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April 24, 2021, 02:36:57 am

Author Topic: English Extension 1 Essay Marking  (Read 30548 times)

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paigek3

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #90 on: October 24, 2017, 09:01:13 am »
Hey Ella!! Loooong essay we've got here - must mean you're super keen and you know a lot, so that can't be a bad thing at all! :)

Spoiler
Experimentation with form and ideas within the texts of this module are reflective of the intensified questioning of humanity and human beliefs during their respective contexts.

To what extent does this statement reflect your study of After the Bomb?

In your response, refer to TWO prescribed texts from the elective you have studied, and at least TWO texts of your own choosing


The After the Bomb period brought upon "brought upon" isn't really correct wording - If you take "upon" away it makes perfect sense. Or else use the word "induced" or "triggered" a wide range of change within the ways of thinking of individuals. Therefore, this was extended onto to the literature of the time, and thus this experimentation with form and ideas have been catalysed by the deepened investigation of humankind and the human paradigms during this era to a great extent. The questioning of humanity and human beliefs surrounded the worth of individuals, and as a collective, and whether that be great or hopeless. Samuel Beckett’s 1953 existential play Waiting for Godot and John F. Kennedy’s 1963 elegant historical Berlin Speech both experiment within the form of the print text, though are on opposing sides when deliberating the power or powerless of individuals. Similarly, whilst George Clooney’s 2001 film noir Good Night and Good Luck and Raymond Briggs’ 1982 graphic novel When the Wind Blows experiment with the visual text, they are also opposing values of the constructive supremacy of various bodies within this time period, against the weakness of the mundane individual. These authors use the values within their texts to intensify the questioning of humanity and human beliefs. I like the way you've paired the two texts here, it works really well to make nice comparisons. Very smooth!

The experimentation of the use of voice within print texts during the Cold War era was generated from the importance society placed on saying one’s opinion – whether that be seen as right or wrong. In Waiting for Godot, Beckett interacts with human beliefs by using the power of the voice of his characters to relate to and engage with his audience. When questioning the purpose of humanity, Vladimir states that “But that is not the question. What are we doing here that is the question,” adding comic relief for the audience through the intertextual reference to the most famous line of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. A conversation between Vladimir and Estragon also reveals the questioning of humanity’s worth during this time period, where Estragon asks “Who believes him?” to which Vladimir replies “Everybody. It's the only version they know.” Estragon further comments “People are bloody ignorant apes.” The conversation acts as an allegory regarding the naivety of many individuals who believed the propaganda that was generated, as well as the metaphor of apes used to further trivalise I see that trivialise works, but I think maybe something like "to further diminish the intellect of the human population..." works better. To trivialise is to deduce, but to specifically mention the intellect of the overall population is more precise, rather than just trivialising the existence of the population. the human population. Similarly, in his Berlin Speech, John F. Kennedy uses the power of his own voice to convey ideas regarding humanity, although instead treating human existence with respect and to be of a complex dimension. I'd adjust the wording of this last sentence to show you are comparing the two texts in a stronger way. Instead of "although instead treating" maybe something more like "although,
 unlike in Waiting for Godot, treating..." Just to be really precise in your comparison.
Kennedy states that “I know of no town, no city, that has been besieged for 18 years that still lives with the vitality and the force, and the hope, and the determination of the city of West Berlin.” The polysyndeton used slows down the pace of the sentence to ensure the audience grasps the full effect of the ideas are being conveyed, as Kennedy flatters his live audience by portraying the strength he believes the human has. Really nice piece of analysis! The appeal to hope in the quote the “Hopes of tomorrow,” has the greatest moral power, and through the didactic language used, an optimistic tone is created for the audience. This last bit needs a bit more reflection of the effect of this. I know in your next sentence you analyse this, but it's in a broader sense of the use of voice, not so much about the optimistic tone you've just mentioned. The next sentence, could in fact, be deleted and replaced with an analysis that more directly relates to the part you have just focused on. Through his own voice, Kennedy shows that he values human beliefs, and that humanity is imperatively important. Both texts could have easily been turned into a novel or an academic essay respectively. I think this is an unusual statement to make. Why would they have made novels or essays instead? Are you saying that is the preferred style of this era, therefore the composers showed a deviation from this? However, the experimentation that was seen within the form of the written text during the After the Bomb period, of choosing texts to be heard rather than read, allowed composers to deeply entwine their own voice into their writing. Nice! If you agree, and don't want to add anything to the prior sentence, I'd connect these two sentences by cutting little parts from each so you can sew it back together as one sentence. This will shorten your word usage as well,
 and it will become more precise.
Although these composers were of opposing stances in their ideas, through the experimentation within this medium, they were able to convey important ideas and allow a timeless audience to get an insight into the influence various paradigms had on the questioning of humanity and human beliefs. I'd bring this back to the idea of "voice" that you were exploring in the first part of this paragraph, just to bring it all together really nicely again.

Within the visual text medium, the After the Bomb period brought upon experimentation through a popular use of symbols to question humanity and the human experience. This particularly was inspired from the significant amounts of propaganda that surrounded humanity on an everyday basis, used as symbols for various political ideologies. In her academic article regarding the visual text, Tegally Bibi states that in this form, “the meaning of signs is extraordinarily complex,” and the symbols used are complex in the ideas they represent. Nice quote! Works well here with your argument and the direction of this paragraph. In Good Night and Good Luck, George Clooney uses the soundtrack of the film as a symbol for the devastation humanity experienced during this time period. As Ed Murrow hears of colleague Don Hollenbeck’s passing, the non-diegetic soundtrack plays in a sombre tone, stating “Somewhere there’s heaven.” The symbols used in this extract show that Clooney recognised the destruction humanity went through, however with the use of the word ‘heaven’ he valued the human belief of a higher nirvana of safety. In When the Wind Blows, Raymond Briggs uses colour and objects as symbols for his own views on humanity and human beliefs. As the bomb hits the town of the protagonists,Hilda and Jim, a bright hue of white with faint expressions of red fill the double page, with the red representing the communist ideals that have acted as a catalyst for the warfare. I don't know that this is a true or particularly well backed up statement. I see what you're saying with the red being symbolic, but I don't think it's a catalyst for warfare, so to say? Particularly because the text is so critical of the way people so blindly believe their own government (eg, the pamphlets about staying safe in a bomb), so I'd word this differently so as to not place the entire war's blame on communist ideals. Briggs uses the colour in this piece to show the overpowering nature of nuclear weapons that consumed the lives of numerous individuals by taking up two entire pages to express this way of thinking. Briggs also uses pictures of a missile, plane, and submarine, symbolising land, air and water respectively as these objects have the ability to destroy their corresponding elements – all which are fundamental aspects of human life on Earth. Briggs uses both colour and objects to symbolise the formidable impact the threat of nuclear weaponry has over humanity, and whilst he does not dismiss the power of humans, he hints that this peril is so large that its devastating impact is almost uncontrollable. Both Clooney and Briggs experiment with the use of symbols within their texts as a result of the excessive propaganda used within the context they are set in. Through this, they are able to reflect the human experience within these time periods, whilst also portraying their own beliefs about humanity. I like the idea in this paragraph about visual representations! It features in a strong way and it brings together the two texts really nicely.

During the After the Bomb period, a dichotomous nature of how individuals viewed those in power was created, both within their own nations and on the other side of the political spectrum.  The word "dichotomous" is sticking out to me here and the bit I've underlined all jars a little. Perhaps, the polarised responses of individuals to those in power?This generated the idea of power to be expressed in various texts of the time, where composers chose whether to take the stance of those that possessed this attributed to have a positive or negative on humanity and human beliefs. In Good Night and Good Luck, George Clooney stresses the idea that media holds an extremely powerful status in society. The human belief within this idea is that the media is able to orchestrate news credibly. When talking about the television, Ed Murrow states that “This instrument can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.” The alliteration of which sound? I'd even say "assonance" instead used draws attention to the fact that the media, as an “instrument”, been trusted with the power to “illuminate” and “inspire” humanity during times where there is a desperate desire for the truth. Clooney further uses alliteration in the quote “I believe today that mature Americans can engage in conversation and controversy, the clash of ideas, with Communists anywhere in the world without becoming contaminated or converted.” In this instance, the alliteration also serves to draw attention to the main ideas conveyed as that individuals should be tolerant of one another to limit conflict. In capitalist societies, as Good Night and Good Luck was set in, only rarely would one speak of Communists in a light that was not demeaning. However, as touched on by Hochscherf and Laucht in their critical reading of the text, “the film epitomises on the hegemonial power of the relatively new medium” – the media were able to do speak somewhat controversially whilst possibly changing the view of their audience due to the power they held and continue to hold today. John F. Kennedy has also been influenced by the idea of power during the After the Bomb period, and has used his position as an authoritative individual to convey his own beliefs about humanity in his Berlin Speech. Kennedy speaks highly of the statement “Civus romanus sum,” an allusion to what use to be said to become a Roman citizen. When saying this quote in the context that it was used, the individual was promised freedom and rights, which is exactly what Germans were desperate for during the Cold War era. Kennedy’s use of “Ich bin ein Berliner” inspired by this statement was able to effectively deliver optimism for his audience, and for humanity by establishing the ideas individuals intensely wanted. Kennedy goes on to say that his nation “Will come again if ever needed,” with the high modal emotive language generating unity and the building of power between capitalist societies, essential to promoting hope for a peaceful future as a common human belief and way of thinking. The deliberation of views on bodies and individuals with power has notably had an impact on the composers who construct their texts within the context of the After the Bomb period. In both Good Night and Good Luck and the Berlin Speech, Clooney and Kennedy illustrate the positive use of power, to create human beliefs of optimism, and ensure that faith remained for humanity. Nice paragraph!

