Click here to load reader

English Literature - Cronton

  • View

  • Download

Embed Size (px)

Text of English Literature - Cronton

English Literature Welcome to the resources to help prepare you for your further study of English Literature A Level at Cronton Sixth Form College. We are very much looking forward to welcoming you to the College at enrolment.
The Year 1 Literature course covers the following genres:
- Drama – we will study the fantastic ‘Dr Faustus’ - Prose – our first key text is Bronte’s classic ‘Wuthering Heights’ - Poetry – we will study a range of modern Poetry
In these preparation resources, you will be completing some tasks to provide you with a wider understanding of the text and genres that you will study with us.
EXCITING NEWS – We will be going to London and visiting the Globe Theatre in Summer to watch a Shakespeare play. This is a fantastic day where we do a little bit of sightseeing in the morning, have lunch by the river and then stroll to the Globe Theatre to experience the theatre of Shakespeare’s day.
If you have any questions about enrolment then please speak to the school liaison team by emailing [email protected]
If you have any questions about studying English Literature then please contact Steph Power at [email protected]
Unit 1 – Drama: ‘Doctor Faustus’ by Christopher Marlowe
Doctor Faustus, a well-respected German scholar, grows dissatisfied with the limits of traditional forms of knowledge—logic, medicine, law and religion—and decides that he wants to learn to practice magic. His friends Valdes and Cornelius instruct him in the black arts, and he begins his new career as a magician by summoning up Mephastophilis, a devil. Faustus ‘sells his soul’ for 24 years of service from Mephastophilis and fails to repent before he is dragged to hell to pay the price of his blasphemy.
1. Watch the brief summary of the plot of the play below:
2. Here is a summary of the Globe Production of ‘Doctor Faustus’. Can you list 5 key themes of the play?
3. Watch the clip below on theatre during the Renaissance and create a spider diagram of facts about this era in Literature and theatre
Unit 2 – Prose: ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Bronte
In this Unit we will read two Prose texts. Our first year text is the fantastic classic ‘Wuthering Heights’. In the opening of her novel, Bronte presents to her readers the character of Lockwood, a new tenant of Thrushcross Grange on the bleak Yorkshire moors, who is forced to seek shelter one night at Wuthering Heights, the home of his landlord. There he discovers the history of the tempestuous events that took place years before: of the intense passion between the foundling Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw, and her betrayal of him. As Heathcliff seeks revenge on the next generation, their innocent heirs must struggle to escape the legacy of the past.
Watch the beginning of the Film version of the text – what kind of character is Lockwood?
Listen to the song by Kate Bush – list 5 things you learn about the themes of this text
After reading the first chapter make a list of three character traits of the rather pompous initial narrator Lockwood
Unit 3 – Poetry: Poems of the Decade Anthology
In our Poetry Unit we study twenty modern poems from the ‘Poems of the Decade’ anthology. We study poems by authors who have long been famous: Seamus Heaney, Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage alongside others who deserve to be better known and possibly will be in the future. They are interesting, sometimes disturbing and always wonderfully challenging!
When we study Poetry at A Level we adopt a ‘framework’ approach – so we go through the poem collecting the main features under the following headings (or ‘frameworks’). These frameworks then make excellent paragraphs in an academic essay.
Read through the poem below by Simon Armitage (Use the clip if you want to hear a reading of the poem
Poem (by Simon Armitage)
And if it snowed and snow covered the drive he took a spade and tossed it to one side. And always tucked his daughter up at night And slippered her the one time that she lied.
And every week he tipped up half his wage. And what he didn't spend each week he saved. And praised his wife for every meal she made. And once, for laughing, punched her in the face. And for his mum he hired a private nurse. And every Sunday taxied her to church. And he blubbed when she went from bad to worse. And twice he lifted ten quid from her purse. Here's how they rated him when they looked back: sometimes he did this, sometimes he did that.
Use the table to identify some of the key literary features in Armitage’s poem
A Short Analysis of Simon Armitage’s ‘Poem’ Everything about ‘Poem’ by Simon Armitage is understated. It opens with a casual ‘And’ (‘And if it snowed’), as if merely a continuation of something already in progress. It has an ‘anti-title’ which refuses to comment on the content of the poem that follows. (Armitage is fond of using such titles.) Its lines are all end-stopped with a full stop,
suggesting a flatness of expression. Yet there is more to it than might first meet the eye. In this post, we’re going to offer some words towards an analysis of Armitage’s ‘Poem’.
