Now that the year is over, I can say that I take a lot of good things from the Literature classes. I think that, overall, I did a very good year academically speaking, as I was able to finish without any subjects in December, and talking about Literature I’ve also done well, with very good marks, as a result of my hardwork, and I know that if I keep it up I will be able to get these results the rest of my school life.
Classes at Literature were very interesting and fun too. We would analyse and discuss stories and poems all together, making them easier for us to understand. Moreover, the texts we read were very interesting, especially Tyres, as it is based on the Second World War, a topic which I find very fascinating.
I also enjoyed working in pairs/groups, as I think it is very useful to be able to share your ideas, and also hear to others ideas, to make more complete works, and to be able to hear a different point of view.
1. Write a detailed synopsis of the story.
The short story, “Billenium”, written by J.G. Ballard, is set in the future, in which population has increased massively so the world is not able to inhabit more people in a decent home, so people are assigned small cubicles. The only way to have more space to live in, is marrying and having kids. This story focuses in the lives of two men, John Ward and Henry Rossiter. On day, they discover a hidden room (which symbolises freedom) that meant having more place, privacy and increasing their standard of living. However, instead of making a good use of the space, Rossiter and Ward, decide to fill up the place with Victorian furniture (showing they could not escape from the consuming necessity) and to invite their girlfriends with their family to move into the room, as they had space left. The capitalist society of which they were part did not permit them make a good use of the new space, as they could not escape from the lack of space they had.
2. Discuss the theme of over-population and the effect it has on both the way of life and quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.
Overpopulation is one of the main themes of the text. This topic has an effect in the way of living and quality of life of the inhabitants of the story. This theme, clearly represented along the story, is completely ironic as while authority desires to reduce overpopulation they force citizens to have kids. This shows a contradiction (and irony) over this theme, as the more kids you have population increases and space is less. Inhabitants contribute to overpopulating the city although space is one of their concerns and is what decreases their standard and quality of life, as they finally get used to this and do not try to change it. People lives are not decent, they live in small cubicles with no space at all. The inhabitants do not have a kitchen of a bathroom on their own, everything is shared. Even streets and public places are overcrowded. All these is caused due to overpopulation, which conditiones people’s lives in this city.
3. The quest for living space has become an overriding obsession with the people of the city. Discuss this theme in detail. Include in your answer some discussion of the ways in which Ballard makes the quest for space dominate the characters’ lives.
Overpopulation resulted in people in small cubicles, due to the lack of space. These cubicles were small, suffocating, and uncomfortable for a person to live. Therefore, people were desperate to get more space to live. They could do anything to achieve this, for example, they joined cubicles with friends, and had a lot of children, contributing to overpopulation. This conflict is what leads to the main character, Ward, to kick the wall and find a much bigger place. He moves to this place with his friend Rossiter, and start to invite more and more people, until he finishes up with the same space as before.
4. What sort of relationship does Ballard put forward between the inner world of the individual (as represented by Ward and Rossiter) and the outer world in which they live. In other words, how does Ballard conceptualise the effect of surviving daily life in a hopelessly over-crowded city on the consciousness of the individual as demonstrated by the ways in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space in the secret room they discover?
John Ward and Harry Rossiter (and every citizen) disliked the way in which they were leaving because they were conditioned by overpopulation. In the story, Ballard depicts that people had to share bathrooms and kitchens due to the lack of space. Moreover, their actions were conditioned by the time people took in arriving at a place due to the traffic. Also, citizens could not even enjoy walking down the street or going out, as streets were always overcrowded. At the beginning of the text, Ward criticized the fact of being a landlord, however at the end he finally becomes one of them as he sees the desperate need of space and feels attracted by the consuming society which required money even though there was no place. People were not able to change the society, because they were trapped inside it. Ballard also criticized the Victorian society as it dealt with the authoritarian government which oppressed, restricted and limited society.
5. In the story, Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme over-population that has beset the world. Explain his views as they are presented in the story.
Ballard achieves to explain the causes of the extreme overpopulation by analysing the social, political and economic causes. First of all, he criticizes the selfishness of society, who always put their comfort first instead of thinking in others. This means that they eagered for more space instead of fighting to reduce overpopulation which would have been more logical. Moreover as a socio-economic aspect Ballard criticises capitalism and society’s great necessity of consuming and having more and more every time. This shows one of the causes of overpopulation, which is people consumption and eager of always wanting more money and material things never being satisfied without considering the lack of space. In the story it is clearly represented this criticism as inhabitants continued buying objects and furniture to put in their cubicle although they knew they had no space, symbolizing the impossibility to escape from this way of living. Finally, he gives a political reason by involving government. He depicts the idea of overpopulation being ironic, as authorities give restrictive space and money to inhabitants and on the other hand encourages them to have children. This shows a criticism towards the government and the system too.
