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Author Topic: English Resources and Sample Essays  (Read 381419 times)  Share 

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pi

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #60 on: December 26, 2011, 03:15:05 pm »
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There doesn't seem to be much on Ransom here, so I'll post this one up. It was done in 50mins (hence its only ~730 words) and was deemed a low A+ (probably 8.5/10-ish) from my teacher. Enjoy and good-luck! :)


“It is his view of Hector that Achilles must wrestle with if he is to achieve any peace of mind.” Discuss.

In a revisit to Homer’s eighth century BC epic The Iliad, David Malouf’s Ransom explores the intricacies of the quest to retrieve Hector’s body, whilst also reflecting on Achilles’ emotional upheaval following Patroclus’ death. Throughout the novel, Malouf predominantly focuses on protagonists Priam King of Troy and ‘Achilles the Runner’, however, early in the novel there is also emphasis on the significance of Hector to Achilles’ present and future. The role that Hector plays in reminding Achilles of himself and being used as a tool of the Gods to mock him, is fundamental to the source of Achilles’ ‘endless rage’ and despair. Furthermore, Malouf uses Hector to provide a paternal link between the two protagonists, a link that results in the liberation of Achilles from his grief and anger.

During and in the aftermath of Achilles’ truncated battle with Trojan prince and hero Hector, Malouf highlights the importance of Hector’s death through his metaphorical representation of Achilles. Standing to face Achilles in ‘[his] armour’ prior to battle, Achilles is firstly reminded of his beloved ‘soulmate’ Patroclus. This reminder of Achilles’ loss consumes him with anger and grief. However, Hector also reminds Achilles of another ‘warrior’ who donned the same armour, himself. Malouf uses this second representation of Hector to further propel Achilles into rage, as through the battle, Achilles believes that he is actually in conflict with himself. This combination of of rage against himself and grief for Patroclus prompts him to deface Hector’s body, against Ancient Greek tradition, in defiance of the Gods who he blames for his rage. The act of ‘tying the tendons’, one that leaves the Trojan spectators stunned and horrified, is Achilles’ message to the Gods that although they have metaphorically mated him with Hector, he is not weakened by their presence in his ‘rough world of men’.

Malouf further entices Achilles into rage and despair through his portrayal of Hector’s corpse as a tool of the Gods. ‘For eleven days’ Achilles, in vain, continues to deface and insult Hector’s body by dragging it around the walls and towers of Troy, in an attempt to ‘break the spell’ that he believes the Gods have laid upon him. However, each day that Achilles begins this ritual, he is met with a mocking message from the immortal world – the full restoration of Hector’s body. This view of Hector that confronts him daily causes him to further himself into his anger and madness, something that Malouf uses to show that Hector is merely a tool from the Gods. Furthermore, Malouf shows that the Gods mockingly disapprove of Achilles’ actions through their use of Hector’s body, showing that if Achilles wants to be liberated from his rage, his defacing of Hector’s body will not allow him to become at peace.

Achilles finally finds the ‘true Achilles’ through Praim, who uses Hector’s ransom to link them fathers and mortal men. Priam’s visit into Achilles’ hut with the ‘common carter’ Somax, is the event that finally allows him to be at peace with his emotions. Through discussion with Praim, Malouf reveals Achilles’ ‘pining’ for his son Neoptolemus, which prompts Achilles to draw parallels between Hector and his own son. This common paternal love created by Hector and Neoptolemus causes Achilles to accept ransom and release not only Hector, but also his rage, and event Malouf describes as ‘something being released’ with Achilles. Having ‘broken [God’s] spell’ on Achilles, Malouf further evinces that as the ‘warrior’ is able to allow Priam and Troy a time of peace to mourn Hector’s spirit, that Achilles himself has finally achieved peace.

Throughout the pages of Ransom, Malouf shows that the role of Hector in the novel is essential to the source, liberation and understanding of Achilles’ emotional rage and grief. Hector, whilst alive in battle, metaphorically represents Achilles himself, a representation that propels him into his initial rage. Whilst deceased, Malouf uses Hector as a tool for the Gods to mock him and disapprove of his actions. However, Malouf, through Priam’s painful reminding of Neoptolemus, gives Hector the crucial role of a source of paternal link between the two protagonists. This link changes Achilles’ view of not only Hector, but also of the wider world, something that finally allows Achilles to be at peace with himself.   


Rohitpi


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« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 03:20:03 pm by Rohitpi »

mr.politiks

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #61 on: January 01, 2012, 07:45:28 pm »
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Only essay i typed for RIII
Not possible for me in exam conditions, but thought i might as well post it up as a reference point.

“I never was nor never will be false”
‘Richard III demonstrates how difficult it is to determine who is true and who is false.’ Discuss.


Set in the volatile political climate of fifteenth century England, in which corruption within the upper echelons of society was rampant, William Shakespeare’s grand denouement to his minor historical tetralogy, Richard III, contextualises a gripping antithesis between outward appearance and inner intention. Throughout the play, theatregoers are held in awe by the compelling contradictions between the eponymous villain’s words and his thoughts, as he artfully exposes the inherent difficulty with which his unsuspecting victims attempt to distinguish between truth and deception. Shakespeare primary means of exposing this inherent difficulty is that the play’s audience remains privy to Richard’s true designs through his soliloquies, whilst his ingenuous victims are entirely unaware of the evil behind his masterfully engineered facade of feigned altruism. Whether it be Clarence, who is too unsuspecting and far too easily manipulated, the foolish and overconfident Hastings, who is too ignorant to heed early warnings, or Buckingham, too bombastic and proud in his own ability to manipulate, all of Richard’s victims find it difficult, or even impossible, to read his true intentions. Shakespeare has, however, constructed particular characters who demonstrate that whilst difficult, it is possible to differentiate truth from falsehood in the face of Richard’s expert deception. Stanley, who out-manoeuvres Richard through his own elusive rhetoric, and Queen Elizabeth, who correctly suspect’s Richard’s designs, show that it is possible to see through deception with sufficient political acumen. Ultimately, however, these characters are relatively ineffectual in Richard’s demise, which reveals that the power to distort truth and dominate others through falsehood remains a potent weapon in the world of corruption in which Richard III takes its setting.

From the outset, Richard establishes himself as a villain who will revel in his casuistry. He confides with his audience, as he reveals in his opening soliloquy, “plots have I laid, inductions dangerous”, and that he is “subtle, false and treacherous”. Thereafter, theatregoers are aware of his sinister intentions, and that he is extremely confident in his ability to “bustle” in a corrupt world. One of Shakespeare’s intentions here is to allow audiences to prepare themselves for what is to come - audiences now expect Richard to be a villain who will “clothe” his “naked villainy” and “seem a saint when most [he] plays the devil”. The power of this development becomes apparent when Richard, living up to the very expectations that he has induced, begins to establish a devastating rhetorical directorship over other characters’ actions. The audience have been spared from the destructive power of his ability to manipulate, but his ill-fated victims, oblivious to his true intentions, are slowly but surely drawn in to his web of deceit. Immediately after Richard completes his opening soliloquy, he adopts the facade of discerning family man, and meets Clarence on his way to imprisonment in the Tower of London. Shakespeare successfully juxtaposes the audience’s full knowledge of Richard’s misanthropic motives and Clarence’s utterly unsuspecting demeanour to highlight how impossible it is for Clarence, who has had no prior exposure to Richard’s inner machinations, to identify Richard’s evil. Richard’s mellifluous tones, as he falsely re-assures Clarence, “This deep disgrace in brotherhood, touches me deeper than you can imagine”, construct an impregnable facade of brotherly concern and truthfulness. He simultaneously flaunts his true intentions, with his ironic foreshadowing of Clarence’s death; “O belike his majesty hath some intent, that you should be new christened in the tower”. Such is Richard’s adroitness with words, that Clarence, and other victims in the same fashion, are completely deceived, with almost no way of determining the falseness of his external manner. Thus, Shakespeare, by exposing audiences to the truth and then displaying the onstage actors’ struggles to see through Richard’s manipulative facades, successfully conveys the difficulty with which truth and falsehood are differentiated, especially when they are contorted by the hands of a master deceiver.

Whilst a large part of this difficulty is attributed to Richard’s expert ability to hide his true intentions, Shakespeare goes further as he exposes it as a fatal human flaw, through his construction of characters that instigate their own demise due to their ineptitude in the face of Richard’s evil. Hastings is palpably oblivious, and his naivety transcends even the label of innocence. Indeed, it categorises him as purely foolish. His failure to heed omens is definitely ironic, and darkly humorous, as is revealed by his ‘well informed’ view of Richard’s standpoint: “I know he loves me well”. This is closely followed by a mockery of Richard’s true character, “For by his face straight shall you know his heart”. Hastings meets a cruel end, which reinforces Shakespeare’s view that a remarkable inability to see through falsehood can consign one to an eventual demise in a corrupt and unforgiving world. Richard’s final political victim also exhibits a similar form of naivety. Buckingham is confident that he will be spared, given that he has supported Richard in his meteoric ascent to the throne. Moreover, he believes that his own ability to manipulate can save him. How wrong he is when he too is manoeuvred by Richard to a point from which there is no return. First, Richard flatters him, “My other self, my counsel’s consistory/My oracle, my prophet, my dear cousin”, and nourishes his overconfidence. Then, when he asks him, flippantly, to complicit in the murder of the princes, Buckingham knows he is doomed, for his conscience will not allow him to proceed. When he flees the audience are shown that any form of misplaced trust in Richard can only result in unpalatable consequences. With Buckingham’s final execution, Shakespeare reveals that even the most wily of men have great difficulty in reading the true intentions of a villain who is so effectual in his ability to conceal these intentions.