Whilst some individuals preferred to focus on the resilience of humanity, others recognised the futility felt during the After the Bomb period as a result of the destruction surrounding them. In Waiting for Godot, Beckett displays the human belief that individuals continued to wait for a saviour of sorts during times of despair, even when there was no certainty that this relief would come. Rewrite this sentence - the human belief is not a past tense action, which you have as "continued to wait" perhaps, "the human belief in a saviour, especially during times of despair." In his reading of the play, James H Reid states that “Its anguished anticipation repeatedly fades into game playing,” thus exemplifying the naivety of humanity shown throughout the play. When expressing that he wants to leave, Estragon asks Vladimir “Why not?” when he dismisses the idea, to which Vladimir replies “We’re waiting for Godot.” The short syntax creates a frantic tone, whilst the inclusive language used shows that whilst the two may feel alone, they are unable to leave each other and unable to stop waiting. This reveals that whilst humans may have felt weak, humanity was experiencing this time period as a collective. Estragon also states “Don’t let’s do anything. It’s safer,” showing his fear by using enigmatic language, not making sense when first read or heard, and as though the fear is making his expression incomprehensible. Beckett again shows the fragile side of humanity during this time period as language being one of the only areas of power left for the everyday individual has now also been destroyed due to the fear that is stimulated from waiting. In When the Wind Blows, Briggs uses pessimism and tone to demonstrate the feebleness of humanity. Jim states that “The powers that be will get to us in the end,” in which continues to be repeated, continuing the feeling of being powerless as they feel the threat of the bomb every day. Near the time of the bomb hitting, speech bubbles turn sharp and the fonts grow larger in capital letters, creating an anxious tone and exemplifies the overpowering fear of the bomb that eventually controlled the lives of individuals. Whilst humanity tried to believe in hope, in some circumstances it was this belief that revealed their fragility, and thus a vicious cycle of weakness continued.

The deliberation on whether humanity has worth, or if it is the opposite in being purposeless, has been reflective on the experimentation of form and ideas during the After the Bomb period to a significant extent. The constructers have used their texts to portray their own beliefs regarding human kind, and have strategically used various functions to ensure their audience gain a new perspective or renew their own, and thus exhibiting the importance and power of literature during this time.

Excellent essay! Really well written. There are a few expression things to work on, but your overall structure really shows your confidence in exploring ideas through texts. I really, really, like the structure. It's complex but seamless. In terms of answering the question, you've only addressed the "intense" part of the question three times, once in the introduction. I'd be tackling this head on to separate yourself further from other students who will fall to the same mistake as you of leaving that important adverb out of the equation!

Your textual evidence is great, although sometimes the quotes are long, and only explored with a simple analysis of one technique. Where you can, try and compound techniques (tone and alliteration, or truncated sentence with connotation, etc) in order to really show you understand how the components of the text work together.

You should be really proud of this overall! :)


Thank you soooo much Elyse!! As you know it has been the year from hell for me with Extension 1, and I’ve honestly had to teach the course to myself. So I’m really glad the essay wasn’t a complete failure!! Hope you don’t mind me submitting a creative soon but don’t worry it’s much shorter ;D

Thank you again for your help!!!


EDIT: What mark out of 25 do you think I could get with this?
« Last Edit: October 24, 2017, 10:41:07 am by paigek3 »
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elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #91 on: October 24, 2017, 11:20:10 am »
Thank you soooo much Elyse!! As you know it has been the year from hell for me with Extension 1, and I’ve honestly had to teach the course to myself. So I’m really glad the essay wasn’t a complete failure!! Hope you don’t mind me submitting a creative soon but don’t worry it’s much shorter ;D

Thank you again for your help!!!


EDIT: What mark out of 25 do you think I could get with this?

Not a worry! I love reading creatives :)

Now you've asked me to give it a mark out of 25 I've noticed that there's something I didn't mention but should have, and it's about the ways you're addressing the ways of thinking. Paradigms are addressed well, and textual concerns and manipulations, but I think the "ways of thinking" could be a stronger feature. For example, you're talking about beliefs of human kind - but in what ways are these beliefs shaped by, or do they shape, ways of thinking? Political compliance, religious criticism, nuclear family structures being a bastion of safety, etc. So with this in mind, I'd give it a 20, because it needs to be addressed critically. But it ultimately is a great essay, but needs that further address to move up!
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #92 on: October 24, 2017, 11:28:46 am »
Not a worry! I love reading creatives :)

Now you've asked me to give it a mark out of 25 I've noticed that there's something I didn't mention but should have, and it's about the ways you're addressing the ways of thinking. Paradigms are addressed well, and textual concerns and manipulations, but I think the "ways of thinking" could be a stronger feature. For example, you're talking about beliefs of human kind - but in what ways are these beliefs shaped by, or do they shape, ways of thinking? Political compliance, religious criticism, nuclear family structures being a bastion of safety, etc. So with this in mind, I'd give it a 20, because it needs to be addressed critically. But it ultimately is a great essay, but needs that further address to move up!

Okay perfect I will head over and work on it now!

Here is my creative writing, now I warn you, creatives have always been something I have struggled with. I honestly love the setting/idea/event I am exploring in it because I find it so interesting, and little bits I do like. But overall I feel as though it isn't at the standard of an E4 at all, and I am just stuck on how to fix it. Hopefully you think different, or know some ways to make it a whole lot better, as I am sure you do :) Would appreciate your help so much! Thanks again :)

Spoiler
I sat down at the dinner table and reached out anxiously, grabbing my wife Elke’s hand, “I can’t do this anymore,” I exclaimed pointing down to the crossword I was doing. Her eyes fell to where my finger landed on the newspaper, as it read ‘EAST’. It was all bugged – the apartment, the car – everything. The Stasi surveilled every aspect of our daily lives, to make sure no one was disloyal. Anytime we needed to express our displeasure with the East we would have to talk in code to limit the risk of getting caught. “Honey, you just have to keep doing the crossword, you can’t stop,” she replied metaphorically.
“We need to,” I whispered.
“We can’t Frank,”
“We can try.”

***************************************************************************

I stepped off the plane in Australia for the 1956 Summer Olympic games with the United Team of Germany as the scorching sun joined hues of honeycomb yellow with a fierce orange. It glistened and warmed my skin, as I heard voices of friendly tones that spoke replacing ‘er’s with ‘ah’s. It was beautiful – a land of friendly people, and most admirably, freedom. It was the last time I had any contact with the West.

These people weren’t trapped by an iron curtain, they could live their lives free of surveillance. The Australians treated us strangers with kindness, a trait that we forgot existed back where we had come from.

Back in my motherland, Olympic athletes were pampered. We were treated much better than everyone else because the government did not want any talent leaving to the West. Though even with this status, threats of nuclear weaponry and mass destruction across the world was enough to destroy any sense of safety. Uncertainty in the world was frightening enough, but we were more afraid of the powers within our nation.

I opened the door to what we hollowly called home, because our habitation was at the very most a shelter. We lived on the second floor, the paint of the apartment building peeled, revealing the muck that lay trapped from neglect. We were fortunate to live in a place that had windows that were attached to their frames. It was the first time I had been home since leaving for the Games.

Elke sat on the couch with our four-year-old son Wolfgang in her arms. Her blonde hair was pinned back, with the strands that lay loose placed behind her ear. Her cobalt eyes sparkled as they fixed on me walking through the door. Wolfgang’s eyes as blue as the ocean were following a toy plane he had in his hand, and his hair was the same colour as the snow white sand I saw in Australia.

They were the only reason I had any pull to come back to East Berlin. Elke gave me a gentle hug resting her head on my shoulder as our blonde hair faded into one another’s, whilst Wolfgang wrapped his short arms around my leg.

I sat with Elke on the couch and told her stories of Australia and the Games – the water polo bloodbath that was Hungary against the USSR, the way my delayed start caused me to finish fourth in my race, and the land of the free that was the incredible country I had set foot on. I told her that we needed to go. We needed to escape. We began to bicker, Elke demanded taking the risk was too great, I agreed – indeed, the risk would be ‘great’. Elke pulled at her hair shouting that it is too selfish for us to do, I argued back saying it was selfish of us not to escape, whilst Wolfgang remained in a deep sleep through his afternoon nap. “We are lucky enough, Frank,” she quietly said, caressing my chin after calming down.

