What a book. Not only did Flowers for Algernon make me cry, but it made me think. In an explosion of ways, in all directions, about everything life and death and in between. I loved this book. I don't even know where to start, but I know I want to write about it so that… Continue reading writing || flowers for algernon
In Blood Wedding, Federico Garcia Lorca constructs an environment that is heavily weighed down by cultural expectations. As both a playwright and an accomplished theatre director, Lorca’s command of dialogue, musical drama, and stage direction is used with purpose to create this tense, eerie atmosphere. In particular, the play’s recurring intra-textual Lullaby piece gives audiences an insight into its cultural setting by mirroring the language and symbolism its characters later employ in describing their feelings of suffocation and tension. It depicts an ancient struggle – one that is still relevant enough to be passed on through the generations. And in it, we see the juxtaposition of carnal flesh and blood with inanimate trees and rivers, both symbols that serve as metaphors for the forces at odds in the play.
There’s a very good reason the most widely published books in history were works of fiction, chronicling the tales of ordinary men locked in an often fatal battle with a fellow man or a supernatural monster. Fiction captures the nuances of those ideas and imbues them in an ageless magic that enables them to last through centuries of change. Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Miller’s Death of a Salesman were written hundreds of years apart, but man’s struggle for power over his own life remains constant.
Not all works of literature use para-textual features in the same way – or even at all – but Maya Angelou’s prologue in her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, is a feature of the text which should not be overlooked, for it sets the stage for her to share her immensely difficult but powerful personal story. The piece’s title, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”, is an allegory referring to her realization of the beauty and meaning held back by the cage created by her physical, psychological, and interpersonal circumstances. Knowing this to be the central tension in Angelou’s life, and therefore her autobiography, the prologue presents itself to readers with a dual purpose.
The ultimate coming-of-age story that doesn’t shy away from even the more difficult topics, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” is immensely honest and vulnerable. Her experience being sent from mother and father to grandmother several times throughout her life is a situation not all readers can identify with. However, the truths she shares about family, love and self-identity through these experiences are universal. By chapter 33, both Maya and her brother Bailey have become adolescents, and their trials and tribulations are representative of those which many other adolescents face. In fact, Maya’s account of Bailey’s fight with their Mother illustrates several truths all readers can relate to when it comes to conflict between a parent and child. In particular, her use of descriptive language characteristic of a fencing match provides a lens through which to understand her mother’s and brother’s conflict, and thus the plight of our own youthful turbulent relationships with our parents.
The passage from pages 52 to 55 of the book “Mad Shadows” by Marie-Claire Blais presents a turning point within the novel. It is in these four pages that the deterioration of the characters and superficial relationships begins to occur. An aura of sickness and wickedness spreads throughout the family – in their bodies and in their relationships – foreshadowing the falling apart of the household later in the novel.
This was my [IB, HL English, Paper 1, mock-exam] commentary essay on the poem "My Father's Garden" by David Wagoner. In my class, we wrote this as our official midterm exam, and were given two hours. I was proud of the product so I decided to share it here. I enjoyed writing the essay too… Continue reading writing || Flying Purple People Eater: Spiritual Regression in “My Father’s Garden” | IB HL English Paper One Commentary