We have just finished the IO recording and got our feedback from the teacher, here’s a short reflection on how I did and a plan for what to do next.
Things that went well:
– Planning and structure was a lot better than last time
– I spoke without a script (yes last time I had one) and managed to fit most of the content into the 12 minute range
– The analysis was more in depth than last time
– I had better knowledge of what the examiner will be looking for and how to deliver them
My biggest surprise was the fact that analysis are not as hard as I thought, I scored higher than I thought I would. All I did was connecting the specific lines and words of the text to the global issue, and some of them are obvious so they aren’t that hard.
Having said that, the thing that I definitely need to work on is the presentation, I need to make my recording more fluent and pace myself so I’m not too worried about time (it was quite tight this time). Moreover, based on the feedback, I need to work on balancing the sections and analysis between the text, I did too much with the original English one and sort of omitted the translated text. So my main goal for next time would be to plan more analysis for both text and practice more of my presentation.
Finishing up on The World’s Wife with an IO practice, we have just began the study of the novel Oranges are not the only fruit by Jeanette Winterson. Our English teacher pointed out that each chapter of the book is named after an Old Testament from the bible books, and we were then asked to explore the links between each chapter. I will try to explain my interpretation of the first chapter “Genesis” in this blog as well as other features of the novel.
“Genesis”, being the first chapter of the entire novel, introduces the settings and backgrounds of the novel and provides the reader with some basic information of the protagonist, Jeanette, and the life around her. Starting the novel with a talking style “Like most of the people…”, Winterson encloses the distance between the protagonist and the reader and sets up the contrast that happens later on in the chapter when readers realize how different their life is from the protagonist’s. Moreover, this text reveals the characteristic of the protagonist, who is also the narrator, creating a strong conversational feeling and setting up a casual tone of the novel. The novel is written in first person, this ensures that the emotions of the protagonist can be accurately delivered to and felt by the reader. The first person POV also allows Winterson to include her comments and opinions within the narration, this could be seen through examples such as when she was describing her daily routine of making tea for her mother: “in she came, and taking a great gulp of tea said one of three things.” (3). The phrase “one of the three” carries a sense of confidence that the protagonist knows everything her mother is going to do, which then implies the repetition of the daily life and thus conveys a sense of boredom and dislike. This chapter also reveals that Jeanette was adopted by her mother because of her mother’s personal desire of making a child into the god’s missionary to fulfill her own desire. It foreshadows the tragedy that happens later in the novel where Jeanette had a conflict with her mother and was sent out from the house. This chapter constantly mentions religion, and readers are presented with the Sunday routines of the family as well as how the character does not find much interest of it but is only doing because there’s nothing else to do. Additionally, this chapter includes many pieces of information that is from the ‘future’, in other words, this is a memoir-like piece of writing where the narrator knows what will happen next “she did finish eventually, but not for three years”, this is what Jeanette said when her mother was building a half-room for her. This makes me wonder how does the first person narrator know these information and why is the author making this choice. The reason may well lie in the childhood experience of the author, Winterson was adopted, then became a lesbian and left home…
The connection between the book “Genesis”, where god creates human and then focuses on the life of a family, is present in the first chapter. There is a shift of narrative perspective, from first person to third person, in the middle of the chapter, a fairytale is presented of how a princess takes over the duty of a hunchback of being the ‘god’ of a village, educating them and writing songs for their religious events. It draws a parallel with the book where a person was given the mission to gather people’s faith and present them with the god’s will.
**This is the only connection I managed to find in the first chapter, so please leave any thoughts in the comment to help me with more. THX!