‘Poem’ is a sort of obituary for an anonymous man – we know it’s an obituary because he is referred to in the past tense and is being ‘rated’ by people at the end of the poem, as if they are seeking to assess his whole life. The poem notes the different sides to the man’s personality. The fourth, eighth, and twelfth lines provide an insight into the darker and less pleasant side of the man, while the rest of the poem – or those first twelve lines, anyway – describe the good things he did. When it snowed, he would go out with a spade and clear the driveway. He was an attentive father, tucking his daughter up in bed every night. His daughter was clearly a good child, as she only ever lied ‘one time’, we are told; but he beat her with a slipper for this single transgression.
But then again, every week he put half his wages into the family funds (presumably for shopping and bills), and he was careful with money, saving it so that he could provide for his family’s future (rather than spending it all in the pub, for instance). As well as being an attentive father, he seems to have appreciated his wife, praising every meal she cooked for the family. But then we are given a sign that the man had a more violent, angry side which occasionally flared out, since he physically assaulted his wife simply ‘for laughing’ (at what, we are not told: at him might be a fairly safe surmise).
He was also a caring son, too: he hired a private nurse to take care of his mother when she fell ill, and drove her to church every Sunday when she was no longer able to get there herself. He was sensitive, too, for when the terminal illness set in and his mother died, he ‘blubbed’. Yet he also took money from his mother’s purse without asking her, on two occasions.
Overall, the picture we are given is of a fairly decent man in many respects: clearly a loving father, husband, and son. Given that the majority of the poem treats the good, kind things the man did, Armitage seems to be inviting us to see him as a fairly average and ordinary person, who – as we would probably say of most people – was a decent enough sort. Yet these flickers of a less pleasant side to his personality are also mentioned, suggesting that nobody
is outright good (or, by extension, outright bad). The fact that the man drove his mother to church every week like a dutiful son doesn’t entirely expunge the memory of his petty thievery, but nor does the stealing of £20 from her purse undo all of the good deeds he did for her. Similarly, the fact that his daughter only ever lied once might be interpreted as a sign of good parenting (on his part as well as the mother’s), even while his reaction (indeed, overreaction) to his daughter’s minor transgression is likely to strike us as excessive.
In terms of its structure, ‘Poem’ comprises fourteen lines, and might be described as an example of the Shakespearean or English sonnet, which rhymes ababcdcdefefgg. The division of the poem into quatrains and a separate rhyming couplet reinforces the link. But Armitage innovates with the form, bringing the odd and even rhyme-words uncomfortably close together: in the first four lines, for instance, drive rhymes (or roughly rhymes) with night, and side with lied, but the a-rhymes and b-rhymes share the long ‘I’ vowel sound, meaning that the first four lines almost rhyme aaaa. Similarly, waged, saved, made, and face all share a long ‘a’ sound. The same is true of nurse, church, worse, and purse: rather than following the ababcdcdefefgg rhyme of the Shakespearean sonnet, it might be more accurate to say that the poem is rhymed aaaabbbbccccdd, given that ‘worse’ and ‘purse’ are more perfect rhymes than ‘church’ and ‘purse’.
The people in the poem’s concluding couplet, like that noncommittal title for the poem, ‘Poem’, refuse to pass judgment on the man and condemn him as evil or smooth over his faults and present him as a paragon of virtue. Sometimes, they shrug, he did this; sometimes, he did that.
Here is one of the twenty poems from the Anthology you will be studying – a disturbing but fascinating poem!
Eat Me (by Patience Agbabi )
When I hit thirty, he brought me a cake, three layers of icing, home-made, a candle for each stone in weight. The icing was white but the letters were pink, they said, eat me. And I ate, did what I was told. Didn’t even taste it. Then he asked me to get up and walk round the bed so he could watch my broad belly wobble, hips judder like a juggernaut. The bigger the better, he’d say, I like big girls, soft girls, girls I can burrow inside with multiple chins, masses of cellulite. I was his Jacuzzi. But he was my cook, my only pleasure the rush of fast food, his pleasure, to watch me swell like forbidden fruit. His breadfruit. His desert island after shipwreck. Or a beached whale on a king-size bed craving a wave. I was a tidal wave of flesh too fat to leave, too fat to buy a pint of full-fat milk, too fat to use fat as an emotional shield, too fat to be called chubby, cuddly, big-built. The day I hit thirty-nine, I allowed him to stroke my globe of a cheek. His flesh, my flesh flowed. He said, Open wide, poured olive oil down my throat. Soon you’ll be forty… he whispered, and how could I not roll over on top. I rolled and he drowned in my flesh. I drowned his dying sentence out. I left him there for six hours that felt like a week. His mouth slightly open, his eyes bulging with greed. There was nothing else left in the house to eat.
