Thursday, 30 September 2010
The speaker, a maid, has an unusual daily task: to wear her mistress’ pearls during the day to warm them. It is one of her duties as a maid or servant. In the first stanza the speaker or maid describes how she transfers the pearls from her throat to her mistress’ throat when she brushes her mistress’ hair every evening at six o’ clock. The feeling of the pearls on the servant’s throat all day is a constant reminder of her mistress.
In the second stanza the speaker describes the idle daily life of her mistress as she plans her evening outfit and fans herself. The mistress is obviously a socialite; that is someone who lives for parties. The speaker on the other hand works all day as her maid. The maid feels like she is a slave on a rope. The rope represents the power of the mistress over her. The pearl necklace forms the imaginary rope.
In the third stanza the speaker considers her mistress’ social life. She praises her mistress’ beauty. As the maid lies in the attic at night she daydreams about the handsome men who dance with her mistress at parties. The maid has a funny thought then. She realises that her mistress’ dancing partners are probably put off by the pearls because they carry her body odour from warming the pearls. This odour is not hidden by the expensive French perfume that the mistress wears. It is funny that the maid pictures the scene of men feeling confused by this persistent scent but the mistress never cops on to it. Thus, it is ironic or a funny contradiction that the pearl necklace is the very thing that prevents the mistress from gaining a lover or partner. The maid obviously likes this mischievous thought.
In the fourth stanza the speaker applies various cosmetics on her mistress’ skin, one of her main duties. She is aware of the lazy luxury of her mistress’ lifestyle. There is a suggestion of a sigh. This suggests that behind all the fussing the idle mistress is not happy with her rich life. As the maid dusts on the powder she has an urge to tell her mistress something, most likely the reason for her lack of success with men. But the maids of posh ladies are not supposed to express opinions so she stays quiet. Perhaps the maid remains silent also because if her point about the disturbing scent is true, then it is a type of revenge for being used and abused as a servant. It is payback for the rope factor.
In the fifth stanza, the posh lady arrives home alone in her grand carriage. The speaker imagines her mistress undressing and going to bed after putting her precious pearls in their case. The scene in the opening line of a carriage in the full moon reminds us of Cinderella. The mistress is a rich Cinderella who doesn’t win over a handsome prince.
In the final stanza, the maid lays awake thinking about the pearls cooling in their case. She is aware that the mistress is always alone. The maid misses the cool feeling they gave her throat. She burns either with a desire to have the pearls around her neck or with rage at the contrast between her lifestyle and her mistress’ lifestyle.
The speaker portrays a vain mistress who devotes herself to socialising. The mistress is a posh lady whose most proud possession is her pearl necklace. The same pearls, designed to impress and attract handsome men, put off potential lovers because they carry her servant’s body odour. The posh lady is unaware of this problem. The maid gains an unintended revenge against the mistress who uses her only to beautify herself. The mistress is described as ‘indolent’ or lazy. Her only effort is when she fans herself. But the outcome of all her preparation and attempts to impress men is loneliness. She returns home alone from the ball every night.
The poem shows the power the upper class once had over the servant class. The servant sleeps in an attic, the mistress in a luxurious bedroom. The mistress is surrounded by wealth in the form of French perfume, pearls and silk. The mistress lives an idle life of luxury while the servant works. The servant seems to regard work as superior to the idleness and airs of the mistress as she does her work ‘willingly’. The servant regards her mistress pearls as a ‘rope’ around her own neck. The servant could express an opinion of the damage the mistress is doing to her social prospects with the pearls. But the strict division between the social classes requires her to remain silent. The servant admits that she burns with rage or jealousy in her room at night. But she also realises that the pearls give her a victory over her mistress. To the mistress they are a rope, a symbol of power. But the servant realises that her odour on the pearls leads to loneliness and social failure for the mistress.
The central relationship in the poem is between a servant speaker and her employer, maid and mistress. The maid performs humble tasks such as wearing her mistress’ pearls. The word which shows the mistress’ relationship to the maid is ‘bids’; it means she orders the maid to do tasks. The maid prepares her mistress for her nightly social outings. She performs tasks of an intimate nature for her mistress, such as powdering her shoulders. Her mistress relates to her from a sense of power. The necklace she warms for the mistress is thus a sort of rope. But by the end of the poem this so-called rope is also a means to a secret revenge the maid gains in this relationship. The maid may not speak to her mistress as she performs her duties. She cannot communicate to her mistress the damage she knows her body heat is causing the mistress at the parties she attends.
The maid is so fascinated by her mistress that she even imagines her undressing. Meanwhile the mistress goes out to great social events but remains a loner. She cannot establish relationships with the men she meets because of the smell of the servant off her white stones. The mistress fails to find love—due to the fact that she carries in her pearls the body odour of her maid. At the end of the poem the maid secretly burns with rage or jealousy at her mistress. But she also burns with satisfaction at the secret revenge she is gaining on her mistress.
Structure - This is a carefully structured poem of six stanzas, each containing four lines. Lines are made of ten syllables, though some are hypermetric (an additional syllable), usually to stress a key word (e.g. "her" at the end of the first stanza).
