually think. His portrayal of Paris is also interesting. He portrays the less wealthy part of paris, which would normally not fit a persons schema of paris.

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Down and Out in Paris and London – Personal Responce

‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ is about the experience of  casual labour in restaurants in Paris and poverty. Yet again, Orwell’s writing style in this essay is very honest and true. Orwell doesn’t hide his flaws and failures. It is clearly stated in his essay such as he was unemployed. I really like the quote: “Within certain limits, it is actually true that the less money you have, the less you worry.”. This quote makes sense if you think about it. It shows how money can corrupt people and make humans greedy.

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A hanging

This selection is particularly interesting because it is written in highly descriptive language. Orwell was working as a police officer in Burma during that time so he had the opportunity to witness a hanging. I feel like even though his post as an officer who should be agreeing these hangings, his thoughts reveals that he is not that biased against the hanging. The part that he describes the prisoner portrays the liveliness in the prisoner. “At each step his muscles slid neatly into place,… he stepped slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path”, this is so descriptive that it creates a sense of sympathy which might suggest that Orwell himself also felt sympathy towards the prisoner. Later he reveals his feelings about ending a life, “the unspeakable wrongness, of cutting a life short when it is in full tide”. This shows his inner thoughts which contrasts with what his post as a officer should be.

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Shooting an Elephant

This selection talks about Orwell experience of shooting an elephant in Burma. In the beginning of this selection, he talks about his hatred for the Burmese as well as for the British Empire.

“I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible.”

He found his emotions very perplexing and confusing because he learned the truth about ‘the dirty work at closed Empire’, and he certainly does not agree. But because of his race, the Burmese also hate him.

The incident that happend later about an elephant destroying properties and injuring people results in him taking control. It is very funny because in the beginning, he only asked for a rifle for self-protection, but he soon realized that all the people around him expected him to shoot the elephant. By the time they found the elephant, he knew that it had already calmed down and had no danger to anyone anymore. However because of the huge crowd that was behind him, waiting to watch the elephant get shot then get the meat, he could only shoot it.

Again, there were two different thoughts going in his head. He knew he was legally right to have killed the elephant, however his conscience told him that it was the wrong thing to do. In the end, the reason he did it was ‘solely to avoid looking like a fool’.

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“Such, Such Were the Joys…”

The title of this selection is ironic, because we learned that Orwell hated the school he attended and did not enjoy his childhood at all. In this selection, he writes about how he started as an innocent boy in Congress, and during his school years, he learned more and more about society during that period.

One main idea that comes out repeatedly is how people are distinguished by poor and the rich. He discovers that in his school, the rich are always treated better because of their higher social status. “All the very rich boys were more or less undisguisedly favored… The rich boys had milk and biscuits in the middle of the morning…. and above all they were never canned.” This talks about how people from different classes are treated differently. The fact that it is ‘undisguisedly’ suggests that it was a very common thing to do, and also during that time, there is discrimination against middle class people. Orwell also was not able to have any cricket bats or birthday cake because he is told that “your parents wouldn’t be able to afford it”.

At first, he thought that all of these is true, he believes that it is what life is supposed to be. “I could never find my way into that paradise, to which you did not really belong unless you were born into it.” This was the period of time when he had concluded that no matter how hard you work, you can never be successful as the upper class. As he grew up, he slowly discovers that this might not be true, he finds that there are different other virtue which defines a person.

Overal, I found this selection almost like a selection from a biography. Orwell uses straightforward language to portray his honest personal thoughts, this is what makes it interesting.

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“Down and Out in Paris and London” – George Orwell

When Orwell is in Paris he is encountering poverty, but it is interesting to read what Orwell went through in this large city. All his emotions are changing quite rapidly, through this excerpt, but it is a funny excerpt. Not only, due to the bad language of the French, but also it is a lot of irony that happens to him. What Orwell is describing in this excerpt is what could happen to anyone, who is trying his luck in big cities.

The only difference is that today people won’t work for ridiculous amounts of hours, like Orwell did. People today are going to work for 7 hours. Orwell might have exaggerated the amounts of working hour.

 

With this excerpt being a mixture of good and bad luck it makes total sense, since it is just how life works.

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A Hanging – George Orwell

I enjoyed “A hanging”, since it was written with great detail. The way Orwell manages to describe, how the execution would happen is significant. The feelings of the people, Orwell manages to describe very well.

 

Orwell says what he felt during this period. “It is curious, but till that moment I had never realized what it means to destroy a healthy, conscious man.” With this quote the reader realizes what it means with death penalty. Also taking away a healthy person, but must have done something really bad to get this punishment.

 

Orwell also makes the prisoner “human”, by letting a dog run up to him and walking around a puddle. With these scenes, Orwell makes the reader emphasizes with the prisoner for a moment until the prisoner is hanged. After the hanging we get to know, what Orwell went through at this time and it makes one think.

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A hanging

A hanging by Orwell was a worthwhile read. It tells of Orwell still as an imperial officer leading a prisoner to his executioner. It is one of the shorter essays in the ‘The Orwell reader’, but also it seemed one of the most touching and emotional pieces within the book.

The most significant part of the essay was the dog. The happiness of the dog and it’s playfulness towards the guards and the prisoner brought a certain light towards the prisoner, allowing the reader another chance to analysis the prisoner and realising that he might not be the bad person most people would automatically assume that he his, resulting in the reader drifting away from their original thought of the prisoner. The puddle was also significant. As the prisoner steps around the puddle it humanizes him causing the reader to further expand their thoughts about the personality of the prisoner.

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“A Hanging” by George Orwell

Recently I read “A Hanging” by George Orwell.  I thought this story had a dark mood to it and allows you to see how Orwell felt that day when he witnessed the hanging.  As Orwell describes the events he sees you can tell how degraded he feels by seeing this man lose his life.  He notices the way that the prisoners are treated so terribly.  He notes many times that they are treated like animals. He describes their jail cells like animal cages.  He says that when the guards try walk the prisoner out to be hanged that they hold on to him so tightly that

“it is like men handling fish which is still alive but may jump back into the water”

You can tell that Orwell pays attention to the details around him, which I like because details describes things to me so I can witness them too. He notices everything from the puddles on the ground to the color of the man’s skin in front of him.I think that it is interesting that Orwell seems to not realize the seriousness of the event until he sees that the man who will be hanged steps around a puddle.  I think that Orwell doesn’t understand why he would avoid getting his feet wet when he is just going to be killed in a few minutes.  That’s when Orwell realizes that a perfectly healthy human being’s life is going to be taken.  He notes that all the organs in the prisoner’s body are still perfectly fine and working correctly.  Orwell also thinks about how the man’s brain is still working, how it

“remembered, foresaw, and reasoned”

I like how Orwell comments on these thoughts because it gets the reader to think also. It seems as if he wants the reader to not just read what he is saying but actually think about it themselves so that they truly understand what he was feeling. Personally this story was interesting to me because I have never witnessed anything like it and I found it hard to believe. Also I found it hard to believe Orwell could witness this and relive it in his story

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A Hanging – Personal Response

“A Hanging” is a short essay written by Orwell. It is about the description of the execution of a criminal and Orwell’s thoughts and feelings during the execution. Since, Orwell was a police, he had to supervise this execution. The descriptions in “A Hanging” were very detailed, every sound and movement was taken into account. The description of the criminal avoiding the puddle: ‘he slightly aside to avoid a puddle on the path’ is significant. It humanizes the criminal. Although he did something wrong, he is still human. For example if there was a puddle infront of you, you wouldn’t step on it right? So, he wouldn’t too. The use of the dog could imply different meanings for everyone. Orwell uses the dog to show that the criminal   should have a second chance. As we all know, dogs are known as ‘a man’s best friend’, they are suppose to be loyal. Hence, the use of the dog again humanizes the criminal.

