Mrs Taylor’s class, please post your homework here by Friday 9am.
Here is the P.Point from today. Slide 6 for the h/w. Unit 1 Section A feedback
Symbolism is used in “when the wasps drowned” to reinforce the themes of violence and death. When the wasps have been drowned by Eveline they “lay dark on their backs, legs kicking, wings too sodden to fly” which portrays not only death but also helplessness. The use of the verb ‘kicking’ emphasises the wasps’ vulnerability to danger and being killed as they are unable to defend themselves as they are basically trapped on the ground in a pool of water. The use of the listing of the wasps’ misfortune is used as a present continuous to prolong the suffering. The wasps are used to foreshadow the discovery of another death in story as both share a similar story and theme; misfortune and death. The wasps are seen as the greatest danger to the family but it is proven wrong as the real danger is Mr Mordecai as “a pale hand reached towards us” from his garden. The dead wasp and dead body link together as they both suffer from pain and vulnerability. The dead body would have just been like the wasps as they are aggressive like Mr Mordecai and both would have had their “legs kicking” as they would have tried to escape. Also, they both suffered before the end of their lives because of the actions of others; Eveline drowning the wasps and Mr Mordecai’s murderous actions. The fact that the body was found at “the end of the tunnel” represents helplessness as she was unable to escape from the impending doom of death; just like how the wasps could not escape the hosing of water.
Well done! Brilliant …
It is interesting that the wasps can be seen to symbolise the victim discovered later in the story – given that they are also the perpetrators of violence against a little girl. How can this be explained – anyone?
Perhaps the wasps are used to symbolise that sometimes perpetrators can also be victims depending on their situation. The wasp begin as the danger but in the end turn out to be the victim. This relates to the body as she is also the victim, however before she died she could have been a perpetrator; we simply do not know. The wasps and the body are both found in a garden which could symbolise that ‘safe’ places are not as always as safe as you think they are. This is proven in ‘when the wasps drowned’ when they would “lie in the garden and absorb the heat” presenting the idea that they like the garden and believe it is a place of fun. This is then ruined after Therese is attached by wasps as instead of enjoying the sun she “scours the grass for wasp corpses”. The use of the word ‘corpses’ foreshadows that she will find another corpse later on in the story.
In ‘Anil’, the “ghostly” tree is symbolic of the underlying corruption within the community; the gothic imagery associated with “ghostly” (which directly refers to and foreshadows the hanging which takes place upon its branches) evokes the mood of foreboding present throughout the story and emphasises the constant threat and inevitability of death within the community- the headman’s hands “expertly” tied the noose, suggesting that events like this have taken place in the small dwelling before. This perversion is ignored by the community due to their terror of execution, mirrored in the way in which Anil and his friends would “avoid going near the tree” for fear of being pulled into its depths and never seen again. This foreshadows Anil’s fate; by being a spectator he has become involved with the crime and is consequently banished- whether or not he will see his family again is improbable. Similar to the boys in the story, the writer encourages us to fear the tree; Noor exposes the consequence of deception with Anil’s tragic, heart-wrenching departure from his family: “I don’t want to leave you”.
How could there be a parallel between Packers End and the ghostly tree? How could they both be seen as symbols which reveal the development of Sandra and Anil?
This is really accomplished piece of analysis. Well done.
In “Compass and Torch” by Elizabeth Baines, symbolism is used throughout the novel to reinforce the theme of relationships, particularly between the father and son. The relationship between the boy and the man is struggling, and the symbolism is used to show how irresponsible the father is. As the dad “didn’t bring a compass”, neither know where they are going, in both a literal and metaphorical sense. The absence of a compass in the relationship implies a lack of direction, and the fathers forgetting of the compass reflects his neglect of their relationship. The boy also feels responsible for forgetting a compass, as he says “guess what, I forgot mine too”. The disappointment the boys feels for forgetting his compass, and having to remember it, is symbolic of how little responsibility the dad takes for guiding the son in their relationship, as without the compass their relationship has no direction. The boy loves and aspires to be with his father, which is shown in “mine too”, as he includes both his father and himself in his statement, accepting they are both at fault, whereas the father blames only himself using personal pronouns in “I didn’t bring…” The father does not direct his son in their relationship, meaning that the boy has to take too much responsibility at a young age.
Is the father irresponsible or did he not bring one because he really underestimated the terrain, the wilderness which is being a parent? I really like your examination of pronouns – efffective AO1/2 work!
In compass and torch, there are many symbolic values which help to understand the story and most importantly the relationship between the father and son. In this story, the compass is a guide on how to get a better relationship. Considering the father and son’s relationship is lacking. The compass is a symbol to guide them into having a relationship, however, the dad forgets the compass “I didn’t bring my compass” which means he has no idea where he’s going, the son is in the same situation as he also forgets his compass “and guess what, I forgot mine too!” which suggests neither of them don’t know what direction to go both literal and for their relationship. This means without the compass, there is nothing to help them guide them into having the relationship they desire. Baines also uses symbolism to present the theme of hope in compass and torch; the boy’s hope for a relationship between him and his father is shown through the symbol of the torch. We see this hope when the son finds out his dad has brought a torch with him on the trip, just like the son has, the son seeks this as sign of a relationship. “Have you brought a torch?” “oh yes!” this brings hope and aspire to the boy as they have both brought their torch which means they have something in common. This leads the boy to thinking that he and his dad now have a possible chance of finally having a relationship.