Rhyme - The poem doesn’t have a rhyming pattern. This may suggest that the speaker doesn’t feel there is harmony in her way of life.
Diction - Some of the sentences are short, with words left out. This may suggest the maid’s anger. The language is simple. Many sentences contain lists of verbs, like the second sentence: ‘bids’, ‘wear’, ‘warm’ and ‘brush’.
Full Stops and Commas - A run on line connects stanza one with stanza two and stanza five with stanza six. Full stops are placed at various points of the poem, only four of them at the end of a line. There are ten other full stops or question marks at various points of lines. This is unusual for a poem. The punctuation suggests that the speaker’s life is not under her own control.
Comparison - The speaker cleverly compares the pearls to a rope. When she wears them they are like a rope. This is a metaphor in which the servant suggests that she is like a slave held by a rope. The rope represents power. It also represents that in a certain way the mistress hangs herself by wearing pearls that carry the maid’s body odour.
Imagery - The speaker provides various images of her working day. She gives us images of her fashionable mistress. She imagines pictures of handsome men dancing with her mistress. There are many sensual images, especially of touch. The central image of wearing the cool pearls on a throat appeals to our sense of touch, like the powder dusting on the shoulders. There is also a strong appeal to the sense of smell with the French perfume and the servant’s persistent scent carried in the pearls. The description of rooms and dresses, the use of the colours yellow, white, blush and red all appeal to our eyes. The images are therefore very sensual.
Contrast (difference) - The speaker contrasts the warm pearls to her mistress’ cool throat. The speaker contrasts her own working day with her mistress’ idle day, in the second stanza.
Mood/ Atmosphere - The atmosphere is mainly one of luxury, with descriptions of fine clothes, perfume, fine rooms and evening balls.
Hyperbole (Exaggeration) - The speaker exaggerates somewhat by comparing the necklace to a rope. She exaggerates her feelings at the end by comparing how she feels to burning.
Tone - The tone is very ironical. The rich mistress gains the opposite effect from the pearls to the one she intends. The speaker is fully aware that the task she performs everyday for her mistress defeats its purpose. During the day, the pearls absorb her body odour. The mistress is beautiful and probably doesn’t need to wear the warmed up pearls. Men who dance with the mistress get the maid’s ‘persistent scent’ or body odour from the pearls and feel confused. The mysterious scent of the maid puzzles them and obviously puts them off relating to the beautiful lady who believes she can seduce them with her pearls. Unknown to the mistress, she is lonely due to the consequences of bidding her servant to warm her pearls. Thus the overall tone of the poem is very ironical. Another tone is evident in the last line. The tone of the maid in the final line is one of anger as she burns with hidden feelings.
Assonance (similar vowel sound repetition) - The repeating ‘e’ sound in the first three lines creates a musical effect. Note how the poet uses many words with an ‘e’ sound to keep up this musical effect throughout the poem.
Alliteration (repetition of consonant sounds at the start of nearby words) - The way ‘p’ connects ‘puzzled’ and ‘persistent’ and gives emphasis to the body odour and the way it puts the handsome men off the posh lady. The ‘w’ in ‘whilst I work willingly’ emphasises the maid’s positive attitude to doing work as opposed to idly fanning herself like the mistress.
Sibilance (repetition of ‘s’ sound) - Note how the thirteen ‘s’ sounds in the fourth stanza emphasise the luxurious and lazy life of the posh mistress.
Wednesday, 29 September 2010
• There is a plague of rats in the town.
• We discover Maurice and Keith already know the talking rats.
• They have their own scam.
• Keith and Malicia discover a rat-catchers’ shed and they are cheating the town.
• After being captured, they escape then poison the rat-catchers with laxatives.
• We find the rat-catchers are using rats for rat-coursing, but Darktan saves them and foils the rat-catchers.
• A Rat-King is trying to control the rats to defeat the humans in a war.
• The educated rats win the battle and strike a deal with Bad Blintz to cooperate rather than fight.
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
What does she decide not worry her son about?
• “The man on the white horse” – about being put out of her home.
What was Donald Macleod thinking about as he read the letter?
• “…her poor husband whom she had driven off across the seas.”
• “…the way she had brought up that son, always interfering.”
• He regrets for her, that she has damaged her own life by living the way she has.
What did he realise was missing from the letter?
• “Not a word about God from beginning to end.”
Why did she not just tell him?
• She cannot bring herself to say that she has lost her faith in the church, and is questioning her faith in God.
What message was she trying to give him?
• That she had changed – that staying with his family had changed her beliefs.
Her life with her mother during her illness
What has Donald Macleod realised?
• “…all the pain, and all the dead, and all the sorrow of those who had lived in this world.” He realises the suffering Mrs Scott has endured because she couldn’t express her emotions.
What does he think religion has driven out of Highland people?
• “…who evicted emotions and burnt down love.” He feels that religion had bottled up the emotions these people wanted to express, and made them feel “…such pure horror that his head ached.”
How does he connect this with Patrick Sellars?