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“Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell

Recently I’ve read the short story ” Shooting an Elephant” by George Orwell. The story was about courage, judgment, and peer pressure in a way. I found the story boring, pointless, and felt the story had no meaning and that it was just an experience. The story describes the kind of ignorance the town has to outsiders and anyone they do not “approve of”.The second paragraph describes very vaguely how he the narrator feels about his job choice, and his views on the village. He say

“…I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible”

The narrator not only is in a place where he hates, but he also hates the people he works with, and works for! The story line goes along to tell the tale of an elephant that needs to be killed, because it got out of the zoo and endagers the community. The story describes how the main character feels about himself and the pressures of the community. A showdown climaxes the storyline between the elephant and Orwell, and the entire village is there to witness and entice the main character. Honestly the content of the book sounds interesting however the book personally I found boring.

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“Shooting an Elephant” personal response

Shooting an Elephant was very interesting and enjoyable. the details were very specific and directs. He didnt leave the thing we dont want to hear in sife, he wrote everything. This  helped imagining it as if we were really there. When reading this essay I thought that Orwell is racist, because he called the local “yellow people”.  He also perferred to kill an inocent creature rather than facing the locals with his decision.

However,
After finishing reading this essay I realise that these are all things he did when he was young, and that he probably changed his point of views about this things, and when he wrote this, he didnt write what he whould of done at this moment, when is grew up and had a set thought. He wrote what he did in the past, when he was young and cared a lot about what other people thought of him, maybe when he wrote this he didnt care about it anymore.

So we need to take into account that this was written a long time after it happened.

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Such, Such Were The Joys

 

It feels like he is feeling pity about himself. He keeps going on and on about how miserable and pitiful he was in his childhood times. This made reading this chapter kind of boring for me. Because at many parts of the chapter all I could think ‘ohh this is another part of a miserable part in his childhood’ I was waiting to read about the good parts, the good memories. It just felt like he wanted us to feel bad for him.

This chapter made me think that George Orwell has a negative perspective, that focus on the negative rather then the positive. I think that when writing this chapter he wrote it so many times that maybe, just maybe, the situation wasn’t as bad as it actually was.

This point of Orwell misery going on and on, helped me realize to understand that we, humans make stuff sound bigger then what it actually are. That its not really a good thing but it is a natural thing .

In one point of the chapter, he stops everything and says that the author, himself and other authors exaggerates when they write, they make it bigger then what it actually is. I found these few lines very ture and honest. This was the high light of this chapter for me.

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Shooting an elephant

Shooting an elephant was an enjoyable read. Orwell tells of the story when he was an imperial officer in Burma and was faced with a difficult situation of an escaped elephant rampaging around town. This essay really reflected on Orwell’s personality at the time. Of course when he wrote the essay he was a changed man and noticed and accepted the flaws he possessed in the past. Orwell writes the essay in the mind set that he admitted to have at the time, therefore showing us a clear reflection of his personality in the past, for example, the essay included a lot of racism, describing the people there as “yellow faces”.

When writing about the shooting of the elephant, Orwell admits to shooting it to avoid looking like a fool in front of all the many “yellow faces” who often tormented him. This is understandable considering Orwell’s childhood, where he had been faced with a lot of criticism. Therefore it is easy to understand why Orwell wanted respect to avoid reliving his childhood difficulties. Orwell description of the shooting of the elephant was with great detail, indicating a very vivid memory of the event on Orwell’s part. I believe that this is because Orwell regrets his actions and may think foolish of himself for killing the elephant just to avoid looking foolish, which may be considered immature.

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“Shooting an Elephant” – Personal Response

I found “Shooting an Elephant” a very interesting essay, the style of writing in this essay is the same as the previous two selections “Such, Such were the Joys……” and “Why I write”.

The style of writing is very honest and direct, for instance: “I was hated by large numbers of people-the only time in my life that I have been important enough for this to happen to me.” This was the opening sentence for this essay. It is very catchy and vigorous. It states that the Burmans hate him because he is a police officer from Europe.

During this time period, the Europeans occupied Burma, hence Burmans hate Europeans. Burmans hatred for Europeans was shown through the football game they played together. Orwell was bullied and was baited. Since he was the police officer, the Burman tripped Orwell and the crowd laughed. Orwell knows why he is hated and accepts it somehow, but he is still angry. This is shown through his word choice ‘sneering yellow faces’.

It is funny how Orwell hates the Burman’s and yet still likes them. Also, Orwell seems to disapprove imperialism and feels sympathy towards the Burman, as their country is being ruled and taken over by Europe. Somehow I thought the elephant could be a metaphor for Europe, how Orwell wants the Burmans to get their country back, and the only way was to get rid of the Europeans. So, we can see how Orwell had some hesitations when he was going to kill the elephant, which could imply that he doesn’t know whether it is right or not to get rid of the Europeans.

Furthermore, it seems that Orwell is unsatisfied with his current life and he feels that he doesn’t belong in Burma. This is similar in “Such, Such Were the Joys…”, Orwell was unhappy with his life in Crossgates and he also didn’t belong there.

 

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Shooting an Elephant – George Orwell

I liked this chapter, since it tells us about the time Orwell works in the imperial police in Burma. This means that, the people of Burma don’t want to be ruled over by the British and that’s why they treat Orwell very poorly, since he is British. A consequence that the Burmese are treating Orwell badly is that he doesn’t like them either. With this sort of loop runs round everyday, an elephant starts going nuts, since he has the “must”. The chase is on, when Orwell finally finds the elephant there is a huge crowed that followed him, who wants to see him kill it. With this idea from the crowd Orwell feels pressured to kill the elephant and does, but it takes a long time to kill it.

 

With this paraphrase of the excerpt, Orwell is going through sometime in detail special things.

E.g. how he wants to stab a Buddhist priest in the guts with a bayonet.

 

He goes with the reader on the quest to find the elephant, but as mentioned it takes him a while to kill the animal. It’s interesting, since Orwell discusses with himself the “proper” way of killing an elephant, and I have no idea how to kill one. Which makes this excerpt different from the excerpts about his childhood.

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“Why I write” response

This is a very special selection of “The Orwell Reader” because normally, we only read the texts and never really look right into the true reasons behind them.

From the beginning of the selection, we learn that George Orwell is not an ordinary person. “From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer.” This shows that he is a unique person because most people would not know what they should be when they were children. He also has a very different thinking then other children during his school years.

From his childhood, he tells us that he has a strong interest for writing stories, and I find it interesting that he actually  has a strong interest in just the words as well. He enjoys just listening to the sound of the words, for example, the “hee” word instead of “he” made him so happy when he was young.

George Orwell also identifies the four main reasons why a writer writes. They are sheer egoism, aesthetic enthusiasm, historical impulse, and political purpose. The first point, sheer egoism basically says that writers write because of fame. Him pointing out this point shows that he is a straightforward and honest person. He tells how his experience of him growing up slowly made him hates the authorities, then slowly develops his writing into political books.

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Paper 1 and 2

I thought I was getting the the hang of analysis in English. I was filled with hope!…Mr Macknight ruthlessly crushed said hope, along with my self-esteem. I am starting to see beyond the plot though. I suppose that’s good. Oh WOE IS ME! WOE IS ME! WHY ART THOU SO CRUEL PAPER 1 AND 2?!?! It’s is quite good practice. However, if we do it over and over in class it can get quite frustrating without a break.

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“Such, Such Were the Joys…” Personal Response

Personally, I quite enjoyed “Such, Such Were the Joys…”, because it portrays the idea where that no matter how much hardship you been through you will still overcome it and become successful.  During this selection “Such, Such Were the Joys…” it was clear that Orwell had a rough childhood, where the principal or headmaster favours the ‘rich’ children:

All the very rich boys were more or less undisguisedly favoured.

Both the leaders of the school, Sim and Bingo were unfair to Orwell due to his family background, he was in the lower upper class. Also, the writing style in “Such, Such Were the Joys…” is very honest and it is true:

Whoever writes about his childhood must beware of exaggeration and self-pity.

This quote shows how honest Orwell is when Orwell was writing this piece, after giving the quote some thought it is actually right, as people we actually do exaggerate and self pity our childhood. For instant: I always complain that when I was young, my mother favours my older brother more. She buys him whatever he wants  and so he got a whole basket of toys and brought it to the cashier and my mother bought them all and I was just standing beside him with empty hands because I wasn’t allowed to buy anything. But actually it was because every time I went to the supermarket I get a basket of stuff and my brother doesn’t buy any and that was his first time buying so many toys. So, there’s always 2 sides to a story, it depends on what the writer wants to convey. In this case, Orwell wants to show how he had such an unpleasant childhood.

