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.

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.

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.

Heart of Darkness response

Marlow’s Epic journey to find Kurtz in the congo jungle was built up into something a lot bigger than it actually was in my opinion. His journey seemed relatively short and quite repetitive as he trudged deeper into his jungle to collect his treasure(kurtz). When reading the book i felt like a lot of the important scenes were cut out and the structure was all over the place. One moment he would be lying on his steam boat and the next minute he was in the generals office watching a black slave get beaten.

What i found interesting about this book is that the narration of Marlow when describing a “nigger” seems as if he is almost pitying the natives. Yet he does nothing to help them. This makes me question, how much of a man is Marlow?

The lead up to Kurtz, which was supposed to represent the treasure of the journey was massive and the way people smoke about him in the story, you would think he would be some sort of magical wizard that solved all problems. But when he was first introduced in the book he came across as being rather insane and unstable which was quite dissapointing.


Tess has always been one of my most loved books. I’ve read it time and time again, and every time I love it. Tess has helped me to understand that there are many different sides to people. Hardy’s descriptions are vivid and clear, they enable us to have good understanding of the characters as well as the scenery that surrounds the stories. Although the story is in some ways depressing, personally, I blame it all on the way Tess is portrayed. She takes things seriously and is rather dramatic. Tess also annoys me as she is weak and doesn’t stand up for herself. She also throws hissy fits and it’s just a misery. However, I guess she’s just like every other teenage girl.
As I said before though, I do adore this book. Hardy is excellent at showing the dynamics of family relationships and also gives great credit to the beauty of the English countryside. He manages to show the pride of the work people and helps to reiterate to snobby higher classes that ‘peasants’ can be just as proud and they can be intelligent.

Phase the First and Storytelling/Accessibility

I have found that Hardy has written Tess D’Ubervilles in such a way that it looks like a Fairy Tale or a pantomime. The player knows of the conspiracy of Alec has planned. This plot is displayed and littered throughout the phase, from as soon as he is introduced.

We are immediately told that Alec is not a real D’Uberville, that “d’Uberville accordingly was annexed to his own name for himself and his heirs eternally”. This is repeated later “A castle argent is certainly my crest…and my arms a lion rampant”(29). It is reminiscent of how in a fairy tale, designed to be followable and accessible, that Red Riding Hood remarks like “What big eyes you have, grandmother” to display the fraud and the character of the Wolf.

We are also likewise told that “constructing his family tree on the new basis was duly reasonable”, which suggests that there is a desire for legitimacy – the relationship is not initially motivated by love and so Tess is the victim, a heroine drawn unknowingly into danger. It struck me that this happens despite Hardy describing as being the smartest, perhaps the prettiest, and the only literate member of her family. This is most obvious later in Phase One, towards the ends of chapters, where she seems to be the only one that is unaware of Alec’s ominous motives. At the end of chapter 10, she is removed from the company of the drunk people to be with Alec on his carriage. Car remarks then “out of the frying pan and into the fire” (53). Tess escapes the scorn of the crowd, but into Alec’s scheme.


Helen Vendlers’ analysis of ‘On first looking into Champans Homer’ was extremely useful, like many have said, as she actually used a poem to show how to complete an analysis. Although useful, Vendler does use many different skills, which I did find a bit confusing when trying to look at them as one. However, I overcame this by focusing on one point at a time.
Although good, I don’t think I will solely use Vendlers method when analysising poems, if for no other reason than it’s a hell of a lot to remember, and with a memory like mine, it’ll be impossible 

I did enjoy how she speculated about how the poem could be split into different parts. Some of the splits didn’t really make much sense to me within the poem, but it was useful to look at them all and see how we could look at the poem.

Helen Vendler

Reading Helen Vendler’s guide to analysing “on first looking into Chapman Homer” by John Keats was incredibly helpful as it allowed me to understand the poem as a whole. Something that stood out that i didn’t recognise when first looking into the poem was the structure and how it related to the general theme of the poem; how it was split into 4, 6, 4, or 8, 6 etc. Although like Anita said these separations don’t fit very well for this poem it may be appropriate for other poems and it made me wary that you can consider these factors

Thoughts on Vendler’s analysis

The sheer amount of ways Vendler analyzes Chapman’s Homer by Keats is almost overwhelming. I personally am horrible at analyzing anything, so despite this not being my first time reading Vendler’s analysis it is still quite informative. The most impressive parts of her analysis is separation of the verses. I personally never bothered thinking of ways to split the poem, because I always thought who cares? But after reading the analysis a second time I see how separating the poem’s verses brings out different outlooks on the poem and we see the effects that the poet might be (intentionally or not) be trying to create.

There were parts of the analysis that at first glance were just discombobulating. A perfect example of this would be the emotional curve. I know that part of analyzing a poem is looking at the effects a poem has on your emotion but I thought what does an emotional curve have to do with it? That is until I tried drawing an emotional curve for other poems. After I did it I just found it so much easier to have the visual aid of the emotional curve to remind me exactly what I was writing about at which parts.

Wolfgang Von Goethe

Wolfgang looks at the context of Hamlet’s position as “heir” and makes several points:
He says Hamlet is not heir – instead, the rule is not hereditary and Hamlet is forever barred by his uncle from gaining the throne(153). Wolfgang also says that the effects around Hamlet have made “reflection and sorrowful [to] have become an heavy obligation for him” (154).

These are his most profound statements in his shorty essay. Otherwise he talks about Hamlet’s circumstances.

I agree on both counts. Such an obligation is the subject of the play, such lowness is oft the subject of Hamlet’s speech. In the silliloquy we have studied in act II scene ii, he calls himself both a “rogue and peasant slave” (line 42). Hamlet does withdraw from the pleasures of a prince – he feigns madness and ultimately ruins his love relationship with Ophelia in his quest to outsmart and kill his uncle.