• He uses a metaphor. Patrick Sellars is driving the people from their homes, while religion is driving love from their hearts.
During Mrs Scott's speech to Donald Macleod other things happened.
What is the significance of each of these:
• Symbolising his anger for those responsible for the clearing, and how they are filled with “poisonous energy”.
His "kneeling, as if like a child at the breast of a mother"
• He is replacing her absent son, making her a whole mother again.
Cutting his hand on the scythe
• The scythe is a symbol of the challenge he faces in telling the world of the clearances, and the blood represents the sacrifices he will have to make.
• It also shows the anger for the “Patrick Sellars” he feels.
Donald Macleod and Mrs Scott
Why does he not explain some of his ideas to Mrs Scott?
• She cannot understand the hugeness of the events to come. She didn’t realise they were being put out only so that the Duke could make money.
• “She couldn’t understand all this for she hadn’t been taught to think on general lines.”
• If he told her it would destroy her world, “and she would hate him for this…”
What does he fear will happen when she realises how much she has told him?
• That she will regret sharing such personal ideas, and that she will return to her Christian faith, and sink back to unhappiness.
Donald Macleod and Patrick Sellar disagree about most things but they understand each other's language. How do they disagree about the following:
• Sellar thinks the truth can change. It’s “…what we care to make it.”
• Macleod thinks the truth is consistent and must be told.
• Sellar that Macleod will easily come across a great fortune after being put out of his home. “…you’ll thank me for having put you in the way of making a fortune.”
• Sellar is willing to put others in danger whilst being in none himself. “The question doesn’t arise for me.”
• Sellar believes that the law is on his side, and so is God.
• Macleod knows that the law and God are tied together by the rich, but there exists a fairer judge of people – history.
• Sellar doesn’t realise that his actions will cause people to see him as an appalling man, doing terrible things. “You will become a legend. You have become a legend… your name will be on people’s lips.”
Big Betty brings news of the Clearances beginning.
What is the general attitude to the minister now?
• She thinks the minister should have noticed Mrs Scott was unwell before her fall. “Why hadn’t he seen that Mrs Scott wasn’t herself, they say.”
What problems are people facing in the new places because of:
• The new houses have not been built. “They had to build them themselves.”
• There are no fishing boats waiting for them. “…they had to make a boat.”
How can the Law
• They “have to give us notice of a week or two” before the villagers are put out.
Be used against them?
• The law forces them to leave their houses.
Mrs Scott reads Donald Macleod's private papers
What does she learn from his political writings?
• He is defending the Highlanders, especially the soldiers.
She reads the letters which he had found in an old book.
Do you think they are fact or fiction?
• They could be either, though the names do not tally with Donald or his wife. They seem realistic.
What have they to say about religion and sex?
• The letters show the way in which sex was scorned by religion. They tell the story of a young couple who have a child out of marriage. “You and I will be outcasts…” Society will not accept them or their child.
What is Donald Macleod's attitude to them?
• He finds them entertaining but does not seem to consider them important.
Why do you think he had kept them?
• These letters show the brutality of the church, and its lack of compassion or feelings for the people in society who most need its help.
What does Mrs Scott's remark that she knew his mother was not called Emily tell us about her approach to life?
• She is very straight-forward and cannot understand fantasy, or things that are not real.
What had Sheila feared about the ring?
That her daughter had stolen it.
What is worrying her about the moving?
• “Imagine all these children by the sea…”
• “…if the rain comes on, then I don’t know what will happen.”
• She resents that the wealthy and strong will not struggle.
What suggests that Mrs Scott is beginning to understand children?
• She gives Sheila’s sons gifts. (a globe and some stockings)
What does Sheila say she admired in Mrs Scott?
“I used to envy the way you used to dress Iain with all those lovely woollen suits.”
Mr Macmillan, the minister
Why has he come?
• To salve his conscience. “…he too was gone, abashed and happy.”
What does Mrs Scott now realise about him?
• He is selfish. He doesn’t really care about her health.
• He is a hypocrite.
What does Mrs Scott begin to imagine?
• She imagines all the things from the past that used to happen in the area.
• They appear to her like ghosts.
• “…presences on the moor and at the end of the road…”
• “There was no music tonight. Perhaps there would never be music again.”
What does she tell herself?
• The past is gone. Her memories are only memories. She is alone. All the others are gone.
• “I’m too old for fairies.”
'Take no thought for tomorrow, for the morrow will take care of itself'”
What change does this suggest in her way of thinking?
• There is no point fretting for the future. This is different from the past when she lived for the judgement of God, when she died. She has learned to live each day at a time, and to value each day for itself.
What signs are there in this chapter that she is trying to change?
• She wants to be a better mother – she wants desperately to tell a story to the children, but she doesn’t know how to. She never practised this with her son.
What suggests that she is finding it almost impossible to change?
• She stumbles through the story, relying on the children to correct her and show her how to tell it.
• “…she couldn’t tell a proper story.”
• “She had no stories. She couldn’t remember any stories.”
• Title, playwright, date.