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“Such Such were the Joys”- George Orwell Personal response

Recently I read Such Such were the Joys by George Orwell, It was interesting to know how Orwell grew up and what he did. I thought it was strange that teachers favored other students, I despised Bingo because she seemed like a terrible person. Bingo’s husband Sim seemed alright at first but as the story went on I started to not like him too.

This story was both interesting and boring, I thought it was interesting to know how they had to get washed in filthy water and everything was so disgusting compared to todays life. It was interesting to know that it was such an old way to discipline the naughty boys by canning and spanking which is illegal today in most countries.

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Paper 1 and 2 Revision

Hi.

 

After doing paper 1 and 2 revision, I realized that I’m going down hill. Like Averil, when I see a question, I have no idea how to start, where to start from. For writing commentaries, I have problems knowing what the poem is even about.

These practice papers made me remember how we need assertions for every paragraph. I know that I need to re-read the books and understand the detailed information about them as well. What it made me do the most was really think about the books from different angles, and see how I can compare and contrast them a bit more. I think it is important to have some basic ideas about each book that you think are common themes or ideas that you know you can write about. This way, when deciding which books to write about, you also have some idea.

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Personal response to “Such Such were the Joys” – George Orwell

I did not quite enjoy “Such Such were the joy…” since I did not like the way Sims and Bingo would treat the lower-upper class boys. This is probably, since I am grown up with the idea that beating children is bad and at that time it was the only way to get a child to behave the accepted way. I also think that beating children may not be such a bad idea, since they normally don’t want it to happen again. So they will do everything they can to make sure they are not being beaten again. With this set of knowledge, “when I do something bad I will get caned” Will make them work harder so that they are guaranteed to not be caned.

 

I would say that the caning part is acceptable, but to treat people differently just, because they have some title make no sense. Obviously, will others respect people with a title, but what is the point they want to achieve with the title? The effect is just going to be the same that is with the one-child-policy in China. The children are going to become very selfish, since everything is about them. The children who are born in a family that has a title are carrying only about themselves and nobody else. We can see this by looking on the behavior of students at Dulwich College London or other old boarding schools in England. These old schools are very respected and expensive, which means that only the upper class people can go there. As I have mentioned before, will create a selfish, arrogant and intolerable community.

Anyways I think that people should be treated the same way, regardless if they got a title or not. They are students it does not always mean they know what the title is about or how their family obtained it.

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Such such were the joys

Such such were the joys was an interesting read that i found very engaging. Reading about a person’s life is always interesting as it gives clear perspectives as of why a person is how they are. The experiences in a person’s life that moulded and shaped him until it results into their personality. In Orwell’s case, reading about his troubled youth, the hardships he faced in life and also the happy experiences he faced, all leads t0 a clearer understanding of Orwell’s style of writing, his personality and therefore a better understanding of his writing.

Reading about somebody else’s life is also interesting, there is always something, whether it may be small or big, that the readers can usually relate to. Whether it may be the hardships or anything else, the reader will be able to develop a better idea of what their own future may turn out to be.

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Practice Papers

By doing the practice papers, I’ve realized I definitely need to reread the books and go over my past notes because I get the stories mixed up. But at the same time, I start to learn how to structure my answers and how to work under time constraints. So while it is kind of boring, I know that it is useful.

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Paper 1&2 reflection

After doing practice papers in class, I’ve noticed some mistakes that I’ve continuously been making, such as:

P1

-confusing rhyme with rhythm

-connecting the elements of the poem with its content, such as thinking of a ‘hymn’ from ‘reverential’ word choice.

-writing ‘Firstly, Nextly…’ instead of ‘First, Next..’

For Paper 2, I thought it was harder to write a commentary if the question is only limited to, for example, seeing the effect of the settings in the novel. Also I felt the need to read books in more detail in order to prevent generalised response in paper 2. It was harder than I thought to compare two books and to pick out similarities and differences.

 

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“Why I Write” – George Orwell

When i got given this book all I could think of was ‘ ohh no, another book? another fat boring book?’. And to be honest this was the attitude I had at first. It didnt really interest me. However, after reading a few pages a started to realise how impotrant it was for me to read this.

Orwell talked about his childwood and the difficulties that came with it, or how he tried to abandon his dream for a while. All this things he said made me start thinking about what is my dream? what are my goals in life? and what an I willing to do to achieve them. Orwell was many times hard on him self, which is something I can relate greatly with. He didnt have an easy life and childhood, yet he overcame all of these and became one of the greatest writers of all times.

George Orwell was the aurthor of the first “real” book I read – “Animal Farm”. It was very interesting how after reading one of his other books he explains what he does and how. For instance, he tells in the most honest way the reasons why people become writes, why people choose to do what they do. people do things somethimes just to be remembered, so get fame. or “the desire to see things as they are” (page 392 line 4 from the bottom) the desire to stop overthinking and complicate the most simpel things.

There is a vers in the bible that says : “Life and death are in the hand of the tongue”  and I think that this is exactly what writers are tring to do, they are “desiring to push the world in a certain direction” , they are trying to chnage people’s opinion just by using words.

Oowell also thouches another point that  I found very interesting. He says on top page 393 that “no book f free from political bais. The opinion that art should have nothing to do with politics is itself a political attitude.” so baisically every book we read isnt writen just because, it is writen for a reason, it is writen so that the uarthor can change the way we think about something or someone.

 

 

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Paper 1 Practice- Learning points

I can honestly say that I learnt that I need a lot of help when it comes to writing essays. I look at the question and freeze. I understand what it is asking of me, but I’m not sure as to how I’m supposed to organise my essay or what exactly the exam is looking for. I do know that I must have assertions, but what to assert? How to support? What to write?!?!

Anyway, I did take away some learning points.

1) I am not supposed to begin paragraphs with facts, evidence, summaries or generalizations, but with assertions.

2) I’ve got to get my facts about the novels correct- eg. number of people, peoples’ addresses ect.

3) Dashes come in pairs, just like brackets must be opened and closed.

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George Orwell – ‘Why I write’

I enjoyed reading the “Why I write” by George Orwell. George Orwell tells the reader in an essay about his life, and most importantly, why he started writing. He tells us how he knew he would become a writer from an early age, but for a short period of time he wanted to abandon his dream. Before he knew it he was back on the track of his dream.

 

It’s interesting to read that he was feeling unseen been by his father, but this was before he was eight, and Orwell reflects that, this incident might have been the reason for, why his schooldays were miserable.

 

The most interesting thing I found in ‘why I write’ was that George Orwell gives us for reasons that might drive an author to write.

These are (1) egoism; (2) aesthetic enthusiasm; (3) Historical impulse and (4) political purpose

With the named reasons, it’s the first reason that drives a lot of people. This means that it isn’t only authors who write by being an ego, but scientists, artists, politicians, lawyers, soldiers, businessmen, etc.

These groups of people are most of the time selfish in the reason that they want to be remembered after their death, or they want to get back on the grown-ups who snugged them in their schooldays. There are many more reasons why people want to do things for their own, but it does not always go that way. As Orwell talked about this, he said that some people would abandon their individual ambition and start living for others. This means that they start getting children in their thirties, and so they will do everything that is best for their child or children, depends on how many you are planning to have.

The three other points are more addressed to authors and that they will choose one of these four points to write.

In Orwell’s case, however, he used a long time to know what he wanted to write about, but with his experiences he soon found out that he wanted to write for political reasons.

He said that, if he lived in a different time period he might have written differently than what he has been writing today. This means that if it wasn’t for everything he has experienced, he might have not written for political reason, but maybe for historical, egoistic or aesthetic reasons.

 

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George Orwell ‘Why i write’ personal response

I found Orwell’s ‘Why i write’ piece a very worthwhile read. In the few short pages i found myself very engaged in the text. The essay lead me to develop a broader understanding of not only the process of becoming a writer but also any other career. Orwell uses his own personal experiences to depict the difficulties one must undergo to end up where they want to be, in Orwell’s case a writer. He explain’s his earlier life, before he became a writer as an imperial guard and so on, and the different writing styles he tried before finally settling.