Shakespeare does, however, boldly contrasts the ineptitude of Richard’s victims with characters that have a laudable ability to see through Richard’s outwards illusory appearance. The most notable of these is Lord Stanley – a man of immense political astuteness who confronts Richard with his own subtle and elusive rhetoric, effectively outplaying him at his own game. Stanley shares with Richard the rare ability to conceal inner intensions with dramatic effect, as he appeases Richard in his flurry of panic before the battle. Richard is ever more fearful, claiming “Thou wilt revolt, and fly to him [Richmond], I fear”. At the surface, Stanley’s reply is frank, “No, my good lord; therefore mistrust me not”, yet is also quite vague. He placates Richard, yet at the same time does not commit himself fully to his words, which allows him to masterfully out-manoeuvre Richard and present the king with the same veneer of feigned trust that the king has so successfully used to manipulate, and then annihilate, his victims in the play’s earlier sequences. It seems appropriate that he survives until the end because of this ability, which is perhaps one way Shakespeare emphasises the magnitude of Richard’s ability to deceive – only a man that is as good as Richard in distorting outward appearance can escape his expansive net. A second character who does not fall prey to Richard’s manipulative charade is Queen Elizabeth. Indeed, she suspects Richard from the beginning, indicated by her remark when Richard appears at court, his deceptive efforts at their height, “Come, come, we know your meaning, brother Gloucester”. The Lancastrian Queen Margaret also sees through Richard’s facade, as she warns Buckingham, “take heed of yonder dog”. However, both Stanley and the women look on powerlessly as Richard murders his way to the throne. Eventually, it is Richmond, a symbol of providence as much as he is a character, that ousts Richard from the throne. This eventuality fits Shakespeare’s wider intention to depict Richard as a potent and unstoppable villain, only able to be defeated through a form of divine intervention, regardless of whether his deception can be met with counter-deception, or whether it could be seen through by particular characters.

The conflict between appearance and reality is a major theme in Richard III, and Richard’s ability to distort the two shows how immensely difficult it can be to distinguish between truth and falsehood in his words. This is evidenced through the behaviour of his unsuspecting victims, who are completely taken in by his expert use of language and feigned veneer of bonhomie. The ultimate deaths of Clarence and Hastings, and even Richard’s chief accomplice, Buckingham, show that those who underestimate this ability are consigned to an undesirable fate. Shakespeare shows that naivety in the face of deception makes that deception even more powerful, which edifies the Elizabethan audience as much about the nature of the relationship between outward appearance and inner intention as it intensifies the magnitude of Richard’s villainy. Shakespeare does, however, give his audience characters who have an ability to see through Richard. The fact that these characters are ultimately ineffectual in preventing Richard from his rise to the throne, however, reveals that a powerful ability to manipulate and distort the truth is difficult to counteract if only a limited number of individuals have the ability to oppose it.

Seems madam?

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #62 on: February 13, 2012, 07:14:18 pm »
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“Richard III chiefly challenges audiences by its portrait of a divided world in which the forces of darkness dominate.” Discuss.

The portrait of the play is one in which the formidable oratory and chilling ruthlessness of “foul defacer of God’s handiwork” initially abounds. Richard captivates the audience from the outset, resulting in our compliance with his heinous actions. Furthermore, the corrupt society seems fitting for Richard’s machinations; he thrives in debased moral standards. However, once crowned, Richard loses his charm. Not only does the audience separate themselves from Richard’s injustice, but Richard’s dominance as a villain is undermined, most pointedly by the noble Richmond. Thus, Richard III presents us with a divided world in which darkness dominates for a time, but is eventually overthrown by the insurmountable purity of human goodness. It is through this contrast between good and evil that Shakespeare encourages us to be noble in our thoughts and actions.

The palpable charisma of Richard’s opening soliloquy encapsulates the darkness that enshrouds the play. England is divided primarily because of the cunning manipulator we are immediately presented with. The fact that Richard communicates so early on with the audience and in the form of a soliloquy, invites us to collude with this villain. His repeated “now” is enticing because it indicates a man who is not dwelling on the past or necessarily the future, but rather is firmly focused on wreaking havoc in the present. The pun in “this son of York” reveals Richard’s intellect, the cornerstone of his character. It is this intellect that provides Richard with the self-awareness to recognise his deformity in both feature and thought. He understands the fact that he thrives in “grim-visaged war” and repulses “this weak piping time of peace”. Furthermore, the succulent sarcasm in “capers nimbly... to the lascivious pleasing of a lute” is enhanced by the alliteration in the ‘l’ sound. Though we do not overtly bear sympathy for Richard because of his deformity, we are enthralled by his “inductions dangerous”. The coupling and inversion of both noun and adjective typifies this man’s mastery of language as it speeds up the tempo of his soliloquy, adding to the suspense which draws in the audience. Thus, by the end of Richard’s oration we have been challenged by the darkness of his mind and have become willing collaborators in his villainy. His “subtle, false and treacherous” nature influences our own viewing. He touches us in a part that secretly enjoys mayhem, warms to malevolence, and romps in malfeasance. Therefore, he exposes and captures our certain latent desire to break with the conventions of goodness and be part of the dark side.

However, the world of the play is “tott’ring” also because of a torn social fabric. Many of the play’s characters are immoral themselves, and Richard dominates because he is ready to exploit them. In the royal court we are presented with a Queen who cares only for herself. Her first words are, “if he were dead, what would betide on me?” elucidating her self-preserving attitude. Furthermore, her “haught and proud” kinsmen combine with the King’s weak moral standards, spoiling himself with licentiousness, to create a sordid world. Even the expressing of grief becomes a competition as with the death of Clarence and King Edward, the Duchess seeks to ensure that her cries are loudest, proclaiming: “Oh, what cause have I, thine being but a moiety of my moan, to overgo thy woes and drown thy cries.” Equally corrupt is Margaret, who chastises the members of the court for “snarling” viciously, “ready to catch each other by the throat”, yet is hypocritical in that she too has committed crimes, rejoicing in the murder of “faultless... pretty Rutland”. It is in this debased terrain that Richard’s villainy thrives. From the firm stance of, “Lo, in these windows that let forth thy life, I pour the helpless balm of my poor eyes”, Richard employs his formidable oratory to “win” Lady Anne: “Look how my ring encompasseth thing finger”. This is furthered by the fact that she “spits” at him, castigating him as a“diffused infection of man”, only for Richard to reply with the stichomythic, “divine perfection of a woman”. Here is man comfortable and flourishing in the corruption of a dark society. He furthers the divisions between houses by incriminating the Woodvilles: “closer in bloody thoughts than in blood”. Hence, the portrait of the play is black with immorality not only because of Richard’s foul injustice.

However, Richard’s treachery loses dominance once he is enthroned. There is a significant shift in this villain’s character, severing his relationship with the audience and eroding his empire founded on injustice. Immediately after being crowned Richard orders the death of the princes. As an audience, we have permitted and even revelled in Richard’s immorality, but infanticide causes us to hesitate. Furthermore, when Buckingham, who has previously acted as Richard’s “other self”, his “counsel’s consistory”, requires “some pause”, as audience, we see gravity of Richard’s crimes. Eloquence leaves Richard’s language after his coronation as he blandly and shockingly commands, “Shall I be plain? I wish the bastards dead”. Craftiness with language has previously been the source of much of our entertainment as an audience, and to have it removed now reinforces the change in our relationship with the protagonist. Furthermore, the newfound unity within the women of society and news of the approaching Richmond, further indicate Richard’s declining power. The language of filial affection enters their dialogue in, “good sister”. We see that there is genuine care and compassion between Elizabeth, Anne and the Duchess as they part from each other with heartfelt farewells: “Poor heart, adieu; I pity thy complaining.” This unity frustrates Richard. When the women rise to “smother” Richard in curses, he is forced to “Strike alarum, drums” sinking further into the immorality of war. It is this immorality that forces even “fleshed villains”, Dighton and Forrest, to “melt with tenderness and mild compassion”. Therefore, as Richard’s actions become increasingly egregious our bond with Richard breaks just as his own dominance begins to falter.

Ultimately, Richard III presents the audience with a divided world in which the darkness of injustice is thwarted by noble virtue. In the latter stages of the play, Shakespeare constructs a dichotomy between the goodness and thriving of Richmond, and the monstrosity and rightful decline of Richard, to indicate where our sentiments should lie. Richard wakes with “trembling flesh” after his conscience can no longer be suppressed. He is plagued by the supernatural ghosts, being told to “despair and die”, indicating that the “all-seer” is delivering the consequences for Richard’s villainy. In contrast, Richmond has “the sweetest sleep and fairest-boding dreams”. This noble youth will “live and flourish” as the moral undercurrents of the play purge the “hell-hound” from continuing to wreak havoc. Similarly, while Richmond prays to God in “thou whose captain I account myself”, seeks to fight “in the name of God” and treats his men as “fellows in arms... my most loving friends”, Richard is all the more ugly by comparison. His focus on the disgusting mirrors the shape of his character by this stage. “Vagabond, rascals, and runaways”, “scum”, “base lackey peasants” all enter Richard’s vocabulary as he desperately tries to find power in immorality. Yet, in his death we see that his duplicitous way of life is unsustainable and ultimately beastly. The darkness of England is vanquished by the power of human goodness symbolically captured in Richmond’s character. By the play’s denouement, the audience is struck most, not by the darkness of corruption, but by the shining purity of the goodness that prevails.

Throughout Shakespeare’s play the darkness of villainy mesmerises and often succeeds. Like Richard, it is seductive, powerful, but also immoral. Though it thrives in the baseness of England’s society, it is an unsustainable way of life, constantly eroded by conscience and the goodness of man. As an audience we are initially enticed by the sinister smoothness and intricacy of Richard’s web of deceit, yet grow to see how heinous his actions truly are. By the end of the play, however, Richmond’s succession symbolises morality prevailing over immorality. While we are captivated by Richard’s world of scheming, it is contrasted with the triumphant goodness of Richmond. More than the sheer rankness of society, it is this ultimate choice between good and evil which Shakespeare leaves with his audience. In accordance with the moral undercurrents of the play, we choose to pursue the noble option.

anthony99

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #63 on: March 16, 2012, 03:53:54 pm »
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¬¬¬¬Shakespeare presents the villainy in human nature but also that we can be redeemed

The aristocratic court of London is crudely subverted from what should be the prevailing realm of justice and civility into a space crawling with gammoning nobles, eager for “advancement”.  Richard seems to stand above his counterparts in his ability to deceive and manipulate, allowing him to ironically notice more acutely than seemingly all the other nobles early in the play that “the world has grown so bad/ That wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch”, endeavouring to portray the apparent disturbances to the natural order. Shakespeare however extends this irony as it is Richard’s anger that “every jack became a gentleman” that elicits his condemnation of this world, characterising England as bereft of any hopes of social equality. Therefore, for Shakespeare, the fact that any person, from any social class can degenerate into depravity or become a “gentleman” serves to highlight both that this world is so mired in sin that to become ennobled may require subterfuge but also that our character is defined by how we choose to act. For Shakespeare, humans are not inherently flawed, but rather congenitally stamped with yearnings and desires that when followed without consideration for others, can elicit anti-social, damaging behaviour.