• Gist of play – main characters and main conflict.
• Significance Shylock’s prejudice.
• Intention of the essay.
Summary of the text:
• The bond
• Jessica’s escape
• Casket lottery
• The loss of the ring
• Shylock’s revenge
• Shylock’s ruin
• The actions of the Christians
• Venetian society
• Spitting on Shylock
• Call him names
• “Stole” his daughter
• Behaviour in court – “I expect a gentle answer”
• His punishment
• Shylock’s greed
• Caring more about his money than Jessica
• His desire for the bond
• His relationship with Jessica
• His desire for Antonio’s boats to sink
• The inevitability of the bond being forfeit
• The play would not function without it
• The bond relied on chance/ luck
• Repetition of Antonio’s confidence – hubris
• The role of Portia in court
• She favours Antonio
• Prejudice against women? Dress as men
• She tricks Shylock – ties him to his word
• She plays on his prejudice
• Are there any unprejudiced characters?
This essay is about sympathy and the way Shakespeare plays with the emotions of the audience.
Monday, 27 September 2010
Here's how it works:
1) Go to the P.E. department and pay them £3.50. In exchange they will give you a piece of paper with your unique ID code on it.
2) Go to http://www.schoolsfl.com/ and register your team.
3) Watch the teachers weep as you beat them every week.
Consider the theme of loneliness in the novel, Of Mice and Men. How does it affect the friendships and relationships of the characters in the novel? Make sure that you support your ideas with quotes and explanations.
• What is the title of the book, and who wrote it? When was it written?
• Where and when is the novel set?
• Where did the inspiration for the novel come from?
• Who is the book about?
• What kind of life do these people have?
• There are other characters in the novel who are also lonely.
• What makes them lonely? (Age, race, sex.)
• What is your essay going to do?
Saturday, 25 September 2010
I hate to do this but it's probably best all round.
1) When leaving comments, I'd be a lot more comfortable if you just left your initials rather than a name. Not really a big deal but it would put my mind at rest.
2) Try to keep comments work or school-related. If you want to exchange personal messages open a Twitter account. The bonus there is you can also keep up with my HILARIOUS tweets.
3) I won't have ANYTHING that looks like people arguing in the comments boxes. It might just be in jest but these things can easily be taken the wrong way in pixels. You don't want to upset anyone, and I don't want to have to bar anyone.
Thursday, 23 September 2010
I appreciate the subject matter won't appeal to everyone but I want you to watch and get an idea of how the different participants allow each other space to add their opinions. (Ours will only be audio - nobody is going to be filmed.) You'll also see that each of them has brought notes but is allowing the pod to roll along as a conversation - very natural, nobody afraid of making a mistake. If we do this, we'll try and have a couple of practice runs before recording. Exciting, eh?
Which parts of her dream do you think have any meaning?
• Seeing her husband and son shows that she feels alone.
• She can’t hear – shows her isolation.
• Donald Macleod is literally re-writing her faith.
• The white horse – a rescue – but the horse is ridden by Patrick Sellar. False hope.
• The figure on the bed – a memory of her mother’s illness.
What do you think Donald Macleod is thinking about as he tries to write?
• The clearances.
• Trying to get the message across.
• His anger towards the clearances.
• The fact that his writing will not prevent them.
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
"He hath disgraced me, and hindered me half a million, laughed at my losses, mocked at my gains, scorned my nation, thwarted my bargains, cooled my friends, heated mine enemies; and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?
If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge. The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction."
Tuesday, 21 September 2010
And she is fair
I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with you and so
following. But I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor pray with you.
How like a fawning publican he looks.
I hate him for he is a Christian.
If I can catch him once upon the hip,
I will feed fat the ancient grudge I bear him.
The devil can cite Scripture for his purpose
You call me misbeliever, cut-throat dog,
And spit upon my Jewish gabardine,
And all for use of that which is mine own.
what should I gain
By the exaction of the forfeiture?
Clamber not you up to the casements then,
Nor thrust your head into the public street
Who chooseth me shall gain what many men desire
Who chooseth me shall get as much as he deserves
Who chooseth me must give and hazard all he hath
All that glisters is not gold
‘My daughter! O my ducats! O my daughter!
Fled with a Christian! O my Christian ducats!’
To bait fish withal. If it will feed nothing else, it will feed my revenge.
The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will
better the instruction
O upright judge – mark Jew – O learned judge.
The Jew shall have all justice – soft, no haste –
He shall have nothing but the penalty.
Nay, take my life and all, pardon not that.
You take my house, when you do take the prop
That doth sustain my house.
Monday, 20 September 2010
• Were = plural (more than one thing)
• Don’t begin a sentence with “And”, “So”, “Well” or “Also”.
• Avoid repetition
• Avoid “then”
• Avoid beginning sentences with “The”, “A”, “An”, “Another”…
Try to use “If” or the gerund (“-ing”)
• Avoid saying “Sort of” or “In a way”. They make your writing sound vague.
The bus was late.
• Avoid backward and forward signposts: 'as I argued above', 'as I said at the beginning of this essay', 'as we have already said', 'as I will argue later', 'as we will see in a minute'.