6. Do you agree with his argument? Do you think that current population growth projections indicate that we are likely to end up in the situation portrayed in the story?
In our opinion, if the governments don’t do anything about it, overpopulation will be a real problem. However, taking decisions against this problem may also bring economic consequences, as if the number of children a family can have is reduced, then in a near future there will be more old people and adults than children, therefore affecting the future of the country. Because of this, none of the world’s capitalist countries are doing something to stop population growth. Moreover, this is the topic the story criticizes.
7. Describe and analyse Ward’s character in some detail. What values does he hold? Why does Ballard make use of this type of character as the main character for this story?
Ward is one of the main character of the short story. He lives with his close friend, Harry Rossiter. They both criticized the Victorian society. Ward, is more sensitive than Rossiter, because when they needed space in the room, they had to take out the wardrobe he felt disturbed because he is more attached with beauty. Besides, Ward, hated landlords at the beginning of the text, but became at the end of the story one of them. He worked as a Librarian.
8. What role does Rossiter play in the story?
Rossiter is Ward’s friend and is the one who persuades him to invite people to live with them in the cubicle. He is grateful to live with his friends in the cubicle over money’s desire, which is why he hated landlords.
9. Describe the role of the female characters in the story.
The females in the story are Helen and Judith, who were Ward’s work mates. However, females as a whole were seeked by men, to start up families, have kids and expand their cubicle surface. In the specific case of Helen and Judith, they brought trouble to Ward, as they moved to his large cubicle, and invited all of their relatives, filling all the space they had.
10. Discuss the effects that overpopulation and its attendant ills has had on the nature of family life in relation to Ward’s family as well as Judith and Helen’s family relationships.
The effect of overpopulation has had on the nature of family life relationships is that the overcrowded population was caused by families wanting to have some more space, which was achieved by having kids. By wanting more space, they decide to have kids which contribute with this, but, by having more kids, they finally end having the same or even less space than they had.
11. What does the secret room symbolise in the story?
The secret room symbolizes freedom in this story. This place next to Rossiter and Ward’s cubicle represents a place that let the protagonists escape from living in a restricted and oppressing place. It made them liberate from the confimment of the standard of living they had in their cubicle.
12. Why do you think Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves? Is Ballard making a comment on how our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live?
Ward and Rossiter weren’t able to keep their huge space for themselves, as they got used to live in small spaces. It is part of the culture, and living in big places was something unusual, unreal for them. This is why they let guests to invade the room. In addition, this element is what makes of this story a circular story, as when there is a change, there is always something that happens, which brings it all to the same situation they were at first. Moreover, Ward’s decision is what shows that our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live.
13. What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?
At the end of the story, there was too many people living in the secret room, so, they divided the hidden room into different rooms so that everyone can have their part. But, finally, they all finished living in a smaller place than the cubicle was.
14. Discuss Ballard’s style and language in the story? Consider also in what ways it is appropriate to the nature of the story being told.
In the story, Ballard is using a third person, narrative narrator, and the language he uses is descriptive and critical to the cubicles people lived in. He wanted to express how nasty and suffocating these were, to express his message of what could happen if we do not solve our population growth problems. For example, “he could hardly move”, or “there is no privacy or comfort”.
Description of the Church
The church of Pillar is situated in Recoleta, Buenos Aires. It was built as a part of the Franciscan monastery in 1732 and is dedicated to our lady of the Pillar. It is the second-oldest church and its construction was begun by the Italian Andres Blanqui and finished under Juan Bautista Primoli. Despite its antiquity, this church keeps attracting people.
From distance, you can appreciate a delightful garden with two brick-made sideroads. The garden is made of a perfectly cut and greenish grass covered with white and growing flowers. Black fences surround the garden working as protection. The outside of the church has a white color and it contains rectangular windows all over the front side of it. The church has a triangular-shaped roof and on the left of it at the top, a white bell can be seen. The entrance of the Church of Pilar is white and has black gratings to forbid the access to it. As you get in, there is an area with a brick-made floor which leads to the big wooden gate, which gives access to the inside of the kirk
As you enter, you can perceive two lines of brownish benches and between them, a thin corridor is made. This one leads to the altar of the church and three chairs in which the priest and the altar boys sit. In addition a golden-made and huge sculpture which has, at the center of it, our lady of the pillar. At the sides of the church white columns with significative Christian statues can be seen. The ceiling is white, giving the inside of the church a light color.
All in all, the church of pilar has a delightful appearance in both the inside and outside of it, and it is for this reason that many tourists decide to visit it every day.
