Billenium by J. Ballard

Task 1

With close reference to the text of the short story Billenium explore the following questions in detail. Remember to include quotations and page numbers for the quotations in your answers

  1. Write a detailed synopsis of the story.
  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.
  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.
  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?
  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.
  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?
  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?
  8. What role does Rossiter play in the story?
  9. Describe the role of the female characters in the story.
  10. Discuss the effects that over-population 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.
  11. What does the secret room symbolise in the story?
  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?
  13. What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?
  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.

Task 2

Have a look at this video and compare it to the short story we have read!! (Thanks Alina Claps for sharing this video!!)

Task 3

Write an essay:

Comment closely on the main themes that appear in Billenium:  overpopulation, power and loss of privacy.

Posted in 2016, Senior 2 2016 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Anowa by Ama Ata Aidoo

In Facebook I posted the following link in connection to the play you are reading with Ceci in class: Anowa

Task 1:

-Find quotations in the play to support this article. Focus on postcolonialism.

Resultado de imagen para anowa ama ata aidoo analysis

Task 2:

-In the very beginning of the story, Badua makes a comment about her daughter Anowa getting married and having kids, that was very alarming to me. “A woman like her should bear children, many children, so she can afford to have one or two die,” (72).

Could this cultural norm of losing your children to death and therefore causing parents to be very protective be a reason why Badua is so insistent on Anowa marrying someone she approves of?

Task 3:

Comment on the significance of marriage in the African context.

Posted in 2016, Senior 4 2016 | Tagged | 15 Comments

The People Before: summary and analysis

Resultado de imagen para new zealand landscapes


Maurice Shadbolt is a well known New Zealand writer whose works are popular with readers even today. His stories are all based in New Zealand and seek to interpret the various influences that have gone into the making of the country. The conflict between the Europeans and the Maori find frequent resonance in his works.

Relevance of the Title

“The people before”, though not in the story as characters, influence much of the story and the attitude of the characters. The father has no time to think of them except when Jim displays the greenstone adzes. Even then the father does not relate to the “people before”; his thought is only about how much they could be worth. The people before were so intimately connected to the land that they have carried the old man to the spot where he was born so that he could see it one more time before dying. The narrator’s father on the other hand frequently talks of selling the farm when the going gets tough. The land is just something that he owns and puts to work.


The story is about an unnamed family that buys a farm that has not been prosperous. The father has always been keen on owning land as he has seen his father work as a sharemilker on other people’s land. There are two boys in the family. The elder one is rather like his father who enjoys the outdoors and the hard work of the farm. Jim, the younger one is rather weak and he prefers to be inside with his mother. The father farms only the flat land leaving the hills beyond, which were his, to run wild. Jim and his brother go wandering on Sundays. Jim explores the caves near the river and finds some jade adzes inside. Once he finds a human skull too which must have belonged to a Maori who had lived there long ago. When the father sees the adzes, he wonders only about how much they could be worth.

The Depression is soon on them and the father finds farming less profitable now. He wonders about selling the land and moving but plods on. One day, a group of Maori arrive there. They have brought with them an old man who had been born on the hill behind long ago. He is close to death and desires to see once again the land of his birth. The father cannot comprehend why anyone would want to do that. Jim is however impressed and accompanies them to the hill. When he comes back he tells the family how the Maoris had lived there for generations until the whites came and drove them away. The father now begins to understand what land means to some people.

The boys go away to WW II. The father sells the farm and moves to closer to the town. When the war is over, the boys return. Jim goes to the University while his brother joins the father on the farm. Once when discussing the War, the elder brother says that he had no fond memories to focus on in the battlefield but Jim says that for him, the old farm was just that, a place of happy returns. His bother feels jealous about Jim’s happy memories.


The story is about a family that moves into a farm that they buy cheap as it has not been productive. For the father owning land had been a compulsion as his father had not owned land but worked as a laborer. Of the two boys in the family, the older one, who is the narrator, is the outdoorsy kind, much like the father. The younger boy is not sturdy and he prefers the company of his mother and spends more time inside the house. It’s hard work milking the herd and the father cultivates only the flat land considering the hills behind a nuisance. Jim and his elder brother roam the countryside exploring caves on Sundays. Once, Jim finds greenstones adzes and also a human skull in the caves. He leaves the skull behind but brings home the adzes. The boys surmise that at some time Maoris must have inhabited those parts. When the father sees the adzes later his only thought is how much they could be worth. He does not consider the possibility of the land having belonged to the Maoris.