• Avoid the use of very . It is overused. Everything is very interesting, very striking, very difficult, etc. etc. and in the end, this becomes very, very boring indeed.
• Only use “and” once in any given sentence
• Ellipsis should only be three dots . . . not ...... or ..........
• Use “many” when you are talking about something that can be counted fairly specifically:
Use “much” when the thing you’re talking about cannot be directly counted:
• Paragraphing – Indent or miss a line
She decides not to stay in bed any longer.
What does she mean by "it was too late and too early to begin"?
“Too late” – she had begun to soften.
“Too early” – she did not have the strength to be as severe as she once was.
What does the game suggest about how they are treated?
It’s a metaphor (toy soldiers for real soldiers) – they are treated as though they are worthless – not as people. “You can’t kill all of them”.
How does Mrs Scott confirm this?
“…my husband used to have a uniform like that.” Use of past tense – he is dead.
What does Donald Macleod say about the way town people (Edinburgh) look on Highlanders'?
They patronise them – “As if I were a fool, and they could cheat me”
What does he think about his father's faith in the bible?
• It is mislaid because God did not save him. “I could do nothing about it.” Mirrors Mrs Scott’s powerlessness about her son.
What is the point of his own writings?
• “…to tell the truth of what is happening to us.” To spread the word about the clearances.
Why had his brother refused help from the Duchess of Sutherland?
• Because he felt the medicines were pointless – they would die when they were put out of their homes anyway. “If you came here to keep us healthy so you can put us out at the end you can keep your medicines.”
What effect had this had on his wife?
• She resented his refusal as their child died as a result. She “has never forgiven him”.
How does all of this highlight the present situation with Patrick Sellars?
• It shows the wealthy have no real care for the highlanders. That’s “what I think of Patrick Sellar and his kind.”
What does he look like?
• Bald with greying hair. Twinkling, intelligent blue eyes. Protruding nose.
What do we learn about his attitude to children?
• He loves his children. He tries to educate them about the fate of soldiers. Slaughter at Waterloo.
• He encourages his children to share – a positive example. “I brought them from Edinburgh for the two of you.” Socialism?
• He respects Mrs Scott’s faith but doesn’t believe himself after his father was killed. “…you’’ find my father’s Bible in the drawer if you need it.”
Sum up his personality.
• He loves his kids. He’s trying to do right for his family. Wants to save the highlanders. He’s stubborn. Physically strong. Generous and kind-hearted.
Mrs Scott: we have learned about certain events through her memories and she has been hard on herself. How does Donald Macleod put a different view forward about:
• He was not treated correctly – was meaninglessly killed.
• She was not suited to her son. A frivolous, impractical girl.
• “High standards… adventurous…”
• Doesn’t believe in it but respects Mrs Scott. Reading the Bible will not save you.
Sunday, 19 September 2010
Friday, 17 September 2010
Thursday, 16 September 2010
• He works with the horses.
• He has hoarded his belongings together.
• He is lonely – dirty magazines.
• Permanent on the ranch.
• He is smart – glasses, books.
• Looks after his health – medicine bottles – an injured back (crooked).
• Needs to defend himself.
• Proud – tidy.
• He is separated – treated like an animal.
• He knows his rights.
• “pain-tightened lips” – his life has made him unhappy.
* Ku Klux Klan - a white supremacist organisation that had a huge membership in the first decades of the 20th Century.
This unit of work should enable your brightest students to think deeply about the writer’s craft. It assumes students have read the first chapter of the novel. The basic premise is that Steinbeck provides clues that the novel will end tragically and, in the tradition of Greek Tragedy, this outcome is inevitable from the outset. One of the unifying devices in providing the sense of tragic inevitability is the use of animals and animal imagery, in the title and in the opening.
The focus on one aspect of the opening – Title – Characterisation, – Setting – Theme will enable students to specialise and then to feedback. You might want to get them to do this as a formal presentation using the OHP. This would give you opportunity to assess En1.
The three prompt questions on each aspect are only a starting point; students should be encouraged to be original and add to these ideas.
Possible responses (for the teacher!) are provided below, but these are a guide only and should not be considered the “right” answers.
Possible discussion points might include:
• Alliterative connection between mice and men – both subject to fate. Context of title gives biggest clue of tragedy/pessimism for the dream
• Struggle for survival of subject of Burns’s poem – hints strongly at vulnerability – powerful image of innocent helplessness against a much stronger force. Underlined in Lennie’s character in first chapter
• Simple logic. Dead mice in 1st chapter signals possible human tragedy given the novel’s title
• Bear metaphor significant. Legendary strength. Bear hug – over-enthusiastic and therefore painful – pre-cursor to Curley’s wife incident. Bear-baiting is effectively the catalyst which propels the plot towards its tragic conclusion
• Lennie and mice both vulnerable – mice physically, Lennie emotionally
• Lennie’s childlike “blubberin’” when mouse is thrown away is further evidence of his emotional vulnerability, easily susceptible to exploitation
• Mystery of events in Weed. Lennie petting girl’s dress, “jus’ wanted to pet it like it was a mouse” – trouble in the past – recurring cycle of events?