Orwell seems to be relatively hard on himself in the piece and therefore really exposes a lot of our true intentions behind what we as individuals do, whether we be proud of them or not. He does this by admitting to his own intentions of becoming a writer, besides the fact that he has always had a passion for writing, ultimately it always comes down the a certain amount of lust for fame, glory, money, etc. This I found very interesting, and lead me to question myself the reasons i do a lots of the things i do, whether it may be the many intentions hidden in my subconscious that i may not so willingly admit.

Learning and developing a greater understanding of Orwell’s life and therefore maybe even many other author’s lives also lead me to re-analyse the purpose of writing. It may not only be for the sake of entertainment, but for some people a method of expressing themselves and exposing their true nature to the world.

 

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Personal response to “Why I Write” by George Orwell

I started reading this book with “Why I Write” by George Orwell and started of thinking that it’s just one of those typical books, I was expecting the worst. However by reading this first chapter, I already like it because he is honest and inspiring where as the other book I thought were boring and annoying to be honest. The book already gave me some quotes that made me inspired to write more of my own stuff even though I will always be anonymous and won’t be famous on it. Two quotes are from Orwell’s poem

” It is forbidden to dream again; We maim our joys or hide them.”

“I wasn’t born for an age like this; Was Smith? Was Jones? Were you?”

I found these as very powerful quotes and they made me think, they relate to my everyday life how things are today and how so much has changed but at the same time, has anything changed?

” When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself,  “I am going to produce a work of art.”  I write it because there is some lie that I wan’t to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention.”

This was my favorite quote because thats exactly how I feel when I write and I understand the quote perfectly because it is simple to just write but to expose the truth about things and people is just something which just has to be said. Why I write is exactly because I have to get the truth of my chest and express myself without being misunderstood with a lack of words.

 

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‘Why I Write’ by George Orwell – Personal response

‘Why I write’ is one part of the “The Orwell Reader”, I find this story fairly interesting since it talks about the reasons about how he became a writer and why he writes. It was very interesting that he knew he wanted to become since he was at the age of 5:

“From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. “

Personally I think its really hard to stick with a job that you dreamed of when you were young, so this is really special that his childhood ‘dream occupation’ came true.

Orwells writing style is fairly honest, he writes about his mistakes and he is aware of his own failures.

“I  was somewhat lonely, and I soon developed disagreeable mannerisms which made me unpopular throughout my school days”

Also, Orwells seems to be fairly hard on himself, he strives for the best outcome. In ‘Why I write’ it tells us some reasons why writers write, one of them basically means because it makes you look smart and you will be remembered and the second is because you want to share your thoughts and ideas. Orwell simply states partly why he became a writer is because of the fame and he will be remembered after he died. The structure of this is very concise and was easy to read. It was interesting to read something where the writer was so honest about his thoughts and feelings.

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Beloved

I did not enjoy Beloved and felt that at points the book almost randomly swaps into the past.

Personally, I take the stance that Beloved is not Sethe’s daughter, seeing as she is berthed out of the lake fully clothed and also thinks of slavery when she has her own chapter.
I don’t feel like I could relate to the characters or truly understand what the author had in mind for the context of the novella.
The plot twist of Sethe having killed her own daughter did not seem to impact the story in any way, nor did it seem to have been built up to. It seems that Denver does not begrudge her mother for killing her little sister, except for in the one part in which she says that she fears her mother.

Maybe I will like/understand the book better after my re-read.

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The Joy Luck Club

I found Joy Luck Club particularly interesting because the book is divided into four parts and sixteen stories in total. There are also four mothers and four daughters in total, so they each tell two stories, with the exception of Suyuan Woo, whose stories are told by Jing-mei Woo.

The main message that stood out for me is the strong difference between the Chinese culture and the American culture, where Chinese culture is represented by the mothers, and the American culture is represented by the daughters. Although each mother tells a completely different story, the similarities between these mothers are shown clearly. Their stories are full of sorrow and each is full of difficulties, in their stories, they seem full of experience and knowledgable. This contrasts immensely with the daughters’ views of their mothers. In the daughters’ stories,  they completely uses the American values to judge the world, especially their moms. They all portray their mothers as some kind of strange Chinese women with strange Chinese traditional values. The mothers’ limited English also makes them seem a little bit stupid, and it makes it seem like they do not really blend into this American lifestyle at all.

However, as the story progress, we can start to see traits of daughters starting to understand some of these values. For example, for Jing-mei Woo, through the letters and her becoming one of the members of the group; she learns more and more about her mother. This builds up her inner Chinese feelings, and in the end, it is apparent that she has found her ‘true selve’, which is hidden in China all along, and ‘inside her bones’. It is also true for Lena, at first, she finds her mother’s theory of the house being imbalance slightly ridiculous. However as the story develops, Lena starts to understand more and more about this ability, and actually see how things fall apart according to what her mother says.

Overall, I do find this book very interesting. Even though some of the Chinese values from my family is nothing comparable to what this book says, I can find traits of it in some of the older generations.

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The Joy Luck Club

“The Joy luck club” by Amy Tan was a very interesting and entertaining novel, it talks about the life of four mothers and four daughters and how the Chinese culture influenced them. “The Joy luck club”talks about the relationship and bond between the mothers and daughters, how the way and where they are brought up will influence their thoughts and judgement.

“The Joy luck club” has a very complex structure, although its composed of 16 stories and each character (mother or daughter) is the narrator for 2 stories because the novel jumps from the present to the past, sometimes it was hard to follow. However, overall this book was really easy to read, it was written in a very logical way. Also, I think that Amy Tan made such a simple structure somehow so complicated was to make the readers connect the links in the novel. Since, the life of all four mothers influenced and affected the 2nd generations (their daughter). Moreover, in the novel The joy luck club was a club for playing mahjong which required 4 people. Hence, when Suyuan past away her daughter Jing-Mei replaces her could be a metaphor for the loss of traditional Chinese culture.

It is interesting how the character Jing-Mei starts the book and also ends it. Through the structure suspense is built up, since at the beginning of the novel its about Jing-Mei finding out the truth of how she has 2 sisters and how her mother was looking for them and attempting to reunite with them. Thus, the character Jing-Mei was going to fulfil the wish of her mother and through this journey she realised she is simliar with her mother, Suyuan, and became closer to her. Furthermore, the mothers in “The Joy Luck club” were portrayed as the stereotypical ‘Chinese mother’ how they force their children to achieve the best and how they like to compare the children like there’s a competition.  For example: In ‘Best Quality’ we understand how much Suyuan loves her daughter from the crab situation. Where Jing-Mei was going to take the damaged crab instead of the healthy one, because she wants the best for her mother. However her mother told her to take the undamaged one because she wants her daughter to get the best so from here we can see how they are alike.

 

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Beloved

This book is the one I enjoyed the most for Part 4. We learned about the history of slavery in America before reading the book and I think this helped me have an interest because I could sort of imagine it in real life. While I couldn’t relate to most of it because first of all most of it was supernatural, second of all it happened a long time ago, I could sympathize and put myself in Sethe, or Denver’s situation. I think the most interesting part of the book isn’t the plot but the gradual understanding of Sethe as a character. In this sense, this book reminds me of To the Lighthouse because it isn’t about the plot as much as it is about learning about the characters and seeing a 3 dimensional view of them as a person and not a character.

I didn’t understand the ending of the book where Denver leaves Sethe and I really wish that they hadn’t left Halle’s story hanging. But I can see that it isn’t really the main focus of the book and sometimes readers are left with a better memory of a book that requires them to draw a conclusion themselves. While Sethe is a very well-developed character that seems 3 dimensional and has many sides like most people do, I didn’t like Denver and Paul D as much as Sethe as a character just because of first impressions and they don’t seem as developed as Sethe. Maybe I’m biased… but thats the whole point of an opinion.

What I found most interesting about this book are the names. Before talking to Mr. Macknight about the names of the characters, I didn’t realize that names were held so importantly. To us, names are something we are born with, and we can change them fairly easily. We think of them as a birthright. But to them, they don’t have names with family history and the names they have are just purely a label for their owners to control.

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“Beloved” Personal Response

Hi everyone!

How do you feel after finishing all the books for IB?

