Reflection on IO Feedback

For Criterion A and C, Mr. Dalton and I both came to the same conclusion. However, I feel as though Mr. Dalton was more generous when it came to the organisation of my IO (in terms of the length). In terms of balance, I felt that there was slightly more analytical emphasis on Kafka’s work, but I had attempted to argue the GI in both texts. When doing my IO, I felt very nervous and I thought that I stuttered a few times. When answering the questions, I felt that I gradually became less anxious, which allowed me to have better-structured responses.

To improve my marks for focus, I could improve my transition between the two texts. I can do this by directly restating the global issue again (I used “this GI can also be seen in…). For example, “the impact of loneliness is also present in Jeanette Winterson’s Oranges…”. Moreover, I referred to Kafka as the “narrator” in Unhappiness, which would reduce my points for interpretation.

If I had more quotes and more explanation, I feel like I could have scored higher (as it would improve my scores for multiple strands). I will be more aware of this in the upcoming IO.

Overall, I feel like I definitely improved, but I regret not going more in-depth and having more quotations.

Possible GIs for next time:

Green Rice has
Community: repairing, loss, love

Grendel has
Personal Identity: values, conflict

Duffy has
Gender

Winterson has
Religion, sexuality

Reflection on IO

Criterion A: Knowledge, understanding and interpretation 7
Throughout my IO, I make specific references using quotations from different parts of the texts. In the analysis of both works, I start with a literal interpretation and progress to a figurative understanding, connecting it to my global issue. Moreover, I connect every point I make to the global issue and how it is present/relevant. I also point out that “isolation and peace in solitude” is a theme that is reoccurring throughout Kafka’s works, and “religion” in Winterson’s. I demonstrate a clear and focused GI and is sustained throughout my IO.

Criterion B: Analysis and evaluation 7
In addition to sustaining my GI, I explain how different techniques used by the authors present the global issue. I identified a range of authorial choices such as the point of view, setting, and other literary devices (symbol, imagery, metaphor, etc.)

Criterion C: Focus and organization 8
Focus is clear, GI is sustained in both interpretations, and the amount of time spent is well balanced (there is less than a 40 second difference in time spent on each text). I slowly develop my GI and progress in each text, and I transition smoothly through signposting and identifying the GI.

Criterion D: Language 7
The pace, tone, and emphasis are appropriate. For example, I slow down and emphasize areas that are crucial. I also signpost throughout the entire IO.

Unhappiness

Kafka’s Unhappiness is narrated from the first person. In class, we discussed the idea that the ghost child may actually be Kafka’s concept of happiness. By presenting his happiness as a ghost, however, Kafka suggests that his joy is long gone.

In Unhappiness, Kafka examines the global issue of identity through the treatment of the ghost child and the adults. More specifically, through dialogue, it can be seen that Kafka’s fascist upbringing has him question the identities of children and adults in contrast to the western identity of adults and children.

Firstly, let’s examine the persona’s character. The persona, like Kafka, seems to enjoy the comfort of being alone as he was “startled by the sight of the illuminated street” (4). This is in direct contrast to the ghost child’s reaction to being indoors, where he was “instantly blinded by the twilight in the room” (19). Similar to “Children on the Highway”, Kafka uses the physical state of being indoors and outdoors to show isolation from society. The persona’s fear of the outside, as well as his childlike imagination- which is demonstrated when he pictures his “room as if it were a racetrack” (3) – while waiting for the ghost child to come, shows the potential reversal of roles in society. Indeed, another interpretation that I considered is that the adult seemed to be waiting for something or someone to come- the ghost child, his happiness.

Next, looking at the ghost child’s character, it can be observed that he acts in a way that adults acts, which is also in direct contrast to the adult’s childlike nature. The child talks in a commanding yet composed manner, but the persona aggressively berates the child and calls him a “stranger” (99). By referring to the child as a “stranger”, and also Kafka’s depiction of him as a ghost, the child is transformed into an unknown entity. One interpretation could be how Kafka grew up in a society where there were, in fact, child workers, and adults were enjoying themselves, where the treatment of the ghost child, or the treatment of perhaps Kafka himself, was wrong. Kafka perhaps recognised that this was an issue in his time.