• Rabbits run for cover when situation becomes dangerous. Parallels with description of how “we got to hide in a irrigation ditch all day and…sneak out in the dark.” Probability of this happening again with tragic result
• Tranquillity of setting is deceptive. Rabbits presented as innocent, cute and playful in their natural setting, but hint of calm before the storm hallucinatory, grotesque rabbit of last chapter
• Rabbits’ story represents the dream that from the outset seems unrealistic
• Other animals used to paint picture of land ownership and self-sufficiency, but through George relating the story to the childlike Lennie, has the quality of fairytale set against struggle for survival
• Rabbits description at the end of chapter 1 used to eliminate possibility of any aspect of dream having any realistic meaning – fantasy world of the imagination only
Wednesday, 15 September 2010
1. Talk about Hester's situation on board the Jenny Haniver. How does she feel at having been pushed out of London? Why does she feel this way? What does she think of Tom? Remember they have already been captured and escaped from slavery...
2. Write about your family and what happened to them. Discuss what Valentine did to your parents and to you. How long have you waited for revenge? How does it feel to hate someone so completely? Do you feel any sympathy for him?
3. How do you feel about what happened in London? Describe the events. How did this make you feel about Tom? How do you feel about Katherine (remember she is beautiful and Hester has been disfigured)? Will you get another chance to kill Valentine now London is so far ahead?
4. What do you think of Anna Fang and the Jenny Haniver. Quickly describe them both. Describe how she saved you from slavery. Explain that you are not sure of why she helped you. What do you think she helped you for? Do you trust her?
5. What is MEDUSA? Where have you heard about it and why do you think so many people are interested in it?
6. What do you think will happen in the future? What do you want to happen? What obstacles do you face?
1. Set the piece out like a diary.
2. You have not yet met Shrike, nor been to Airhaven, so you can't write about them.
3. The best pieces will focus on thoughts and feelings.
Tuesday, 14 September 2010
Monday, 13 September 2010
Mrs Scott wakes up and eats something. She is reminded by Mrs Macleod of what happened when she went to see the minister.
What is her mood when she awakens?
- “…she leaned back on the pillow, completely relaxed…
- “She felt it was dangerous to think too much at this time…”
What is Mrs Macleod's mood?
- “…brisker, more alert than she remembered…”
The minister: with Mrs Macleod's help she remembers what happened and learns about Donald Macleod's reaction when the minister came to see her.
What is Donald Macleod's attitude to the minister?
- He is disdainful (doesn’t like him). “whatever cloth is”/ “if you try to come into my house I’ll do you bodily harm”/ “I’ve wanted to do that for a long time”
What is his wife's attitude?
- She is more timid (shy). “I was very nervous myself.”
How have Mrs Scott's views changed?
- She is confused. She doesn’t know what to make of Donald and the minister. Her beliefs have been changed.
She nearly faints and feels like a boat tossed on the waves. What does this image suggest?
- It suggests that her feelings are not stable, and that she is in turmoil about them. Her feelings are strong, powerful and deep.
What is suggested by "the sea steadied"?
- Finally, her feelings reach a kind of calm.
Thursday, 9 September 2010
The dusk and the darkness
As dusk falls what seems to happen to the world about her?
* It folds in around her – the hard edges soften – reflects sleep coming over her
What pleases her about the moon?
* Reminds her of Iain – it is soft and calming
What worries her about it?
* It is going away from her and “she couldn’t stop it”
Why do you think nobody has heard her scream?
* A silent scream? Nobody in the house? She only imagined herself to be screaming? It was a nightmare?
The occupants of the house
What effect has the knowledge that she is helping someone had on:
* Made her happy to be looking after someone. Makes her useful.
* They treat the silence like a game – they want to keep quiet for Mrs Scott
She is in a period of calm and has now finished going over all her memories. She has also done all she can think of to avert being turned out of her house.
How has the writer created a peaceful mood?
* A series of short sentences.
* Dwells a long time on small details.
* Very little movement in the scene.
* Word choice: “cool”, “dark”, “white-washed”, “sunlight like water”, “flickering”, “silence”
Sunlight and water. What impression is given by these two images being linked together?
* Cleansing – like a new start – fresh and bright and new – washing away the old
The future in Canada
What are the dangers that she fears for him?
· Ships being blown off-course
· No work for emigrants when they arrive
How do we know from earlier chapters that she was right about some of them?
What is he singing about?
· Having difficulties in foreign lands, specifically Canada.
What is the purpose of the piper?
· To provide a sense of ceremony for the departing emigrants.
Why does the drunk imitate (parody) him?
· He makes a mockery of the solemn occasion.
How does lain feel about his future in Canada?
· He is keen to get away from his mother and Scotland.
What does she realise about their relationship?
· He is happy to be leaving her, even though she is despairing.
The Old Hundredth
Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture
Enter into his gates with thankfulness and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him and bless his name.