I actually enjoyed “Beloved” quite a lot. I enjoyed the starting and ending the most, and didn’t really find the middle too attractive. I think that is because I don’t really like Beloved. I found her kind of disturbing. The other thing was that I actually had a more positive feeling towards Denver at the start of the book. Partly because I sympathised with her, but also because I didn’t understand the rest of the characters that  much yet. But when Beloved comes into the book as a human, it really annoys me. This is because Denver seems to be pushed around by Beloved, and she does not think logically at all! After that I somehow began to like Sethe more. Probably because she actually feels bad about what she did to her children. It is interesting that she still does not admit that she did anything exactly “bad” though. She preservers that it was the right thing to do at the moment.

The book is very interesting in it’s way of writing. At the start it was just confusing, but then when you find out that Morrison is not giving information to us on purpose, I got hanged onto the story. There were so many unknown things that I wanted to find out about. And these things do not end up like small things that have been exaggerated like some other writers, but the unknown things were actually things that had great importance and impacts. That is where I find Morrison a good writer, there is no need to create false excitement, because the secrets of the characters are actually real big things! So there is this consistency with not telling the reader what is going on all the time in “Beloved”. You really have to get to the end of the page or section to finally be able to say “I get it now!” This also created excitement for me, as it was a time when I suddenly understood everything, and it all came to place together. Even some voices by the characters could not be recognised who it was from until you at least start reading into it a bit more.  The amazing thing is that although it was not told to us exactly, we are able to tell who is saying what or thinking what.

This is similar to “To the Lighthouse” in the sense that the thoughts of the characters are written out directly, and there is a lot of ambiguity in it. In “Beloved”, it is mostly seen in the second half, where as in “To the Lighthouse,” it is seen throughout the book.

Oh, and I have to mention that I love Paul D. He’s such a reliable character (kinda), and so nice! But then I wonder why Sethe didn’t notice him at Sweet Home as much. Since after she met him at her house after 18 years, they seemed to click. Or maybe the book doesn’t explain that part of it, it just mentions that she was good with all the guys I guess.

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Beloved PR

Beloved is probably my favorite book out of all the Group 3 books we’ve read so far. The book is not challenging to read or make you want to tear your hair out due to confusion, Morrison uses quite a simple structure along with language, making it quite simple to track ongoing events,thus making it simple for the reader to enjoy the book.  My favorite part of the books are when Morrison melds the past and the present together when Sethe remembers her past in an subtle flashback. The fact that the book starts off with multiple references to the past leaves us with questions of “What happened?” or “What’s she talking about?” This compels us to read further ahead in order to find out more details about said events.

From the first few pages of the book I could already see the fact that it was a ghost story of some sort; that supernatural events were not unexpected and infact seemingly common. However I didn’t expect that the ghost would actually take a solid form and return as someone that has abilities resembling a  wraith, slowly sucking the life out of Sethe. In the beginning Sethe seemed like a realist, someone who has seen the horrors of the world and come to have accepted it. However after the return of Beloved we can see Sethe’s entire personality change, she became more of an idealist, believing that her family was now complete, the whole world seemed to fade away and with it Sethe’s health. In a way Beloved could be seen as a catalyst of age. When she arrived Sethe seemed to age and lose touch with the world while Denver too aged and became more mature; going out to work in order to earn money for the family and begging for food from the community.

This book also presented the era of slavery quite well, going from the kinder owners (the Garners) to the crueler ones (Schoolteacher). It presented both sides quite well to show an unbiased view of it.

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Beloved

Beloved was interesting. It seems like for the first time, there was a solid story line to follow through the entire novel. Because of this storyline and clear progression of characters, this was a much easier read compared to Woolf’s ‘To the lighthouse’ and Conrads ‘Heart of Darkness’ and James’ ‘Turn of the screw’. I really like the narrative style of this novel.

I felt like ‘To the Lighthouse’ really helped prepare me for reading this novel. In the sense that I am now made more aware of the inner conflicts within individual characters, and I understand why the characters are constructed better. Through the ‘stream of consciousness’ concept in woolf’s ‘To the Lighthouse’, I learnt to look at the stream of consciousness of each of the characters. This helped me to better deal with the novel when Paul D, Sethe and other characters seemed to leak out their past in drips and draps. I can now appreciate their thought process and that these drips and draps of information was done on purpose by Morrison, to let us see the inner conflict within the individual characters. How they do not want to remember the past, how they are trying to block out painful memories. Through these, we are able to gain a better understanding of the characters.

The use of language in Beloved was really clever, I could really hear the individual’s voices, yet on the whole, there was a collective ‘VOICE’ that spoke to me. Putting all the individual voices together- i.e. Baby Suggs, Sethe, Denver and Beloved, I got the voice of black slave women in America. Their experiences and thought collectively and individually really gave me a complete all rounded illustration of the slave woman experience. There is a nice musical flowing rhythm within the novel that lets me better appreciate the flow of the novel better.

Though the whole concept of the supernatural was new to me, how ghosts could come back and haunt the living in such a literal and physical manner was disturbing at times. But after I wrapped my head around the concept, I understood that this whole concept better by understanding the ideas it conveyed rather than what actually happens in the novel.

 

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Beloved Personal Response

This novel has been one of my favourite out of the whole course. The reason for this is how the novel is written. It has a narration similar to movies, this is because when a person is talking it flashes back to their memories. This is so much easier to follow compared to To The Lighthouse, the story although it is a bit weird at times (Beloved coming back from the dead) it has a story that is interesting and easy to follow. The way Sweet Home is written about, as discussed in class, is a pleasant memory. This is very unusual but it gives us an insight into Sethe’s views on life, and how she allows finds the good in a bad situation. This was one of favourites parts of the book, since she had been through a lot terrible things. The resurrection of Beloved was a big let down for me but it did add more depth to the book. Since Denver’s feelings towards her. If I were to read this novel again, I think I would definitely look more carefully at the interaction of Beloved with Sethe. Beloved for me was the most interesting person because of what happened to her at the end and the uncertainty throughout the novel. All in all, pretty good book for me to actually be ahead of schedule for once. :P

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“Beloved” Response

I found the first half of Beloved very engaging.  The way Morrison chose to tell the story kept me interested.  The story starts off in the present, with Sethe at house 124 near Cincinnati.  As the book goes on, fragments of each of the character’s pasts are recalled.  I think it was this fragmented recollection of the past that sustained my interest and I’m sure kept many other readers curious as well.  However, a little more than halfway through the book the recollections catch up with the present and the pivotal event of the novel is told.  After this climax, I found the rest of the book less interesting.  With the story essentially over, but some hundred pages left to read, I was pretty disappointed.  I think this was because I didn’t relate to the personal and emotional side of Beloved.

Besides the retelling of actual events, Morrison also focuses heavily on the thoughts and feelings of the central characters.  While some passages were artfully written, I found the emotion that permeated the book excessive.  I think this abundance of emotion is key in Morrison illustrating the struggle of African-American women in America.  Her lyrical writing aids her in conveying this emotion throughout the novel.  It is strong as a piece of literature, but personally it is not something that I enjoy in a novel.

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Beloved personal response

‘Beloved’ is one of the books I’ve read with very strong ‘hook’ which encourages the readers to continue reading. The most notable feature to me in this book was frequent, sudden revelations that betray the reader’s assumption and make the whole story more appealing. Examples of such can be firstly the re-birth of Beloved. By seeing the title and first few chapters, I assumed that the book will be a memoir about the lost girl Beloved and how she still remains in Sethe and Denver’s mind. This was because there was not much mentioning of Beloved- probably a reflection of Sethe’s effort to suppress all the bad memories- other than the baby ghost’s appearance. However, us readers are shocked by Beloved coming back in human form. She gradually ‘consumes’ Sethe, and we begin to feel just like Ella who ‘didn’t like the idea of past errors taking possession of the present’.

Secondly, most of Sethe’s past was hidden and was disclosed slowly. When Beloved comes back, Sethe’s negation of Beloved as her dead daughter makes us wonder about their relationship and Sethe’s memory. As if to satisfy reader’s inquiry, Sethe’s memory is revealed- about killing Beloved to prevent them from going back to the Sweet Home. By discovering more about Sethe and other characters from the revelation of past, it makes the ending of the story more complete and successfully engages the reader.