Poem – The Pilar Church
Built by his followers,
Lighted by his angelical advice
Even the Lord was flabbergasted
by the souls it enticed
The white walls illuminated their faith
The greenish grass lighted a delightful day while the Lord waited for their entrance
accepting every one of their repentance
And through the wooden gates, there she stands,
Delightfully seeing everyone’s face
In front of her, her dead son,
The Lord’s word being said for everyone in the place
She is not alone there, though,
Sunday noon fills her house with pained,
Agonising spirits, praying for help and salvation,
A man kindly speaks “it’s okay to be afraid”
As big as a Roman temple,
Her greatness as big as a Church,
Standing above the Pilar,
Jesus’ utterances being said,
“It’s okay to be afraid”, they say,
“My fault, hit me with your birch”.
In our Literature class, we analyzed the poem Lion Heart by Amanda Chong from “Songs of Ourselves”. According to a post on Pat’s blog, in groups, we had to analyze the poem following two videos and a presentation of its analysis and later create a poster including certain information. This is the poster I made with Matias Ripoll.
Full analysis of paragraph 5 of Sredni Vashtar;
‘After a while Conradin’s absorption in the tool-shed began to attract the notice of his guardian. “It is not good for him to be pottering down there in all weathers”, she promptly decided, and at breakfast one morning she announced that the Houdan Hen had been sold and taken away overnight. With her short-sighted eyes, she peered at Conradin, waiting for an outbreak of rage and sorrow, which she was ready to rebuke with a flow of excellent precepts and reasoning. But Conradin said nothing; there was nothing to be said. Something perhaps in his white set face gave her a momentary qualm, for a tea that afternoon there was a toast on the table, a delicacy which she usually banned on the ground that it was bad for him; also because of the making of it “gave trouble”, a deadly offence in the middle-class feminine eye.’
All throughout this paragraph, we can see that through Conradin’s point of view he feels dared by his guardian, Mrs De Ropp. As she sold his Houdan Hen she expected Conradin to misbehave or yell to her. But he did not, Conradin did all the opposite. He continued taking his tea.
In this paragraph, we can see how Conradin’s cousin starts to become suspicious about his time spent in the shed. We still have the same question we have all throughout the story about the diegesis of the story being Conradin’s fantasy. This doubt can be reflected in this paragraph because Mrs. De Ropp sells the Houdan Hen, and Conradin believes she did it on purpose to upset him, but we can never be sure if she did it aiming to bother and provoke Conradin, or if she just did it for any other reason that had nothing to do with him. Conradin thinks she wanted him to have an “outbreak of rage and sorrow” (emotional breakdown)in front of her, so she could then inquire him. However, as Cconradin thought she did it on purpose, he didn’t want her to taste the pleasure of him being sad. Therefore, he repressed his anger and feelings. In addition, he says nothing because “there was nothing to be said”, however, as we go on reading the story, we can realize that there was nothing to be said, but something to be done. He finds satisfaction in her suffering and displeasure, and he believes she finds pleasure in his sadness. Here we can see Conradin’s repression, as he behaves quietly and does as he is told by his cousin, he doesn’t express himself, he shows respect to her although that he has an inner feeling of hatred towards her. He does not show how he feels or the evil thoughts he has, he keeps it all in his mind. Moreover, we can see that inside the house, Mrs. De Ropp has the authority, and when she is inside, Conradin shows her respect, although that’s not what he truly feels towards her. He can understand that when she’s inside the house, he has no power at all, in any way, but that changes when either he’s in the shed, or when he is in the house, and she isn’t.
In this paragraph comes again the important symbol of the toast, which is Conradin’s unattainable object of desire, which Mrs. De Ropp deprived him of, as we can see in this quote “that afternoon there was toast on the table, a delicacy which she usually banned” mainly because his cousin said it was bad for him and that the making of it gave too much trouble. The toast symbolized freedom and celebration for Conradin, which he gets at the end but we will not explain because is not within our paragraph. In this paragraph we can also see how Mrs. De Ropp oppresses Conradin telling him what to do whether what not, and keeping a close eye on him; as seen in this when she tells him about his time spent in the shed, “It’s not good for him to be pottering down there in all weathers”. She constantly challenges Conradin, for instance when she sells the Houdan Hen, so that when he finally burst out, she can rebuke him, but he never lets her have that satisfaction.
This extract of the story is written in 3rd person narrator limited and focalized to Conradin’s mind, as everything we see is from Conradin’s point of view, such as his non-stop belief that his cousin hates him. The fact that the story is written in this narrator gives us the doubt that the realm of the story can be Conradin’s fantasy(inner reality), or if it is true (outer)reality.
In this paragraph there’s also characterization of Mrs. De Ropp as someone evil who finds pleasure in a kid’s sadness(Conradin) because she constantly wants him to have emotional breakdowns so she can rebuke him, as we can see here; “she was ready to rebuke with a flow of excellent precepts and reasoning.”, she was ready to give him a sermon of what is wrong and what is right, how children should behave, and that he(Conradin) misbehaves.