When the Depression is on them, the father finds the farm to be less profitable and he considers the prospect of setting it and moving. He stays on, not because any special love he feels for the land but because he has invested money and labor on it. One day a group of Maoris visit the farm. They carry with them, in a litter, an old man. They say that, the old man, a tribe elder was born on the hills behind the farm when the land belonged to the Maoris. He wishes now, when he is close to death, to see the place of his birth once again. The father is thoroughly perplexed but Jim is understanding and offers them the greenstone adzes which he believes belonged to the tribe. The Maoris depart to the hills with the old man. Jim goes with them. Sometime during the night the old man dies and his people bury him on the mountain. Jim comes home with an account of how the Maoris lived in the area until the whites came in and defeated them. But they still consider this land to be their home. The father now begins to comprehend what land means to some people.

The boys go to the Second World War. The father sells the farm and moves closer to the cities. The boys return after war and Jim leaves for the University while the older boy joins his father on their new farm. Once during a discussion about coping with war, the elder brother says he had no happy memories to focus on during war. But Jim says, for him, their old farm was Te Wahiokoahoki, the place of happy return. The brother feels jealous that he could never feel that way.

Questions to think and reflect

1  Describe the early farm after the father bought it ‘for a song’. Who were the ‘people   before’?

2  What do we get to know about the father’s character and that of the mother and the   two boys?

Find some lines to quote which typify each character.

3  Towards the end of part 1, Jim goes to the abandoned hill area. He finds a cave with   adzes and also a human skull. What is the father’s attitude to the adzes? What does   the author hint at now about ‘the people before’?

4  This part opens with a reference to the end of the depression. What year is that,   roughly?

5  In the first pages of this section explain how the father’s view of the land and his   work has changed.

6  On p 206 the mother says “perhaps they’ve got happy memories of this place”. After   reading  Part 2, how does this statement seem ironic?

7  Describe why the Maori family have come to the farm.

8  Re-read the last ten lines of part 2. Why does the son think his father might have said   or felt something else?

9  What action has completely astounded the father?

10  In what way have the brothers remained the same?

11  Re-read the conclusion to the story. Why does the older brother think that Jim has   ‘beaten’ him?

General questions

1  To how many people does the title ‘the people before’ apply?

2  What differences in values do various owners of the land have?

3  What do you get to know about New Zealand farm life in the 1930’s?


Posted in 2016, Senior 3 2016 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

A View from the Bridge

Resultado de imagen para a view from the bridge

We have all read quitea lot about Act 1.

Now, let`s work on the following quotations.

-Who said it?

-What is going on?

-What implications can you see?

-Any language iem that calls your attention?

  1.  “Enter Alfieri, a lawyer in his fifties turning gray; he is portly, good-humoured, and thoughtful”
  2. “In this neighbourhood to meet a lawyer or a priest on the street is unlucky. We’re only thought of in connection with disasters, and they’d rather not get too close.”
  3. “…there were many here who were justly shot by unjust men. Justice is very important here.”
  4. “And with them new high heels on the sidewalk – clack, clack, clack. The heads are turnin’ like windmills”
  5. “With your hair that way you look like a Madonna, you know that? You’re the Madonna type.”
  6. “Just remember, kid, you can quicker get back a million dollars that was stole than a word that you gave away.”
  7. “Who’s mad?…I’m not mad…You’re the one is mad”
  8. “I’ll tell you boys it’s tough to be alone,
    And it’s tough to love a doll that’s not your own.”
  9. “Eddie has risen, with iron control, even a smile. He moves to Catherine. What’s the high heels for, Garbo?”
  10. “When am I gonna be a wife again, Eddie?”
  11. “…you’re not a baby any more… you gotta be your own self more…”
  12. “Catherine… turns with some fear, with a discovery, to Beatrice. She is at the edge of tears, as though a familiar world had shattered.”
Posted in 2016, Senior 1 2016 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Writing your third term paper

Before writing your paper, take a look at these guides:

Posted in 2016, Senior 5 2016 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Term 3 Paper: The Dilemma of a Ghost

Hello everyone!!

As you know, your third term will be tested through a paper.

The play: The Dilemma of a Ghost is in Anagrama. Please, make a copy and start reading it so then you have more time to write your paper.

Pre-Reading Tasks

Task 1: Read about the author and the history of Ghana and take notes:

Her biography:

Thematic concerns of the play:

Language in the play:

History of Ghana:

Task 2: Read about the theory of postcolonialism

Task 3: Listen to the writer and take notes of all the important facts that may influence her writing.

About the play: her views on the role of women in society

All  these notes will help you to write an introduction to your paper.

