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May 10, 2021, 06:45:41 am

Author Topic: English Extension 1 Essay Marking  (Read 31176 times)

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #105 on: October 29, 2017, 07:35:52 pm »
Hello Annabel! You've been dedicated to E1 allllll year! The end is near for you :)

The post-WWII era was characterised by an intense questioning of humanity and laced with a sense of insecurity and futility in response to shifting societal values. After the Bomb texts demonstrate an intensified questioning of both the political and personal spheres as well as the values that permeate them as a result of an ideological standstill between Western and Eastern values. It is this questioning that underpins the enduring relevance of these texts. Sylvia Plath’s 1965 poetic anthology, Ariel, in particular, poems Arrival of the Bee Box and Morning Song, as well as John Hersey’s non-fiction memoir Hiroshima (1946), examine the relationship between the personal and political; Plath’s focus lies in the convergence of these spheres, oooh nice!
while Hiroshima focuses on the divergence of these spheres. Composers Samuel Beckett and George Tooker both draw attention to shifting societal values by highlighting the nexus between powerlessness and confinement in their respective texts—play Waiting for Godot (1953) and painting The Subway (1950). All four texts highlight the predominantly negative ways of thinking when viewed from a powerless perspective.  In this way of drawing on the challenges of post WWII life, composers seek to capture a variety of individual struggles. Really great - you've incorporated the ways of thinking really well and have used awesome vocabulary in a sophisticated way.

Exhibiting a desire to both conform to and rebel against society’s standards, Plath’s Arrival of the Bee Box embodies the style of confessional poetry, expounding the intensity of the nexus between the personal and political. Plath’s attempt to take control over her identity is alluded to in “I ordered,” I know you're saying, "in the quote, "I ordered"" but using "quote" doesn't sound so sophisticated, but as it stands now it reads a bit awkwardly.
depicting the dichotomous relationship between power and subjugation. Plath however, depicts her nurturing side as she wonders “how hungry they are,” alluding to a conformity to societal standards of maternal instincts. Plath’s onomatopoeic How is it onomatopoeic? reference to the feeling of “African hands,” is a phenomenological approach to race and gender that symbolises a rebel against society’s standards, simultaneously bringing to light the decolonization decolonisation* of African countries following WWII. Plath is hence “privileged in her whiteness,” (Ellen Miller) but victimized and powerless in her femininity.  Great analysis here! The persona, does not consider herself a mother to the bees; rather emphasising her role a ‘protector;’ diction free from gender bias. I've hardly seen racial discussion of this poem so this is great!
                            This notion of flouting societal expectation of identity is heightened in the persona’s disregard of the socially promoted identity of a mother in Morning Song. The title possesses titular homophones: ‘morning’ and ‘mourning’ which allude to a sense of the persona’s grief and post-natal depression. Furthermore, the enjambment within, “I am no more your mother than the cloud that distils a mirror” elucidates the persona’s ironic lack of recognition of an undeniable bond. As De Beauvoir colloquially states, a woman may feel detached from her child as “she has no past in common with this little stranger”, reason enough for the persona of ‘Arrival of the Bee Box’ to not identify with the term ‘mother’. Thus, Plath’s identification of incomprehensible societal expectations, and her subsequent call to action against the political sphere exhibits her conformity and rebellion against social values in the Cold War period.

While Plath politicises her identity containment, Hersey’s text elevates the personal above the political. This is highlighted in the personalization and dependence on religion. When civilians learned it was nuclear fission that caused the explosion, they named it “genshi bakudan,” original child bomb. Japanese vernacular alludes to scientific paradigms subverted for human gain, while the verisimiltudinous verisimilitudinous* of the memoir highlights the pure amazement the civilians felt. Further, the apoliticisation of the bomb is epitomized in the genuine heartfelt belief to pray for them with no resentment. Virginia’s Senator A. Willis Robertson declared himself “dumfounded yet inspired” that a man they attempted to kill “asked God to bless every member of the Senate.” America’s cruel treatment of Japan is contrasted with the actions of a Japanese reverend, echoing the Biblical teaching in an allusion to Luke 6: “Love your enemies… pray for those who mistreat you”. This moment between former political enemies, illuminates the quintessence of existentialism—the freedom of choice—to agree with political powers or to stay true to individual and religious morals. The apolitical response to the bomb-drop is allusive of ‘Japanese stoicism,’ an exclusively Eastern morale. Therefore, Hersey’s Hiroshima elevates the personal over political through religious values.