Shakespeare conveys the results of purely self-absorbed actions to portray how we posses tendencies towards acting to the detriment of others for our own benefit. Shakespeare sees us as being torn between following these desires and listening to our restraining conscience so as to suggest that the nuanced struggles we have often arise from difficult external forces such as being of a low socioeconomic status. The two murders are presented as in such turmoil, speaking in the unmetered prose of commonality in their internal battle with being “damned for killing” Clarence and the “the Duke of Gloucester’s purse”, which acts as an image of material “reward” and earthly gain.  Shakespeare draws out the sequence of philosophical contemplation to draw our attention to the reasonings and justification of these men. The fact that a small purse holds a reward great enough to outdo their fear of “God’s dreadful law” suggests the desperateness of these murders. We are meant to realise the disparity between the bribes of the Nobility-such as Buckingham’s alleged remuneration of “The’ Earldom of Hefford and the movables”- and the coins that bribe the murders to realise that our morality is subject to our circumstances, and that as such, it is not the scope of our deeds but rather their motives that convey our self-restraint.  In this Shakespeare is adamant, repeating the same thread through the “discounted Gentleman” Tyrell, whom “corrupting gold” will overcome his “haughty means”, reflecting again that our ability to make altruistic decisions is tied to how our situation fits out desires. It is therefore, being a “discontented” person that drives us towards selfish acts as characters from as high social standing as the Duke of Gloucester- and later the King- to even an impoverished commoner are led to sell their guilt for what they feel will gratify them. Of course, Shakespeare isn’t saying that our propensity towards sin is marked in proportion to our wealth, but merely stating that we are not born with villainy or virtue, instead thrust into circumstances that encourage us to go against social norms or laws. 

While such dispositions are ubiquitously human, Shakespeare is not painting human nature as inherently evil or even flawed. We are, for Shakespeare, entities defined both by fortune and choice. Richard, for example tells himself that his malice is a reaction to his “deformed, unfinished body” that means he “cannot prove a lover” and is “therefore determined to prove a villain”. The “since”, and “therefore” in these lines are pivotal as it conveys the progression of his sadism.  Of course, Richard’s following seduction of Anne is designed by Shakespeare to encourage us to question Richard’s declaration that his evil actions are a way of compensating and “entertain[ing] these fair well spoken days” as it should follow that sexual gratification would thus end his schadenfreude. It is easy to assume that the failure of Richard’s explanation for his actions therefore prove that Richard’s villainy is inherent but this chafes with Shakespeare’s underlying vision of the play as an emblem for man’s ability to overcome our problems through Christian morality and altruism.  Moreover, it is this message of hope and salvation that makes Richmond’s speech so refreshing as it comes as an injection of love and kindness after what have been hours- or many “sickly days” in the world of the play- of gruesome violence and inhuman “foul” imagery where “gentle babes” are fed to wolves.  Richmond talks of “one bloody trial of sharp war” as enough “To reap the harvest of perpetual peace”, providing us with a display of truth in the human condition; that often we cannot be utterly virtuous as situation dictates sacrifices.  Hence, for Shakespeare, Richmond’s words and intents are emblematic of the natural tension between propagating love and kindness and following our ideal wishes.

It is because we are able to interpret and act upon our passions for both collective assistance or self-centred gain, that Shakespeare conveys us as able to redeem ourselves and generate love. Just as Richard is able to use his “sugared words” to deceive those around him, he also deceives himself into believing he is above remorse. In Act Five Scene Three Richard is alone in his tent, woken from a dream of his downfall. For Shakespeare, Richard’s muddled thoughts with frequent caesura through punctuation, “Then fly. What, from myself?” are indicative of his troubled mind, highlighting that this is Richard’s true soliloquy as he ignores the audience completely and lacks a crafted speech. Richard presents an image of his conscience as having “a thousand several tongues...and every tongue condemns me for a villain” painting the manifold nature of our conscience as it encapsulates our morality, knowledge of norms and our most private desires.  That his guilt has “a thousand” voices of opposition portrays how great Richard’s realisation is and illustrates Shakespeare’s conception of the inevitability of our guilt as well as more broadly, the nature of divine retribution as Richard is depicted as a “devil” consistently.  We are watching Richard break down and declare “I rather hate myself” as he can clearly see the destruction he has caused. Moreover, Richard has surpassed the point of self-deception, unable to reassure himself through desperate protestations of “Richard loves Richard” because he is facing up to the inherent disposition toward understanding and bending to sociality that Shakespeare sees as having. Richard now properly understands what he has done and how it has caused a disproportionate amount of damage to those around him, than has satisfied himself because he has in a sense, fallen victim to a Super-ego form of knowledge that places us within our environment. Shakespeare sees Richard as inevitably going to lose his “flint” heart because we are all born with-or at least raised with- an inbuilt social mechanism that is given to us by God. Richard is an extreme case and we do not see him ever act out of love for anyone but himself yet Shakespeare alludes through Richard’s succumbing to his conscience, that altruistic tendencies, as well as selfish ones, are inherent in us, and that it is up to how we react to our circumstances that define our morality.

Richmond and Richard are two extremes of what is for Shakespeare, the same thing; the human condition. Richard represses anything that hinders him from gratification, and acts in a “subtle false and treacherous” manner that forces his mind to hide in the shadows and behind masks.  Richmond however lacks such duplicity and is truthful to himself and his army, admitting that “the ransom of my bold attempt/shall be this cold corpse on the earth’s cold face”, putting the idea of death and possible failure into realistic perspectives. Though these two men are depicted as polar opposites even via directly contrasting staging at Bosworth field, Shakespeare deliberately hints that there are links between them as in the form of calling those who do not support him as enemies “What traitor hears me and says not amen?”. While subtle, Shakespeare is nonetheless showing us that we are all sculpted from the same marble, carrying within us the same passions and capacity for reason. It is because of this common humanity yet vastly differing ethos’ between people that highlight Shakespeare’s views of our human nature acting like a template to which villainy or virtue can be formed. Ultimately, we are not evil beings that must force our selfish desires into submission for redemption, but beings who can act upon our emotions, preferences and circumstances in ways that are altruistic or anti-social. ¬¬
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #64 on: April 16, 2012, 10:07:56 pm »
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I'm not sure whether this will be valuable to anyone since I'm currently in year 12 but I thought I'd contribute anyway. Moderators, feel free to delete this post if you see fit. I don't think this piece is very good but it was the second SAC I did for school and I got 30/30 on it and it was given a 10/10 by an assessor for VCAA.
Whose reality? 'A Streecar named Desire'

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‘Reality is what we need to believe’

While there is a degree of freedom in the formation of one’s reality, this freedom can lead to a deceptive or illusionary construct created in order to evade the harsh truths of one’s surrounds. Although people may immerse themselves and invest their faith in alternate realities as a possible source of comfort, ongoing falls into the illusionary realm cannot be maintained. Hence, our realities that we try so hard to avoid, in an attempt to live in our falsified realities, are in the end our everlasting relief. For this reason, it is necessary for individuals to come to terms with a more authentic version of reality and believe in it, since it is the only one thing capable of providing both true happiness and sorrows.

Reality is a construction of our minds and a creation of the individual. Buddhists believe that what we see and perceive as our reality is actually a kind of dream. This opens the avenue for our minds to accept more than one version of the truth in a vast spectrum of possibilities. We subsequently form the realisation that everyone has a different reality which forms the foundations of their worldly comprehension, each with varying levels of authenticity and levels of tangibility, from perceiving reality as what can be physically accounted for, as in science, to a creation of the mind or imagination as is expressed in artwork. A dichotomy of what reality is can be observed through the art communities’ response to surrealism and artists such as Salvador Dali. Where art used to be considered the artist’s ability to reconstruct reality as it is seen by the naked eye, surrealism soon became accepted as an equally valid interpretation of one’s environment regardless of how abstract its representation may be. The protagonist of Tennessee Williams’ ‘A Streetcar named Desire’, Blanche DuBois, is exemplary of someone with an abstract view of reality as compared to the majority who surround her. However, she stresses a firm belief in her illusionary world of glamour and grandeur as it provides her with an escape from what she perceives as the dismal truth of her new life in the ‘New South’. This is indicative of how when one has formed their reality they will defend it vehemently, as any weakness in the infrastructure of the truths as they understand them, has the potential to emanate to the very core of the individual’s personal stability. Hence, one can observe that there are innumerable versions of reality in which an individual can choose to believe and that even a minority account of the truth can provide a satisfying sense of legitimacy.

Many individuals choose to believe in an illusionary reality as a source of consolation to counter-balance the harshness of their more pragmatic realities. As famous German philosopher, Sigmund Freud, once stated, ‘illusions commend themselves to us because they save us pain and allow us to enjoy pleasure instead’. Embracing escapism becomes a form of temporary relief from the adversities of a person’s stark and painful reality. As time progresses and the aging process takes its toll, rendering her less and less attractive and desired with every passing second, Blanche begins to lose her charisma and consequently, her ability to be authoritative also diminishes. In an attempt to negate her promiscuous past, Blanche clings desperately to the stereotype of a typical ‘Southern Belle’, a beautiful, respectful and intelligent upper-class women of French-European descent with conservative values and morals. It is debatable whether any of the aforementioned qualities of a ‘Southern Belle’, genuinely exist within Blanche, a strumpet trying to escape her past. To Blanche, “a woman’s charm is fifty percent illusion” and accordingly she prefers to tell what ought to be the truth as opposed to what the truth actually is. Investing faith into an alternate reality seems to be an easier option for individuals in society when it comes to overcoming the adversities of their calamitous realities when compared to taking disciplinary actions to address these problems permanently.

Although individuals all share different views on reality and sometimes opt to believe in falsified ones, distorted realities are not sustainable for extended periods of time and are only worth living until they become unbearable; often leading to drastic outcomes and conflicts of large-scale. As our conception of truth moves further away from the actuality of the correspondence with the facts, it moves nearer and nearer to two subjects: the person trying to uncover the truth and the person trying to cover the truth. As Winston Churchill once said, 'the truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is'. No matter what happens in life and how we react to what happens to us, no matter how productively or inefficiently we operate, the truth is always there. This situation can be alluded to in the relationship between Blanche and Stanley in 'A Streetcar named Desire' . Blanche is always trying to portray herself as something she is instinctively is not, while Stanley determinedly works towards uncovering the truth about her, finally breaking her down when he discovers the whole truth. Thus, there is absolutely no logical explanation as to why people would try to uphold their distorted perceptions of realities as it is only a matter of time before the whole truth is discovered.