Post-Hamlet Reflection

-Personally, I placed Claudius as a friendly character to be a well-meaning person. I feel it is possible to do this consistently. The play is largely written in a way which gets us on Hamlet’s side (we see only that which is relevant to him as he is the subject matter of the Title, the questions of the play are centered around him and he is the subject of the tragedy, etc.) However, I feel it is also a part of the play (to what extent we can describe this openness in assessment I wonder) that we are able to talk about the polyseme ways that the play can be read. I think that there are two main ways to read the play : That Hamlet is mad (I mean insane, to clear up ambiguity) and so everything is mad, or that Hamlet mad and so the best way to represent this is to have normality surrounding his manifested inner torment.
So, back to my point, I don’t think that there is much about Claudius that cannot be read in some way that represents him as well meaning at that time. Claudius can be read as slow to action – his crown is from the one act of regicide, as shown in his “repentance”, which itself (“my words fly up but my thoughts remain below”(Act 3, scene 3, line97-98)) can be read that he is purposely not truly repentant or merely inwardly tormented by his inability to act with the appropriate religious fervor to repent. His decision to send Hamlet away can be seen as an appropriate response to a mad “son” that had hopes to kill him. His subsequent actions – sending Hamlet to England and telling Laertes taht he could kill Hamlet, on hearing of his return – can be seen as inaction. He leaves the task of killing Hamlet to others. Inaction is not something which is attributed to great leaders, so it can be said that Claudius is a poor leader, if that were not already evident.


After watching the film and reading “What Actually Happens in the Play” by A.C. Bradley, I developed a greater interest in Hamlet.. And, shocker, i actually realized i kind of enjoyed Hamlet a little bit!
Saying that, I feel that I didn’t really like just reading Hamlet as I couldn’t visualize it.. The film brought it to life for me and helped me to understand and see the little quirks within the play that I’d found hard to see while reading it.. Like the sarcasm for example. Watching the film also brought a few questions to mind.. for example; how do we know the play was written with the intention of parts being portrayed sarcastically? I know Mr. MacKnight said there are subtle clues.. But how do we know that it would have been portrayed as sarcasm when it was first acted?

Reading “What Actually Happens in the Play” by A.C. Bradley was a major help in extending my understanding of the play. Much like Anita, I thought this essay was more interesting than the actual play its self. It helped me to look at the play from different angles and to see the play as more than a tragedy.

Like quite a few of the class have said.. it was a shocker to me that Hamlet died! I mean, I can’t have been the only one thinking/hoping it would all end up hunky-dory for him can I?! I understand that the play is considered a tragedy, but I really thought the ending would have been different!

Overall, although I didn’t particularly enjoy reading the play, reading the essay relating to Hamlet and watching the play were my favourite parts.. I’m not much of a fan of the ‘classic’ plays, or plays in general. However I can understand why Shakespeare’s’ Hamlet is considered to be great.. I guess it just goes on personal taste.

Hamlet overview

I agree with Cassie that watching the play definitely helped me understand the play and the characters a lot better than reading it. When reading the play I found it hard to understand what Hamlet was feeling and I didn’t even notice he was starting to go mad, until I watched how he acted in the play.

Not only did I misinterpret what hamlet was feeling, but I also struggled to know what the king felt of hamlet, as he seemed to speak to hamlet as if he respected him. However after watching the play and seeing the king actions as Hamlet started to go off the rails and more suspicious of his father’s death I was able to see that the king secretly despised him through his facial emotions.

A lot of my classmates seemed shocked by the fact that Hamlet died in the end of the play, however I wasn’t surprised at all as I knew it was a tragedy and most people died and I thought it was quite clear that Hamlet had it coming to him. I was more shocked that Ophelia died.

Belated Hamlet Act III Post

So, people keep saying that Lion King is based of Hamlet, but I do not see this comparison, except Scar killing Aslan (trololololol).

But, more seriously, if Polonius were actually a character to rout for, the play would already be a tragedy. Much like a tragedy, the offender is on his way to rectify the wrongs when suddenly much in the way of fatality occurs. This book seems to be almost a battle of wits, wherein Polonius is too stupid and has now died.


From doing the IOP’s, i learnt quite a lot and found new ways to look at certain aspects of each book that was done. I felt that the feedback from Mr MacKnight was useful, as well as the questions from our class mates helping to delve into the area we had a ll looked at. Looking back over everyone’s IOPs, i wish i had the chance to re-do mine as i think i would be able to do it better and go more indepth into some of the parts I mentioned. I think i should have made my presentation much more interesting and engaged with the audience a lot more as I think that would be where i lost the most marks.

Overall, i enjoyed the IOP’s, it was something different and interesting. I am nervous to receive my grade back though 🙁


I learnt quite a lot from the IOP’s and from the feedback that was given by Mr McKnight. I just wish i could redo it, now that i have a better understanding on what to do and what to include.
When giving my presentation i found it hard to keep eye contact with the audience, since i was to busy concentrating on my notes because i didn’t want to miss anything out. I regret doing this now, since i frequently lost track of where i was. I think i also focused to much on my question and didn’t allow myself to go above and beyond the topic. I also found it quite difficult to reach the required time limit.
After listening to my classmates Presentations, i got a better and deeper understanding of the pieces of literature. They allowed me to look at the texts through a different perspective and i think it will have a big impact on my writing in the future, if i ever have to write about them.

Sonnet 29

During this, I kept changing my view on the poem, meaning I should have reread it several times. First I thought it meant a breakup (then I realized, to my facepalm, it is a sonnet) and then realized that it was a death, and that all of that is quite subtly in there as the author never actually says “he is dead and now he cannot love me”.

Reading Mr MacKnight’s essay, reveals to me the possibility of using slightly more linguistic reasoning, talking about the sounds of language, and their effects, rather than just the language. This is something I had done in my AS English, but it is largely undeveloped. But at the same time I had briefly discussed the use of “pity me not” as opposed to “don’t pity me”, yet I feel it was probably a bit of a bull- comparison now.

Is Thoreau an anarchist?

Is Thoreau an Anarchist?
Karl Marx, in his communist theory stated that the collapse of the governments (all around the world at the same time) would happen when a large oppressed and poor majority, were pushed to the breaking point of discontent by a small portion of society, rich and well off. Since then, communism has been confused and become fragmented. What Marx wrote about is today understood as anarchism. Communism is what he called it, and socialism is when the government makes it policy to work towards workers’ rights, and one day towards “communism”.
Drinnon’s essay peaks (before its plunge) at calling Thoreau an “anarchist decentralist” (551). He means Thoreau didn’t want the American government to go, but he didn’t it to be in charge at all as much as it was. This is, on face value, is consistent with Thoreau’s speech/essay (227) and so we could call Thoreau an anarchist. But I disagree with this idea of putting things into their boxes to make it simple, and so calling Thoreau an anarchist.
Drinnon himself earlier mentions that Thoreau says that he is “unlike those who call themselves no-government men”(228). This means that he is not an anarchist, which by definition means “no-government person”. As I have stated above, and as Drinnon states, the definitions of the left room have been distorted over the last 2 centuries(548). Not only does Thoreau state that he doesn’t want to be identified as an anarchist (228), but says he’d rather a better government than no government. To me, this seems to be more consistent with socialism, the idea of working towards a world as envisioned by Marx, but only slowly. Furthermore, while anarchists are extremists, Thoreau, by saying he’d first rather “a better government than no government” (228).

Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience

Overall, I think that, although Thoreaus essay was well thought out and written, it’s a touch too long winded for me.
I ended up reading the thing twice, to try and gain a better understanding. Although i like Thoreau’s ideas of the way people petition and argue, yet do nothing of great importance, means they achieve nothing. I think this is a good life lesson to learn and will certainly be using it towards something i may feel strongly about in the future.

Although I feel his meaning was clever and well achieved, i can’t say i particularly liked Thoreua’s Civil Disobedience 🙂

Macknight’s Essay

As i said in class, I think Mr Macknight took a very morbid view on the the temptations that were put infront of Odysseus. Although it was a well written and well structured essay, i feel that Macknight could have put more details of the other side, as in an essay, i’ve always been taught, to show both sides of the argument.


I actually enjoyed the Odyssey, which for a book given as a required reading in English lit. is pretty amazing!
Although i had some troubles with the names of certain characters, i did manage to grasp telemakhos’ name by the time we’d finished it! I enjoyed the overall storyline, although some parts of it did confuse me. However, i do think this could be a result of the different cultures. I’ve not grown up praying to gods and goddess’, i’ve not been brought up to believe that a higher power has any control over my life, so when the characters were sacrificing to the gods, i thought it was a bit boring and amusing that they believed in the power these apparent “higher” beings have.

Odyssey 9-12

Having put this item low on my list of priorities for a while too long:

I found the trip Odesseus takes home interesting in the least.

I think that Poseidon is just answering the prayer of the Kyklops when he attacks Odesseus on the way to Ithaka. I don’t think it has anything to do with what Odesseus did other than it was the Kyklops that did not like it.

I do not understand why the Gods put Odesseus to sleep so that his men could eat the Helios’ cows. I also do not understand why the Greeks have connected the cows to Helios.

Joy luck club-chapter 16

In this last chapter June and her father go on a long journey to china to find June’s long lost sisters. This has been her mothers desire all her life, but was unable to do it due to her death. Once June gets their she doesn’t see the similarities between them, but once her father took a picture of them all together she seemed to put together the pieces which made up her mother. We never got to hear the stories that June told the sisters about her mother but we can infer she told them the story in the first chapter “joy luck club”.

The joy luck club-chapter 13

An Mei begins this chapter by speaking about the time when her mother got raped and was left with a child. An Mei’s mother’s family were ashamed that she would get into such a situation and kicked her out of the house. It then flips back to the present to when An Mei’s grandmother died, this caused a lot of stress in the family and it led to the death of An Mei’s mother. She did this because she thought that it would make An Mei a stronger person, mentally, and to give her a better life.

joy luck club-chapter 10

Waverly begins this chapter trying to tell her mum about her wedding. However her mum refuses to listen and keeps changing subject. Waverly brews up a plan that will allow rich to get through to her mum but her plan fails miserably due to the difference in culture (well that’s what she thinks). She later finds out, towards the end of the chapter, after having a long and meaningful conversation with her mother that everything’s fine and she finally accepts it. Waverly misunderstood her mother all along.

joy luck club-chapter 9

Lena begins this chapter by speaking about her mother and how she can predict everything through people’s actions. It then skips to when Lena’s mother went to visit her and ted’s house. She had nothing good to say about it nor did she ever have anything good to say about anything. Lena and Ted lived a happy life and never let money step in the way of their relationship until It all got too much for Lena. She got tired of having to record everything they bought, but to be completely truthful she didn’t know why she was getting mad at ted. It was something her mother once told her about if you don’t eat your rice you wont have a nice husband and she was questioning their relationship.

Joy luck club-chapter 8

This chapter begins with June’s mother’s views of America and the American dream theory that you can live if you were to live there. June’s mother has had high hopes for her from when she was young, and tried to push her towards different carriers all her life. June’s mother got the idea of piano lessons from the “Ed Sullivan show” and after watching that made her daughter take up piano lessons everyday. June wasn’t happy with her decisions and was later forced into joining a talent show at the church. She let her mother down and failed miserably but her mother still didn’t give up hope until June mentioned her other two kids that died. That affected her mother, and she stopped forcing her to do things and let her make her own decisions.

Joy luck club-chapter 7

Rose begins this chapter by telling us how her mother used to be a very religious person and used to carry a bible round everyday. She also tells us about wanting a divorce with ted and goes onto speaking about how they met and fell in love and how they also fell out of love. Rose then goes onto to telling us the story about her brother bing drowning and the reasoning for why her mother stopped believing in god and hope. Rose uses that story with her relationship with Ted and leaves fate to decide how things turn out between the two of them.

Joy luck club-chapter 6

In this chapter Lena tells the ghost stories that her mother used to tell her about her great grandfather that sentences a beggar to a thousand cuts. She later discovers a cellar that was locked in her house and decides to see what’s inside. She was horrified by what she saw and it changed how she looked at things. She begins visualizing horrific scenes, but decided not to tell anyone about it. Lena’s father decided they needed to move. Her mother started to acting weird and moving round all their furniture, at first you think its due to Chinese culture and feng shui but you later find out that she’s pregnant. During Lena’s mother’s stage of moving everything around, she moved Lena’s bed next to the wall where she began hearing the aggressive “voices from the wall”. Not long after that Lena’s mother had a miscarriage almost as if the voices had something to do with what happened in Lena’s life. Her mother became irritable and tired and ended up kicking Lena out the house. Lena sneaked back in through the window and found her mother staring at nothing, as if she has lost her mind

Joy Luck Club-chapter 5

This chapter begins with Waverly telling us about invisible strength and the lessons that she was taught by her mother. Her mother always had high hopes for Waverly. She tells us how this all started, at a Christmas party one year when her brother was given a chess set and she was given lifesavers. Waverly began playing chess for lifesavers and she became really good at it and was recommended by people that she played with on the street to start competing in tournaments. She took up this advice and won lots of trophies. She received lots of benefits from her mother and everything for was well until her mother started to take advantage of Waverly’s fame. Waverly then ran away, but ended up coming back in 2 hours. She went up to her room and all she could think about was chess. It was as if chess was controlling her life and that’s how she made her decisions.