Slowly I stood up out of the chair that was withering away, looking out through window that sat tilted noticeably too far to its left. The streets were dreary, buildings stood wrecked from negligence and soldiers were on almost every corner, especially the closer to the Wall you got. They walked side by side in uniforms that could not be described using any colour but ‘dull’. East Berlin had not changed much since I was a child, except for the fact that smoke clouds from the projection of nuclear weapons being tested had been exchanged for flashing from the projection of bullets across the Wall - it was in ruins in every meaning of the word possible.

Elke joined a line that formed in front of the store, only a block away from the apartment. Just like the Wall, forming lines had become a part of daily life. We weren’t always sure of what exactly we were lining up for, but we knew we would probably need it. Elke cradled the treasure in her hands like it was our own child, ensuring she would not drop it.

Its colour flashed vividly, almost as if the sun was reflecting golden rays off it. It was the only colour other than red that I had seen in a while. It was a banana. They were sparse, and getting your hands on one was as about as exciting as daily life would get in Mitte.

Elke went to sleep that night staring out at the sky where the moon beamed brightly through the curtains of the bedroom. It was almost as if it was sitting in the West, too afraid to venture into the East. I drifted off, but awoke turbulently as Elke sprung up from where she lay as the clock struck three. Gasping for air, she cried “I can’t do the crossword anymore, Frank”. I stared into her eyes in shock from hearing her say those words, as well as being dazed. I never found out whether she had been dreaming of soft fields of green grass meeting with radiant shades of yellow, red and blue, or if instead it was a nightmare full of red, but she knew we had to be with the moon. We had to go.

We spent the next week talking in puzzle by using the newspaper to point out words of ‘Monday’, ‘car’ and ‘Charlie’, to make plans of the escape ensuring we would not get caught. We decided it would be too hard for the three of us to go together – I was escaping first. We lived in Tieckstraße, only 800m from the Wall and just under 3km from Checkpoint Charlie. I knocked on an old Austrian man named Martin’s door, who lived in our building. After an hour of asking him about his car and his family on the other side, he finally understood on what I was attempting to communicate, and agreed to smuggle me over in his car when he was heading to see one of his brothers in the West.

On the day of escape my wife and son walked out the front of the apartment block with me where Martin was going to pick me up. I gave Wolfgang a kiss on the cheek and ensuring I remembered his smiling, innocent face. I then turned to Elke and lightly pressed my lips onto her forehead and shakily told her I loved her before it was time to go.

Martin had a compartment at the bottom of the back seat of his car which he would use to store anything his brother’s in the West gave him that he knew he would not be allowed in the East. I was going to hide in there, with a blanket on top in case the guards had any suspicion of the compartment. As the car rolled closer to Checkpoint Charlie I hid, curling up every inch of my body to avoid being seen. Its wheels made a cracking noise as they slowly went over the gravel that lay underneath. My heart began to race and palms became sweaty as I heard Martin talking to the guard, but there was only one word on my mind – freedom. The car began to move again, but this time it was much faster than before. I couldn’t see anything but I presumed we had made it to the West. The corners of my mouth went up, as did the butterflies that had laid at the pit of my stomach, dormant for years – I had not smiled like this since the day Wolfgang was born, or the day I stepped off the plane into Australia.

My eyes would soon be filled with vibrant colour of blue, pink, red, orange, green, yellow and purples. I rose from my hiding place, full of excitement, faith and – everything turned black. Where was the colour? There was no flashing of a burning gun anymore, no dull soldier uniforms, no shades of Communism red. Freedom was only an illusion. There was nothing.

« Last Edit: October 25, 2017, 05:16:20 pm by paigek3 »
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justwannawish

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #93 on: October 25, 2017, 06:46:00 pm »
Hey, I was hoping you could look over a generic essay I wrote for extension! I have so many doubts about it (and whether it properly addresses ways of thinking) so any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Somehow the italics around the titles have been destroyed bc of my phone, but don't worry I'll remember them in the exam!

Spoiler
Responding to the intensifying paranoia around nuclear warfare, composers of the Cold War era distinctly manipulate their works to confront the essence of humanity in the times. As authors contemplate the rising political tensions between capitalism and communism, they ultimately enable audiences from all milieu to redefine the value of life amid domestic containment and the growing philosophy of existentialism, a belief based on individual agents defining the meaning of existence. After being exposed to a climate of paranoia, Samuel Beckett’s 1949 play, Waiting for Godot, and Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem, America, both share a post-modernist style to critique their salient disillusionment with the War and how it demeans self-agency for external factors. Likewise, Sylvia Plath’s 1965 poetry oeuvre Ariel and Isao Takahata’s 1988 film Grave of the Fireflies capture the absence of self-identity and human morality, reflecting their composers’ attitude to their conservative societies. All four texts encourage their responders to share the need for humanity within the competing discourses of their zeitgeist.
 
Stemming from their composers’ disenchantment with Cold War politics, texts often mirror the dichotomy between social stability and the resulting paralysis of human ethics. A sceptical outlook of an irrational Western world, Plath and Takahata both construct microcosms of 1950s America and post-Hiroshima Japan, emulating how fears of an atomic holocaust facilitated a culture of domestic containment. Plath’s The Applicant entwines promises of societal stability with the second wave feminist movement, giving her “naked” applicant a “suit” to protect him against “fire and bombs”. Her enjambment rejects traditional verse to challenge her Western society’s retreat to conservative gender roles to control an uncontrollable war. The poet marries the wordplay of “suit”, a metonym for marriage and a symbol for a radiation suit, with the vulnerable connotations of “naked”, extending beyond her personal plights to encompass the impact of social constraints on individuals. Plath’s unsuccessful struggle to adjust to the enforced gender roles emerges in her rigid form, asking “will you marry it, marry it, marry it”. The triple utterance of third-person pronouns and declarative syntax engineer a critique of the coercive social pressures of Cold War family unit that is irrationally adopted by mechanised women and weak men. Facilitating social discourse through the objectification and dehumanising language, Plath mimetically moulds her society into “living dolls” to mirror her frustration with her society’s mindless desire to “make new stock from the salt”. The continuation of the sales motif and utilitarian usage of tears disregard human existence, ultimately demeaning the capitalist regime that prioritises stability over human relations. As Takahata’s biographical work later elucidates, the difficulties of keeping one’s humanity is a concern for all ages, with Grave of the Fireflies representing the loss of morality in the incendiary bombings. The potent montage of child corpses establishes through the narrative voiceover “[this is] the night I died”. Juxtaposed with the irritated tone of a passing comment on the “disgraceful[ness] of having these bums here in front of [the Americans]”, Takahata’s brutally honest depiction of Japanese society suggests their inner kindness was lost amid self-preservation. He discomforts the audience into asking whether the political anxiety was worth the loss of human connections, questioning “why must fireflies die so young?” The closeup and high angle of 4-year-old Setsuko’s rhetorical question accentuate the failed attempts of keeping one’s innocence before the prioritisation of the capitalist world eradicated our humanity. The motif of fireflies, the Japanese symbol of the human soul, is paralleled with the corruption of the human condition, enlightening the responders with the emotional degradation of texts just as evocatively as Plath before him. Both composers centralise their concerns of Cold War ideals, their works painting timeless scenarios where political issues defeated humanity’s own morality.
 
Challenging notions of the past in political and private spheres, Cold War era texts struggle to make sense of a dynamic world.  Ensuing from World War Two’s atrocious crimes, the post-modernist style of the texts depicts the devaluing of life in their 1950s zeitgeist, demeaning the previous generation’s religious and governmental faith. Lucky’s speech represents both the play and the outside world, lacking structure and coherency with senseless accounts of “divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia”. The lengthy monologue deconstructs all notions of metalanguage, the lack of punctuation accentuating the believed apathy of the Christian God in a postmodern “incredulity towards metanarratives” (Jean-Francois Lyotard). Suggesting “all of mankind is us” in the existentialist experience, Beckett’s inclusive pronouns universalise the search for external answers to humanity’s purpose, finding none in God. Likewise, Ginsberg parodies the masses’ unconditional belief in government propaganda, sardonically commanding “America free Tom Mooney” and “America save the Spanish loyalists” through declarative verbs and anaphora. A contrast to Beckett’s nihilism, the poet exemplifies the citizens’ lack of agency and absolute trust in authority to attack the meaning of life across the times, focusing on the past rather than one’s self-agency. Stemming from a post-War disillusionment with geopolitics and a political landscape of indoctrination., Ginsberg demeans the importance placed on ‘nations’ over individuals, before “it occurs to [him] that [he is] America” and is “talking to [himself] again”. Nihilistic overtones and the personification position the reader to critique the capitalist world’s attempt to play god, profiting from the decline of its people. As first-person pronouns eradicate the justification of human existence and self-worth for an ideological war, the poet embodies the Beat Generation’s shared disillusionment with political dogmas after the war. Like Ginsberg, Beckett also positions audiences from all times to question perceived truths and the fundamental basis of human existence, his protagonists exemplifying humanity’s condemned pursuit to find a greater purpose. Vladimir’s trust in pre-war religious conservatism is juxtaposed with Estragon’s adjective-infused imagery of God as “very pretty” and “pale blue”, creating an incongruous perspective on existential nihilism brought by the declining religiosity after the war. An absurdist representation of the Second Coming of Christ, Estragon’s perpetual attempts to end their waiting game and “go” are steadily met with Vladimir’s stichomythic reply they must “[wait] for Godot”. Godot’s failure to arrive validates strengthening nihilistic and existentialistic views, influenced by the Theatre of the Absurd. A post-war theatre style focusing on the metaphysical anguish of the era, Estragon’s repetition demotes the dependency on a God-like figure with Vladimir’s resulting clipped tone mirroring theocentric Western nations, disillusioned by a God who never arrives. Both Ginsberg and Beckett question the basis of human existence amongst reliance on aloof, external factors, the underlying absurdity struggling to make sense of their world.
 