Although individuals sometimes lead difficult and demeaning lives, conjuring alternate, more pleasant and falsified realities, investing all of their faith into them should not be advised. Not only are these realities short-lived and impossible to sustain for an extended period of time, they provide the individual with false hope that they have solved their problem and escaped the negativity associated with their ‘real’ reality whereas what they are actually doing is making a problem they must face even worse. Individuals in society all think and operate in different ways which results in their differing realities, which in turn, determines their life. Our perceptions on life and how we respond to what happens to us indisputably has a drastic effect on the path of our lives and although some individuals in society resort to conjuring alternate realities which have the potential to cause more problems than they fix. We must ask ourselves, what is real? How do you know that you as you know yourself, and your life as you know it aren't just the bi-products of a very detailed falsified reality that has been conjured by you in another life, in a parallel universe?
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #65 on: April 30, 2012, 10:13:44 pm »
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Once again: I'm not sure whether this will be valuable to anyone since I'm currently in year 12 but I thought I'd contribute anyway. Moderators, feel free to delete this post if you see fit.

Text: Twelve Angry Men.
Topic: 'Despite questioning the ultimate fairness and reliability of the jury system, Twelve Angry Men is, at heart, a tribute to this system.' Discuss

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Reginald Rose’s naturalist play, ‘Twelve Angry Men’, a two-act drama set in a single jury room in a New York state of law, was written in a period of time in which the United States of America was witnessing the widespread, catastrophic misuses of the legal system in the height of the McCarthyist paranoia. The play begins with all but one of the jurors certain of the defendant's guilt. As the play progresses, individuals such as jurors seven and ten reveal the potential flaws of the jury system with their plethora of prejudiced and bigoted views, undermining the principles of their social responsibility and active citizenship. While this is the case, Rose's foremost message lies not on the faults of the jurors but on their power to achieve stunning results. The diversity within the jury room allows all facts to be scrutinized and accordingly, justice prevails. Hence, despite the limitations of the jury system, Rose shows that although there is the threat of injustice prevailing in the jury system, it will always achieve a just result if allowed to operate in the fashion intended.

Each of the jurors and the defendant in the play exists as a stereotype, representing a larger group in society. The difference in their personalities is utilized to expose how racism and prejudice can subvert the jury system. Prejudice is pervasive, often based on past experiences and it blinds avenues for alternative possibilities. Rose leaves us to consider the adverse miscarriages of justice that prejudice can lead to. Such racism can be seen between the jurors themselves and it is often used to try and undermine a juror's contributions toward the discussions. When juror eleven, the German refugee, questions juror seven's understanding of the pivotal term 'reasonable doubt', juror seven replies with a racist remark, claiming that the migrant "comes over to this country running for his life and before he can even take a breath he's telling us how to run the show." Thus, juror seven's racist attitude towards other ethnic groups obstructs the course of justice as it impedes his verdict. Additionally, it is juror seven who shows us how a lack of social responsibility and care for active citizenship can obstruct justice. His suggestion that the trial is a "goddamn waste of time" exemplifies this message of civic and social responsibility which Rose's play primarily advocates. His self-interest is depicted as dangerous and having the potential to undermine the entire judicial system. Therefore, Rose suggests that if the jury room was full of juror sevens, justice could not be achieved. Likewise, past experience also works to create personal bias in individuals. Juror three's relationship with his own twenty year old son has caused him to be "the kid's executioner" as he seeks to punish the defendant so as to in a way punish his own son and make up for his shortcomings. His inability to see past his own pain and hatred allows his views to become skewed and as a result he is unable to make a rational decision about the case. Subsequently, he can be seen as another example of how the jury system can be undermined by one's prejudice and racism if left unchallenged. Hence, through characters who hold a degree of prejudice, Rose reveals the potentiality for injustice to prevail as a result of an ineffective jury.

On the other hand, Rose's play also shows the beauty of the jury system in how a wide variety of personalities and perspectives can combine with open discussion to produce startling results. Juror eleven, a man who has experienced life without democracy, is an advocate of the American democratic system. He reminds other members of the jury that the "remarkable thing about democracy" is that they "decide on the guilt or innocence of a man they have never heard of before. They have nothing to gain or lose by their verdict" and that "this is one of the reasons they are strong". Thus, through juror eleven, Rose highlights the vigorous aspects of the jury system and how it must be appreciated as it is a cornerstone of the American democracy, a message further engrained by the use of juror eleven's outsider perspective. Reginald Rose's focus in illustrating the importance of the jury system and active citizenship in democracy is further shown through the symbolism of the New York skyline outside of the jury room's window, indicating that what happens in the jury rooms will impact on wider America. Furthermore, the play shows that the jury system does not play favourites, it enables the minority just as much of a valid say as another. Consequently, it is the immigrant, the elderly and the impoverished who are the first to change their votes, indicative of their open mindedness and their ability to make a difference in this environment where everyone is equal before the eyes of the law. Therefore, the play accolades the jury system and its fairness. Additionally, it is the different backgrounds within this jury room that allows each individual to make a difference. Their personal experiences enable them to identify the weaknesses in the witness' testimony and evidence. Due to their unique pasts, they are able to "separate the facts from the fancy.

Furthermore, Rose pays tribute to the jury system in illustrating its ability to serve its purpose in administering justice as opposed to truth. Some members of the jury such as juror two claim that they believe the defendant is guilty because "nobody proved otherwise". However, this perception is immediately challenged by juror eight who is seen as the defender of democracy. He states that "nobody has to prove otherwise. The burden of proof is on the prosecution." Rose identifies this as an important feature of the American judicial system, where the defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. The characters exemplify how reasonable doubt is an important safeguard in the jury room, while it does not completely eliminate the possibility of a guilty man going free, it is seen as a much better alternative than an innocent man being wrongly convicted. The notion of reasonable doubt is tested several times in the play and we discover that it is due to this concept that most of the jurors change their mind. It is as juror eight tells the other members "I may be trying to let a guilty man go free, I don't know. Nobody really can. But we have a reasonable doubt, and that's something that's very valuable in our system. No jury can claim a man guilty unless it's sure." Accordingly, the ultimate message which the play portrays is that the jury system is the most effective way of achieving justice in the American judicial system, assuming that the people who represent it are upholding their social and civic duties.

Throughout the play, Rose explores the context of the use of the jury system within the American judicial system as a whole. Through use of symbolism and a wide plethora of characters from varying backgrounds, Rose is able to present to us the shortcomings and benefits of the jury system. Although Rose presents to us the potentiality for injustice to prevail due to the jurors’ inability to carry out their role in an appropriate manner, he is much more focused on the idea that the jury system will always deliver a just result if the individuals who represent it carry out their role as they are meant to. Rose ultimately demonstrates that the ability for a reliable and fair method of justice, trial by peers or better known as trial by jury is, “the remarkable thing about democracy”.


« Last Edit: April 30, 2012, 10:15:31 pm by Surgeon »
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VivaTequila

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #66 on: July 17, 2012, 10:38:42 pm »
+1
Today I was tutoring a student in Year 11 doing 1/2 English, and he was battling to understand how to write a speech. I whipped this plan up for him today, admittedly so he could copy a lot of it, but also so that he could learn the technique to presenting an argument and persuading his audience. I thought I'd share it here so that others who are struggling to get a super-clear idea of what the task is with an oral-presentation can get an idea.

It's nothing amazing - just a simple argument with a simple ideas, but I think that if anyone followed this guide they could score good marks simply on having accomplished the task. It isn't perfect on the grounds that it doesn't involve highly complex ideas, but I made this to be accessible to everyone, and I think I've done that fairly well.

The topic is Bullying. Let's hope this attachment works.

I would recommend this to anyone who is beginning to learn how to write an oral presentation or persuasive speech of some description but needs guidance or ideas on ways to go about it.

To Shinny/Mod: Perhaps put this in a Misc section on the OP? This doesn't fit into any of the categories, but should nonetheless be a part of this thread.

Edit: There are probably some grammatical mistakes (I whipped this up in about 10minutes) so ignore them and just try to appreciate what it's saying.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2012, 10:40:42 pm by VivaTequila »

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #67 on: August 10, 2012, 05:59:00 pm »
+1
Wrote this up for Context-Identity and Belonging. Subtle use of Growing up Asian in Australia and Skin.

Maintaining one’s own identity is more important than belonging to a group
She glared at me back. I continued to glare, unchanged by her apparent hostility. Her eyes were blue, with a curious shade of amber that shaded itself across, almost like the sun shining through the depths of the blue seas. But they were not eyes of warmth, but eyes of the icy waters beneath. She was uneasy, clearly as her posture was perpendicular to the polyvinyl of the table tops, arms a forest of hairs splayed out as if to threaten any mosquitos that might bear their wrath. Her face, however was a peculiar sight: occupied with tanned spot almost as if she were the contrast of the night sky in which the stars, glittered. She had the ears of an elephant, large and round-like curiously unlike any human being. On the edges of her pick rims, you could detect a small wrinkle as if her body had given up and already started to age. She was something different, and yet I wanted to get to know her, how she thinks, and her character.  However her eyes, sharp as cut glass sliced my hopes indefinitely.

He was one of them. And she would never want one of them again. He hung out with them, and enjoyed their company. She had tasted a sour cherry and didn’t want to have anything to do with another. And the most irritating thing was he thought this was a game. This staring act that she was playing was an act to push him away, but later she would realise her mistake and flay her arms around his chest, chanting the repetition of her mistake towards him. As if she was playing hide and seek, but decided she neither wanted to hide nor be the seeker. He had a different demeanour as well, different from the sour cherry she had previously loved. He was not charismatic or courageous, possessed no confidence, yet asserted his position in almost any class discussion or peer conversation. He was a taciturn teenager, with warm brown eyes as if softened to her sight and melting of chocolate. His face was deep tan, yet lighter than the afro of curls, in which any insect would find it hard to escape. He smelt of pure vanilla essence as if tempting her decision to overturn her obvious unfriendliness.  However, when looked upon he seemed to be a mirror of two sorts, saying one thing and thinking another. It was hard to differentiate the two, as they seemed the same, yet her instincts told her otherwise. She had been incredibly hurt before, torn apart from heart and from soul. Such an experience, teaches the individual to be careful, and to never give themselves over, yet again, yet ever.

She narrowed her eyes, as if examining him and thinking over his appearance. Who could resist him? She was something, her features, in almost every light opposed each other, almost the same as his ongoing battle between what he thought and what he retorts back. He saw a piece of himself in her, she was someone he could understand, and somewhere he could feel comfortable. They could talk for hours on end, for absolutely nothing and yet feel an inextricable buzz, static between them. She thought, it a tension of a hate-love relationship, but he saw it in a very different light where he could call her his home. She was where he could lay his head, from the searching or the torment of his racing thoughts. Someone to hear your incoming breath, and marvel as it goes out. He’s known her for years, and yet never did. She gave him something; he was attracted to her aggressiveness, her untimely red cheeks and the sleekness of her black hair. And yet he did not know what, yet he did not want to disappoint her, he wanted to be the pillow in which she laid her worries and dramas. And yet, he had no idea what she was thinking.