Joy luck club-chapter 4

This Chapter starts in the present but flips to a flashback that Ying Ying had when she was a little girl on the moon festival at Taihu lake. Her and her family had planned to go see the moon lady and celebrate moon festival on a pavilion but Ying Ying was unable to enter because her clothes weren’t appropriate for the event. Instead she sat outside watching the fishermen and cooks prepare the feast. All was well until fireworks began to go off and she fell into the lake. A group of fisherman pulled her out of the water and took her to shore where the moon lady performance was going on. Her whole life she believed in the moon lady, so once she saw the actor or stage, she chased after “her” to make her one wish of the year. Once she reached the moon lady she realised it was just a man with make up on. Her dreams where then crushed.

Joy luck club-chapter 3

In this chapter, Lindo tells the story of her childhood when she was forced to match up with Tyan Yu. Lindo’s family’s house was flooded when she was little and they were forced to move to si chuan and leave Lindo behind with the Huangs. She was used as a servant in the household and did everything for them, Untill it finally came to their wedding. The celebration consisted of a candle and if that candle were to blow out it would mean there marriage would be bad and couldn’t persist. So later on in the night Lindo blew out the candle without anyone knowing hoping this would stop the wedding, however the matchmaker re lit the candle and confessed it stayed lit. Once they were married Tyan Yu’s mother expected Lindo to get pregnant, but both Tyan Yu and Lindo were not interested in this idea and never even tried. Linda then thought of an idea on how to get out of this marriage situation without breaking her promise to her mother. She staged a spiritual dream and told Tyan Yu’s mother that this marriage will cause the death over all the ancestors. At first his mother wasn’t convinced until Lindo started to state things that would happen. Once convinced the Huangs instantly made them get a divorce and shipped Lindo off to America.

Joy luck club-chapter 2

An Mei begins this chapter by speaking about her childhood and some of the ghost stories her grandmother used to tell her about what happened to greedy kids. We also learn about An Mei’s mother and how her grandmother kicked her out of the house but she never really knew the real reason why her mother left. An Mei’s grandmother then became sick and her mother finally returned to make piece with An Mei and to explain the reason why she really left. When An Mei’s mother returned she notices An Mei’s scar, then it goes onto the background of how An Mei got the scar and her mother then begins to cook a traditional remedy with her own flesh to try save the grandmother but it didn’t work and An Mei’s mother died not so long after.

Joy Luck club- chapter 1

At the beginning of this chapter we find out that Jing Mei’s mother is dead. This chapter is about Jing Mei looking back on the stories her mother used to tell her about the war between the Japanese and the Chinese and how it was so bad she had to leave her kids on the roadside, as she was trying to run away from the Japanese.
It then goes onto explaining how the joy luck club was formed and how it worked. Jing Mei took her mothers place on the east side of the table after she died and was able to play with the other members. They began telling stories about each other’s lives and finally at the end they inform Jing Mei about her long lost sisters and how her mother has left behind their address just as she died. She is tasked by the members to go find the sister sand tell them all about her mother. But Jing Mei doesn’t know what to tell them.

Twenty Six Malignant Gates

I had previously expected that the chapter would be about the English language.

In this part of the book, the daughters are contemplating some element of their life. The exception is Lena who struggles with the identity of her neighbour ,and still ,as in the previous part, the identity of her mother. In Half and Half, Rose seems to decide that indifference or inaction and fate are the same thing, though it’s general for the chapter, she says on page 121 “maybe it was fate all along, that faith was just an illusion that somehow you’re in control”.

I noticed that Waverly gives a self-serving account, much like the lovers in the second circle of Dante’s Inferno. She omits the pride and makes it seem matter-of-fact that she’s a Genius, just as she tells Jing-Mei in the last story that she isn’t a genius as she is (140). She also brushes over the part where she has poor sportsmanship, only mentioning in a passing paragraph that, amongst other things, she would throw the chess pieces to the floor in a tantrum if she lost (95-96).

Feathers From a Thousand Li Away

In each story, the daughters experience a separation from their mothers. They all wonder who they are and who their mothers are or were.
In each, the older women gain an insight into who they are and in the second An-Mei concludes that she is who her mother is, that her mother is in her bones. An-Mei also seems confused about whether or not her grandmother likes her, since at the start, her grandmother calls An-Mei’s mother a ghost and says that An-Mei is good for nothing, saying that this will keep her mother away.

But as with the relative who was arrested for having too many televisions in his car later turning out to be just a TV repairman, I think that it is more complex than it looks. An-Mei has only said that her mother was pretty and described a scene where her mother storms into the house angry at the grandmother. It looks like they are arguing over An-Mei. It doesn’t look like An-Mei’s mother is slutty as the grandmother says.

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?
Work; Antigone
Author; Sophocles

Through the interactive orals presented today, the group was informed on Sophocles life and career and the later versions/ adaptations of Antigone. Although the group was onle presented with two presentations, i feel my contextual and cultural understanding of Sophocles Antigone was improved. The first interactive oral presentation we were given was about the life and career of Sophocles. This presentation gave me a small insight into the author of Antigone, although I feel this did not develop my contextual and cultural understanding of the novel that much. Apart from being informed about suspected conditions Sophocles grew up in, i don’t feel this aided me. I feel this way as at the end of the presentation the group was informed that Sophocles never wrote a biography or documented his life anyway, this suggested to me and the group that the information given here could have been hear-say and thus made me want to disregard it as having any inspiration towards Sophocles writing of the novel Antigone.
The story of Antigone is about two women with opposing views, one, Ismene, of which conformed with the general rules for how a woman should act act during this time and the other, Antigone, that went completely against how women should act in a male, royal dominated world.
After hearing the interactive orals, I feel that I am better able to understand some of the cultural and contextual aspects of Sophocles’ Antigone in the way in which the women are depicted. Although I feel that if i had heard the other two interactive oral presentations on Sophocles and his novel Antigone I would be more able to interoperate the meanings behind the novel and what inspired Sophocles to write his novels.