 

Another interesting feature is the poetic quality of the novel. There are lots of repeated phrases and songs, even events, which give subtle rhythm to the novel as a whole. Beloved keeps repeating ‘hot thing’ in her monologue, Paul D repeats ‘red heart’, song with lyrics ‘Bare feet and chamomile sap’ recurs. This repetition sometimes occur few lines after, or even few chapters later, and these notable repetitions bring us back to the part where they first occurred, and helps us to go back into the past and to the present again just like the structure of the novel. Also, the event of Sethe being chased by the slavecatchers happens once in her past, and once in the present with Beloved. Sethe attempts to kill all her children when slavecatcher comes, and she buried this memory for ages. However as she begin to accept that Beloved is her daughter, she sees the image of the same slave catcher when 30 village women tries to pray for her to chase out the ‘evil’. These repetitions of similar events seem to show the realization of Sethe. After the second event, when she recalls the past memory herself and tries to kill the white man, Paul D comes back again, and acknowledges her that her best thing is not others such as Beloved but herself. So the repeating event seems to convey Sethe slowly realizing her value, and accepting her past.

 

After finishing the novel, I began to wonder whether if Beloved actually helped Sethe and Denver. From how Sethe got thinner and weaker by Beloved’s arrival, how Paul D is chased away, and how Denver feels threatened by Beloved’s effect on Sethe, Beloved seems to be harm to their family. But from ‘repeating event’ above, it seems like Beloved helped Sethe to take out and accept her past, and to know the true value of Sethe herself when Beloved disappears.

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Personal response to Joy Luck Club

When reading this book i did not enjoy it immensely. What i thought was interesting about the book was the way it was written, a series of short stories all intertwined in the form of a novel. There were points in the book where i found myself very immersed in the story. These were mainly only the mother’s stories that i really found interesting. I thought the book was a very easy read.

Although i didn’t particularly enjoy this book all that much, i can understand why someone would and i have talked to several people who have said that they loved the book. I think that a lot of people can relate to the book, especially here where we live, where theres such a culturally diverse population. Some people may be able to have more of an emotional connection to these stories that i did. I found it interesting how Tan’s portrayal of the Chinese mothers were so stereotypical and this is why i think a lot of people here can relate to it, but this may also cause some people to dislike the book as they do not see themselves as a part of that stereotype.

I especially enjoyed Waverly and her mother’s stories and i think this is because out of all the stories Waverly’s is the one i can connect with the most. I enjoyed ‘The rules of the game’ the most. I liked her story and the progression as of how she become a chess prodigy. I’ve always enjoyed chess and i think this is why i enjoyed her story and was able to relate to it more than the other storys just like how a Chinese American person would relate to the other stories.

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Beloved Response

This is one of the few books I actually enjoyed this year in English, and I was upset when it finally came to an end. Unlike the other part 3 novels; Heart Of Darkness, Turn Of The Screw and To The Lighthouse, Beloved was a lot easier to understand and used much simpler language. The plot was easy to follow, even though it kept going back and forth from the past to the present. This technique in going back in time, gradually gave us more information on Sethe’s past back in Sweet Home keeping us as the reader interested. The novel is structured in my eyes like a jigsaw puzzle. As the novel progresses, Sethe’s past life and how she arrived at house 124 is revealed. The further you get into the book the more eureka moments you have as her story comes together and begins to make sense. Your thoughts towards the characters also changes as your learn more about them. When beloved first arrived at house 124 I felt a sense of pity to her as she was killed by her mother at the end of the day, however as you learn more about her and as she gains strength and confidence in the house she begins acting like an evil spirit “draining the power out of Sethe” and takes all the attention from Denver, resulting in Denver considering leaving home like her two brothers; Howard and Buglar. I feel like Denver and Beloved almost swapped positions, since when Paul D first arrived at the house Denver didn’t like his presence since he took all of her mother’s attention therefore made it hard for the two of them to be happy. Looking at the two girls from this perspective I think Denver and Beloved are relatively selfish, as they don’t seem to care for their mother’s feelings. However this may be due to revenge for when Sethe attempted killing her children in the shed before the schoolteacher arrived to send them back to Sweet Home. Beloved’s sudden appearance in the novel also made the reader curious and at first a little confused as we aren’t sure to whether Beloved is actually the resurrected child of Sethe or just someone else who coincidently had the same name.

What I found most intriguing about the novel, was the chapter when Beloved is talking and theirs no punctuation. Toni Morrison used an effective writing technique for each character to show their differences in personality.

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Joy Luck Club

“Joy Luck Club” by Amy Tan is about four Chinese families in America with a huge cultural difference between generations. It’s interesting to follow the bond between daughters and mothers, since all the daughters had a struggle to understand their mothers. Throughout the novel we are looking at the point of view from the mothers and daughters, which can cause confusion. The confusion is all about who is telling what story. The stories have a different background, and the most important thing to remember while reading this novel is the cultural issue between America and China.

 

The daughters don’t know a lot about their mothers and their culture, since they didn’t want to learn it, but they want their mother to see who they “really” are, and not “ignoring” them. In the daughters points of view it is interesting, since they have grown up with the American- and Chinese culture, but the mothers still treating them as Chinese daughters, which makes the daughters being distanced from them.

 

Amy Tan, however, let all the daughters realize at the end of their own story, what they have to do to be seen and respected by their mothers. When the mothers tell the story its how they came to America from China, and all the things that happened to them, which is a significant proclamation of China during the Japan invasion. Also it’s significant, since the mothers lived in China at that time.

 

When the mothers speak throughout the daughter’s stories, they don’t pronounce things well, but when they tell their own story in Chinese it is fluent and understandable. This is a significant and humoristic aspect, which is true when people learn a new language, but also it characterizes the mothers as being old and dumb. When they tell their own stories in Chinese it characterizes them as being wise, clever, elegant, etc. It’s interesting how Amy Tan shifts the focus on the mothers throughout the book and the way they talk as well.

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Joy Luck Club

Recently my class and I have been reading Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. To be honest I found this book boring and uninteresting at first because I yet again had nothing to relate to or could escape from. The book was pretty much about culture which is something that I find interesting if they consist of logical things or have good traditions… Which was not the case no, one tradition consisted of a daughter having to cut her skin off to make a blood soup of some sort to save her mother which didn’t work. I know i’m a tough critic but finally I found the end of the book interesting, especially magpies which was soo touching and full of detail. The book was lengthened out which made it tiring to read however the context and details were interesting in the end and in the chapter Scar. This book may be good for people who haven’t been in china for long and are interested in learning about their culture or maybe people who can relate, however the book was not for me considering i’m tired of china because I have been here for soo long. I liked that it compared two countries that I have lived in except it didn’t say much about america except locations and some people.

 

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“To the Lighthouse”

“To the Lighthouse” was an interesting and worthwhile experience but I can’t say that I enjoyed the book that much.  There were moments in the book that I enjoyed immensely but I could not enjoy the plot or the characters which I think may be the reason behind my not particularly enjoying “To the Lighthouse”.  I think the greatest thing about “To the Lighthouse” is the appreciation of the singular beauty of moments in time.  In a couple of scenes Virginia Woolf does a great job of building up the setting through a few different perspectives before one of the characters reaches a kind of pinnacle of fascination with the moment at present.  There were a few times where I thought Woolf was particularly effective at achieving this feeling but the one I can recall most clearly is towards the beginning of the book where Charles Tansley is walking with Mrs Ramsey.  Other than this aspect of the novel, there was nothing else that I found particularly satisfying or entertaining.  Nonetheless, the emphasis on thoughts of characters was a unique approach (this is what lead me to say the book was a worthwhile experience) and it raises questions about the significance of thoughts compared to actions.  We think many things but only act on some.  I would not want my thoughts to represent the person I am, but rather my actions.  However, I noticed in the book that, for the most part, there is an agreement between the characters’ thoughts and their actions (besides James’ recurring thoughts of stabbing his father through the heart).  I do not know that this is typically the case in real life but the characters are otherwise very believable.  Then again it would be impossible for Woolf to include absolutely every thought that goes through someone’s mind, partly because it would be too boring and partly because we may not even be aware of every thought we have.