She had been through this before. Trusting someone who appeared to care. She didn’t need someone like that. She didn’t want someone like that. And she had no more strength left, she wasn’t going to die hard trying, no, she was going to preserve her dear heart, which had been stabbed before. She didn’t care if he loved, she had nothing left, was completely drained. Nothing to give and she had no interest in taking. She knew him, and yet hardly did. She knew his moods, his swings, but she was not prepared for this feeling that he gave her. She had no interest. In her own mind, from picking herself up from the whirlpools of doubt and anguish, all she had was herself. Her identity remained her own. She was a single soldier battling on towards exams and the pile of preferences to be sent out. She belonged to herself and didn’t need anyone to add to that. She did her work quietly and without disturbing others, always taking advantage of the solitary clause in group tasks. She required no one, and needn’t, as she had been kicked to the dirt before. She wasn’t going to try again. She wished that cherry would die and burn in hell.

Her hostility softened, and she stood up, forfeiting their perceived game. She rose with determination, as if she had come to her necessary conclusion.

“Leave me alone. I don’t want anybody, and I don’t need anybody. I am perfectly fine by myself and I don’t like you. We are both two very different people, leading different lives. Lets continue that way, in our different directions”

She turned to walk away, oblivious to the distraught plastered on his face. Who knows if that was just an act to trap her guilt? Who knows if he was really feeling that? These thoughts gave her comfort as she marched ahead.

“You’ve learnt a lot Mariam. You’re hurting me, like he did. What’s the difference between the both of you?” his wavering voice escalated into the coldness and penetrated her icy waters.

She turned around abruptly, almost hit by the intensity of his words. Tears welled up in her eyes, as she made a fist in her hand, controlling her emotions.

“You don’t know the first thing, the first thing about what happened. You have no f**king idea, okay? Don’t judge me on what’s happening now, based on anything else. I don’t like you Sam, I just can’t. I don’t have the strength to rely on someone anymore. You don’t know what that is like. I just cannot do it. I have myself and that’s all I need. I’m sorry, but I cannot go out with you” her voice trembled as she spoke hiding the intense despair she felt inside. She knew how it felt to be received by such a manner. She forced the words out, as if ordering them to play an act, ordering herself to instead of being the watcher of the play, instead to be an actress.

She turned away, and did not look at him. She did not want to see him, or anyone that would give her a second glance again.
She wanted to be left alone, deep and dark inside her own tunnel, her own box of her own miseries.

“Can we still be friends?” he called out.

“Leave me alone” she retorted

“If you keep thinking about it, you’re never going to move on, you are never going to feel like you belong” he tried, desperately

“Sam, always remember one thing, you will always have yourself, only yourself. If you are not happy in your own company, how do you expect others to? I only belong to myself and need only myself; I am not relying on the affections of others or their praise. I will move on when I’m ready” she muttered, trying to control her tone as she spoke her heart.
She turned from him now, hopefully for the last time, in which the silence crushed her thoughts and emotions as she focused purely on the crunching of the snow beneath her feet.

“Hey Mariam, take care of yourself” he shouted back, as his last, pathetic attempt.

She whipped around, amazed at herself. She stared the warmth of his eyes once again. It was not how he said it that mattered to her, but what in which was said. It was almost as if a mirror had been cast between her and him, reflections that first appeared dissimilar, but gradually morphed into one appearance. That was exactly the same words she had once said to the one she loved, the one she had once dreamed of. She became terrified that she saw a small part of herself in him.
Her eyes relaxed, almost to the raining sunlight into the blue sea. She smiled, not of uncertainty or sadness or anything hidden. Her smile was of understanding.

They stood there gazing at each other, even after their hair matted and their school uniforms soaked, and as their eyelashes beared the weight of water. They didn’t know want they saw in each other, or what they wanted to see.

She let a smile drift across her face again. It had been a long time she had smiled, or felt anything positive. Maybe this was the first step of many, she didn’t know. This time she turned and walked away without feeling any emotion at all,  leaving his reflection in the distance and listened to her breath as it moved in and out, and the cloud of cold air it made in front of her almost as the smoky path of recovery.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2012, 06:02:08 pm by nisha »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #68 on: August 22, 2012, 08:24:14 am »
+1
Human impact on landscape is always fleeting.

Statement of Intention

In this creative essay I seek to explore the idea that the links and effects that people develop and force upon landscapes are ultimately short-lived. In order to more directly appeal to my intended audience of Year 12 students, a formal and sophisticated writing style will be utilized. This piece falls under the Context of the Imaginative Landscape as it discusses the effects that people may have on particular environments, both physical and metaphysical.

Essay

The old man had just risen from his deathbed. Exiting the darkened, quiet room to limp slowly to his old rocking chair on the front porch, the scene opened up to a vista of sweeping, jagged cliffs, the rocks careening down to the tempestuous grey sea below. The scent of sea spray filled the air and the biting, cold wind elicited a shudder through even this hardened, wizened fisherman’s body as he eased himself into a sitting position. He knew that no true man of Cape Breton died in the comfort and safety of a warm luxurious bed, and he would not be the first to break that trend.

As he breathed in the fresh, salty air, the man was instantly transported back to the days of his childhood, destined for a life of fishing before he could even talk. But though he may have been hindered in communication, he had nevertheless struck himself a place in Cape Breton and in the wild society of miners, fishermen and farmers. He recalled watching the fishermen unloading their hauls of glistening, squirming fish onto the cobblestones of the wharf, a practice that had continued since the first settlement of this windswept island, and knowing that like his father and his father before him, he would one day be trawling the depths of the ocean with them. He remembered the first time that he had heard the wild and sometimes frightening tales that his grandfather had whispered into his ear on that night of the great storm, as black clouds hung overhead and lightning sparked through the dark sky. He still remembered the stories, word for word, keeping alive the tenuous link between his ancestors and the rugged landscape of Nova Scotia. Knowing that he would keep such memories until the moment his heart finally betrayed him, he sat back, momentarily relieved, gazing out at the foam-capped waves battering the unyielding cliffs below.

And then adulthood had come, brilliant in its promises of adventure and excitement, and the man had grasped his life ahead with eagerness. Now he recalled the days where his own life seemed sure to be lost, and the grief when his friends and crew members had perished instead. He recalled the hot summer days where the sun gazed down into clear, still waters teeming with fish, and the long winters where snow whipped about their faces in violent gusts as waves of black, seething water towered over them. At last, he had experienced the true nature of Cape Breton, astounding in its glory. He had formed a true connection with the world he lived in and depended on through his experiences, memories and emotions that could never be broken. But things had changed. Now the ages-old tradition of fishing had been cruelly broken by the commercial trawlers and their automated nets and machines. They had plundered the treasures of the sea, leaving nothing but filth and litter in their wake, and now it seemed as if this place would never be the same again.

With a sense of finality, the man stood and slowly made his way down to the edge of the rockface, leaning down to make out the rocks below for the very last time. Eventually, he considered, eventually we all cannot escape Death. One day, the world will finally be free from us, the human race. And at that moment, no matter how far into the future, there will be no more trawlers, no more memories, mo more stories. One day the tallest buildings will crumble and the ever-present, patient force of Nature will step forth and stretch out her wide hands. And it will be as if we had never existed. All our works of art, scientific reports, philosophies, love- they will be dust in the wind, and Cape Breton will be free once more. He allowed himself a small smile as he thought. And maybe this is what the world needs, he concluded. A short break from humanity. Just as the words passed through his mind, he felt a small shudder, deep in his heart, and knew that he was no longer breathing. And then the long, twisting fall, his eyes wide towards the stony sky as the impact pushed all the air from his lungs. His last thought, before the hungry, dark sea took him in its embraces, was the knowledge that we would all, in time, be swallowed by nature.

They found him later that morning, as gulls circled his shriveled, frozen body on the stony beach. Identified and placed into a Cape Breton morgue, cause of death was later attributed to drowning rather than cardiac arrest. But what caught the coroner’s attention was not the water in his lungs or his failed heart; it was the peaceful, contented smile on his face.
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VivaTequila

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #69 on: September 15, 2012, 08:43:41 pm »
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I really liked one of the forumites essays', and I've decided to link it here.

Section A: On the Waterfront
Prompt: On The Waterfront reveals the powerlessness of the individual against a corrupt ruling group.

Written by casettekid.

If anyone could give me any tips on this essay it would be great! I know it's quite scrappy but I attempted to write this piece to time. :)

On The Waterfront reveals the powerlessness of the individual against a corrupt ruling group.



“You know this city’s full of hawks?” Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront discusses how corruption and greed is always prevalent within society.  The 1954 film follows the story of Terry Malloy, a man trapped between his loyalty to his conscience and the mob run by Johnny Friendly. The film illustrates how many characters attempt to seek justice and freedom from the corrupt union with differing results. The characters of Joey Doyle and Dugan both attempt to stop Johnny Friendly’s hold over the waterfront but ultimately are unable to make a change alone. Kazan illustrates that it is only when a group of individuals unite together change can be made in a corrupt society. However, the ambiguity of the final shot of the film alongside the references to corrupt outside of the constrained city of Hoboken highlight Kazan’s belief that injustice and tyrannical leadership is everpresent within society.



Kazan’s depiction of Joey Doyle highlights how solitary action against a gang will ultimately fail. Joey is depicted as somewhat powerful at the beginning of the scene evidenced through the use of a low angle shot. While Kazan here highlights that Joey’s choice to talk to the Crime Commission is noble and brave; this idea of Joey’s as powerful is quickly subverted as the camera pans up towards Truck and Tullio on the rooftop. Regardless of Joey’s actions in attempting to reveal the restrictive and oppressive life on the waterfront his death highlights how one individual cannot stop the actions of a large group. The ominous music used during his death along with the joke made by Truck “he could sing but he couldn’t fly” highlights how Johnny Friendly’s gang had no difficulty in ensuring their power over the city by killing Joey. Clearly, Kazan illustrates that no matter how noble an intention may be, a singular person cannot defeat a a group of oppressive and greedy leaders. 