Composers often urge their responders to accept their identity in times of coercion, despite no apparent solution to the mystery of being. Amidst a humanist context with a focus on the value of personal connections, both composers grapple with the human condition, developing approval of their own self-worth and identity. Painting his world as an absurdist extrapolation of his times, Beckett parallels the evasive attitude to the conceptual Cold War and the circumvention that began the Second World War. His Pozzo “laughs” out that his “generation…is not any unhappier than its predecessors” before desiring they “not speak of it at all”. Mirroring the populace’s ambivalence to their own self, the formal language and tone indicates a sense of emotional stunting, acknowledging one’s past to develop insight for the future. Like Beckett’s promotion of one’s identity, Plath’s confessional poem ‘Morning Song’ contrasts the titular wordplay between the hopeful connotations of ‘morning’ and a fresh start to motherhood, with the hopeless implications of ‘mourning’ as having ended her life as a successful poet. By admitting “[she’s] no more [a] mother/ than the cloud that…reflects its own effacement”, her evocative imagery analogises giving birth to the demise of clouds; through birth, women subsume their identity into overwhelming maternal pressures, thinking and softening. The personal tone of her enjambment joins the extended motif of motherhood to suggest familial relationships have been disrupted and corrupted by the Cold War. Removed from the stereotypical illusion of a 1950s family from her single-parent upbringing, Plath’s form empowers her own struggles to connect to her child’s innate humanity and the “clear vowels rising like balloons”. The freeverse creates a surreal, stream of consciousness style, synaesthesia and similes stimulating a sense of the instinctual love a mother feels as Plath accepts her child. Realising her identity is more than socially-enforced gender roles, Plath reaffirms a reconnection to individuals and embraces herself to create self-worth, vital for mankind to function. Likewise, ‘Waiting For Godot’s nihilistic attitudes are defied by the symbiotic friendship between Vladimir and Estragon. Scenes where Vladimir “lays [his coat] across Estragon's shoulders” before “swinging his arms to keep himself warm” are deliberately included to demonstrate the foundation of human existence as our connections with others. Drawn from Beckett’s experience in the French resistance, where loyal friends were betrayed and murdered by the Gestapo, the stage directions prove there is more to being human than a pessimistic outlook, with personal relations developing one’s sense of self and life experience. Through their mutual address of intimate connections, both Beckett and Plath shape their work to represent the vitality of the human condition and life.
 
Cold War era texts explore what it means to be human in a tense or existentialist world, with their composers’ perceptions of the era intrinsically influencing the works. Through the nihilistic consequences of losing aspects of oneself, Beckett and Ginsberg subvert the past to find a meaning to our existence, while Plath and Takahata elucidate the necessity of morality in a world that prioritises stability amid prevalent social constructs. Reflecting the composers’ beliefs, the texts allow the audience to discover renewed insights and explore the concerns of an uncertain world.



bananna

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #94 on: October 26, 2017, 10:23:49 am »
Hey Elise!


Do you think you could take a look at my generic Ext1 essay?

Spoiler
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, 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.

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,” 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 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 of African countries following WWII. Plath is hence “privileged in her whiteness,” (Ellen Miller) but victimized and powerless in her femininity. The persona, does not consider herself a mother to the bees; rather emphasising her role a ‘protector;’ diction free from gender bias.
                           
                            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 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 politicizes 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 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.

 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,” 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


I feel my Waiting for Godot paragraph is inferior, and pulling down my essay. How could I improve it?

Also, if you could please give it a mark out of 25 ?


THANK YOU SO MUCH and kind regards,

Annabel :)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 10:35:15 am by bananna »

elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #95 on: October 27, 2017, 02:14:35 pm »
Hi all! The exam is on Monday, eeeeeep. I'm going to get to the above three responses by tomorrow 11am so they're out of the park. I don't typically like marking the day before an exam because it stresses people out a lot, but also in this instance I've got a 60% assignment due on Monday 9am so I cannot even guarantee that on Sunday afternoon I'll be able to commit to providing feedback. So I'll be here to answer questions, but in terms of marking - just know that the weekend might have a bit of a blockade.

To the three above - you'll receive feedback in the next 24 hours :)
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elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #96 on: October 27, 2017, 08:55:12 pm »
Okay perfect I will head over and work on it now!

Here is my creative writing, now I warn you, creatives have always been something I have struggled with. I honestly love the setting/idea/event I am exploring in it because I find it so interesting, and little bits I do like. But overall I feel as though it isn't at the standard of an E4 at all, and I am just stuck on how to fix it. Hopefully you think different, or know some ways to make it a whole lot better, as I am sure you do :) Would appreciate your help so much! Thanks again :)

Hi Ella :) Thanks for your patience! I'll have a read now and get to your PM shortly :)

Spoiler
I sat down at the dinner table and reached out anxiously, grabbing my wife Elke’s hand, “I can’t do this anymore,” I exclaimed pointing down to the crossword I was doing. Her eyes fell to where my finger landed on the newspaper, as it read ‘EAST’. It was all bugged – the apartment, the car – everything. The Stasi surveilled every aspect of our daily lives, to make sure no one was disloyal. Anytime we needed to express our displeasure with the East we would have to talk in code to limit the risk of getting caught.  New line for a new speaker :) “Honey, you just have to keep doing the crossword, you can’t stop,” she replied metaphorically.
“We need to,” I whispered.
“We can’t Frank,”
“We can try.”
I like the way you've formatted this dialogue, back and forth, no verb. Really simple, really reflective of the angst and tight control.
***************************************************************************

I stepped off the plane in Australia for the 1956 Summer Olympic games with the United Team of Germany as the scorching sun joined hues of honeycomb yellow with a fierce orange. It glistened and warmed my skin, as I heard voices of friendly tones that spoke replacing ‘er’s with ‘ah’s. It was beautiful – a land of friendly people, and most admirably, freedom. It was the last time I had any contact with the West.

These people weren’t trapped by an iron curtain, they could live their lives free of surveillance. The Australians treated us strangers with kindness, a trait that we forgot existed back where we had come from.

Back in my motherland, Olympic athletes were pampered. We were treated much better than everyone else because the government did not want any talent leaving to the West. Though even with this status, threats of nuclear weaponry and mass destruction across the world was enough to destroy any sense of safety. Uncertainty in the world was frightening enough, but we were more afraid of the powers within our nation.

I opened the door to what we hollowly called home, because our habitation was at the very most a shelter. We lived on the second floor, the paint of the apartment building peeled, revealing the muck that lay trapped from neglect. We were fortunate to live in a place that had windows that were attached to their frames. It was the first time I had been home since leaving for the Games.

Elke sat on the couch with our four-year-old son Wolfgang in her arms. Her blonde hair was pinned back, with the strands that lay loose placed behind her ear. Her cobalt eyes sparkled as they fixed on me walking through the door. Wolfgang’s eyes as blue as the ocean were following a toy plane he had in his hand, and his hair was the same colour as the snow white sand I saw in Australia.

They were the only reason I had any pull to come back to East Berlin. Elke gave me a gentle hug resting her head on my shoulder as our blonde hair faded into one another’s, whilst Wolfgang wrapped his short arms around my leg.

I sat with Elke on the couch and told her stories of Australia and the Games – the water polo bloodbath that was Hungary against the USSR, the way my delayed start caused me to finish fourth in my race, and the land of the free that was the incredible country I had set foot on. I told her that we needed to go. We needed to escape. We began to bicker, Elke demanded taking the risk was too great, I agreed – indeed, the risk would be ‘great’. Elke pulled at her hair shouting that it is too selfish for us to do, I argued back saying it was selfish of us not to escape, whilst Wolfgang remained in a deep sleep through his afternoon nap. “We are lucky enough, Frank,” she quietly said, caressing my chin after calming down.  I'd put this on it's own line so it really stands out as a calm movement after the chaos.

Slowly I stood up out of the chair that was withering away, looking out through window that sat tilted noticeably too far to its left. The streets were dreary, buildings stood wrecked from negligence and soldiers were on almost every corner, especially the closer to the Wall you got. They walked side by side in uniforms that could not be described using any colour but ‘dull’. East Berlin had not changed much since I was a child, except for the fact that smoke clouds from the projection of nuclear weapons being tested had been exchanged for flashing from the projection of bullets across the Wall - it was in ruins in every meaning of the word possible.

