Archive for February, 2012

Questions on General Vision and Viewpoint in ‘Hamlet’

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

These questions are designed to help you form your own opinions about the General Vision and Viewpoint of ‘Hamlet’ in order that you can compare and contrast this text with ‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ and ‘Inside I’m Dancing’.

  1. What does the opening scene convey to you?
  2. Assess the strength of relationships in this play.
  3. ‘In this play there are examples of hopelessness and defeat.’ Do you agree with this statement?
  4. Are there any hopeful moments in ‘Hamlet’?
  5. What does the closing scene tell us about life?
  6. What is your opinion of the ending of this text?
  7. Is the closing scene inevitable?
  8. What is important to Hamlet? What are his values?
  9. What is the quality of the parent-child relationships in this play?
  10. How much freedom to choose does Hamlet have? Is he the master of his own destiny?
  11. Has Hamlet learned anything throughout the play?
  12. What is the darkest moment in this play, in your opinion?
  13. Are there any moments of light and hope?
  14. Can people be trusted in Elsinore?
  15. What is your first impression of Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia?
  16. How does their relationship progress?
  17. Is the presentation of life in this play realistic? Explain your answer.
  18. What does this play have to say about humanity?

Wordplay Wednesday – Palindromes

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

A palindrome is a word or phrase that reads the same in both directions. They can be very short and simple like:

  • Navan
  • Madam
  • Racecar

or they can be much more lengthy. Have a look at some of these and, as always, write a comment on this post if you can add any more.

  • Was it Eliot’s toilet I saw?
  • Murder for a jar of red rum.
  • No trace; not one carton.
  • Sums are not set as a test on Erasmus.
  • Go deliver a dare, vile dog?
  • A man, a plan, a canal – Panama!

Adrienne Rich – some key quotes

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

When revising Adrienne Rich, here are some of the key quotes that you should know from each poem:

‘Aunt Jennifer’s Tigers’

‘prance across a screen’

‘They do not fear’

‘fingers fluttering through her wool’

‘The massive weight of Uncle’s wedding band / Sits heavily’

‘her terrified hands will lie / still ringed with ordeals she was mastered by’

‘prancing, proud and unafraid’

‘The Uncle Speaks in the Drawing Room’

‘standing sullen in the square’

‘talked in bitter tones’

‘held and fingered stones’

‘Certain frailties of glass’

‘Not that missiles will be cast’

‘the keeping of our kind’

‘We stand between the dead glass-blowers / and murmurings of missile-throwers’

‘Power’

‘in the earth deposits’

‘one bottle   amber   perfect   a hundred year old / cure for fever   or melancholy   a tonic / for living on this earth’

‘she must have known she suffered   from radiation sickness’

‘It seems she denied to the end / the source of’ the cataracts on her eyes’

‘denying / her wounds / denying / her wounds   came   from the same source as her power’

‘Storm Warnings’

‘knowing better than the instrument / What winds are walking overhead’

‘walk from window to closed window, watching’

‘a silent core of waiting’

‘this polar realm’

‘Weather abroad / And weather in the heart alike come on / Regardless of prediction.’

‘all the mastery of elements’

‘Time in the hand is not control of time’

‘These are the things that we have learned to do / Who live in troubled regions.’

‘Living In Sin’

‘no dust upon the furniture of love’

‘A plate of peares, / a piano with a Persian shawl’

‘Not that at five each separate stair would write / under the milkman’s tramp’

‘a pair of beetle-eyes would fix her own’

‘Meanwhile, he, with a yawn, / sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard’

‘jeered by the minor demons’

‘she awoke sometimes to feel the daylight coming / like a relentless milkman up the stairs.’

‘The Roofwalker’

‘Giants, the roofwalkers, / on a listing deck, the wave / of darkness about to break / on their heads.’

‘The sky / is a torn sail’

‘exposed, larger than life, / and about to break my neck.’

‘Was it worth while to lay – / with infinite exertion – / a roof I can’t live under?’

‘A life I didn’t choose / chose me’

‘I’m naked’

‘Trying to Talk with a Man’

‘Out in this desert we are testing bombs’

‘this condemned scenery’

‘What we’ve had to give up to get here’

‘surrounded by a silence / that sounds like the silence of the place / except that it came with us’

‘Out here I feel more helpless / with you than without you’

‘you look at me like an emergency’

‘your eyes are stars of a different magnitude / they reflect lights that spell out: EXIT’

‘talking of danger / as if it were not ourselves / as if we were testing anything else.’

Wordplay Wednesday – anagrams

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

Every Wednesday for the rest of the year, we are going to spend a couple of minutes at the start of each class looking at particular words – how they are spelt, used and misused, their origins and how they can be adapted into various forms.

Tomorrow we will start by looking at anagrams. Perhaps you know some of your own that you can bring to class. Here are a few to start us off:

Astronomer – moon starer

Schoolmaster – the classroom

Dormitory – dirty room

Punishment – nine thumps

The morse code - here come dots

The eyes – they see

Conversation – voices rant on

Eleven plus two – twelve plus one

A decimal point – I’m a dot in place

Osama bin Laden – A bad one (no lies)

William Shakespeare – I’ll make a wise phrase

Famous last lines from the movies

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of ‘Casablanca’, Philip French of The Guardian newspaper wrote about some famous last lines from the movies. Here is his selelction:

‘Casablanca’ (Michael Curtiz, 1942). ‘Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.’ Said by liberal nightclub owner Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) to collaborationist Police Chief Louis Renault (Claude Rains) as they quit vanquished Morocco to join the Free French Army in West Africa. In a very quotable script, this witty, sophisticated last line captures the pervasive tone of the movie’s patriotic response to the conflicting wartime demands of love and duty.