Both Fr Barry and Dugan work together to advocate against the exploitation of longshoremen by Johnny Friendly. Fr Barry promises to work alongside Dugan to bring down the dominant group run by Johnny Friendly. Dugan makes the choice to speak out to the Crime Commission shown as the mob claim “he done all the talk.. thirty-nine pages of our operation.” While Dugan does succeed in talking to the Commission, his actions don’t reflect any change within the wharf as all the workers choose to remain “D and D.” Kazan highlights the murder of Dugan to illustrate how the alliance between both Fr Barry and Dugan fails to stop Johnny Friendly. However, Dugan’s death does effect Terry as he begins to question whether it is right to “do it to him before he does it to you.” The union is still presented as in power through the shot of fruit being thrown onto Fr Barry in the hold as he claims anyone who keeps “silent about something.. shares the guilt of it.” However, Terry’s action in attacking Truck and claiming “let him finish” illustrates how the actions of a minority can affect the perceptions of others. Overall, the actions of Dugan do not result in Friendly’s downfall but they do have a direct influence over Terry as he chooses to stand alongside Fr Barry and against the powerful gang.



Terry is supported by both Edie and Fr Barry in his choice to testify against Friendly and his gang of lackeys. Terry chooses to “fight” Friendly in the courtroom is shown to not have a clear effect on the inequality on the docks. Kazan uses the culling of the pigeons by Tommy “a pigeon for a pigeon” to emphasise how Terry’s individual voice made no difference to the oppression of the longshoremen as the choose to remain “deaf and dumb” out of self preservation. Terry, even after testifying is presented in a corrupt society through the long shots of him isolated from the mass of workers behind him. It is only when Terry arrives down at the docks and is severely beaten do the workers begin to support Terry’s revolt against the union. Kazan uses the shot of Terry walking towards the pier to highlight that how his actions are influencing the longshoremen to abandon the ruling of Friendly. The shots of the crowd following Terry highlight how that a large group can fight against tyranny and corruption. Overall, Terry’s actions do influence the longshoremen and motivate them to fight for power against Johnny Friendly’s gang.



The referencing to the character of Mr Upstairs and the depiction of the final shot in the film help to argue that corrupt leaders will always remain prevalent within society. Kazan uses the minor character of Mr Upstairs numerous times during the film. At the beginning of the film, one of Johnny’s workers tells Terry that Friendly “got a call from Mr Upstairs. Something’s gone wrong. He’s pretty hot.” Kazan utilises the character of Mr Upstairs to highlight that even Friendly, the leader of the union has a boss he must report to. Kazan presents Mr Upstairs during the trial to illustrate how far reaching corruption is within society. Mr Upstair’s face is never shown and he is surrounded by luxurious furniture. Mr Upstairs is presented as Friendly’s boss as he claims “If Mr Friendly calls, I’m out..” Kazan, by not revealing Mr Upstairs’ face, argues that corruption will never be removed since it is so widespread throughout society. This is reiterated at the final shot of the film as Terry leads the workers into darkness where the roller doors begin to close. The ominous music along with the characters walking into darkness doesn’t reflect a world rid of oppression but instead leaves the audience questioning whether Terry has succeeded in defeating the oppressive ruling group. Kazan ultimately through the characterisation of Mr Upstairs and the final shot of the film argues that if one tyrannical leader is removed, other gangs and greedy leaders will still remain in society.



Overall, Kazan uses various techniques to highlight how the actions of individuals cannot defeat a ruling group. Both Joey and Dugan fail in defeating the mob leader Johnny Friendly and are ultimately presented as powerless. However, Terry the protagonist, is influenced by both Joey and Dugan’s attempt to remove the subjugation of the longshoremen. Terry’s actions in testifying to the crime commission ultimately leave him isolated until he chooses to once again stand up against Friendly. Terry, with the support of others leads the members of the waterfront to a world not dominated by Johnny Friendly and his gang. However, the incorporation of Mr Upstairs along with the final shot of film ultimately argues Kazan’s belief that a while a ruling group can be removed, another one will replace it. Therefore evidently, Kazan argues that all individuals are powerless against corrupt organisations.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2012, 08:45:53 pm by LovesPhysics »

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Re: English Guides, Sample Pieces, Tips and Resources
« Reply #70 on: October 04, 2012, 09:28:59 pm »
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Melbourne University Student Welfare Outreach Team (SWOT) 2011/12 English Notes attached. Very good Language Analysis section.

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #71 on: October 31, 2012, 07:24:16 pm »
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Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri - 29/30 in a SAC

Topic: 'In the collection Interpreter of Maladies, silences and actions reveal as much about characters' feelings and intentions as the words they use to communicate with others. Discuss.'

Jhumpa Lahiri's collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies explores in great detail, the lives of characters who develop feelings and intentions as they undergo a number of universal, life-changing experiences. In Lahiri's stories, linguistically-created silences and actions act as an unfettered means of communication that reveal far more about characters' emotions and intentions than the words they use to converse with others. Characters' feelings and intentions – the intricacies of their human psyche – are largely conveyed by Lahiri through these indirect, non-verbal modes of communication. However, in some instances, the spoken word does have the ability to expose as much about people's emotions as words have the potential to leave a lasting impact. Thus, it is through these means of communication that Lahiri evokes the significance of strong relationships and positive minds in one's quest to overcome the trials and tribulations that life may entail.

Bouts and moments of silence can attribute various aspects of the human condition, ranging from the concealment of a secret to serving as a peacemaker in some instances. In the short story 'A Temporary Matter', for example, Lahiri explores the detrimental effects that a tragic event can impose on a relationship, as well as the marital discord and prolonged silence that ensues. For protagonists Shoba and Shukumar, the stillborn birth of their child leaves them emotionally and mentally paralysed due to their damaging mindset that “it was over”. The couple is silenced and hence the tragedy morphs itself into an all-evading force that gradually coerces them to “become experts at avoiding each other” within the estranged couple's metaphorically dark "home". The self-imposed silence that the couple experiences within their own household demonstrates not only their severe dislocation from one another, but also their true inner feelings of misery that would otherwise be indescribable through words. The hour-long blackouts - the story's central structural device - occur over the next few days and coincide with Shukumar's feelings that he and Shoba “would get through it all somehow”, and corresponds to Shoba's gradual development as an independent self and intention to reveal this fact. Towards the denouement of the story, Lahiri utilises short, terse sentence structures to illustrate the protracted silences within the relationship and the consequential lack of love in the way they interact with each other. The linguistic abruptness in that Shoba “did not thank him or compliment him” and that Shukumar “thought that [Shoba] was about to say something”, serve to convey the minimalistic communication between the couple. It is this lack of communication that manifests itself into deep, deceptive revelations that uncover the hidden mystiques of the protagonists' minds. Thus, Lahiri vividly depicts that emotions and intentions are more strongly illustrated through silence, for the extent of the stirring tumults would not be well portrayed through words.

Furthermore, Lahiri illustrates that people's actions and exertions reveal more about their true self and inner psyche than any words that they communicate. This is due to the fact that actions are a figment of the past and the present, whereas words are only a figment of what is to come. In the titular story 'Interpreter of Maladies', the characters' actions symbolise their attitudes and inclinations, and as such, readers are exposed to the deep recesses of each of their minds. 'Interpreter of Maladies', which tells the tale of the Das family touring around the Konarak Temple in India and conversing with their tour guide Mr. Kapasi, lays bare the implications behind everything people do. Narrated in the third-person-objective through the perspective of Mr. Kapasi, the story revolves around Mr. and Mrs. Das, who are “very young” and behave “like an older brother and sister, not parents”. When Mr. Das “[takes] a picture of a barefoot man” who is “emaciated”, Lahiri demonstrates the un-parentlike intentions of Mr. Das. The undernourished man embodies the life of someone living in traditional and poverty-stricken India, yet Mr. Das fails to converse or show concern for the man. Instead, his feelings of carelessness and impetuousness are undeniable and blatant, and from this action, the reader is able to see the obliviousness and neglect Mr. Das holds towards his own home country. Whilst Mr. and Mrs. Das have fallen apart in terms of their communication and love for each other, they are united in their absentmindedness in both a social and familial context. Mrs. Das, who “[walks] past her children as if they are strangers” and is “lost behind her sunglasses”, lacks concern for her family and possesses no real mother-like qualities. Mrs. Das's cavalier and inattentive attitude to life is accentuated through the spilling of her puffed rice, provoking the monkeys' attack on her son Bobby. It is through this action that Lahiri demonstrates Mrs. Das's feelings of oblivion and disregard towards both her children and her husband. As such, Lahiri demonstrates that characters in familial conflicts and expatriate experiences have underlying motivations and feelings that can sometimes be more effectively conveyed through actions rather than dialogue.

However, whilst silence and action can reveal much about people's sentiments and objectives in life, Lahiri does suggest that in some instances verbal communication does have the potential to expose just as much. Dialogue and the spoken word serve to add meaning to an action or thought. The vulnerable Mrs. Sen, the namesake in the short story 'Mrs. Sen's', is culturally displaced as she fails to effectively integrate into American society. She looks after a young boy named Eliot each day afterschool, and tells him of her deep yearning for her life back at home, in India. As the intricacies of the plot unfold, readers become aware of Mrs. Sen's desperation and longing for her homeland and cultural heritage, as she laments the words, “Everything is there [in India]”. Through these seemingly simple words, Mrs. Sen exposes her true anguish towards her new life in America and consolidates her hunger for her previous life. She, who represents a figment of traditional Indian women who trail their husbands in the hope for a better future, abides by this principle throughout the duration of the story. She constantly identifies herself as a 'professor's wife', defining herself through her husband's name and higher social status. Through these words, which she utters at key times of crisis, Mrs. Sen reveals a stark side of her emotional state; instead of possessing a self-defined identity in American culture, she goes back to this status as it is the only aspect that is forcing her to stay in America. The theme of displacement is further explored through Mrs. Sen's dialogue, whereby she states that, “Everyone, this people, too much in their world” whilst driving. Mrs. Sen despises driving – an extended metaphor – due to the effects that it has: “her knuckles pale”, “her wrists tremble” and “her English falters”. As a result of the words she uses to converse with Eliot, Mrs. Sen’s inner feelings of emotional exile and despair are fully exposed. Through her faltering English, Mrs. Sen succumbs to the pressures of driving, which are also attributed to the harsh pressures of assimilation.  As such, verbal communication does reveal as much about Mrs. Sen's feelings as silence and action, as her spoken words are heartfelt and honest. Through the careful mirroring of plots, in the sense that the basic plot of 'A Temporary Matter' is reversed in the final story 'The Third and Final Continent', Lahiri illustrates that there is often a possibility of success and an opportunity to look past such doubt and difficulties in relationships. It is through this narrative structure, and the intertwining of the stories as a collective whole, that Lahiri demonstrates that whilst it may be difficult to understand one another, verbal communication and the ability to confide in one another - the remedy - is crucial to our development. Hence, Lahiri's stories do demonstrate that verbal communication does, in some cases, disclose as much about people's intent and emotions as non-verbal communication.