Posted in 2016, Senior 5 2016 | Tagged , | Leave a comment

They Flee from me, that sometime did me Seek

Watch this presentation analysing the poem 

Task 1

They Flee From Me

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,
That now are wild and do not remember
That sometime they put themself in danger
To take bread at my hand; and now they range,
Busily seeking with a continual change.
Thanked be fortune it hath been otherwise
Twenty times better; but once in special,
In thin array after a pleasant guise,
When her loose gown from her shoulders did fall,
And she me caught in her arms long and small;
Therewithall sweetly did me kiss
And softly said, “Dear heart, how like you this?”
It was no dream: I lay broad waking.
But all is turned thorough my gentleness
Into a strange fashion of forsaking;
And I have leave to go of her goodness,
And she also, to use newfangleness.
But since that I so kindly am served
I would fain know what she hath deserved.
  1. How does biographical knowledge of Sir Thomas Wyatt and King Henry VIII help you understand this poem? Be specific.
  1. What does the direct quote add to the poem’s meaning
  1. Explain how—according to the speaker—women and creatures are similar.

4. In your opinion, what are the themes of this poem? Account for your answer.

5. What is the tone?

6. What is your personal opinion on the poem?

Task 2

Then, read the following poem

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time


Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
   Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
   Tomorrow will be dying.
The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
   The higher he’s a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
   And nearer he’s to setting.
That age is best which is the first,
   When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
   Times still succeed the former.
Then be not coy, but use your time,
   And while ye may, go marry;
For having lost but once your prime,
   You may forever tarry.

How is this poem related to the previos one? Show examples from the texts.

Task 3

Watch this scene from Dead Poets Society. What does the teacher say about the poem? What is the teacher trying to teach to his students?

Answer all the questions in a drive (in pairs or in groups and don´t forget to write all the names)

Send the final work to me on Wednesday 31 August

Posted in 2016, Senior 5 2016 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Dilemma of a Ghost by Ama Ata Aidoo

Hello everyone!!

This time, I´m going to share some web pages and 2 interviews with you so that you can take notes considering what is important and may have influenced the writer as regards the play you are reading with Ceci.

Leave a comment in the blog and take notes to class with Ceci next Monday.

About the play

her views on the role of women in society

Hope you enjoy this task!!

Posted in 2016, Senior 4 2016 | Tagged , | 9 Comments

Poverty and Wealth

Read the following articles and prepare vocabulary on the two topics: words, phrases, expressions.


New York Times

Selection of articles


Extract from a speech in the House of Commons 1909 by Winston Churchill

Less expenses:

Some years ago in London there was a toll bar on a bridge across the Thames, and all the working people who lived on the south side of the river had to pay a daily toll of one penny for going and returning from their work. The spectacle of these poor people thus mulcted of so large a proportion of their earnings offended the public conscience, and agitation was set on foot, municipal authorities were roused, and at the cost of the taxpayers, the bridge was freed and the toll removed.

All those people who used the bridge were saved sixpence a week, but within a very short time rents on the south side of the river were found to have risen about sixpence a week, or the amount of the toll which had been remitted!

Exstra ‘income’:

And a friend of mine was telling me the other day that, in the parish of Southwark, about 350 pounds a year was given away in doles of bread by charitable people in connection with one of the churches.

As a consequence of this charity, the competition for small houses and single-room tenements is so great that rents are considerably higher in the parish!

All goes back to the land, and the land owner is able to absorb to himself a share of almost every public and every private benefit, however important or however pitiful those benefits may be.



The Guardian

Washington Post

Glamour and Wealth

In groups, visit the different webpages, takes notes of words and phrases to talk about wealth and poverty.

Prepare a short presentation including at least 15 words and 10 phrases.

Illustrate you vocabulary with examples (your own ideas) and you can also use pictures to make things clear!

Posted in 2016, Senior 5 2016 | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Phoenix

Let`s listen to the story

Read about the writer

-What calls your attention about the author of this story?

-What does “the phoenix” symbolize?

Deep analysis

1.​ ​Explore how Warner makes the ending of ‘The Phoenix’ so effective for ​you

​2.​ ​What thoughts and feelings for Warner provoke in you as you read ‘The ​Phoenix’?

​3.​ ​Explore in detail the way Warner memorably portrays greed in ‘The ​Phoenix’ ​

4.​ ​How does Warner make the character of Poldero particularly unpleasant ​for you in ‘The Phoenix’?

​5.​ ​What does Warner make you feel about human nature in ‘The Phoenix’?

Posted in 2016, Senior 2 2016, Senior 3 2016 | Tagged | Leave a comment


Last year Senior 1 wrote their own poems personifying objects after reading the poem “Mirror”

Visit the following blogs, read the poems and leave comments.







Now, it is your term to createyour own poems!!

Be creative and original!!

Post your poems in the blog!!

Posted in 2016, Senior 5 2016 | Tagged | 11 Comments

Song by Lady Mary Wroth

Watch this video and the presentation, take notes and then answer the following questions

-Who is the voice?

-Write a summary for each stanza.

-What is the theme? And the tone?

-Find at least 3 literary devices and explain them.

-In your opinion, which is the most powerful line?

-Do you agree with the speaker? Give reasons.

Posted in Senior 1 2016 | Tagged , | Leave a comment