‘Gone With the Wind’ (Victor Flemming, 1939). ‘I’ll go home and I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day!’ This is the optimistic reaction of the determined southern belle Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) when a terminally exasperated Rhett Butler (Clarke Gable) walks out on her with the parting shot ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.’

‘Some Like It Hot’ (Billy Wilder, 1959). ‘Well, nobody’s perfect!’ spoken by the cheerful, much married millionaire Osgood Fielding III (Joe E Brown) as he steers his motorboat away from a Miami pier. It’s his response when the new love of his life, Daphne (Jack Lemmon in drag), who’s been playing in an all-girl band, doffs her wig and says: ‘I’m a man!’ Wilder was the master of final pay-offs, and the last lines of, for example, ‘Sunset Boulevard’ (‘All right, Mr De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.’) and ‘The Apartment’ (‘Shut up and deal.’) are classics.

‘King Kong’ (Ernest Schoedsack, 1933). ‘Oh no, it wasn’t the airplanes. It was beauty killed the beast.’ This was the epitaph on the giant ape Kong, shot dead by fighter planes after carrying Fay Wray to the top of the Empire State Building. It’s spoken by Carl Denham (Robert Armstrong), the ruthless film-maker who captured Kong on Skull Island. The 1976 remake, in which Kong is harassed by helicopters atop the World Trade Centre, has no such ending. Peter Jackson’s 2005 version sticks closer to the original, is set during the Depression and features Denham’s last line.

‘The Front Page’ (Lewis Milestone, 1931). ‘The son of a bitch stole my watch!’ This is the final line of the great 1928 newspaper comedy, delivered by the cynical Walter Burns over the telephone as a messge to the police, his ultimate dirty trick to prevent ace reporter Hildy Johnson escaping from his services.

‘Little Caesar’ (Mervyn LeRoy, 1931). ‘Mother of Mercy! Is this the end of Rico?’ These are the last words of the dying gangster in the film that made a star of Edward G Robinson.

‘The Usual Suspects’ (Bryan Singer, 1995). ‘The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist. And like that – poof – he’s gone!’ Christopher McQuarrie, who won an Oscar for his original screenplay, gave the line to the film’s singularly unreliable narrator, Verbal Kint (played by Kevin Spacey, who also won an Oscar for this role), while explaining the role of the demonic super criminal Keyser Soze to a police interrogator. The title of ‘The Usual Suspects’ comes from Captain Renault’s cynical refrain, ‘Round up the usual suspects’, in ‘Casablanca’.

‘Dr Strangelove’ (Stanley Kubrick, 1964). ‘Mein Fuhrer! I can walk!’ Peter Sellers, in addition to playing two other roles in the film, played Dr Strangelove. He improvised much of his dialogue, including this comically shocking final line.

‘Chinatown’ (Roman Polanski, 1974). ‘Forget it, Jake, it’s Chinatown.’ This consoling remark directed by a professional associate at bereft Los Angeles private eye JJ Gittes (Jack Nicholson), is a key line in the movie that revived the film noir genre. Chinatown is a metaphor for the indecipherability of 1930s Los Angeles and its labyrinthine corruption.

‘The Maltese Falcoln’ (John Huston, 1941). ‘The stuff dreams are made of.’ It’s the answer private detective Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) provides when San Francisco cop (Ward Bond) holds up the fake version of the Maltese Falcon and asks ‘It’s heavy. What is it?’ This parting line from Huston’s directorial debut is a slight misquotation from Prospero’s final speech in ‘The Tempest’ and is a comment on the elusive grails that lie beyond the reach of so many Huston characters.

To read the full article go to

 http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/gallery/2012/jan/29/ten-best-last-lines-in-pictures#/?picture=385125144&index=0 

Do you have any favourite last lines from movies that you have seen?

Gormanston: One College – One Book February

Monday, February 6th, 2012

A little late for me to make this post, but never too late to start reading!

For the month of February we will be encouraging every student and member of staff in the college to read ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’ by Erich Maria Remarque. This is a novel about a young man named Paul Baumer who joins the German army shortly after the start of the First World War. While fighting, Baumer and his colleagues have to engage in frequent battles and endure the squalid conditions of warfare.

It was first published in 1928 and sold two and a half million copies during its first 18 months in print. It was one of the books banned and burned by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

In 1930 the book was adapted as an Oscar-winning film of the same name, directed by Lewis Milestone.

Enjoy reading!

‘Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry’

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

So far, in ‘Roll of Thunder’ we have met some interesting characters and read about some shocking incidents. Over the next couple of days, I would like you to write a comment about who is your favourite character and explain why. I would also like you to describe an incident in the story that you find particularly horrifying / shocking / upsetting or that has made you feel any other emotion. Remember to comment on what other students have written – you may agree or disagree with someone else’s opinion. Remember that our goal here is to share our learning.

I look forward to reading your comments!

Mrs. Meighan