Lahiri's stories strongly demonstrate the impact that communication can have on relationships, a person and a family against a demanding and unrelenting Indian culture. In her stories, silences and actions reveal more about characters' sentiments and motivations than the words they use to converse with one another. Yet, in the case of Lahiri’s stories, the words that her characters use to converse with one another can in some cases reveal as much about their feelings and motivations, for the extent of their marital discord, relationship difficulties and migration experiences warrants the need to move past and overcome such difficulties. Thus, Lahiri sends a message to readers that the human condition can bring many experiences that coerce individuals to conjure up feelings and intentions that can be exposed through silence, actions and dialogue – vividly exploring the the difficulty and challenges presented in really knowing someone.


(also see Discussion of werdna's piece in the Worked Examples Thread)
« Last Edit: November 01, 2012, 10:53:53 pm by ρнуѕικѕ ♥ »

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #72 on: December 27, 2012, 10:33:22 pm »
+2
“Without connections to others there is no me”

“The quality of our connections to others and to ourselves ultimately determines the quality of our lives”.  Anthony Robbins’ statement epitomizes that both our sense of self and our sense of social integration interconnect and co-exist.  From our cultural heritage to our experience as human beings there are a plethora of situations in which we realize how the groups that help us gain a sense of social integration play an important role in the establishment of our identity. However, while Robbins depicts the importance of relationships with others, perhaps it is also possible that we can truly find ourselves despite being alienated from society. Thus, it is clear that there are multiple factors responsible in the development of a solid, fully-fledged identity.


Our sense of attachment to our family shapes who we become and how our personality develops as individuals. Our parents are our first teachers, who are at the centre of our upbringing and teach us values, attitudes and beliefs that help to define us from our conception and birth. Family expectations can either act as a burden on a child’s sense of self and abilities, or an opportunity to learn and grow. Upon reflection I can see the footprint my parents left on me. My parents’ continuous support and guidance in specific academic, social and sportive areas crafted my interests, hobbies and beliefs. In the same way as my father and my sister, I am to a great extent interested in Mathematics and Computer-science, which originates from my dad’s persistent help in both areas. Similarly my favorite sport and most loved hobby, ballroom dancing, emanates from my parents immense encouragement to try out this specific sport. Their highly regimented parenting styles shone light onto the path of self-discovery that they wanted me to take. The sense of affiliation they have given me has allowed exploring the very fabric of my uniqueness, which was inspired by their words of encouragement. Conversely, it can be through disagreement with parents’ ambitions that we can realize who we really are. Without the knowledge of who we are not how can we know who we are? In the anthology of short stories Growing Up Asian in Australia, edited by Alice Pung, this notion is exemplified in “Five Ways to Disappoint Your Vietnamese Mother”, in which the protagonist, Diana Nguyen, does not conform to her mother’s expectations of her and they clash on a personal and moral level. Diana wants to pursue her dream of an acting career while her mother has more conservative plans. It is through Diana’s rejections of her mother’s opinion of an ideal life for Diana that she is able to holistically express herself and establish a more solid identity. In particular looking at Diana’s future success in shows such as Underbelly, it is crucial that we are still able to question our parents’ prospects for our future. Thus, we can see that our relationships with our families can help us to contemplate our own purposes, capabilities and potential, whether it is through agreement or disagreement with our family’s desires.


Additionally our interaction with friends, peers and colleagues can provide us with our sense of self-definition. Groups and communities can provide security, support and acceptance in our lives. By nature, human beings are not solitary creatures; in fact we're among the most social animals on the planet, to the extent that isolation causes physical brain damage. Contributing to the social fabric can have a positive effect on our sense of self – it can enhance our self-esteem as well as our self-worth. Literary parallels enrich our understanding of this idea, for example the story “Chinese Dancing Bendigo Style” of Growing Up Asian in Australia, which evidently recreates that the identification with a group can act as a catalyst for the progress of self-discovery. The initially reserved and dejected protagonist, Joo-Inn, feels like she does not fit in anywhere surrounded by Australians until she finally meets people from the Bendigo Chinese Association. In this Association she gathers with people of the same cultural background. It is through this sense of social integration that Joo-Inn is able to be aware of her true distinctiveness and, in comparison to Diana, gain cultural pride. Similarly, my perception of an ideal me has been shaped by my commitments and relationships with others. My interactions with my friends and the people in my environment have helped me to develop a stronger sense of self and a better self-awareness. It is through this social incorporation that I am able to apprehend certain blemishes in my character and improve upon them. This is also embodied by Chuck Palahniuk with the statement “Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.” Hence, it is clear that without reciprocal social actions with others we are not able to attain a holistic view of ourselves.


However, our character and uniqueness can also derive from other factors that influence our life. The affiliation we have with our family does not always depict who we are, nor is our distinctiveness always bonded to the individuals surrounding us. This notion is illustrated in the film ‘My Sister’s Keeper’, in which the independent and strong-willed character, Anna, says about herself: “Most babies are accidents. Not me. I was engineered. Born to save my sister’s life”. It is through this statement that Anna highlights that she was only born for the purpose of donating her body to her sister, which is embraced by her self-centred mother. However, although Anna is interacting solely with her family, she develops her own self-definition and rebels against the obligation her mother thinks Anna has. Thus, to avoid suffering from the same trials and tribulations, as Anna did in her youth, it is crucial that as individuals we are able to question our own role in society. The idea that we are not required to be bonded to a group or society to develop a sense of self and our own uniqueness is reflected in Growing Up Asian in Australia with the story “Towards Manhood”, in which the writer, Benjamin Law, says his mother’s uterus must have been indecisive and he is an “Asian hybrid man-child thing” in a “confused body”. Law did not feel like he belonged to his karate club nor did he feel convinced that he “bonded” with his brother. He felt that they were “just too different.”  Despite lacking a sense of social integration, he was able to identify himself as a homosexual male in a “hybrid” body. This self-actualization did not require the establishment of any connection with others. His feminine physique and homosexuality may well have been due to genetics. American politician Robert Casey's places a further emphasis on the notion that our sense of self is predetermined by natural causes and that we cannot help how we are born with the statement “From the beginning, each human embryo has its own genetic identity”. Thus, we can see that some individuals are not malleable to the influence of the connections to others and are able to develop their own idiosyncrasy and self-definition despite being socially alienated.


The society we are born into combined with our natural genetics is our identity’s starting point. At times, we are able to explore our interests and values and discover our true strengths through social integration. Nevertheless, if we consider, on the contrary to Robbins, the cases that exemplify the possibility of a process of self-discovery without relationships with others, the idea that “without connections to others there is no me” does not seem to be universally correct – a concept epitomized by Alan Rudolph with the statement “Human identity is the most fragile thing that we have, and it’s often only found in moments of truth”.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2013, 08:08:16 pm by FlorianK »

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #73 on: February 04, 2013, 01:45:10 pm »
+2
Written for On The Waterfront:

On the Waterfront explores the destructive nature of community and family bonds”. Discuss.

NOTE that this essay was written to be specifically concept-based. It does not discuss the structures, features and conventions used by Kazan to the extent that would be required in an exam. However, it is a specific and high-scoring (8.5/10) response to the prompt.

Elia Kazan’s 1954 film On the Waterfront is in some ways an examination of the distortion of the classic family and community dynamics under the influence of a corrupt society. The film depicts Johnny Friendly’s association with Terry and Charley Malloy as a subversion of the role of the father figure, and demonstrates how Friendly’s corrupt society can distort a real father’s nature, shown by Pop Doyle’s division of loyalty between devotion to his own family and to the code of the waterfront. As well as this, the film examines the communal nature of the longshoremen, questioning if they can ever be free of the corruption that Friendly represents. However, the film also presents an optimistic view, establishing that some relationships, both personal and communal, can thrive despite the endemic corruption which characterises the environment.

At the commencement of the film, waterfront mob boss Johnny Friendly is established as having a quasi-paternal connection to Charley and Terry Malloy; his relationship to Terry is shown to be physical yet amiable, calling Terry “slugger”, “kid” and “our boy”. However, this relationship is soon displayed as a subversion of the regular paternal role; Friendly is shown to be violent, manipulative and a purveyor of fear and corruption on the New York waterfront. As Terry’s ethics move further away from Friendly’s, Friendly becomes more and more hostile towards him, culminating in Charley’s murder, an act of intimidation towards Terry. This series of events can be interpreted as a criticism of the destructive nature of the society that Friendly has helped create; not even those who are well entrenched as members of this society are safe from the dangers it poses.  Friendly’s mob in and of itself appears to be a subversion of the regular paradigm of community; a harsh, indifferent society where one is encouraged to “keep quiet” in an attempt to “live longer”. This is in contrast to the community in which Edie has lived; her words “shouldn’t everybody care about everybody else?” imply a completely opposite upbringing resulting from the environment she has grown up in, separate from the corruption present on the waterfront. With Charley’s murder, the subversion of the familial bond is demonstrated by Kazan to be especially destructive. Despite his otherwise good standing with Johnny Friendly, Charley is subject to Friendly’s violence simply because Terry is his “kid brother”, notwithstanding Charley’s refusal of Friendly’s orders. This indicates that the pseudo-familial ties between Friendly and the Malloys in truth mean little to Friendly; he severs all ties to them as a means of maintaining his social and economic hegemony. Charley’s murder itself is symbolic of this act of de-familiarisation, and to an extent dehumanisation; Charley, having being shot through the heart, is hung to a wall with a longshoreman’s hook, in a manner reminiscent of meat. Kazan appears to use this sequence to highlight the cycle of violence depicted throughout the film, with Terry proclaiming that he will “take it outta their skulls” after finding Charley’s corpse.

In a more direct sense, familial bonds are shown to be destructive in Charley’s continual betrayal of Terry. Terry’s impassioned speech to Charley has him state that he “could have had class... could have been a contender... could have been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what [he is]”, referencing Charley’s manipulation of Terry’s boxing career on Johnny Friendly’s behalf, his only real opportunity to break free of the waterfront and its twisted values. Although Terry and Charley are depicted as somewhat close and protective of one another, Terry’s assertion that “it was you, Charley” highlights the distortion of familial values due to Friendly’s influence upon the waterfront society.