Interactive Oral

Through todays interactive orals, the topics discussed were centred around Sophocles. Sophocles Antigone was written in 442 BC, although the actual story was based in 1200 BC. Antigone is a great example of how Greece was run during this time, how women are perceived as lesser human beings and also about the royal family of this time. While Antigone and Ismene are the main characters of this play, they each represent different aspects of a woman. Antigone depicts what a woman shouldn’t have been during this time, while Ismene depicts how a woman should have acted during this time period (dutiful, faithful to the royal family and refusing to express her true beliefs). Some elements of the culture of the era are evident throughout the play, mainly Ismenes’ role in the plot line. Ismene believed that although it was her brother, what the royals decided, based on “gods” decisions, should happen. She followed suit of the majority believing that one of her brother did not deserve a true burial. The importance of the burial ceremony was made clear to me through the Interactive Orals, where i was informed that the rites given at a true burial service during this time were essential to ensure happiness in the after life. Although some later depictions of Antigone were created, they all followed the same suite, one sister in favour of what the royals/government said and one sister in favour of what she believes is the correct thing to do.
Because Sophocles never wrote a biography and most of the information we have about him is based on stories passed on, it’s difficult to find where Sophocles got his inspirations for Antigone, other than the dilemmas that were going on during his life time (or what we think we may know about it).
I don’t feel todays interactive orals helped me gain much understanding on the cultural and contextual relations to Antigone as I don’t feel there was enough information found or told to the group, although learning that Sophocles wrote about life before he was even born did help me to understand some of what I appeared to misunderstand.

Interactive Oral Reflection: TO LIVE

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?

The discussions held today were related to the Novel, “To Live” By Yu Hua. The subjects brought to light were the life and career of Yu Hua, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

The first presentation today was based on the Great Leap Forward and how this may have affected Yu Hua’s writing. After the three interactive orals today I came to realize how much Yu Hua’s life and background could have impacted his writing and his views on the communist army. The Great Leap Forward was all about industrialization, which resulted in many deaths, due to starvation. Collectivization and industrialization was a main theme throughout the book and the death of Fu Gui’s family members which are all associated with poverty and starvation explained the failure of the collectivization and how much the citizens have suffered because of it.

The Cultural Revolution happened between 1966 and 1976 and explained the existence of the Red Army, of which came to village of Fu Gui and captured him. The main roles of the red guards were to make sure that Mao’s beliefs were spread throughout China and were followed by the Chinese people. Mao’s main source of power were the red army and this is clearly shown in “To Live” when the young girl ordered the Red Guards to break the man’s leg’s because she suspected him of being against their views. The fact that it was a “young girl” that ordered the red army to do this demonstrated that the biggest supporters were often school or university students.

Yu Hua had the chance to experience the Cultural Revolution; therefore his knowledge on it must have been high. During the Cultural Revolution Yu Hua took up the job of a writer as he earned the same wage as when he was a dentist but barely had to do any work as a writer and enjoyed it much more. Although this makes it seem that the Yu Hua liked the Cultural Revolution, however from his writing we can clearly see that he also did experience the revolutions more violent side.

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?

The discussions held today were related to the Divine Comedy, Dante’s Inferno. Four presentations about Dante’s Inferno and the Hell he depicts were discussed. The subjects brought to light were the life and career of Dante, Christian theology, earlier and later depictions of hell and the numerology of the Comedy.
The presentation on the depictions of Hell, both earlier and later, showed the class different views of hell, from different people’s perspective and how it has been altered through time and changes in perspectives. It also gave us an insight into how people’s view of hell differs in different parts of the world. The idea that Hell is an ongoing, never ending infinity is suggested by many of the perspectives, just that peoples person views on what Hell looks like and what lies in the boundaries of hell are different around the world.
The presentation on the Christian theology of Dante’s inferno gave the class an insight into the ordering of hell, the different circles Dante used in the Comedy. As Dante progressed through Hell, (towards Circle 9) the severity of the sin punished there increased. However parts of Dante’s inferno don’t comply with Christian theologies beliefs. He has made a place between hell and heaven, which is called “limbo” where the innocent are placed. Dante places here people who have not really done any wrong or have not been baptized, yet Christian Theologists say that the only “innocent” people are the ones who have only ever committed one sin while being born, this suggests that Christian Theologists believe only still-born/babies that die extremely young, belong in the circle of innocence.

The presentation of Dante’s life and career gives us a better insight of why the divine comedy is how it is. Dante lived quite a hectic lifestyle in his younger years and was part of the “white gulps”, which may be why he placed one of the popes in his hell.

Although numerology was discussed it wasn’t made clear how this related to Dante’s inferno, apart from that number 3 is a recurring number and symbolizes the whole trinity.

Interactive Oral Presentations

How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral?

The presentations that were given today included the life and career of Dante, Christian Theology, earlier and later depictions of Hell and a section on Numerology.
The first presentation given was about the life and career of Dante. Throughout this presentation we were given information about Dante’s early life, his relationship status, his children, his exile and some of his political beliefs. This information helped me gain some knowledge into why Dante had depicted certain people (an older pope) in certain circles of hell. Getting a better insight into his exile also helped to understand Dante a little better. The next presentation was on Christian Theology, although I thought this would give me a large insight into Dante’s Inferno and why things were the way they were. However the group found that really, Christian Theologists mainly just nit-picked at the circles of Hell Dante had put certain people. The third presentation is the one I feel really helped with my understanding of cultural in Dante’s Inferno. Although this presentation gave the idea that The Divine Comedy was not greatly religious, it became quite clear that Dante used a variety of the same ideas that are shown in both the Hell of the Old Testament and the Hell of the New Testament. The use of a guide in almost all of the depictions of Hell helped me understand more why Dante had his guide through Hell, as I had never really grasped what significance he was other than pass Dante over at the end of Hell. Almost all depictions of Hell show it as a dark place, with animals/demons being the ones to deliver the punishments. This made it clearer as to why Dante had different beings in different circles of his Hell. Although I don’t think this really gave much idea into why Dante has split his Hell into nine circles. Though the final presentation, Numerology, proved interesting, this did not inform me of anything that I was not already aware of in relation to Dante’s Inferno, although it did give me some information on Christian Virtues and Carnal Virtues.
I feel my understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of Dante’s Inferno have been greatly improved after the Interactive Oral, as it gave me the ideas to better understand the Divine Comedy.