For the Lord is good: his mercy is everlasting: and his truth endureth to all generations.
What do each of the three kinds of music, spoken of during this incident, tell us about different aspects of Scotland?
The drunk's songs?
· He mocks the pain and suffering of emigration. He is cynical about life.
The piper's music?
· It is mournful and respectful of the sadness and loss. It is dignified.
· It asks Christian followers to be happy in their suffering because God loves them. It is intended to be a comfort to those in pain.
"So it all began again"(last line of the chapter)
On which other occasions had Mrs Scott felt as she did now?
What do you feel about her at this stage in the novel?
Monday, 6 September 2010
1. What time is it when George and Lennie reach the ranch?
· It is about ten o’clock in the morning.
2. Describe Candy, the old swamper.
· An old man; only has one hand; has an old dog; scruffy(?); stoop-shouldered
3. What does George have in his bindle?
· Soap; Razor; A comb; a bottle of pills; liniment
4. Why is the boss annoyed with George and Lennie?
· They were due to arrive the previous night.
5. What sort of person is the boss?
· Keen to know about the two men; keeps the men in good order; he’s suspicious of George
6. What do we learn about Crooks the stable buck?
· He was kicked in the back by a horse – this is why he has a crooked back; he’s black; the boss takes his anger out on him
7. Describe the boss.
· A short, fat man
8. Why is the boss suspicious of George?
· He thinks he might be stealing Lennie’s money; he answers the questions directed at Lennie; he’s not used to seeing men travelling together.
9. Why does George get angry with Candy?
· He thinks he was listening in to his conversation with Lennie.
10. Describe Curley, the boss' son.
· He is handy; he’s a fighter; he’s paranoid about his wife; there is no trust in the marriage; ostensibly very masculine; insecure
11. Why does Curley try to pick a quarrel with Lennie?
· He has a grudge against big guys. (a chip on his shoulder); trying to prove himself
12. What does George tell Lennie to do if Curley hits him?
· “let ‘im have it!”
13. Describe Curley's wife.
She has full rouged lips and wide spaced eyes; her finger nails were red, her hair hung in little rolled cluster lke sausages; she is a GLAMOROUS figure, out of place on the ranch.
coarse material, like sacking, which covered the straw mattress.
small glass jars and bottles
lice, fleas etc.
my pay for the time I have worked
the negro who looks after the stable
driver of a mule team (mule here means a type of horse)
started a fight with
a bum steer
false or misleading information
wrestle (lift and load)
bags of grain
what you sellin?
what is your interest in this?
a good fighter
pick a fight with
American slang meaning a worthless person
cast off skin (He'd skin me)
a card game for one player
she got the eye
she's a flirt
pants is full of ants
driver who can control a team of mules with a single rein to the lead animal
no set up
not a desirable place to be
plug himself up
make a reputation for himself
chains on the traces which harness a team of mules together
let 'im have it
hit him hard
backless, high-heeled shoes or slippers
lifted her head (she was aware of being looked at)
the sort of woman who could get a man sent to prison
take the rap
get the blame, suffer the consequences
a quarter, twenty five cents
in the poke
small nuggets of gold are sometimes found in river beds and can be washed out in shallow pans
a vein of gold
the wheelers butt
the flank (rear end) of the lead animal
gave birth to
ready for mating
a small town on the Salinas River
the Salinas River
a river that flows through Southern California and into the Pacific Ocean
a range of mountains around Soledad
racoons, small furry animals a bit like badgers
roll of blankets bound with string
a stilted heron
a water bird with long legs (like stilts)
Murray and Ready's
a work agency. During the depression in America in the 1930' s there were many unemployed men tramping about the country looking for work. Agencies were set up by the government to direct men to where workers were needed. The men were given work cards to identify them to their new employer.
a small town in California
hoisting, throwing - like a person being thrown off a horse
threshing machines which separate the grains of wheat from the stalks
a game similar to snooker
a type of wild dog
blow their stake
waste their money
poundin' their tail
blowin' in our jack
wasting our money
Her attitude to the minister
His position in society
* She is intimidated by his position – his wealth and his learning.
* She is suspicious of his “cleverness”. She feels it is unnecessary and over-complicates the message of the Bible. However, he is a powerful speaker – very persuasive.
His sermon on the Prodigal son
* It was powerful and the message made it feel like the minister was talking directly to her because of her own turmoil with her son.
Her meeting with Mrs Macleod
Why is Mrs Macleod not suited to the area?
* She’s better suited to housework than outdoor labour.
What advantages does she think Mrs Scott has?
* She has no children to worry about.
What advantages does Mrs Scott think that Mrs Macleod has?
* She has a husband.
Why does Mrs Scott assume that Mr Macleod will be pleased with Patrick Sellar?
* Neither of the men care for the Church and Mr Macleod will help to pull it down.
The sight of the dead sheep.
What had the scene been like before she saw the sheep?
* Idyllic – remembering the collecting of blaeberries.
* Description is positive – red heather, yellow flowers, darting trout. A beautiful Highland scene.
What has happened to the sheep?
* It had been gashed in the side and its neck was broken.