Elke joined a line that formed in front of the store, only a block away from the apartment. Just like the Wall, forming lines had become a part of daily life. We weren’t always sure of what exactly we were lining up for, but we knew we would probably need it. Elke cradled the treasure in her hands like it was our own child, ensuring she would not drop it.

Its colour flashed vividly, almost as if the sun was reflecting golden rays off it. It was the only colour other than red that I had seen in a while. It was a banana. These last three sentences aren't clear - the "it" that begins each of the second two sentences seems to refer to different things? Is the first one the banana "it", the second is the sun being the only colour? and then the banana again? The succession of "its' is confusing :) They were sparse, and getting your hands on one was as about as exciting as daily life would get in Mitte.

Elke went to sleep that night staring out at the sky where the moon beamed brightly through the curtains of the bedroom. It was almost as if it was sitting in the West, too afraid to venture into the East. I drifted off, but awoke turbulently as Elke sprung up from where she lay as the clock struck three. Gasping for air, she cried “I can’t do the crossword anymore, Frank”. I stared into her eyes in shock from hearing her say those words, as well as being dazed. I never found out whether she had been dreaming of soft fields of green grass meeting with radiant shades of yellow, red and blue, or if instead it was a nightmare full of red, but she knew we had to be with the moon. We had to go.

We spent the next week talking in puzzle by using the newspaper to point out words of ‘Monday’, ‘car’ and ‘Charlie’, to make plans of the escape ensuring we would not get caught. We decided it would be too hard for the three of us to go together – I was escaping first. We lived in Tieckstraße, only 800m from the Wall and just under 3km from Checkpoint Charlie. (Side note: I went to Checkpoint Charlie a few months ago and it's stupidly Americanised for tourists) I knocked on an old Austrian man named Martin’s door, who lived in our building. After an hour of asking him about his car and his family on the other side, he finally understood on what I was attempting to communicate, and agreed to smuggle me over in his car when he was heading to see one of his brothers in the West.

On the day of escape my wife and son walked out the front of the apartment block with me where Martin was going to pick me up. I gave Wolfgang a kiss on the cheek and ensuring I remembered his smiling, innocent face. I then turned to Elke and lightly pressed my lips onto her forehead and shakily told her I loved her before it was time to go.

Martin had a compartment at the bottom of the back seat of his car which he would use to store anything his brother’s in the West gave him that he knew he would not be allowed in the East. I was going to hide in there, with a blanket on top in case the guards had any suspicion of the compartment. As the car rolled closer to Checkpoint Charlie I hid, curling up every inch of my body to avoid being seen. Its wheels made a cracking noise as they slowly went over the gravel that lay underneath. My heart began to race and palms became sweaty as I heard Martin talking to the guard, but there was only one word on my mind – freedom. The car began to move again, but this time it was much faster than before. I couldn’t see anything but I presumed we had made it to the West. The corners of my mouth went up, as did the butterflies that had laid at the pit of my stomach, dormant for years – I had not smiled like this since the day Wolfgang was born, or the day I stepped off the plane into Australia.

My eyes would soon be filled with vibrant colour of blue, pink, red, orange, green, yellow and purples. I rose from my hiding place, full of excitement, faith and – everything turned black. Where was the colour? There was no flashing of a burning gun anymore, no dull soldier uniforms, no shades of Communism red. Freedom was only an illusion. There was nothing.


I made almost no comments throughout but I want to offer some things down here instead because it's more about plot structure than anything else. The ending doesn't make sense to me, I've thought of a few different metaphors about the "nothing" and what it could be or what it means. I don't understand why everything turned black when he sat up?

With the writing style, it's quite declarative, recounting, and non-emotional. I thought this could be a reflection of the regime, but because the character seems to have seen and longed for such a vibrancy in Australia and in the imagination of the West, I'd find it more suitable for the writing style to be more embellished. Everything is being recounted, and I can't offer a lot of sympathy because there is that lack of emotion, so I can't gel with the character. I also think the sporting star thing is a great idea, being an athlete and understanding that more privileged treatment is wonderful, a really unique avenue I haven't seen before. But the Australia memory feels random because it's at the beginning, and then not a feature until the end again when I remembered that once he stepped off the plane to Aus. So for this reason I'm left wishing there was more significance to Australia.

In terms of ways of thinking, it explores that East Vs West, longing for freedom, style of thought. But in terms of gender, economy, religion, spirituality, sense of self - there's not a lot there, and I think this is an area you could surely gain some extra marks in. By adding extra references (embedded, of course) you're showing a more wholesome way that they interact to create the ways of thinking of the period. I remember you shied from the ways of thinking a little bit in your essay too, so don't be afraid to really grapple with them because this is what the module requires of you.

The names, experiences, and setting of this story is all very believable and well supported - so major points for that!

I hope this makes sense and you won't be upset that you can improve on over the weekend. Be in touch Ella :)

Edit: Just showered and came back with another idea. You could also quite easily turn this into a speech, so you do a lot of recounting and then at the end you could slice some pieces out so that they are in front of a lectern explaining their story? Maybe bring in a metaphor about athleticism and competitions?
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 09:08:51 pm by elysepopplewell »
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #97 on: October 27, 2017, 09:14:49 pm »
Hi Ella :) Thanks for your patience! I'll have a read now and get to your PM shortly :)

Spoiler
I sat down at the dinner table and reached out anxiously, grabbing my wife Elke’s hand, “I can’t do this anymore,” I exclaimed pointing down to the crossword I was doing. Her eyes fell to where my finger landed on the newspaper, as it read ‘EAST’. It was all bugged – the apartment, the car – everything. The Stasi surveilled every aspect of our daily lives, to make sure no one was disloyal. Anytime we needed to express our displeasure with the East we would have to talk in code to limit the risk of getting caught.  New line for a new speaker :) “Honey, you just have to keep doing the crossword, you can’t stop,” she replied metaphorically.
“We need to,” I whispered.
“We can’t Frank,”
“We can try.”
I like the way you've formatted this dialogue, back and forth, no verb. Really simple, really reflective of the angst and tight control.
***************************************************************************

I stepped off the plane in Australia for the 1956 Summer Olympic games with the United Team of Germany as the scorching sun joined hues of honeycomb yellow with a fierce orange. It glistened and warmed my skin, as I heard voices of friendly tones that spoke replacing ‘er’s with ‘ah’s. It was beautiful – a land of friendly people, and most admirably, freedom. It was the last time I had any contact with the West.

These people weren’t trapped by an iron curtain, they could live their lives free of surveillance. The Australians treated us strangers with kindness, a trait that we forgot existed back where we had come from.

Back in my motherland, Olympic athletes were pampered. We were treated much better than everyone else because the government did not want any talent leaving to the West. Though even with this status, threats of nuclear weaponry and mass destruction across the world was enough to destroy any sense of safety. Uncertainty in the world was frightening enough, but we were more afraid of the powers within our nation.

I opened the door to what we hollowly called home, because our habitation was at the very most a shelter. We lived on the second floor, the paint of the apartment building peeled, revealing the muck that lay trapped from neglect. We were fortunate to live in a place that had windows that were attached to their frames. It was the first time I had been home since leaving for the Games.

Elke sat on the couch with our four-year-old son Wolfgang in her arms. Her blonde hair was pinned back, with the strands that lay loose placed behind her ear. Her cobalt eyes sparkled as they fixed on me walking through the door. Wolfgang’s eyes as blue as the ocean were following a toy plane he had in his hand, and his hair was the same colour as the snow white sand I saw in Australia.

They were the only reason I had any pull to come back to East Berlin. Elke gave me a gentle hug resting her head on my shoulder as our blonde hair faded into one another’s, whilst Wolfgang wrapped his short arms around my leg.

I sat with Elke on the couch and told her stories of Australia and the Games – the water polo bloodbath that was Hungary against the USSR, the way my delayed start caused me to finish fourth in my race, and the land of the free that was the incredible country I had set foot on. I told her that we needed to go. We needed to escape. We began to bicker, Elke demanded taking the risk was too great, I agreed – indeed, the risk would be ‘great’. Elke pulled at her hair shouting that it is too selfish for us to do, I argued back saying it was selfish of us not to escape, whilst Wolfgang remained in a deep sleep through his afternoon nap. “We are lucky enough, Frank,” she quietly said, caressing my chin after calming down.  I'd put this on it's own line so it really stands out as a calm movement after the chaos.

Slowly I stood up out of the chair that was withering away, looking out through window that sat tilted noticeably too far to its left. The streets were dreary, buildings stood wrecked from negligence and soldiers were on almost every corner, especially the closer to the Wall you got. They walked side by side in uniforms that could not be described using any colour but ‘dull’. East Berlin had not changed much since I was a child, except for the fact that smoke clouds from the projection of nuclear weapons being tested had been exchanged for flashing from the projection of bullets across the Wall - it was in ruins in every meaning of the word possible.