After getting my results back I was rather disappointed. I didn’t do as well as I thought I had done. In this exam I thought I had structured it relatively well whereas in the previous one it had no structure in it at all.
However I can see where I have gone wrong. When reading the poem for the second time i saw loads of things that I didnt see on my first read.
Hopefully the next test will be an improvement.

Hierarchy of Sins

Hierarchy of Sins

Sins that are modernly OK



“Lie of Omission”


Sins that avoid justice



Giving bribes

Treachery (and taking bribes)

Sins that target individuals

Adultery and Prostitution


Murder, Torture,Rape and pimping

Sins that target God Blashphemy/Heretical

Laziness and gluttony are the least to me, since they don’t do anything but make you waste away. I wouldn’t personally call these sins anyway. Lie of Omission, though more sly than plain lying, is arguable. It’s not contradicting the truth, its just not drawing attention to it. Envy is up amongst the least since it is no crime to want something, maybe to want it to the point you’d actually consider stealing it is sinful, but not just wanting something.

Lying is then the first I actually think is sinful, since it is avoiding the truth and avoids justice. Then is theft, then bribery. Bribery avoids again avoids justice. I think that taking bribes is akin to treachery as you’re willing to let someone evade justice when it’s you who should uphold it.

Then I get to the sins that hurt individuals, which are worse than avoidance of justice since you only beat the justice system, but if you beat an individual, you likely cause lasting damage. Adultery is a betrayal of marriage, prostitution enables it, but in the Bible it is described as sinning against yourself to take prostitutes. Suicide is destroying yourself but still hurting others, while murder and rape destroy others, while pimping is continual rape.

Then is sin against God, Blasphemy. I think it pretty stupid to knowingly come up with some elaborate heresy to spite the Highest Power.


Though I don’t think God has a hierarchy, since it generally says “the wages of sin is death” and there is only one punishment described for after the final judgement.

To Live

I must admit, ‘To Live’ by Yu Hua was much better than I thought. I’m not sure, but I think it might have been the movie that made the book seem boring. I think the book was much better than the movie, and maybe the movie should have been watched after the book to be compared with it afterwards.

I enjoyed ‘To Live’ because of the culture and history written in it, it was something that you don’t come across very often, so when I read the book it seemed like a real journey. There was also the fact that I live in China which related to it, and some of the things that happened or that were described gave me memories of my own life. However it was a bit disappointing that the ending of the book was so lonely and sad. The first death of Fugui’s son was already enough, yet when the rest of the members started to become sick as well, it was too much. I mean,  yes, some people are very unfortunate, but there were so many people dying that it was too extreme and didn’t even seem realistic anymore. So that’s why I thought the ending of the book was pretty.. horrible. The only thing that changed my mind was the first paragraph of the author’s postscript. After I read it, I thought that ‘To Live’ had all these deaths for a reason, which made the story seem more meaningful. I guess all writers have their own experiences and thoughts that they have, which leads to specific types of books, and it is only these authors themselves that can truly understand the real meaning of their books.

If I look from a distance I can see that the whole novel is basically based around the life of one man’s life, if I think of it like this it is actually pretty interesting. All the events that happened in Fugui’s life just seem like small things, and its all these things that create his life as a whole.

“To Live” Bad Title

To Live I thought was an alright book, bit bad that everyone dies but it was easy to read so I’m not complaining.

Even though every time I got asked “On a scale of 10 how much fun are you having?” I never answered more than a 5 is because reading is never fun for me. But this book was acceptable, even though everyone dies. It wasn’t a sad story for me, the title is just bad. If I was to re-write the title I would put “To Die” then it wouldn’t get our hopes up. I don’t know what else to say about this book but I would love how to say all the names properly 🙂

“To Live”

I really enjoyed reading Yu Hua’s ‘To Live’ and thought it was a very entertaining book. At first I thought the story was going to make Fugui out to be the Forrest Gump of China.  This was because the beginning of the story was very epic, with Fugui losing his fortune and being recruited into the Nationalist Army before ultimately making it back to his family in the countryside – something that could be a book in itself.  While I did enjoy the elaborate setting of the story which linked to the evolution of China as a whole, I found that the main story in “To Live” was simply of a man living his life.  Over the course of “To Live” I think Yu Hua establishes what it means to live and highlights the nuances and intricacies that make life so fascinating.  If I have one complaint it is that Yu Hua seems to kill off his characters in a strange and somewhat simplistic manner that leaves me feeling that there is something missing from the story.

To live

As a book, I found ‘To Live’ particularly tragic. I thought it was impossible for someone to have so much bad luck in his life. Granted, most people will probably say that Fugui deserved his fate because of all the bad things he did as a young adult. It still seems impossible though. Reading ‘To live’ reminded me of the time when I read ‘Slum dog millionaire’. With Slum dog millionaire, I thought that it was impossible for someone to have so much good luck, such that he was able to answer all the questions correctly based on past experiences. With ‘To live’, on the other hand, Fugui lost his family members one by one.

‘To Live’ tells us about post war china and a rough idea of how life in china was at that time. I have to admit that though the book was an easy read, I found some parts of the language particularly funny. For example, there were some phrases that were obviously translated from Chinese. While the phrase makes perfect sense in Chinese, it did not make much sense  Also, while I did find the story line mildly interesting, I did not like the fact that everyone (except fugui) died. It seemed to me that there was no real purpose in the author letting his characters die one by one.

To Live-Reflection

“To Live” by Yu Hua was one of the most tragic books that I’ve read, but in the end I felt quite calm-not particularly sad. That may be because I’ve already read lots of similar Korean novels which display post-war traumas. For example, in a Korean novel “Lucky Day”, (based on post-war situation of 6.25) poor rickshaw runner Kim beats up his sick wife who suddenly gained back appetite and got indigestion. One day he suddenly gains a lot of money so he buys a soup that his wife wanted to eat, but his wife was already dead by then. This is quite similar to Fugui’s story: he experienced civil war and its post-war conditions, used to beat up his wife before, his wife suddenly gained appetite but passed away soon afterwards.

The tragic story of Fugui surprisingly resembles the story of Antigone in numerous ways. Both Fugui and Creon show hubris which leads them to even ignore their family’s advice. Fugui ignores Jiazhen’s advice not to gamble, and Creon ignores his son Haemon’s plead not to kill Antigone. Also, they both experience tragedy of their family’s death. I’ve once heard that the most painful death was not instant one but long-lasting, painful one. In that sense, both Fugui and Creon’s lives are more painful than themselves dying: they’ve lost their innocent loved ones just because of their arrogance, and have to feel the absence of them and guilt for rest of their lives.