What are the flies doing?
* They are feeding on the carcass.
What is the crow waiting for?
* Waiting for Mrs Scott to pass so it can peck at the sheep.
What features of the crow does she notice?
* Its eyes – black.
* The crow symbolically represents the minister and his “feeding” on the suffering of his parishoners.
Questioning of her sister
What is Mrs Scott's attitude to what she has done?
She thought she was in the right – thought she was doing the right thing by her son.
What is lain's attitude to what she has done?
He was annoyed by what she had done. Thought she was spying on him.
Absalom: he was the much-loved son of King David but he rebelled against him. He was defeated in battle and ran away. As he fled he was caught in a tree by his beautiful long hair; he was captured and put to death. In spite of his rebellion David mourned deeply for the loss of his beloved son
The Prodigal Son: he asked his father for his inheritance because he was impatient to spend it. His father gave him half his property and he spent it all. He returned in poverty to his father who forgave him and gave a great feast in honour of his return. The other son was angry because he had stayed at home and had been given nothing. The father, however, said he rejoiced because the son that was lost to him had returned.
Why does Mrs Scott remember these two stories at this time?
* They are both about losing a child, but both have an element of hope for their return.
The Ten Commandments
Honour thy father and thy mother
What does Mrs Scott feel she had done all her life?
Respected her mother and father – looked after other people. She had followed the word of the Bible.
What is different about her son?
* He’s not so strict – wants an easier life. He doesn’t honour his mother. Does not keep to the Bible.
In what way does the son, lain, resemble his father?
* He runs away from his responsibilities, and anything difficult.
To what extent do you think Mrs Scott is responsible for the actions of both her husband and her son?
* She didn’t make life comfortable for them. Forced her beliefs on them.
To what extent is her own mother to blame for: Mrs Scott's attitudes?
* Her mother was very religious. She asked Mrs Scott to read from the Bible to her.
* The experience of caring for her mother has made her humourless, and made life a difficult chore for her.Psychologically damaging – a fixation with death and “flash-backs” to when her mother tried to drown herself.
What does Betty think about:
- Obsequious to the Minister.
- She’s suspicious of him.
- Doesn’t look after his children.
- Has too many children.
her own father?
- A respectable man.
- Didn’t like doctors.
- Dropped dead at the table.
- Did NOT deteriorate like Mrs Scott’s mother.
- Feels he is being exploited.
- His life is very hard.
- The landowners will be just as brutal to them.
- A small man.
- She doesn’t think much of him.
- Thinks he’s a bit big for his boots.
- He will not be able to evict her from her cottage.
- She finds him ridiculous – laughs at him.
- She’s putting up a front.
- “A bit dry” – boring.
- Thinks Mrs Scott knows more about them than she does.
- Liked Carmichael – “a strong preacher”
- Reverend Mason “went off the text” – didn’t stick to the Bible.
- “He has to be hard on all sinners.” – Mrs Scott
- A very unforgiving attitude – hard-hearted?
The Bone Rat
The bone rat wears a black robe and carries a scythe with a bony face. He’s what the rats say they see when they die. He’s like the Grim Reaper for rats.
Hamnpork is the leader of all the rats that can talk. As a leader Hamnpork is not the best. He doesn’t really know what he is doing and he is old and scabby and he also doesn’t like the idea of thinking very much. Hamnpork gets captured by the rat catchers but Darktan saves him. In the end he dies, but he dies peacefully.
Malicia is the mayor’s daughter. To me she seems an imaginative girl. She is smart and hangs about with Keith and Maurice. Malicia likes reading stories and following them. She is outgoing and adventurous.
Is like a natural leader, he wears a belt that carries a sword and other tools and a scrap bit of paper. After Hamnpork dies further on in the book, Darktan takes over to be a proper leader, with Inbrine as his efficient deputy. To me, Darktan seems very bossy.
Peaches is a young female rat who very much believes in fairy tales. She loves to read Mr Bunnsy has an Adventure. Peaches drags the book around everywhere she goes. The rats all reassure it like a Bible, but Peaches in pa. Po carries a bag containing a grubby piece of paper, a pencil, a broken knife blade and some matches.
The Rat-king is the leader of all the rats. Not only can he control rats he can control humans a little bit, too. He keeps a sharp eye on Maurice. It doesn’t matter if Maurice does anything wrong because the rat king can control anyone who gets in his way. The Rat-king is made of several rats tied together at the tail.
Maurice is a cat who is kind of sneaky but good. He isn’t keen on being heroic but he knows the difference between right and wrong. He always gets into mischief. He learned to talk when he ate a rat who had eaten food from the Wizards University.
Wednesday, 1 September 2010
* Hester Shaw tells Tom about her family. They were killed because her mum had found something called "MEDUSA".
* Valentine tried to kill Hester but botched it up and disfigured her. He left her to die.
* Mayor Crome seems to be telling Valentine what to do.
* Crome is taking London way off track - we don't know why.
* They find a smaller town called "Speedwell".
* They are drugged by the Mayor of Speedwell and his wife.