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To the lighthouse

“To the lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf was unlike any book I’ve read before. The novels I usually read consist of a series of description and narration, whereas to the lighthouse consisted more of a series of thoughts from the different characters. It allowed you to be more personal with every character, instead of just the main character and allowed you to see what each character thought of one another and how their feelings changed as the book progressed and the personalities of each character. Each of the three sections; the window, time passes and to the lighthouse all take place in such a short period of time, yet so many things seem to be going on during this time. Between each section there is a gap, which represents time passing, thus the title of the second section; “time passes”. This gap in time is significant as it allows you as a reader to see how each character has changed.

In my opinion however, I thought “To the lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf was quite a boring book as it didn’t really consist of a lot of action and the story line and setting was quite boring. I didn’t really understand the message behind the story either. It will be interesting to read what my classmates thought about the book and the message they got from it.

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To The Lighthouse

“To the Lighthouse” I found, was very interesting. It’s the first time I have read a book in this style, where the whole story is basically made up of “thoughts” and less of description and narration. I was mostly impressed with how realistic the whole story seemed. There was nothing (that big), that made me think that the book was unrealistic in any way. The thoughts the characters had, in many cases, overlapped with things that I have thought of before too. Thus, I could relate well to some of the character’s emotions. There are many different characters in this book, which may also mean that every reader will have their own special character. The characters, although not directly described in narration, are very well portrayed. Although not perfect, I thought I could see the contrast between each individual, and saw their strengths/weaknesses and personality. I think this is something very hard to do, especially with so many characters.

I really liked how different characters would talk about another character, yet everyone seemed to still have different images about that person. For example, the reader would be tricked into believing the personality of one character just because Mrs Ramsay says it, and we only find out the “truth” or  another perspective after a different character mentions their thought on that person. I think it is important to remember, after all, that all thoughts (which is most of the book), is what a character is thinking. I easily believed these things as facts, but it is important to know that they are just thoughts, and as we know, thoughts are no where near the truth.

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To The Lighthouse Reflection

This book is really different from the other books that we have read so far because its more about the thoughts rather than the actions. At first its kind of hard to distinguish whether its the thoughts of the author or the characters. But as we find out, more so than the plot, this book revolves around human relationships and how much can change in a small time period. Most books are difficult to bring into real life because of how actions seem to happen just constantly and there seems to be no time for us to see inside the thoughts of the character. Its more difficult to relate to because the characters lives are much more action packed unlike our mundane lives.

At first, I thought Mrs. Ramsay was the optimistic one due to her loving nature and how she has so many children and seems to love guests. However, I realized that she just tries to make life perfect but in fact if she just accepted life the way it was with all its imperfections she may be happier. So, while Mr. Macknight said that I would learn to love Mrs. Ramsay, I didn’t really fall in love with her in the end. The way she overprotects her children to the point of complete closure of reality makes me feel like she doesn’t try to educate her children the right way and only wants to create this perfect world she tries to envision. Mr. Ramsay on the other hand is more realistic even though on first impression he seems emotionless and difficult to get along with.

I think that this book seems fairly easy to understand the first time you read it but when you read it again you see that its not as simple as you thought. This book shouldn’t be read like a normal story book because it isn’t meant to be one but if we read it from the perspective that the author wants us to understand the thoughts more than the plot, we will get more out of it.

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To The Lighthouse

To The Lighthouse was enjoyable, albeit confusing, and even somewhat disappointing.

The book at its outset would appear to be about the internal private lives of ordinary people. It does this well, with the worries (including nagging thoughts, such as when Mrs. Ramsay thinks about the bill for the greenhouse being fifty pounds), and lengthy ludicrous thought.

In as far as it being a normal book, it has conflict (James’s hatred of his father, Lily’s confusion as a female artist, Mrs Ramsay’s fears for the futures of her children) all of which develop (Lily gets told she cannot be a woman and an artist. James loses his mother and his father reacts in a way which as a husband you expect him to, but as a “tyrant” you do not). I believe that in some way we all relate to the characters. Whether or not Woolf is giving any accurate portrayal of what it is like to be in the mind, I believe most people obsess in their heads about the big things (like Lily’s 10 year +  concern of her skill and gender) and the little things (The bill for the lighthouse (though £50 was definitely a big deal in the 19th/20th century)). It makes the book feel quite real.

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To the Lighthouse-reflection

To the lighthouse was narrated in ‘watery’ and transient way, and this really seemed to define the concept of time and intricate web of human relationship. In the beginning, To the lighthouse reminded me of the way of narration in Tess, especially the part where Tess goes to the dairy after the death of ‘Sorrow’. But the differences between them is that in Tess this fleeting narration is used to describe only the surroundings (landscape), which resembles the situation that Tess is in, and helps us to feel the power of Nature- this makes us feel as if the Nature is the foreground even if Tess is the heroine. For To the lighthouse, this technique focuses on each individual character’s thoughts which then shift smoothly onto other person’s thoughts. It causes every character’s ‘thoughts’ to take turn and be the protagonist of the novel, and reveals that the novel is directly focusing on ‘consciousness’ or ‘thought’. Through the narration, I felt the relative concept of time. It seems to be passing by us in regular intervals of seconds and minutes, but just within a few hours of time different characters are giving numerous unique thought towards the same situation, revealing their relationship with all the people and inanimate objects surrounding them.

 

I found the idea that lighthouse itself is Mr. Ramsay, and that the light is Mrs. Ramsay most interesting. If that idea is taken into account, Lily and Mr. Ramsay are taking completely different paths to reach the conclusion. Firstly, Lily’s question was whether artists will be appreciated in society, whether her creating a piece of art will be any good. But by seeing Mr. Ramsay and two children travelling to the lighthouse, she realizes that sometimes seeing things from far distance lets one know it better- and reaches the answer to her question “what does matter?” and finishes her art. Oppositely, Mr. Ramsay is travelling closer to the lighthouse, which signifies him, now without Mrs. Ramsay. For Mr. Ramsay, by getting closer to himself, he experiences changes and escapes from the past, shown by saying “Well done!” to James. Again the interconnection between human is shown by this act: “Well done!” completes James, and relieves Cam as an observer.

 

Overall this novel required lot of thinking for me to understand its meaning. But the novel itself is so open to interpretation and written in unusual way that I still feel unsure about whether I understood the novel yet. I think I might need another read, which will give me dissimilar impression.

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To the lighthouse

I actually thought that this was a pretty interesting read. I really like the concept if lateral writing and the stream of consciousness. This is an issue that I’ve thought about before- how everyone’s sitting there basically seeing the same things and people, but everyone’s thoughts are different. How these thoughts may diverge or coincide is entirely possible yet impossible to actually figure out. We know what we’re thinking but what about what other people are thinking? We can never be sure what another person’s thinking.

To the Lighthouse is one of the most realistic works of literature that I’ve read that goes deep into the depths of the human mind, helping us understand the relationship between people that is real and plausible in every way. It isn’t a novel that keeps us interested a particular plot, but it keeps us wondering how the characters really feel about things that are going on and how they really feel about other people around them. How can we really know what we are feeling and why we feel that way? How can we understand what other people do and why they do the things they do? ‘To the lighthouse really addresses these issues as we delve into the consciousness of the various characters, allowing us to understand how they feel about whatever’s going on at that very moment.

‘To the lighthouse’ allows us to learn about human nature and raises many questions. The characters seem to love and hate each other at the same time, admire and respect yet reject and abhore the people around them. This shows us the complexity of human emotions. How can we be sure of what we ourselves are thinking about? How then can we be sure about the thoughts and feeling of particular characters in novels?

Reading the essay, I realised the symbolism of the lighthouse. I never really saw that Woolfe was trying to draw a line of unity, nor did I see the lighthouse as a symbolism of Mr Ramsay nor the light from  the lighthouse as symbolism of Mrs Ramsay. This makes a lot of sense though, and I’ll remember to note these symbols when reading the novel for a second time.

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Toni Morrison interview

INTERVIEWER

Do you write to figure out exactly how you feel about a subject?