The narrator’s role was critical in the story as well. He seems to be living similarly with Fugui: collecting folk songs, saying dirty jokes and falling in love with a woman in countryside. However, he learns from the old Fugui’s story- the reason why the narrator beckoned Fugui to continue story was probably because it had similarities with his own life and hence tells the consequence of it. Fugui also tells narrator to abide by 4 rules: “Don’t say the wrong thing, don’t sleep in the wrong bed, don’t enter the wrong house and don’t rub the wrong pocket”, most of which the narrator seemed to be doing. The existence of the narrator in the story not only makes story more convincing but also indicates that the immoral life of Fugui, which ruined him and made him worthless, actually transformed into moral that teaches the next generation.

Thoughts on “To Live”

I enjoyed To Live. It felt like an easy read.

It seemed rather existentialist. Everyone died in the end. Fugui and his ox left weary and ready to die and has saved money for his burial. Fugui believed he was a total let down, and believed that he had been unable to bring Jiazhen happiness. He also frequently worries that he was a terrible father, despite his efforts, as is evident when Youqing dies and he removes pebbles so his son is not uncomfortable. Despite this Fugui seems contented at the end, having his ox, Fugui as companion. Even when the people who were supposed to die got killed or tortured, like Long Er and the team leader, there was no sort of gratification, but a kind of sympathy.

Since spoilers were passed about, it felt like Final Destination to me, where the only puzzle is guessing what order and how they die, since the fact they will die, which is likely nowhere near the intended effect. When John and I discussed the book briefly after the flight to Hainan, we agreed that it seemed like Yu Hua got bored and killed everyone off.

To Live – Reflection

        This book is the saddest book I have ever read. Even though I really enjoyed reading it, I felt that some of the plot was a little bit too tragic to be possible for real life. Each situation seemed plausible but all put together it seemed very unlikely.
       When I was reading about the narrator’s part, I thought that in some ways he was similar to Fugui before gambling away his family’s assets. He is young and carefree. I think this is part of the reason why Fugui wants to tell him his life story. Even though Fugui seems to have nothing to live for anymore because all of his relatives are now dead, he continues to live because he believes that he should believe in himself and the fact that there will be hope for something better. He may think that he is able to live while all of his family is gone because he has to impart his knowledge and experiences with others and when he meets the narrator he may see how he used to be so carefree. Also, the narrator serves to show how even some simple things in life can have a deeper background. His job was to go around and collect folk songs and listen to stories but when he sees the old man, Fugui, he is willing to listen to him and is rewarded with an interesting story about his life. Normally, when a person just meets an old man with an ox in the fields they don’t think twice about whether or not he has an interesting life stroy worth listening to. Also, Fugui may want to tell others his story becasue he feels as if after he dies nobody will be there to remember him because his son and daughter is dead as well as his grandson.

what i thought about the poem

I thought “rise and repeat” was an unusual poem and i couldn’t figure out what it was really about. but from what i could obtain, it sounded like something you would read on the back of a shampoo bottle. i didn’t perticualary like the poem. the poem keeps relating back to an Egyptian tribe, the “Zabbaleen”. I don’t really see the print in doing so. i don’t see how it has anything to do with the topic of the poem/


i thought “Antigone” was really depressing, saying that all the characters ended up dying in the end. however some of the characters deaths came by surprise, for example Haerons death, and Antigones death. i didn’t think she would of killed herself that soon and i didn’t think haeron would stab himself. these surprises made the book interesting and harder to predict. it stopped you from getting bored. however the chorus in the book seemed to drag on and make very little sense. by the time you have read the 3 pages of chorus you only seem to get very little out of it.
overall i thought the story was relatively good and i’m looking forward to reading the other two books.

Rinse and Repeat: My thoughts

The first comment I would like to make is that Rinse and repeat is probably THE most unique poem that I’ve ever come across before. I’ve never seen a poem that talked about two random things that could barely be related yet make sense. The poet was either a genius or clearly insane. The poet managed to combine information (sort of historical) about the zabaleeen with what seems like the a promotional advertisement sale for shampoo. I felt as if the poet wasn’t completely in this world when he wrote the poem. There are many ways the poem links the two subjects but from what I can see the most obvious one is that the shampoo gave the children basic education (reading skills) and the poem tries to reflect roughly stuff that they learned while reading the back of shampoo bottles that they were collecting. The poet is probably trying to show the poverty stricken state of the world, as it shows the zabaleen living on scraps and peelings. The writer seems to be trying to show us that there are people in the world that are less fortunate then us, the shampoo personifying luxury and wealth while the zabaleen are portraying the image of poverty. There are many ways one could interpret this poem, yet writing about it seems quite difficult due to the changing topic of the poem.


in my opinion the checklist you gave us in class was very useful. It taught me how to paragraph essays and how to strip apart poems to find the deeper meaning within them. i can definitely see how it will come in use as it draws closer towards the will speed up our planning time, since we wont have to think about how to structure our essays and how to link paragraphs. however the poem we have started to read is quite weird. i feel as if he isn’t clear in what he is doing or what he is after.

Callam as a reader/writer

As a reader: Reading is something that i do when i’m told to. i don’t really think of it as a hobby, or something that i would do in my spare time. however the books that i have been “forced” to read i have enjoyed. i like to read autobiographies when i do read though, because i find it interesting learning about someone else’s life and finding out what actually goes on in other places around the world. i have been reading before i even started school, so when it comes to having to read i tend to understand the books relatively easy and am able to read them at a decent speed.

As a Writer: My imagination is wide, so when it comes to writing a novel or an essay i am able to do it at ease. however i struggle to finish essays in the time period that the examiners give. when analyzing a poem or a passage i find it easy to rip them apart and find the deeper mining in them, however i sometimes tend to struggle on putting all my thought and ideas on paper.

On First Looking into Keats’ “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer”

This week in class I learnt that “The Odyssey” is actually a giant poem, that John Keats particularly enjoyed “The Odyssey”, that a bard is an old-school musician/poet and that Cortez didn’t discover the Pacific Ocean.  Additionally, and despite Helen Vendler’s best efforts, I still find Keats’ “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” to be more informative than it is groundbreaking.  However, I will give Keats credit for a creative response – particularly the metaphoric ‘exploration’ of literature that is apparent throughout the sonnet.  While I might not entirely agree with Vendler’s over-analysis of the poem, I have learned that she does make very insightful comments.  I’m sure that taking this Vendler style approach for our IB exams would be favored by examiners so I’ll probably submit and do as she says, but I digress.  I think the most important thing that I learned about poetry this week is the shear number of ways a poem can be divided – as well as the connotations that each division can have.