The nexus between powerlessness and confinement in Waiting for Godot reveals the effect of the Cold War on the common man. As a result of political instability following WW2, the common man had not the ability to run or hide. Imprisoned by the ambit of the stage, Vladimir and Estragon rely on an external source to empower them; Godot, likening itself to man’s search for power in politics. Vladimir and Estragon do not have purpose; their powerless state emphasises the pointlessness of actions, so the need for a complication is futile. While Americans initially viewed their position in the post-war world with optimism, (following their success against Germany and Japan in 1945) a new form of international tension; the Cold War emerged, causing a sense of powerlessness in the common man. The clever manipulation of Theatre of the Absurd highlights, yet subverts this ideology with sardonic and comedic undertones. The exclamation “We’re surrounded!” is humourous yet insightful, highlighting Beckett’s attitudes to his changing world. The irony of this statement lies in the sparse play setting and staging. Passage of time between Act 1 and 2 is clear due to the growth of “four or five leaves,” on the tree; an ambiguous stage direction portraying a level of uncertainty. Authorial intrusion shows even props growing and sprouting more progress than the characters—emphasising Vladimir and Estragon’s incapacity to take control of their own lives, similar to common man’s futility. Thus, the powerlessness of the characters of Beckett’s play is reflective of the common mans’ in post-WW2 society.  Again, really, really good. I'm thoroughly enjoying reading this essay because I can just sit back and absorb everything. There are a few American spellings but other than that it's an extremely smooth essay. Your incorporation of texts, ways of thinking, and scholars, is great. I don't at all think this is inferior.

 Like Waiting for Godot, The Subway emphasises the impact of Cold War ideologies and attitudes on the common man. This specifically translates into the confinement and powerlessness felt by individuals as a result of existing attitudes and political beliefs. Often seen as a Social Realist, Tooker says of his works, “I am after reality,” drawing on the political turmoil of the ‘40s and ‘50s as inspiration. His generalised female figures, with similar mask-like features emphasise post-WWII ways of thinking; anyone who acted differently, was subverting ideals. Tooker’s use of hand-made egg tempera is evident in his piece through cross-hatching the subway floor, creating coarse texture. The harsh, utilitarian setting is thus made clear, reflecting the fears of Communist subversion which gripped domestic politics. The Cold War was a period that hindered rationality, which Sartre called a form of “bad faith,” As much as I like this quote, it's relevance here is questionable. preventing humanity’s search for freedom. The salient figure with an unnerving, concerned mien, suggests her psychological estrangement from the crowd, despite their physical proximity. Tooker’s tempera on composition board medium form causes the woman to stay frozen in time. Composers of the Cold War period depict figures whose actions are completely reactionary; stemming from their complete and utter powerlessness which is paralleled by the utter powerlessness and confinement the common man felt in the era.

Attitudes, reactions and consequences of power play a key role in shaping people’s attitudes and thinking. Texts that use a variety of means to critique the scope, role and implications of power have a far-reaching impact on the way people think. The relationship between personal and political power separates Hiroshima and Ariel from the powerlessness faced by the common man in Waiting for Godot, and the woman in The Subway. However, all four texts showcase victims. What fundamentally separates the personas, are their attitudes—Plath and the Japanese refuse to act and think like victims—they are survivors. Whereas, individuals who think of themselves as powerless are the ones who remain powerless. Whether it is something as simple as waiting for Godot or being frozen in place, a shift in thinking occurs.
                          Even readers are at the mercy of the patriarchy and government… yet it is their thinking, and reading texts that depict the effects and dynamics of thought that allows us to either empower themselves, or to flounder in powerlessness.

Through the comparison of five texts rooted in the post-war period, an understanding of the perils of war is understood. Plath’s ‘Arrival of the Bee Box’ and Morning Song depicts need for the nexus between the individual and politics, while characters in Hersey’s Hiroshima refuse to become political in fear of hatred. Waiting for Godot and The Subway explore themes of powerlessness and isolation highlighted in the freedom and confinement of the characters. Hence, Cold War literature articulates the growing fear and existential concerns of period to a great extent, and the study of it in modern times explicates its relevance

This is an INCREDIBLE essay and you should feel so so so chuffed with this! I am especially intrigued by the part towards the end talking about the powerful and the powerless. Depending on what your essay question is, I'd try run that through the essay as a far stronger vein because it presents some really interesting ideas! You're being thoroughly analytical when you are talking about the power involved there and individuals and I hope that can feature more throughout the body of your response because it's a very critical statement you're making, but well backed up. So aside from the few American spellings, this last part is ultimately my only advice. I've sprinkled a few things throughout but I cannot fault this essay in terms of structure or language. It's strong, sophisticated, tight, and you should be proud :)