MORRISON

No, I know how I feel. My feelings are the result of prejudices and convictions like everybody else’s. But I am interested in the complexity, the vulnerability of an idea. It is not “this is what I believe,” because that would not be a book, just a tract. A book is “this may be what I believe, but suppose I am wrong . . . what could it be?” Or, “I don’t know what it is, but I am interested in finding out what it might mean to me, as well as to other people.”

http://www.theparisreview.org/interviews/1888/the-art-of-fiction-no-134-toni-morrison

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Turn of the Screw

I found the beginning of ‘Turn of the Screw’ very effective in building tension and anticipation of the story to follow.  However, I felt let down as the story went on.  Upon introducing the ghosts of the story there was a sense of relief that was never really compensated for. I think the idea that we are most scared of the unknown rang true in this short story.  The delay in starting the tale of the governess kept me genuinely intrigued and the convoluted stylistic tendencies of the author seemed appropriate.  Later on in the novel, however, these stylistic tendencies lost their effectiveness and the content of the story itself couldn’t sustain the hopes and expectations that the start of the novel buit up.  The first narrator promised to ‘up the ante’ or ‘turn the screw’ but as the book dragged on, I felt as if its best moment were behind it.

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Turn of the Screw Personal Response

I feel that The Turn of the Screw was firstly good, then steadily lost its pace.

For the first few chapters, it was atmospheric and eerie. The first two encounters with the male ghost were eerie, or even scary, but I felt that when Henry James gives them a name and human-like qualities, they lost their scare appeal. The conflict in the book quickly turns from the threat of unknown ghosts or unwanted visitors trespassing and getting very close for some clearly sinister purpose, to  a governess that merely frets over whether she should break the commands of her employer to ensure the safety of his children. She then takes to being unable to control a ten year old and fearing her own reputation from them.

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Turn of the Screw

What I noticed in “Tun of the Screw” was that the children really never talk. Their speech is not shown until about the middle of the book, and even then, it is very vague. The book was very straight forward and I liked this part about it. The description was detailed only in important parts, and even then was said tersely.

The surprising thing for me was that in the end, it was actually Miles who was the one who volunteered to talk. I always thought he was the “worse” one, so it did not end the way I expected. Plus, the fact that he didn’t actually get to saying anything, and the story actually ended with him dying. Throughout the whole story, the main character was trying to find out about what happened and tried to protect the children, yet Miles died in her own hands.

The book is very open to imagination, and many things are not clear to us readers. In this sense, it is similar to “Heart of Darkness’.

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Turn of the Screw

I feel that despite being a ‘ghost’ story, I didn’t find it particularly scary. Also, I personally found that the first part of the novel where the people are sitting around telling stories and waiting for the manuscript to come had an ominous atmosphere. The purpose of having this strange introduction to the story somewhat baffles me. The introduction sure created a sense of anticipation in me though, so perhaps that is one of its purposes.

As for the main storyline of little Miles and Flora, Quint and Ms Jessel, the governess and Mrs Gross, I found interesting yet unrealistic. It raises so many questions and has so many possibilities. Let us imagine for a moment that such a situation were possible in real life. What are we to take of Flora’s reaction when the governess asks her about seeing Ms Jessel? Has she already been possessed by the ghost? Or is she just finally showing her true colours. Why would Flora and Miles keep seeing the ghosts a secret? They are obviously not afraid of the ghosts. Either that, or they feel that there’s no one that they can turn too. That is a little impossible, as they were very sweet and obedient and seemed to like their governess a lot, especially since the governess showered them with love and care. So I take it they enjoyed the presence of the ghosts? Miles wanting to talk to the governess about seeing the ghosts could simply be him growing up and wanting to be a part of reality where he’s out in the world experiencing manly things, and does not wish to be held back by illusions and ghosts.

In the beginning, I had a distinct impression that Miles and Flora were really young children of about 4 and 8? But as the novel progressed, they seemed to mature so quickly it was scary. It was more frightening to see the children behave the way they did than at the fact that there were ghosts involved in the story. I found myself wondering more than once if the children were in fact the ghosts, being so unreal in their obedience and their quick and sudden extreme change in character . The fact that Miles’ heart stopped at the end could be an indication that he’s admitted that he was a ghost and thus was ‘at peace’. Well, that’s just a little theory I had anyway.

I’m not a fan of ghost stories- but the most surprising part is that the children’s unclear character, intention and behavior in the novel is what scares me most.

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Turn of the screw

What struck me the most in this novel is the role of Flora and Miles and the resulting vagueness. I’ve noticed that in the first half of the novel their ‘speech’ was never mentioned, and they were kept being described as flawless and sweet. This gave me a feeling that the children, despite of being ‘innocent’, seem too perfect and vague as if they are not human.

After their speeches are mentioned, Miles tells the governess that they can be ‘mean’ as well. I interpreted this as few different meanings:

  1. Childlike behavior such as going out at night without permission, lying.
  2. Causing the governess to see the ghost (this is purely my assumption!)
  3. Their innocence was faked, either by them or by the ghosts.

Even at the ending at which Miles’ heart stops, it is not clear whether the children are purely normal kids who see the ghost, or whether they are ghosts themselves. Everything seems to be too open-ended in this novel. We have no idea how the governess came to see the ghost. It is not clear whether Miles and Flora are corrupted, or only traumatized by other’s reaction of them seeing the ghost (when they lie about them seeing the ghosts). We have no idea what happened to Flora after Miles’ heart stops. The fact that the kids see the ghosts wasn’t really shocking. Especially at the part when the governess sees Quint, she says that she expected to see a man, and ‘there he was’, the story seems too coincidental and unrealistic. But what made the story more thrilling was the impact of these vaguenesses which really ‘turned the screw’ for me.

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turn of the screw personal response

I actually liked this novel a lot more than I expected. The characters were the most interesting part of the novel. I couldn’t really understand the housekeeper. I wanted to know whether or not she really understood the governess or whether she was on the children’s sides.She seems to be the only one that understands what the governess is saying but at the same time she constantly defends the children. It may be on purpose that she’s trying to not see their faults and only see the perfect side that they show. To me, the scariest characters are not the ghosts but the children themselves. They present themselves as perfect children but they are in fact haunted by the ghosts. THis could be to make sure that nobody knows what they are up to and they can get away with doing bad things but then Miles wouldn’t have tried to let the governess know that they can be bad too. I reasoned this as Miles liking the governess and wanting her to know the truth. I also think that the children might be ghosts because of how perfect they are and the fact that they don’t really talk much but then Mile’s heart stops at the end and so they were still living.

As Mr. Macknight tells us often, good students ask questions. So I want to know why the author left everything hanging. We don’t really ever meet the uncle even though we know quite a lot about him considering. Also, what’s the purpose of writing a novel and leaving more than half of it to the reader’s imagination. This novel’s climax is where everything starts to unravel and the housekeeper doesn’t know whether to agree with the governess or keep defending the children.

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Ghosts

When we first started to read the play Ghosts, by Henric Ibsen, i wad very confused. I could not understand why we are supposed to read a book about an alcoholic father that wants to build a whore house, and make his own daughter a prostitute. why on earth would we read a book like this.
However, the more we when into the book I came to realize that its the first time we read about real life situation, about things that really happen, not some fantasy with a happy ending.
Ghosts was one of the first books that were real, they were about real problem in real life. at first people didn’t read it and even didn’t present it in the theaters. and yeah, i kind of understand why. for generations all the writers wrote about the same sort of stuff, but one day a play comes out with 100% connection to reality.the fact that in the beginning I could not understand why we need to read this kind of book also explains why people at that time wanted to do the same.
to be honest i found this play very interesting. each one of us, even this the same given situation will respond and act differently. For instance: one can say to the husband ” I’m not going to do everything for you, you want to destroy your life with sex and alcohol, fine, but don’t drag me and oswald with. I am leaving!” whereas, another can act like Mrs Alvin acted, to bare everything, even when knowing that he doesn’t deserves anything.
personally i don’t know what i would of done if i was in this situation, you can’t know until you’ve been there.
this play raise some important questions like: is it better to keep the truth from one because you know its only going to do damage. but on the other hand, you are supposed to be the most honest and true with the people that are close to you the most.
this play has an interesting plot and ideas underneath the worlds, only with more analyzing i will come to more understanding of what is really the
instructive lesson of this play.

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