The treatment of the ghost child can further be explored by the conversation between the persona and another adult, where the adult tells the persona, “you sound dissatisfied as if you had found a hair in your soup” (130). By comparing children to hair, especially hair in the soup, the child is presented as an annoyance. Kafka does this, perhaps, due to his father’s treatment of him, which is reflected through the adult’s treatment of the ghost child.

Another interpretation could be how Kafka’s upbringing resulted in his loss of confidence and lack of desire to socialise with others. This is seen when the persona tells the other adult, “if you take my ghost up/ there, then I’ll never speak to you again” (163-164). The persona’s tone is that of a child- he wishes to be with the ghost, and he is practically begging the adult to not take it away from him. With reference to Kafka’s life, this could mean that Kafka, at some point, really desired to be happy, but perhaps was unable to do so due to Herman.

Lastly, Kafka’s introversion can be observed as he chooses to stop the small talk with the other adult and return to his room. The persona ” preferred going back up and getting to bed” (169) in his room, which is where the ghost child was. This suggests that Kafka prefers to be in the safety of his own room, disconnected from the rest of society, as that is where the ghost child is, and that is where he is truly happy.

Feminism in ‘Woman at Point Zero’

The novel ‘Woman at Point Zero’ tells a story about a woman, Firdaus, that is suffering from abuse and oppression. The problems with the treatment of women are seen throughout her life: being sexually assaulted by her uncle and abused by her husband. However, Firdaus seemed to have accepted this discrimination, as she says: “Everybody has to die. I prefer to die for a crime I have committed rather than to die for one of the crimes which you have committed” (111). From her diction, the use of the word ‘prefer’, her passiveness hints at the helpless situation that she is in, as the decision, ultimately, is not hers. Furthermore, as she feels that she does not belong in society, she states, “All my life I have been searching for something that would fill me with pride, make me feel superior to everyone else, including kings, princes and rules” (9). In a literal sense, she has found anything that has made her feel superior or possess a sense of belonging. Moreover, the diction, such as ‘kings’ and ‘princes’, suggests that males are superior in contemporary society.

Journey’s End Interpretation Reflection

Living in the 21st Century, I thought that it was quite funny that soldiers in war were complaining about the type of fruit they got. What I didn’t realise was that it was often a coping mechanism for them for the horrors of war. In 1926, there was still pressure on men to be hailed as ‘heroes’: men who are brave, strong, willing to sacrifice themselves for the ‘greater good’. This is seen in Raleigh’s idolisation of Stanhope. Living in the modern world, the concept of being a ‘hero’ is quite vague, and it applies to both genders. However, regardless of the time period, Sheriff illustrates the horrors of war, and presents war as something sinister, not something to be celebrated.

This relates to the global issue: “beliefs, values, and education”. More specifically, beliefs and values. As times progresses, values and beliefs will change as well. This issue is present in the whole text, as we see many different perspectives in war. Stanhope is tramuatised, while Raleigh is enthusiastic. This is because of the lack of experience that Raleigh had. Towards the end, Raleigh is no longer a ‘child’, and he recognises the horrors of war. Sheriff perhaps is commenting on how experiences will affect an individual’s values and beliefs.

The Public and the Private – Secret lives in Carol Ann Duffy’s poems

This extract highlights the features in Duffy’s writing. Some of the more notable ones include reversing the stereotype and taking her inspiration from historical and mythological characters. A reoccuring feature in poems is the “reversal of expectations and assumptions”. For example, in ‘Mrs Darwin’, it was suggested that it was she who suggested the theory of evolution.

There are also several key themes, such as the transition from childhood to adulthood. In Duffy’s works, some of her personas remain “locked in an inadequete childhood”, while others “suffer from deracination and alienation through emigration to another culture”. Almost all of her works include themes revolving around feminism and gender steoreotypes. In ‘Demeter’, the final poem in THe World’s Wife collection, Duffy presents how the birth of a daughter can “transcend time and culture”, ‘bringing all spring’s flowers/ to her mother’s house’.

In the reading, I also learnt that prior to Duffy’s publishing of The World’s Wife, the identity of the persona was often unclear, and gender of the narrator, as well as their tone was often ambuiguous. Some of her works also include a third person narrator, which could perhaps be Duffy herself.

