The moment has come to start writing your first post in the portfolio.
Both, Camila and I, have already introduced what a portfolio is and you have worked on understanding what producing a portfolio is and you have also visited portfolios created by the students who are in senior 5 now.
When we read “Journey”, we talked about Rite of Passage. This time, we are going to get to know Seamus Heaney and how he deals with Rite of Passage in his poems.
Do some research on the writer chosen for today’s activity. Work on aspects that may have influenced his writings. Take notes to be able to share with the rest of the group.
Take a look at these poems, read them all and choose one that you really like.
Then, take some time to understand the poem, connect it with the writer’s background, explain the title; and analyse how it deals with Rite of Passage. (make sure, everybody in the group has chosen a different poem)
Sir Stephen Spender, in full Sir Stephen Harold Spender, (born February 28, 1909, London, England—died July 16, 1995, London), English poet and critic, who made his reputation in the 1930s with poems expressing the politically conscience-stricken, leftist “new writing” of that period.
Read the poem by Spender
My parents kept me from children who were rough
Who threw words like stones and wore torn clothes
Their thighs shone through rags. They ran in the street
And climbed cliffs and stripped by the country streams.
I feared more than tigers their muscles like iron
Their jerking hands and their knees tight on my arms
I feared the salt coarse pointing of those boys
Who copied my lisp behind me on the road.
They were lithe, they sprang out behind hedges
Like dogs to bark at my world. They threw mud
While I looked the other way, pretending to smile
I longed to forgive them but they never smiled.
Stephen Spender had a foot affliction and he lisped while he spoke; this made his parents extra careful about exposing him to rough handling and bullying in school. A reading of this poem however makes us wonder whether he approved of that move entirely. He seems to have been ambivalent about the whole issue. He was not comfortable with the roughness of the street children either.
This poem has strong autobiographical overtones. Stephen Spender had a club foot and he lisped while talking. His parents tried to shelter him from the rough street children. While Spender seems to have been uncomfortable with their coarse speech and rude gestures, he admired the strength of their bodies and the freedom they enjoyed. They could come and go as they liked and they were uninhibited (“stripped by the country streams”). His overtures of friendship were rebuffed by them; perhaps they mistrusted people of his class. The tone is in parts wistful and there is a longing for physical perfection that he could see in the children.
Prepare a post in your blog with the following tasks.
How do you think he might felt while going to school?
Watch the video which analyses the poem. Take notes and publish them in your blog.
Here a summary of each and every stanza.
-Find a quote to prove each of them.
-Find a literary device in each stanza and explain what the writer is using that device for.
The poet’s parents sought to protect him from the street children. They were rude in speech and were dressed in rags. They were uninhibited and stripped off their clothes and swam in the country rivers.
The speaker feared the brute strength of the boys. They were muscular and did not hesitate to use their arms and legs. The poet was also scared of their mocking ways. They laughed behind his back, imitating his lisp.
The boys were like vandals; they threw mud at people and pounced on them. But despite all this, the speaker was forgiving. He wanted to be friendly and smiled at them. But they did not reciprocate the friendly overtures.
Themes: Social Inequality (Social segregation/Class differences/Isolation). Explain how this is portrayed in the poem. Quote!
Choose another poem you have studied which shares some characteristics with this one and write a 150 words text. Quote to prove ideas.
Task 6 (In class July 2)
Write an essay
Explore the ways in which the poet vividly presents his childhood experience in the poem.
In your answer you should explore:
-The poet’s thoughts and feelings about the bullies
We have been working on War Poetry, a literary movement that criticized WWI.
Now, we are going to read a story: THE DESTRUCTORS by G. Greene which deals with the results of WWII in Britain.
The story begins by introducing us to the Wormsley Common Gang, a group of boys ranging from nine to fifteen years of age, who live in a tough area of London and spend their summer holiday pulling pranks. They gather daily in an empty lot created when bombs dropped on England during World War 2 destroyed the houses that used to stand there. One beautiful old house still stands on the edge of the lot, although it was damaged during the war and is propped up by wooden struts. This house is owned by Mr. Thomas, an elderly, solitary man who used to be a builder and a decorator, and whom the boys derisively call “Old Misery.” The bombing destroyed the house’s plumbing, so Mr. Thomas uses an outdoor lavatory.
The leader of the gang is a boy named Blackie who concerns himself with fairness and with the gang’s reputation. A boy named Trevor, who comes from a more affluent background, but whose parents have fallen on hard times, is the gang’s newest member. Usually the boys would make fun of the name Trevor, but the menacing way he carries himself inspires their respect. They call the new boy “T.” and allow him to enter the group without a humiliating ritual induction. Other members of the group include the young and easily surprised Mike, and the more practical and outspoken Summers. (summary from https://www.litcharts.com/lit/the-destructors/summary)
The Wormsley Common Gang. Comment on membership, recruitment, enemies, activities, and motivations. How about gangs today?
What do you see as the central theme of this story? Remember: a theme is not simply a subject like “love”. It is a fuller expression of what an author is trying to suggest about this subject. Write a paragraph explaining your interpretation of this story’s theme.
Identify three important conflicts present in the story. Explain what exactly is causing the problem—and whether they are internal or external in nature. Finally, explain which of these conflicts seems to the central problem.
Draw an image of Mr. Thomas’ house. Now explain the gang’s motivation to destroy the house by webbing out points and quotations to each of the ideas below:
the age and beauty of the house
the gang’s usual pranks around London
what has occurred in the recent past with T’s parents
Blackie’s reaction to the word “beautiful”
The boys’ reaction to Mr. Thomas’ gift of chocolate
Summers’ reaction to the word “please”
the burning of the banknotes
their consideration for Old Misery
Of what significance is the setting of this story in blitzed London? Does the story have anything to say about the consequences of war? About the causes of war?
Address the following quotation in the story by explaining its context and overall significance to the story:
“Streaks of light came in through the closed shutters where they worked with the seriousness of creators—and destruction after all is a form of creation. A kind of imagination had seen this house as it had now become.”
Describe what happens in the resolution of the story. Why might Graham Greene have ended the story in this ironic manner?
On the surface this is a story of action, suspense, and adventure. At a deeper level it is about delinquency, war, and the hidden forces which motivate our actions. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
Research a definition of the philosophy of nihilism. How might the Wormsley Common Gang’s actions in the story demonstrate a kind of nihilism?
Choose a question to write an essay (pair work)
Deadline: July 2
The setting for this story is London, nine years after the city survived a series of bombing attacks during WWⅡ. How does this setting contribute to the development of the story?
“The Destructors” written by Graham Greene is set in London nine years after the end of World War II. People survived from “The Blitz”. The Blitz “was Nazi Germany’s sustained aerial bombing campaign against Britain in World War Two.”(The Blitz) Everything was in chaos, people lost their home, slept in the underground station and lost their hope for the future. Comment closely on this.
Graham Greene’s portrayal of human nature, in “The Destructors,” conveys the idea that people have the instinctive ability to distinguish, and make a conscience choice, between what they believe to be good and evil. This message is clearly projected by the characters and their actions: that children born to a traumatized society will grow rebellious. Comment closely on this.