Reflection- Week 1

What I’ve learnt in Week 1 English Class

I’ve learnt that reading the poem actually involves a multiple process and there are lots of connotations behind the literal words of poem. Helen Vendler’s ways of interpreting the poem have changed my previous ways of poem analysis: I only knew that I should understand literal meanings of poem, see the poetic techniques and effects that they create, and do in-depth analysis of background of poet or the poem itself to allow me to understand the contents better. But, I’ve learnt that the poem can be divided into several forms: according to its structure (English or Italian), perspective (who is the speaker, who is the speaker addressing), change in tone, change in person (1st ,2nd,3rd person), grammatical form or even tense (past, present, future). I was especially fascinated by On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer’s combination of rhythm, connotations of land and sea, and metaphors of the persona’s feeling which all builds up to the emotional peak or the ‘climax’ of the poem. When I was unacknowledged of the literal meaning, I found the poem quite tedious (……..sorry Mr. MacKnight!), but after analyzing it thoroughly with Helen Vendler’s techniques it became as interesting as my favorite poem “Full Moon and the Little Frieda”;.(It even made me wonder whether the poet deliberately structured the poem this way, or whether people are over-analyzing the simple, mind-revealing poem to make it seem profound and intricate..) In the future, I’m hoping to widen my understanding of various poems with techniques I’ve learnt during Week 1.

My New Experience with Poetry

Over the years of studying Poetry I’ve learned multiple ways of analyzing poetry. Some ways I’ve figured out myself and others I’ve been taught. I’m used to studying poetry in the form of the question “what does this mean” or “What is the poet trying to imply with this statement” which always gave me a headache and make it extremely annoying to learn poetry as I have to try and bend my way of thinking into what the poet is thinking.

This week I’ve learned of a different way of looking at poetry entirely. The new methods I’ve learned from observing how Vendler and her list break down poetry have nothing to do with my previous “what does this mean” approach to poetry. I’ve learned things that I’ve never considered before such as reading the poem out loud and analyzing it based on the sounds that I hear and the emotional ups and downs of it . I learned to split a poem in more ways than just it’s form of writing and Rhyme scheme (I have never bothered to split the poem based on a change in the Tone that the poet has created). I have never thought of what the poem might show if the POV is change from first to second or to third person POV. Amongst other things I’ve never thought about is the Antecedent scenario; what has happened before the poem was written, what made the poet write the poem.

With these new techniques with be I hope to lessen the headache that poetry gives me as I continue foraging through the English IB course. So far I’ve already found several ways to improve my previous essays had I thought of these things.


Brandon Lim



As a Reader

As a reader, I am one of those people who have a short attention span. I only read when I am forced to; the reason behind this is that if the book does not interest me I will not carry on reading it. When I was younger I was gripped by the story of Harry Potter but once I realised that I could watch the films I did this rather than read the books.

Another series of books that I started reading but once again got bored with is Alex Ryder, by Anthony Horowitz.  Once again, this was then made into a film so I decided to watch instead of read.

Over the last few years I have not read many books.  On our journey over to China my Mum had the autobiography of Bear Grylls. After she had finished reading this, she told me parts of what Bear had gone through and this grabbed my interest. The reason I was so interested in this book was I admire Bear Grylls, both in his career achievements and his personal achievements. Unfortunately I skipped the first 35 chapters as I was keen to get to the more exciting bit. I am a very slow reader which means I struggle to get through large novels in a short time. If a combat book has a good review, I am more likely to read it. The combat genre has always attracted me, because I have always liked the military.


As a Writer

As a writer I do very little. I do not keep a diary as I think the time is wasted and could be spent doing other things. I would always prefer typing to writing as it is much quicker. Also as my attention is short my handwriting deteriorates the longer I write. My spelling is usually quite good but sometimes the spelling escapes me.  From my past teachers they have always lectured me in my writing for how small it is. In essays I always struggle to start and finish but when I get in my “flow”. I am ok, my imagination isn’t very good anymore (I think I left it at primary school). As you can tell the structure of my writing is also quite poor but I hope to improve this with help from some people.

Hey :)

I’m charlie, from the United Kingdom. I moved to China about 2 months ago, and before joining DC, I didn’t know anyone except my family in Suzhou. I turn 18 in November.

As a reader;

I read mainly for enjoyment purposes, although I do generally just read everything/anything. I read anywhere I can really: in bed, the bath, on the toilet, eating, by the pool, buses etc. Literally ANYWHERE. If there isn’t a book handy, I will read the backs of packaging, especially shampoo bottles.  Book-wise, I don’t have much of a preference. As a child, my “reading age” was higher than most of the other children in my classes, so I have been reading books aimed at people older than me for most of my life. I enjoy romance and thrillers most, although sometimes my imagination runs away with me and prevents me from sleeping if it is a particularly good thriller. I also enjoy series such as the Harry Potter books. My favorite series of books is the “Noughts & Crosses” series by Malorie Blackman. I enjoyed this series especially as the author has based the series on an apartheid theme, though Negroes are superior and Caucasians are  inferior, which is an extreme twist on the history of America. Educationally I have never been required to read a book that has completely grasped my attention, although I am not sure if this is because of the choice of book or because I have had to dissect the story/characters/plot and therefore the story has lost all true meaning to me.


As a writer;

Writing is not my forte. I am comfortable writing and relating facts and truth, but fiction writing I cannot seem to grasp. Expressing my thoughts and feelings on to a piece of paper and describing them all in a way a reader would find interesting is something I find extremely difficult. I have only ever wrote one piece of fiction that I was happy with and felt secure in sharing with others, and that was my AS English Language coursework piece. It being my AL EL coursework though, I cannot accept all responsibility for it as my teachers and other students helped with some of the terminology although the main idea was mine.
Writing about history and facts I find rather easy though, I’d like to think that my grasp on grammar and wording is relatively good. I believe this has a lot to do with the fact that I have read from such a young age and progressed to “difficult” books, causing me to understand harder language.