Cricket Song

Cricket Song Global Issue (Specific)- The faith in a greater power serves as a coping mechanisms for the hardships of war, and in their faith, they will be able to live on.

In the poem Cricket Song from the Green Rice poem collection, Lam Thi My Da utilises euphamisms and symbolism to emphasise the global issue of how faith in a greater power is a coping mechanism for the hardships of war.

The title of the poem is “Cricket Song”, not “Cricket Poem”, and the structure of the poem is similar to that of a pop song. When crickets chirp at night, all of their sounds unify into one. Perhaps the poet is suggesting that everyone is facing hardhips in war.

With respect to the structure, Lam Thi My Da’s use of symbolism is worth noticing. The poem begins with a description of the morning, as the cricket wakes up to “shining dewdrops” (3).The poet mentions her connection with nature towards the end, when she pleads “lying down in the green cradle where I began, On my dying day, please let a single dewdrop Trickle into my soul as a kiss, a tear”. In other words, the dewdrop is not only the tears of the people, but the tears of nature as well. Tears are an indication of pain and suffering, and the poet is suggesting that nature is suffering from this war.

The ideas of ‘alcoholism’ and ‘PTSD’ are introduced, when the persona says “so please just let me be a cricket singing nonsense words in the silent grass watching stars as my song echoes through the field Drinking in the sweet sun like honey”. The honey is a euphaimsm for alcohol, and the nonense words suggest insanity or other mental disorders. In a literal context, alcoholism and other disroders would not exist if the poet was a cricket. From there, the persona embraces death, and her innocent and unwavering faith allows her to “sing [her] timeless song Burrowing in [her] peaceful green carpet” (7/8).

•What went well? What surprised you?
I thought that my ideas and “the golden thread” worked out pretty well. I thought that my idea was a bit far fetched, however

•What is the area most in need of attention?
It seems to be that I tend to mention a few important concepts and just tend to skim over them without actually elaborating and finding enough quotes from the text to support it. I also spend too much time on annotating, and often I do not have enough time to write (more).

•What practical strategies can you develop to improve?
I will use SCASTIC to build a stronger analysis.

•Write one target for your next piece.
I hope to have a strong plan that I can stick to, and not (randomly) mention concepts without supporting it.

Chapter 7 Grendel

I believe that this chapter connects to the theme of identity.

In the seventh chapter of the novel, Grendel, Gardner makes a claim on identity via the characterization of Grendel.

Throughout the novel, Grendel is perceived as knowledgable. In the passage, he makes references to modern sciences: “mathematically, perhaps a torus, loosely cylindrical, with swellings and constrictions at intervals, knobbed–that is to say, a surface generated, more or less, by the revolutions of a conic about an axis lying in its plane, and the solid thus enclosed ” (Gardner 151).

However, Grendel is quite a hypocritical character. The chapter begins with him singing and dancing. He sings this song: ““ Pity poor Hrothgar, Grendel’s foe! Pity poor Grendel, O, O, O!” (148). Despite portraying himself as an intellectual, Grendel clearly has the behavior of a child.

At the same time, Grendel is a monster that murderers people. Despite all of that, Grendel himself also abides by a personal law: “balance is everything”. Throughout the chapter, there are multiple instances of balance: “they watched in horror, Helmings on one side, Scyldings on the other (balance is anything), and I caught the other foot and pulled her naked legs apart as if to split her. ”

Ironically, the “balance” could also be used as a euphemism for indecisiveness. Like a balanced scale, Grendel is on always swaying between two choices, despite this, he rarely comes to a consensus. This, ultimately, is seen at the end of the chapter, when Grendel proclaims: “the next instant, for no particular reason, I changed my mind.”

Perhaps Gardner is not directly criticizing the nature of society, but raising awareness of the dangers of indecisiveness.

Excerpt From: John Gardner. “Grendel.” iBooks. “

Global Issue in Grendel

In Grendel, beliefs, values, and education were addressed when the blind man sings of great feats of heroism.

The harper (the blind man) really has no way to prove or verify the events he sings of. He can only ask other people to obtain information. Ironically, the blind man is supposedly more knowing and wise than any other character. He manages to confuse other people’s views of reality and the events that they have witnessed. Ultimately, the author uses the harper as a pedagogical dynamic to inform his readers to be aware of the “truth”, as the truth differs from person to person.