‘Eat Me’ is centred around the theme of a husband that force feeds his wife. He is a feeder who dominates his wife but the poem concludes with her rolling over him on their bed and killing him by suffocation. You should also consider the context of the pressure put on women in the media, especially surrounding their bodies and their weight – provoking sympathy. Agbabi uses the relationship between the feeder and feedee to explore issues of gender and power.
Use the table below to identify the key features in the poem:
Literary Device (eg simile, alliteration
etc) Evidence (the quote) Impact on the reader – what effect is
created? Speaker/ tone
What themes are depicted in the poem?
Lockdown: Simon Armitage writes poem about coronavirus outbreak Poet laureate says society may emerge from the pandemic ‘slightly slower, and wiser, at the other end’
Simon Armitage has written a poem to address the coronavirus and a lockdown that is slowly being implemented across the UK, saying that the art form can be consoling in times of crisis because it “asks us just to focus, and think, and be contemplative”.
The poet laureate’s new poem, Lockdown, moves from the outbreak of bubonic plague in Eyam in the 17th century, when a bale of cloth from London brought fleas carrying the plague to the Derbyshire village, to the epic poem Meghadta by the Sanskrit poet Klidsa.
Armitage, who is at home with his family in West Yorkshire, said that “as the lockdown became more apparent and it felt like the restrictions were closing in, the plague in Eyam became more and more resonant” to him.
His poem references Eyam’s boundary stone, which contained holes that the quarantined villagers would put their money in to pay for provisions from outside, and then fill with vinegar in the hope it would cleanse the coins. It also touches on the doomed romance between a girl who lived in Eyam and a boy outside the village who talked to her from a distance, until she stopped coming.
A man touches the boundary stone in Eyam from which no resident could pass during the village’s isolation in 1666. (Photograph: Gary Calton/The Observer)
The poem was also influenced by a scene in Meghadta in which an exile sends reassuring words to his wife in the Himalayas via a passing cloud.
“The cloud is convinced to take the message because the yaksha, which I think is sort of an attendant spirit to a god of wealth, tells him what amazing landscapes and scenery he’s going to pass across. I thought it was a kind of hopeful, romantic gesture,” said Armitage.
He thought there was a message to be learned “about taking things easy and being patient and trusting the Earth and maybe having to come through this slightly slower, and wiser, at the other end – given that one thing that’s accelerated the problem is our hectic lives and our proximities and the frantic ways we go about things”.
Poetry is “by definition consoling” because “it often asks us just to focus and think and be contemplative”, said Armitage.
“Poetry is often about detail, even to the point where there’s just something sacramental in the ordinary descriptions of everyday life,” he said. “It’s unlikely that there’s going to be a book of poems that are consolation against catastrophe, but just in poetry’s nature, in the way it asks us to be considerate of language, it also asks us to be considerate of each other and the world. In the relationship with thoughtful language, something more thoughtful occurs.”
Lockdown by Simon Armitage And I couldn’t escape the waking dream of infected fleas
in the warp and weft of soggy cloth by the tailor’s hearth
in ye olde Eyam. Then couldn’t un-see
the Boundary Stone, that cock-eyed dice with its six dark holes,
thimbles brimming with vinegar wine purging the plagued coins.
Which brought to mind the sorry story of Emmott Syddall and Rowland Torre,
star-crossed lovers on either side of the quarantine line
whose wordless courtship spanned the river till she came no longer.
But slept again, and dreamt this time
of the exiled yaksha sending word to his lost wife on a passing cloud,
a cloud that followed an earthly map of camel trails and cattle tracks,
streams like necklaces, fan-tailed peacocks, painted elephants,
embroidered bedspreads of meadows and hedges,
bamboo forests and snow-hatted peaks, waterfalls, creeks,
the hieroglyphs of wide-winged cranes and the glistening lotus flower after rain,
the air hypnotically see-through, rare,
I look forward to welcoming you to A Level Literature. Until then, keep safe and keep reading!
Watch Part I of David Skynner’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1998). This will make great viewing on a rainy day!
A Short Analysis of Simon Armitage’s ‘Poem’
Lockdown: Simon Armitage writes poem about coronavirus outbreak
Lockdown by Simon Armitage