Elke joined a line that formed in front of the store, only a block away from the apartment. Just like the Wall, forming lines had become a part of daily life. We weren’t always sure of what exactly we were lining up for, but we knew we would probably need it. Elke cradled the treasure in her hands like it was our own child, ensuring she would not drop it.

Its colour flashed vividly, almost as if the sun was reflecting golden rays off it. It was the only colour other than red that I had seen in a while. It was a banana. These last three sentences aren't clear - the "it" that begins each of the second two sentences seems to refer to different things? Is the first one the banana "it", the second is the sun being the only colour? and then the banana again? The succession of "its' is confusing :) They were sparse, and getting your hands on one was as about as exciting as daily life would get in Mitte.

Elke went to sleep that night staring out at the sky where the moon beamed brightly through the curtains of the bedroom. It was almost as if it was sitting in the West, too afraid to venture into the East. I drifted off, but awoke turbulently as Elke sprung up from where she lay as the clock struck three. Gasping for air, she cried “I can’t do the crossword anymore, Frank”. I stared into her eyes in shock from hearing her say those words, as well as being dazed. I never found out whether she had been dreaming of soft fields of green grass meeting with radiant shades of yellow, red and blue, or if instead it was a nightmare full of red, but she knew we had to be with the moon. We had to go.

We spent the next week talking in puzzle by using the newspaper to point out words of ‘Monday’, ‘car’ and ‘Charlie’, to make plans of the escape ensuring we would not get caught. We decided it would be too hard for the three of us to go together – I was escaping first. We lived in Tieckstraße, only 800m from the Wall and just under 3km from Checkpoint Charlie. (Side note: I went to Checkpoint Charlie a few months ago and it's stupidly Americanised for tourists) I knocked on an old Austrian man named Martin’s door, who lived in our building. After an hour of asking him about his car and his family on the other side, he finally understood on what I was attempting to communicate, and agreed to smuggle me over in his car when he was heading to see one of his brothers in the West.

On the day of escape my wife and son walked out the front of the apartment block with me where Martin was going to pick me up. I gave Wolfgang a kiss on the cheek and ensuring I remembered his smiling, innocent face. I then turned to Elke and lightly pressed my lips onto her forehead and shakily told her I loved her before it was time to go.

Martin had a compartment at the bottom of the back seat of his car which he would use to store anything his brother’s in the West gave him that he knew he would not be allowed in the East. I was going to hide in there, with a blanket on top in case the guards had any suspicion of the compartment. As the car rolled closer to Checkpoint Charlie I hid, curling up every inch of my body to avoid being seen. Its wheels made a cracking noise as they slowly went over the gravel that lay underneath. My heart began to race and palms became sweaty as I heard Martin talking to the guard, but there was only one word on my mind – freedom. The car began to move again, but this time it was much faster than before. I couldn’t see anything but I presumed we had made it to the West. The corners of my mouth went up, as did the butterflies that had laid at the pit of my stomach, dormant for years – I had not smiled like this since the day Wolfgang was born, or the day I stepped off the plane into Australia.

My eyes would soon be filled with vibrant colour of blue, pink, red, orange, green, yellow and purples. I rose from my hiding place, full of excitement, faith and – everything turned black. Where was the colour? There was no flashing of a burning gun anymore, no dull soldier uniforms, no shades of Communism red. Freedom was only an illusion. There was nothing.


I made almost no comments throughout but I want to offer some things down here instead because it's more about plot structure than anything else. The ending doesn't make sense to me, I've thought of a few different metaphors about the "nothing" and what it could be or what it means. I don't understand why everything turned black when he sat up?

With the writing style, it's quite declarative, recounting, and non-emotional. I thought this could be a reflection of the regime, but because the character seems to have seen and longed for such a vibrancy in Australia and in the imagination of the West, I'd find it more suitable for the writing style to be more embellished. Everything is being recounted, and I can't offer a lot of sympathy because there is that lack of emotion, so I can't gel with the character. I also think the sporting star thing is a great idea, being an athlete and understanding that more privileged treatment is wonderful, a really unique avenue I haven't seen before. But the Australia memory feels random because it's at the beginning, and then not a feature until the end again when I remembered that once he stepped off the plane to Aus. So for this reason I'm left wishing there was more significance to Australia.

In terms of ways of thinking, it explores that East Vs West, longing for freedom, style of thought. But in terms of gender, economy, religion, spirituality, sense of self - there's not a lot there, and I think this is an area you could surely gain some extra marks in. By adding extra references (embedded, of course) you're showing a more wholesome way that they interact to create the ways of thinking of the period. I remember you shied from the ways of thinking a little bit in your essay too, so don't be afraid to really grapple with them because this is what the module requires of you.

The names, experiences, and setting of this story is all very believable and well supported - so major points for that!

I hope this makes sense and you won't be upset that you can improve on over the weekend. Be in touch Ella :)

Edit: Just showered and came back with another idea. You could also quite easily turn this into a speech, so you do a lot of recounting and then at the end you could slice some pieces out so that they are in front of a lectern explaining their story? Maybe bring in a metaphor about athleticism and competitions?

Thank you sooo much Elyse! Your guidance will help me so so much! Any tips on how exactly to include the gender, religion etc. ways of thinking in?? And is a speech risky or is it completely fine?

EDIT: Which would you say my weakest/most uneccessary section was? Just worried about how much I can write bc my essay is so long, and wanna be able to fit the speech sections in!
« Last Edit: October 27, 2017, 09:21:09 pm by paigek3 »
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elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #98 on: October 27, 2017, 09:24:07 pm »
Thank you sooo much Elyse! Your guidance will help me so so much! Any tips on how exactly to include the gender, religion etc. ways of thinking in?? And is a speech risky or is it completely fine?

EDIT: Which would you say my weakest/most uneccessary section was? Just worried about how much I can write bc my essay is so long, and wanna be able to fit the speech sections in!

I did a speech and I think it helped me to incorporate ways of thinking in a far more direct manner. And your writing style at present isn't very embellished, so it's not a far leap into a speech anyway. It is personally how I would go about it, but I understand it's a big and daunting call!

I think the weakest part is the way the story is told for the most part in a declarative, recounting, non-emotional manner. Even if I thought the ending was whizzbangingly spectacular, I think I'd still resent the length of time spent just explaining events, rather than throwing me into them, leaving me shocked, teasing me with little snippets of info, etc. Then, the ending. Can you tell me what you hoped for the ending with the nothingness? Maybe I can help you with that part if I know your vision?
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #99 on: October 27, 2017, 09:29:13 pm »
I did a speech and I think it helped me to incorporate ways of thinking in a far more direct manner. And your writing style at present isn't very embellished, so it's not a far leap into a speech anyway. It is personally how I would go about it, but I understand it's a big and daunting call!

I think the weakest part is the way the story is told for the most part in a declarative, recounting, non-emotional manner. Even if I thought the ending was whizzbangingly spectacular, I think I'd still resent the length of time spent just explaining events, rather than throwing me into them, leaving me shocked, teasing me with little snippets of info, etc. Then, the ending. Can you tell me what you hoped for the ending with the nothingness? Maybe I can help you with that part if I know your vision?

Was trying to express that he was shot as he went through Checkpoint charlie ahaha
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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #100 on: October 27, 2017, 09:51:23 pm »
Was trying to express that he was shot as he went through Checkpoint charlie ahaha

Right! This did cross my mind but the thing that threw me mostly was the “illusion” bit, about how he could make a judgement from death, but even that aside, how could he make a judgement about the West and what freedom is when he hasn’t yet been there. It’s implying that freedom doesn’t exist - which is not true, he just didn’t make it there. It did prompt some great (non-intentional) ideas about freedom being an illusion, though. It’s a strong piece that could work throughout the piece.

But I think if you ended the story with a severe change of narration and something almost like a plaque for the deceased, like a historian is speaker about a casualty, it could work. But this doesn’t really tie in best.

I’d work on the body first and decide on the ending accordingly! Leave the ending for now.

Are you unsure of where to go next or do you have a few ideas to explore?
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #101 on: October 27, 2017, 10:23:21 pm »
Right! This did cross my mind but the thing that threw me mostly was the “illusion” bit, about how he could make a judgement from death, but even that aside, how could he make a judgement about the West and what freedom is when he hasn’t yet been there. It’s implying that freedom doesn’t exist - which is not true, he just didn’t make it there. It did prompt some great (non-intentional) ideas about freedom being an illusion, though. It’s a strong piece that could work throughout the piece.

But I think if you ended the story with a severe change of narration and something almost like a plaque for the deceased, like a historian is speaker about a casualty, it could work. But this doesn’t really tie in best.

I’d work on the body first and decide on the ending accordingly! Leave the ending for now.

Are you unsure of where to go next or do you have a few ideas to explore?

I’ll have a proper think about it all in the morning and get back to you. Thanks so much so far!
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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #102 on: October 28, 2017, 08:12:05 am »
Hey, I was hoping you could look over a generic essay I wrote for extension! I have so many doubts about it (and whether it properly addresses ways of thinking) so any feedback will be greatly appreciated. Somehow the italics around the titles have been destroyed bc of my phone, but don't worry I'll remember them in the exam!