Moreover, in this extract we can see Conradin’s personality. He is an persuasive, imaginative boy, who lives his life inside his imagination, and not in reality. He always makes his own interpretation about the real world and that interpretation is what Conradin takes as reality, the only reality he lived in was in his imagination.
Finally, we can appreciate Saki’s style when writing. He uses a macabre and fantastic style, which shows through the character of Conradin and the actions he take, as well as the thoughts he has. He thinks that Mrs De Ropp sold the Hen to bother him. When she waits for a reaction from Contadin, he said nothing because there was nothing to be said, but to be done
Essay question: “Explore how the voice of the poem Love III shows a change as the poem develops”.
As this story develops, the personna shows a change according to being worthy of receiving God’s love and being his guest.
To begin with, the character wasn’t able to accept his invitation because he felt “Guilty of dust and sin”. Despite this fact, Love is personified as God and acts fondly towards him as we can see in the following quotation: “Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning, if I lacked anything”. In addition, this extract from the poem shows that love thinks that the speaker has all the qualities to be his guest. As the poem progresses, in spite of God’s acceptance, the raconteur still refuses to enter heaven. Moreover, through the rhetorical question “Who made the eyes but I?” the divine being explains to the storyteller that he can look love with the eyes he gave him.
At the beginning of the third stanza, the speaker accepts what God says, in spite of the fact, he still feels unworthy because he ruined what the celestial being gave him. We can see this through the extract “Truth lord, but I have marred them: let my shame”. Furthermore, when the creator transmits “Who bore the blame?” he wants to explain that Christ died on the cross to make us free from sin. Moreover, in the third line of the fifth stanza, we can see love says to the voice “you must sit down, and taste my meat”. This metaphor means that, now that the speaker is in God’s house, he must obey Him. Also, it is a reference to the last supper. Finally, the personna obeyed his word when he says “I will serve”. Through this quotation, we can see that the personna understands and accepts what God was trying to transmit.
All in all, as the poem develops, the voice of the poem changes his feelings about accepting God’s invitation.
Rite of Passage:
1- Unattainable object of desire: Raoul’s object of desire was the girl called Cécile Viala. He wanted her to be his girlfriend, he loved her, however, he didn’t have the braveness to talk to her.
2- The break of the father’s law: His moment of trespassing, is when he fixes the tyre incorrectly, breaking his father’s law.
3- Dare: The challenge that he faced is to break his father’s law when he repaired the tyre in an incorrect way. He mischief because he did what he shouldn’t have done because this caused his girlfriend death.
4- Face what he had done in a mature way: The personna didn’t face in a mature way what he had done because he didn’t move on with his life from her death.
5- Reparation: In this story, Raoul didn’t repair what he had done. He didn’t face what he had done, so he couldn’t have had the chance of repairing what he had done.
In conclusion, Raoul didn’t mature because he didn’t complete the rite of passage.
As Pato was not present on Friday’s class, she left us some work to do which consists on six questions about the poem “song” by Lady Mary Wroth. Here are the Q&A:
1-Who is the voice?
2-Write a summary for each stanza.
3-What is the theme? And the tone?
4-Find at least 3 literary devices and explain them.
5-In your opinion, which is the most powerful line?
6-Do you agree with the speaker? Give reasons.
1)The voice in this poem is a woman, who personifies love as a selfish child
2)In the first stanza, the personna is personifying love as a child. This woman tells us that the child’s desire is insatiable, and he’s never happy, always crying. In addition, Wroth compares children with men because of their behaviour in front of women. In the second stanza, the voice tells us that love’s need has no limits, he values craziness above all else, and that love breaks her promises. Moreover, the writer tells us through the story that men can not be trusted. In the third stanza, the narrator says that love makes false promises, he makes false flattery and that love leads to abandonment. Furthermore, the writer tells that men are cheaters and they usually abandon women. In the fourth stanza, the storyteller says love will take pleasure from your pain and that the benefits you take from love are minimum. As well as the other stanzas, Lady Mary Worth shows that in every “battle” against man, women will always lose. Finally, in the fifth stanza, the ferocity of love is compared to the ferocity of a wolf, and that we should not look for it.
3)The themes of this story are selfishness, men actions and love between men and women . The tones of this poem are confident, warning and advising
4)Some of the literary devices I found on the poem were:
-Metaphor: I found many metaphors in the poem. One of them was: “love a child is ever crying”
-Personification: In the poem, love is being personified as a child.
-Alliteration:We can see an alliteration in here: “Feathers are as firm in staying”
5) In my opinion, the most powerful line in the poem is: “Let him gain the hand, he will leave you”. I chose this line because it says that love leads to abandonment.
6) I do not agree with what the speaker is saying. I think that the fact that the writer seems to be heartbroken and wrote what she thinks about love does not mean that is true. In my opinion, love does not break her promises, love does not take pleasure from your pain and love can not be compared to wolves because I don´t find any ferocity in it.