From Literature

Family Relationships in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

In Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, familial relationships, or lack thereof, between characters are presented as being highly illusory and idealised as well as far from the unhappy reality, in order to cope with the latter. Hence, Albee asserts that these falsely intimate familial relationships do ultimately harm to the characters’ mind and selves, despite distracting from the true state of relationship, and must be overcome to confront and mend reality.

‘Prodigal’

‘Prodigal’ by Boey Kim Cheng explores the less-known side of death, in the situation of a son who has lost a father, yet feels no loss. He spotlights the son’s unfeelingness and the reversal of a norm.

Bleakness and Hope in Ariel

While Ariel explores a desolate and oppressive world of black and white where its personae undergo suffering, the collection is ultimately a hopeful and uplifting one of rebirth, represented by the infusion of red that symbolises life, passion and energy. Plath explores how the creative mind imagines the possibility of recovery despite emotional despair, allowing for a redefinition and assertion of the self, reborn through suffering and death. Through the bleakness of a hostile patriarchal society, Plath suggests the hopeful possibility of an empowered female self. As a collection originally beginning with ‘love’ and ending with ‘spring’, Ariel is ultimately hopeful of recovery and renewal, having survived a bleak emotional winter.

Character Values in Pride and Prejudice

With reference to Chapter 7 of Pride and Prejudice, write a critical commentary on Austen’s presentation of character values here and elsewhere in the novel. Austen presents character values as ambiguous to characters who subscribe to societal conventions, by asserting that the welfare of others can be compromised or even sacrificed in the name of…

‘Boats’

Write a critical commentary on the following poem, considering in detail the ways in which your response is shaped by the writer’s language, style and form. 2019 JC1 Mid-Year Exam Boats                        You and your photographs of boats;that repeated metaphor for departure, or simply the possibility of a voyage?What you cannot tell me you tell me with a…

‘My own heart let me more have pity on’

Hopkins’ poem portrays a mind and self dwelling in a particular moment of turmoil, and the persona self-describes this psychological unravelling as it evolves from a state of anguish and despair into one of elevation and hope. The self, through the presence of this transition, is thus depicted to possess potential for transformation, capable of arriving at a more restful and reassured spiritual state from the disquietude of psychological agitation.

Angelo in Measure for Measure

This passage begins with Angelo’s soliloquy as he reveals the internal conflict between restraint which he had always strictly believed himself to live by, and the liberation of his growing sexual desires for Isabella. It then transitions immediately to a dialogue between Angelo and Isabella, revealing to the audience Angelo’s growing self-awareness as he gives in to his sexual temptations and allows them to manifest in his speech. Hence, Angelo is presented through this passage as a man susceptible to human passions and temptations of the flesh, just like any other fallible human being, contrary to earlier depictions of him in the play.

Expectations of Women in Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice, set in the early 19th century, is one of Austen’s most striking novels in terms of exploring the significance of being a woman then, as well as the social expectations and restrictive conformities tied to it. As such, the given passage highlights the austerity of society’s lens of scrutiny and extremity when viewing women. Furthermore, the passage accentuates how different hierarchical upbringing and social environments can affect the way women themselves view their own sex and by extension, marriage. However, this scene also acts as a benchmark, foreshadowing Darcy’s change in attitude further in the novel, when he learns to accept that the ideal woman does not exist, but the perfectly imperfect one does.

Reflection on Literature Festival 2019 #2

One of the performances that piqued my interest was that of A Bout, adapted from Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Although I have yet to read the entire play, I felt that the performance was a creative take on the conflicts and dynamics between George and Martha. The conflicts between the two were framed as a series of boxing matches, which had a rather whimsical mood to it. The enthusiastic announcer, the pompous entries of both “contestants” and the blaring fanfare that plays after each round was amusing and created a grandiose and theatrical atmosphere. However, beyond the entertainment value of this setup lies the intensity of the relationship between the two. Rather than inflicting physical wounds on their opponents as in a normal boxing match, the two engaged verbal abuse and mockery of each other, causing psychological wounds.

Reflection on Literature Festival 2019 #1

I found the presentation of Pride and Prejudice: The Sequel in a modern-day context where the characters were at a party very interesting as it emphasised the relevance of the ideas in the text to modern society. For example, we see Elizabeth’s strong feminist qualities, which are applicable to today, through her repudiation of the shallow mindsets of the other characters, especially Lydia and Kitty, as well as her rejection of societal expectations. The modern use of language allows us to link these ideas involved to those in the text. The use of language also helped me better understand the relationship between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy as I was able to understand Mr. Darcy’s slow inclination towards Elizabeth through the language used when describing his inner conflict and the dialogue in their interactions.