Hey there :) I certainly can check it out!


Spoiler
Responding to the intensifying paranoia around nuclear warfare, composers of the Cold War era distinctly manipulate their works to confront the essence of humanity in the times. Love allllll of this until "in the times" where it seems ambiguous, you could take "in the times" off the end and the sentence would sit great. As authors contemplate the rising political tensions between capitalism and communism, they ultimately enable audiences from all milieu to redefine the value of life amid domestic containment and the growing philosophy of existentialism, a belief based on individual agents defining the meaning of existence. After being exposed to a climate of paranoia, Samuel Beckett’s 1949 play, Waiting for Godot, and Allen Ginsberg’s 1956 poem, America, both share a post-modernist style to critique their salient disillusionment with the War and how it demeans self-agency for external factors. Likewise, Sylvia Plath’s 1965 poetry oeuvre Ariel and Isao Takahata’s 1988 film Grave of the Fireflies capture the absence of self-identity and human morality, reflecting their composers’ attitude to their conservative societies. All four texts encourage their responders to share the need for humanity within the competing discourses of their zeitgeist. Great introduction! Really, really, good!
 
Stemming from their composers’ disenchantment with Cold War politics, texts often mirror the dichotomy between social stability and the resulting paralysis of human ethics. A sceptical outlook of an irrational Western world, Plath and Takahata both construct microcosms of 1950s America and post-Hiroshima Japan, emulating how fears of an atomic holocaust facilitated a culture of domestic containment. Plath’s The Applicant entwines promises of societal stability with the second wave feminist movement, giving her “naked” applicant a “suit” to protect him against “fire and bombs”. Her enjambment rejects traditional verse to challenge her Western society’s retreat to conservative gender roles to control an uncontrollable war. The poet marries the wordplay of “suit”, a metonym for marriage and a symbol for a radiation suit, with the vulnerable connotations of “naked”, extending beyond her personal plights to encompass the impact of social constraints on individuals. Plath’s unsuccessful struggle to adjust to the enforced gender roles emerges in her rigid form, asking “will you marry it, marry it, marry it”. The triple utterance of third-person pronouns and declarative syntax engineer a critique of the coercive social pressures of Cold War family unit that is irrationally adopted by mechanised women and weak men. Love your use of language in this one! Facilitating social discourse through the objectification and dehumanising language, Plath mimetically moulds her society into “living dolls” to mirror her frustration with her society’s mindless desire to “make new stock from the salt”. The continuation of the sales motif and utilitarian usage of tears disregard human existence, ultimately demeaning the capitalist regime that prioritises stability over human relations. As Takahata’s biographical work later elucidates, the difficulties of keeping one’s humanity is a concern for all ages, with Grave of the Fireflies representing the loss of morality in the incendiary bombings. The potent montage of child corpses establishes through the narrative voiceover “[this is] the night I died”. Juxtaposed with the irritated tone of a passing comment on the “disgraceful[ness] of having these bums here in front of [the Americans]”, Takahata’s brutally honest depiction of Japanese society suggests their inner kindness was lost amid self-preservation. He discomforts the audience into asking whether the political anxiety was worth the loss of human connections, questioning “why must fireflies die so young?” The closeup and high angle of 4-year-old Setsuko’s rhetorical question accentuate the failed attempts of keeping one’s innocence before the prioritisation of the capitalist world eradicated our humanity. The motif of fireflies, the Japanese symbol of the human soul, is paralleled with the corruption of the human condition, enlightening the responders with the emotional degradation of texts just as evocatively as Plath before him. Both composers centralise their concerns of Cold War ideals, their works painting timeless scenarios where political issues defeated humanity’s own morality. This is a very tightly structured paragraph, it's densely carved with so many references and ideas, which is great. What lacks a little bit for me is the ways of thinking. I see the gendered way of thinking explored in Plath even though it's not explicitly stated, but with your related a way of thinking isn't so easily identified. I could try and squeeze one out if I twist the way I'm reading it, but best practice is to be able to identify the way of thinking and then show how it is engineered in the text.
 
Challenging notions of the past in political and private spheres, Cold War era texts struggle to make sense of a dynamic world.  Ensuing from World War Two’s atrocious crimes, the post-modernist style of the texts depicts the devaluing of life in their 1950s zeitgeist, demeaning the previous generation’s religious and governmental faith. Lucky’s speech represents both the play and the outside world, lacking structure and coherency with senseless accounts of “divine apathia divine athambia divine aphasia”. The lengthy monologue deconstructs all notions of metalanguage, the lack of punctuation accentuating the believed apathy of the Christian God in a postmodern “incredulity towards metanarratives” (Jean-Francois Lyotard). Suggesting “all of mankind is us” in the existentialist experience, Beckett’s inclusive pronouns universalise the search for external answers to humanity’s purpose, finding none in God. Likewise, Ginsberg parodies the masses’ unconditional belief in government propaganda, sardonically commanding “America free Tom Mooney” and “America save the Spanish loyalists” through declarative verbs and anaphora. A contrast to Beckett’s nihilism, the poet exemplifies the citizens’ lack of agency and absolute trust in authority to attack the meaning of life across the times, focusing on the past rather than one’s self-agency. Stemming from a post-War disillusionment with geopolitics and a political landscape of indoctrination., Ginsberg demeans the importance placed on ‘nations’ over individuals, before “it occurs to [him] that [he is] America” and is “talking to [himself] again”. Nihilistic overtones and the personification position the reader to critique the capitalist world’s attempt to play god, profiting from the decline of its people. As first-person pronouns eradicate the justification of human existence and self-worth for an ideological war, the poet embodies the Beat Generation’s shared disillusionment with political dogmas after the war. Like Ginsberg, Beckett also positions audiences from all times to question perceived truths and the fundamental basis of human existence, his protagonists exemplifying humanity’s condemned pursuit to find a greater purpose. Vladimir’s trust in pre-war religious conservatism is juxtaposed with Estragon’s adjective-infused imagery of God as “very pretty” and “pale blue”, creating an incongruous perspective on existential nihilism brought by the declining religiosity after the war. An absurdist representation of the Second Coming of Christ, Estragon’s perpetual attempts to end their waiting game and “go” are steadily met with Vladimir’s stichomythic reply they must “[wait] for Godot”. Godot’s failure to arrive validates strengthening nihilistic and existentialistic views, influenced by the Theatre of the Absurd. A post-war theatre style focusing on the metaphysical anguish of the era, Estragon’s repetition demotes the dependency on a God-like figure with Vladimir’s resulting clipped tone mirroring theocentric Western nations, disillusioned by a God who never arrives. Both Ginsberg and Beckett question the basis of human existence amongst reliance on aloof, external factors, the underlying absurdity struggling to make sense of their world. The ways of thinking are far stronger in this paragraph and I have next to no suggestions about how to make it any better. Obviously, adjusting to the question in the exam is a huge deal, and with a very dense paragraph I hope you can squeeze it in there in all of the right places! :)
 
Composers often urge their responders to accept their identity in times of coercion, despite no apparent solution to the mystery of being. Amidst a humanist context with a focus on the value of personal connections, both composers grapple with the human condition, The Human Condition is referred to a lot by Extension students and it doesn't really mean anything. developing approval of their own self-worth and identity. Painting his world as an absurdist extrapolation of his times, Beckett parallels the evasive attitude to the conceptual Cold War and the circumvention that began the Second World War. His Pozzo “laughs” out that his “generation…is not any unhappier than its predecessors” before desiring they “not speak of it at all”. Mirroring the populace’s ambivalence to their own self, the formal language and tone indicates a sense of emotional stunting, acknowledging one’s past to develop insight for the future. Like Beckett’s promotion of one’s identity, Plath’s confessional poem ‘Morning Song’ contrasts the titular wordplay between the hopeful connotations of ‘morning’ and a fresh start to motherhood, with the hopeless implications of ‘mourning’ as having ended her life as a successful poet. By admitting “[she’s] no more [a] mother/ than the cloud that…reflects its own effacement”, her evocative imagery analogises giving birth to the demise of clouds; through birth, women subsume their identity into overwhelming maternal pressures, thinking and softening. The personal tone of her enjambment joins the extended motif of motherhood to suggest familial relationships have been disrupted and corrupted by the Cold War. Removed from the stereotypical illusion of a 1950s family from her single-parent upbringing, Plath’s form empowers her own struggles to connect to her child’s innate humanity and the “clear vowels rising like balloons”. The freeverse creates a surreal, stream of consciousness style, synaesthesia and similes stimulating a sense of the instinctual love a mother feels as Plath accepts her child. Realising her identity is more than socially-enforced gender roles, Plath reaffirms a reconnection to individuals and embraces herself to create self-worth, vital for mankind to function. Likewise, ‘Waiting For Godot’s nihilistic attitudes are defied by the symbiotic friendship between Vladimir and Estragon. Scenes where Vladimir “lays [his coat] across Estragon's shoulders” before “swinging his arms to keep himself warm” are deliberately included to demonstrate the foundation of human existence as our connections with others. Drawn from Beckett’s experience in the French resistance, where loyal friends were betrayed and murdered by the Gestapo, the stage directions prove there is more to being human than a pessimistic outlook, with personal relations developing one’s sense of self and life experience. Through their mutual address of intimate connections, both Beckett and Plath shape their work to represent the vitality of the human condition and life. ANother great paragraph and I like the exploration of identity. I question you: what is identity's place in ways of thinking? Does identity provide a bastion of safety in an uncertain time? Does it prompt people into other ways of thinking?
 