Pop Doyle’s character is in many ways representative of the distortion of family bonds due to a life spent on the waterfront. Kazan depicts Pop Doyle’s ingrained sense of a submissive mentality as being prevalent to such an extent that his willingness to maintain the code of “D&D” supersedes his devotion to his family; this is shown through his accepting of Joey Doyle’s death, and his willingness for Edie to do the same. As a result of this, Pop Doyle’s familial relationship with his daughter is somewhat strained. At the beginning of the film, Edie represents a community separate from that of the waterfront, and hence an opportunity for change. Kazan demonstrates Pop Doyle to be the foil to this sentiment, with his innate tendency to stay D&D removing any of the opportunity for change that Edie represents. This disinclination to break from Friendly’s imposed silence appears to be a further depiction of how corruption of the waterfront community drastically impacts upon the family dynamic in that society. One may expect Pop Doyle to be heavily affected by the murder of his son, Joey, by members of Johnny Friendly’s gang. However, Pop Doyle responds to this in a quiet, accepting way, going so far as to tell a woman who raises criticism against Friendly’s brutal methods of intimidation to “shut up”, for fear of reprisal by Friendly’s goons. This further demonstrates his deep-seated submission to the corruption of the waterfront society. As well as this, the distortion of family bonds as a result of the mire of corruption that is the New York waterfront of the 1950s is distinctly clear in Pop Doyle’s reaction to Joey’s murder; he is placed somewhat in conflict with Edie and her wish to understand “who’d want to kill Joey?”, while he out of a sense of misguided protectiveness wishes for her to “keep quiet”, so that she may “live longer”. With this contrast, it is obvious that Pop Doyle does in fact experience some internal conflict between his willingness to protect his family and his inherent urge to maintain D&D; eventually, his fear of Friendly’s mob forces him to remain “deaf and dumb”.

On a communal level, Pop Doyle’s reluctance to break from the mob code represents a perverted form of loyalty to those with power in the waterfront society, a sentiment clearly present throughout the longshoreman community. Despite a degree of cynicism amongst the longshoremen about the corruption which riddles their lives, referring to “Johnny Friendly, the ‘great labour leader’”, the majority of the longshoremen are intimidated into bleak acceptance of the presence of Friendly’s gang. Few are the longshoremen who actively stand against Friendly, such as K.O. Dugan, and they are dealt with in a brutal manner. The longshoremen’s communal bonds are depicted by Kazan as being especially destructive, their hopes and aspirations are crushed by the ubiquitous greed of Friendly’s mob. This is demonstrated by Kazan in a show of grim irony, where K.O. “wonders when [he will] get a boat... with good Irish whiskey on it”, and is told that he is “dreaming again”; K.O. is later murdered when Friendly’s goons drop a “sling” of Irish whiskey on him. The distortion of communal bonds in the longshore community as a result of Friendly’s corruption is blatant here; despite K.O.’s membership in the waterfront society for what is stated to be a long time, his death is still accepted as a hazard of “ratting” by other members of the community. Moreover, the destructive nature of the communal bonds amongst the longshoremen is demonstrated at the end of the film; the longshoremen return to work, and inevitably towards further subjugation at the hands of the corrupt. The brief moment in which they declare that if “[Terry] don’t work, we don’t work” is but a fleeting moment of resistance against the ever-present corruption on the waterfront. One may take an optimistic view, regarding this resistance as the beginning of a new era for the longshoremen. However, the Kazan subtly hints towards the opposite; Friendly’s enraged cries of “I’ll be back” symbolise the omnipresence of malfeasance in the waterfront society, and the roller door slowly closing behind the longshoremen evokes a sense of entrapment – these men will never truly break free of the hold of people like Friendly.

Although Kazan primarily demonstrates in On the Waterfront that the influence of corrupt individuals and groups leads to the distortion of conventional familial and communal bonds, he also posits that the formation of new relationships and the strengthening of individual character can arise from this adversity. Terry and Edie are brought together in adversity, yet it serves only to reinforce the bond between them; as Terry becomes more open about his feeling towards being a pawn in Friendly’s schemes, he is able to receive from Edie the ‘mantle of truth’ that is Joey Doyle’s jacket. As an individual, Terry becomes more articulate as he begins to accept the value of honesty over misplaced loyalty, and thereby distances his ethics from those of Johnny Friendly. Furthermore, Father Barry’s interaction with Edie elicits for him a readiness to abandon his previous “hiding in a church” to acknowledge that the waterfront “is my church” and that the waterfront community “is [his] parish”. This realisation allows for Father Barry’s transformation from a mere preacher into one who acts upon what he preaches and is determined to improve the lives of the longshoremen. With this, Kazan presents the view that regardless of the gravity of the circumstances, individuals still have the chance to act towards change.

In what may be considered a reference to Kazan’s experiences with the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) and his mixed relationship with various elements of American society after his testimony before the committee, Kazan appears to demonstrate through On the Waterfront that communal and familial relationships are susceptible to corruption by the nature of the societies in which they exist. He contends that these bonds become destructive and claim the individuality, and even the lives, of those affected. However, Kazan also insists that the individual has a degree of ability to initiate change, regardless of how dire the circumstances in which the individual exists are.

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FlorianK

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #74 on: February 10, 2013, 04:56:48 am »
+3
Interpreter of Maladies 9.5/10 Text-Response

These stories show how difficult it is to know another person completely.’
Do you agree?

Silhouetted against the backdrop of a demanding Indian culture, Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies unveils in great detail the intricacies and hardships of knowing another person thoroughly. Lahiri depicts that lack of communication in addition to miscommunication increases the difficulty of knowing somebody else. However, Lahiri also highlights that it can be easy to know another person, through that person’s strong identification with their respective culture. Moreover, Lahiri also illustrates that by overcoming the lack of communication, which might obscure one's life, and stopping to communicate, we are able to grasp a thorough knowledge of another person. Hence, it is through these evocative short stories that we are offered a glimpse of the importance of effective communication and integration into society.

In order to know another person it is important to converse with each other and to share thoughts as well as feelings without miscommunication. In Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies, she makes this notion clear through the former happily married couple Shoba and Shukumar, who struggle to compensate the internalized grief that came over their lives acting as a destructive force after the stillbirth of their child. Additionally, Lahiri draws strong parallels between the couple’s lives, the setting of the short story and her linguistic style. Foremost, in order to place an emphasis on the lack of communication most of the story is description of the setting rather than dialogue. Furthermore, the linguistic abruptness in that Shoba “did not thank him or compliment him” and that Shukumar “thought that [Shoba] was about to say something”, serve to convey the minimalistic communication between the couple. In addition, Lahiri parallels their emotional separation with their physical separation as they “became experts at avoiding each other” by “spending us much time as possible on separate floors”. Additionally, to demonstrate the couple’s miscommunication, Lahiri highlights the different perceptions on Shoba’s ‘game’, from both protagonists. The presented absence of effective communication, lead into particularly Shukumar not knowing the thoughts as well as plans of Shoba and by filtering the third-person narration through Shukumar’s perspective we are with Shukumar, surprised and disillusioned by the revelation of the intentions of Shoba’s game. Lahiri therefore reinforces her thematic point about the difficulty of knowing another person well and fully. Thus, to avoid suffering from the trials and tribulation that might ensue from the misconstruction of other people’s actions, it is crucial that as individuals we are able to communicate in marriages and in life.

However, Lahiri also demonstrates that due to a strongly expressed sense of culture we are able to see and hear how another person is passably effortless. For instance, the ways in which dialogue and the spoken word serve to add meaning to an action or thought is fervently depicted in Jhumpa Lahiri’s compilation of short stories. Through the vulnerable namesake of the story “Mrs. Sen”, Lahiri is able to demonstrate that lack of integration and strong isolation can entail a preserved identity, which makes it easy to know this person through its expressions. As the intricacies of the plot unfold, Lahiri discloses Mrs. Sen’s desperation and longing for her homeland and cultural heritage to the reader, as she laments the words, “Everything is there, [in India]”. Through these seemingly simple words, Mrs. Sen exposes the true anguish she has towards her new life in America and consolidates her hunger for her previous life. While, Lahiri uses the spoken word as a tool to convey her intentions, she also uses cloth as a symbol to illustrate Mrs. Sen’s expression of identity. By always wearing a Sari with “a different pattern every day”, she is able to demonstrate her identification with India on the first view. Not only through her visual experience are we able to apprehend the imprint of her immigrant experience, but also through the Mrs. Sen’s use of language. This is exemplified by Lahiri’s equiption of the credulous and susceptible protagonist with short and abrupt sentences such as “everyone, this people, too much in their world”, which serves to highlight Mrs. Sen’s incompetence of the English Language, which makes her immigrant experience even more noticeable. Thus, as a consequence of a strong expression of ourselves through the close we wear or the words we use to converse with each other, others can easily grasp who we are.

Additionally, we are able to overcome difficulties and struggles in relationships and get to know another person, if we have the required resilience, perseverance and mutuality. In the last of the nine short stories, “The Third and Final Continent”, Lahiri illustrates the journey of the unyielding Bengali Narrator through three different countries in three different continents. It is particularly through the initial struggles of the reserved and wholesome protagonist Mala that Lahiri is able to convey the potential to achieve belonging and happiness if the diligence as well as persistence for this is present. While for the first “five nights” Mala “turned from [him] and wept”, she is able to develop from this and the couple is able to move towards a happy marriage. In those moments the narrator is unable to know Mala’s thought, because he “did to nothing console her”. However at the end of the short story the couple was “amazed … that there was ever a time that [they] were strangers”, which serves to highlight how through communication and determination the couple was able to get to know each other. Furthermore, Lahiri uses the first-person narrative perspective to let the reader share the thought of the “moment in Mrs. Croft’s parlour as the moment when the distance between Mala and [him] began to lessen”, in order to demonstrate her broader intention of illustrating the universal experience of being human. Lastly, by placing Shoba and Shukumar’s story, which relates a tale of the death of a son and the possible destruction of a marriage in the readers’ minds first, Lahiri is able to inform readers of the final story of the ways Mala and her husband could have failed as a couple and as parents. Therefore, she emphasizes their experience as achievements rather than mere norms. Thus, Lahiri is able to demonstrate the potential that even with initial struggles we are able to know another person, which is indeed “splendid”.

Whilst Lahiri does briefly mention characters, which hide their inner self or are unable to know another person. It would be remiss to neglect her core intention, because instead the short stories in Interpreter of Maladies predominantly encapsulate the characters on their way to overcome the aforementioned struggles and achieve belonging and happiness. By carefully juxtaposing the different stories of each of the characters, readers are engaged to question their own life experiences, as well as to interpret their own maladies.