Cold War era texts explore what it means to be human in a tense or existentialist world, with their composers’ perceptions of the era intrinsically influencing the works. Through the nihilistic consequences of losing aspects of oneself, Beckett and Ginsberg subvert the past to find a meaning to our existence, while Plath and Takahata elucidate the necessity of morality in a world that prioritises stability amid prevalent social constructs. Reflecting the composers’ beliefs, the texts allow the audience to discover renewed insights and explore the concerns of an uncertain world.



You've written a wonderful piece of work! It's dense and clear at the same time and I never read a sentence thinking "this whole sentence has no use, it just sounds nice" - everything was full of purpose. I've written a few comments throughout but ultimately it's a really great essay! :) I'd be very happy with this! Are you memorising it?
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elysepopplewell

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #103 on: October 28, 2017, 09:39:56 am »
Hey Elise!


Do you think you could take a look at my generic Ext1 essay?

I feel my Waiting for Godot paragraph is inferior, and pulling down my essay. How could I improve it?

Also, if you could please give it a mark out of 25 ?


THANK YOU SO MUCH and kind regards,

Annabel :)


Hello Annabel! You've been dedicated to E1 allllll year! The end is near for you :)


Spoiler
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 :)
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paigek3

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Re: English Extension 1 Essay Marking
« Reply #104 on: October 28, 2017, 11:15:05 am »
Hi Elyse, hopefully it isn't too late to upload my updated one! Just was wondering if you could have a look at the improvements because hopefully it is much better! Understand if you are too busy though! Thanks ;D

Spoiler
Citius, Altius, Fortius

Looking around at the audience before me, I saw faces that beamed with gratitude, but I knew there was despair behind each and every one of them. The ten admirable individuals sat eagerly, leaning forward with eyes wide open, ready to capture every word that fell out of my mouth. I peered down to a young woman in front of me of African decent, whose fists clenched tightly, but her smile that lit up the whole room distracted myself from thinking that she was nervous. Tomorrow was going to be her big day that would change her forever, as it did to me 60 years ago. I limped up to the podium leaning on my walking stick for support, looked around one more time at the epitome of hope and perseverance that sat in front of me, and begun by addressing the inaugural Refugee Olympic team.

“I hesitantly stepped onto the plane after the 1956 Summer Olympic games in Australia, stretching out each leg and placing it on the shaky metal step as slowly as I could to savour the sight of the scorching sun, as it joined hues of honeycomb yellow with a fierce orange. It glistened and warmed my skin, as I heard voices of friendly tones wishing us well, that spoke replacing ‘er’s with ‘ah’s. It was beautiful – a land of friendly people, and most admirably, freedom. I glanced down where my eyes met the pocket of my shirt that had bars of black, red and yellow, as well as five interlocked rings. The United Team of Germany we were, but the only united aspect about the team was those rings, though their hollowed middles revealed our true state.

Back in my motherland, Olympic athletes were given the best accommodation, our children were promised the finest education, and we were promised safety. But it was not the mass destruction occurring outside our jail cell that we were most afraid of, it was the prison guards within.

I opened the door to what we hollowly called home, because our habitation was at the very most a shelter. We lived on the second floor, the paint of the apartment building peeled, revealing the muck that lay trapped from neglect. We were fortunate to live in a place that had windows that were attached to their frames. It was the first time I had been home since leaving for the Games.

My wife Elke sat on the couch with our four-year-old son Wolfgang in her arms. Her blonde hair was pinned back, with the strands that lay loose placed behind her ear. Her cobalt eyes sparkled as they fixed on me walking through the door. Wolfgang’s eyes as blue as the ocean were following a toy plane he had in his hand, and his hair was the same colour as the snow white sand I saw in Australia.

I sat with Elke as Wolfgang napped, and told her stories of Australia and the Games – the water polo bloodbath that was Hungary against the USSR, the way my delayed start caused me to finish fourth in my race, and the land of the free that was the incredible country I had set foot on. I told her that we needed to go. We needed to escape. We began to bicker, Elke demanded taking the risk was too great, I agreed – indeed, the risk would be ‘great’. Elke pulled at her hair shouting that it is too selfish for us to do, I argued back saying it was selfish of us not to escape.

“We are lucky enough, Frank,” she quietly said, caressing my chin after calming down.

Slowly I stood up out of the chair that was withering away, looking out through window that sat tilted noticeably too far to its left. The streets were dreary, buildings stood wrecked from negligence and soldiers were on almost every corner. They walked side by side in uniforms that could not be described using any colour but ‘dull’. East Berlin had not changed much since I was a child, except for the fact that smoke clouds from the projection of nuclear weapons being tested had been exchanged for flashing from the projection of bullets across the two sides of the city - it was in ruins in every meaning of the word possible.

I sat down at the dinner table and reached out anxiously, grabbing Elke’s hand, “I can’t do this anymore,” I exclaimed pointing down to the crossword I was doing. Her eyes fell to where my finger landed on the newspaper, as it read ‘EAST’. It was all bugged – the apartment, the car – everything. The Stasi surveilled every aspect of our daily lives, to make sure no one was disloyal. Anytime we needed to express our displeasure with the East we would have to talk in code to limit the risk of getting caught.
“Honey, you just have to keep doing the crossword, you can’t stop, we have been through this before,” she replied metaphorically, and literally.
“We need to,” I whispered.
“We can’t Frank,”
“We can try.”

I went to sleep that night staring out at the sky where the moon beamed brightly through the curtains of the bedroom. It was almost as if it was sitting in the West, too afraid to venture into the East. I had to go. I had to escape. I had to rediscover that freedom that I had found in Australia.

I wanted a prosperous life for my son, and a comfortable one for my wife, and this was the only way I saw that I could achieve this.

I knocked on an old Austrian man named Martin’s door who lived in our building. He hobbled to the door as he watched his feet move to make sure he did not fall, scratching his bald head as he tried to remember who I was. After near an hour of asking him about what the make of his car was, and how often he went to visit his twin brother in the West, he finally caught on to what I was asking for through my bug proof way of communication. Martin nodded, twirling his grey moustache, and told me he would see me here at five o’clock in the morning to go and meet Charlie. My eyes lit up with hope, but I did not get too excited just yet, because in a race you only win when you have crossed the finish line, and we were only just taking our place on the starting blocks.

I crept out of the house in pitch black darkness, leaving a note for Elke that read “I love you both so much, I am doing this for you. The crossword is impossible to do, and I promise you that you two will be with me on the greater side of the crossword soon.” I kissed Elke on the head as softly as I could to make sure she did not wake up, and did the same to Wolfgang when I tiptoed into his room taking in his innocent, pure face for one last time.

We lived in Tieckstraße, just under 3km from Checkpoint Charlie. I was to hide in the well concealed compartment at the bottom of the back seat of Martin’s car which he would use to store anything his brother’s in the West gave him that he knew he would not be allowed in the East.

As the car rolled closer to Checkpoint Charlie I hid, curling up every inch of my body to avoid being seen. Its wheels made a cracking noise as they slowly went over the gravel that lay underneath. My heart began to race as I heard Martin talking to the guard, but there was only one word on my mind – freedom. The car began to move again, this time much faster than before. Martin calmly said “We’re here, Frank”. The corners of my mouth elevated, as did the butterflies that had laid at the pit of my stomach, dormant for years – I had not smiled like this since the day Wolfgang was born, or the day I stepped off the plane into Australia.

The risk came at a cost, where I never saw Elke or Wolfgang again for six years. Each and every day I would spend hours coming up with ways to get them over here, but none of them were full proof enough to keep them safe on the journey back to the West, and when the Wall was built, the task became even harder. That was until the week before Martin passed away, where he brought them over, and to my surprise, it was Elke’s idea. She was much stronger than I had thought, and I will forever admire her for being so brave. The first time I saw her and Wolfgang again, it was as though my heart stopped beating. My now ten-year-old son still had the ocean blue eyes and sandy white hair, and Elke’s gentle kiss felt as familiar as it did six years ago. Finally, this was freedom.

You have been through the hardships already, and now this is your time. This will be the moment that will inspire you, and ignite the flame inside of you to get across that finish line and live the life full of happiness, opportunity and safety that you deserve to live. Never stop fighting for freedom, and always aim to be Citius, Altius, Fortius. Thank you,” I concluded.

Ok just realised the Berlin Wall wasn't even built in 1956... soo I have taken out a couple of bits of the wall and inserted it at the end lololol
« Last Edit: October 29, 2017, 10:43:30 am by paigek3 »
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