A really fluent, coherent and well expressed piece of analysis showing some effective cross-referencing. Lovely writing.
In ‘Compass and Torch’, the author uses the subtler symbol of the wild moorland ponies to represent the worries and doubts of the father surrounding his relationship with his son. This links to the theme On parking and getting out of the car, one pony ‘comes up to the car’ suggesting that he is already unsure of where they stand. His reaction is to ‘bat her away’. This is a dismissive action, as he is trying to put aside his worries. The description of the ponies as ‘wild’ evokes the idea that the man is unable to control his uncertainties, even as he tries to ignore them. Later in the story, the boy barely glances at the pony even when it was ‘a close-up display which could easily fascinate an eight-year-old boy’. This implies that the boy is ignorant of the man’s internal battle or alternatively that he is simply unconcerned and is optimistic about the future.
The symbol is continued through the story, parallel with the compass and the torch, but then features strongly in the ambiguous ending. The future tense statement ‘in his dreams the boy will see their wild fringed eyes and feel the deep thudding of their hooves’ suggests that the boy will remember the consequences of the trip for a long time afterwards. It may be physical (possibly an attack by the horses) or the emotional damage as the father realised that they are just drifting further apart.
Very effective interweaving of AO1 and AO2 – super point about the pony representing the internal fears of the father – but perhaps not the son. Well done.
Symbolism is used in My Polish Teacher’s Tie to present the theme of cultural difference. The symbolism of Carla being a “bird in a coal mine”, who gets “lost” in the underground tunnels provokes sympathy in the reader as we learn she has been forced to distance herself from her polish roots. The reader learns that the bird “sang and sang until it died” representing the metaphorical death of Carla’s mother tongue. This is saddening for the reader when we see her dominant father “put a stop to it” and causes us to feel sympathy for her. A canary is traditionally used as a warning signal for dangerous gases and to expose the risks in the area so when the canary “died”, it reveals there are risks and dangerous elements to today’s society. These are the current threats of racism and xenophobia. These risks are represented by Valerie Kenwood, the seemingly villainous character in the story, who says looking after Stefan is “hard work”. An alternative reading is that the bird could represent Stefan, and when the bird is “lost in the tunnels underground”, it symbolises foreign people being lost in our society and not finding acceptance amongst the prejudice. The verb “lost” has connotations of something frightening and scary symbolising the worry foreign people must feel in our country. The cultural difference in this story is also symbolised through Stefan’s tie. When we read “his tie was wider than normal ties” and “was red with green squiggles on it,” we can see it is symbolic of his optimism and confidence which is juxtaposed by Valerie Kenwood’s pessimism. This gives the reader hope that cultural barriers do not stop friendship. When Carla says “I like your tie,” it shows her acceptance of his culture and the celebration of her personal identity. It also presents Carla as the hero of the story. This reinforces the themes of friendship and acceptance.
Am blown away with the xenophobia interpretation and the canary – wonderful.
In When the Wasps Drowned, Therese’s dream of an “arm growing up through the soil” could portray the body as becoming unreal and nightmarish as she cannot comprehend with the horror of death. It could symbolise her guilt, and Eveline’s, so how it will grow and build up if buried or ignored. “Growing” perhaps portrays it as disturbing the garden where Eveline would “sunbathe” and “lie” in, and where Therese would play, as it was a place of innocence and safety. However the theme of loss of innocence and growing up is shown through the arm’s disruption, which could mirror how both of their innocence has be disturbed and is now gone. They have been forced to pre-maturely grow when faced with the reality of our mortality. The “thin gold ring” may also symbolise guilt as it is hidden from the mother, as is the body/guilt about it, because she wears it “only ever whilst Mum was at work”, and as Eveline is carrying an extra weight around with her. More morbidly, it could show how she has taken away something from the dead girl – symbolising justice for her death as being withheld by Eveline, when she holds her “hand behind her back” with the ring on in front of the police, and is “fiddling unconsciously”. The phrase could portray evidence of her questioning her deceit and that she is nervous about this. Alternatively, this “fiddling” could present her “fiddling” with the fate of justice for the dead girl and her murderer, but “unconsciously” conveys an immaturity that maybe she doesn’t know what she is doing is wrong or aware of the results of her actions.
A* orginality – fab.
Symbolism is used to present Carla’s lack of identity in ‘My Polish Teacher’s tie’. We are first introduced to Carla’s different Polish background as she recalls Steven’s poem about a ‘bird trapped in a coal mine’. We understand how Carla is reflected within the ‘bird’ and we learn how her mother tongue has been denied as the bird ‘sang and sang until it died’. It is later revealed how Carla’s Polish roots were taken off her as her ‘father put a stop to it’ – when she moved from Poland she was forced to conceal her true identity and instead had to adapt to the British culture. This links to the theme of cultural difference as it displays how Carla needs to rediscover her previous customs instead of adjusting herself to suit her surroundings. This provokes sympathy in the reader as they pity how she believes she can no longer express her Polish roots; the reader wishes she would rekindle her previous culture.
Love the final two lines where you open your analysis out to look at theme/intention.
Helen Dunmore, author of “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” uses symbolism to present ideas throughout the short story. Stefan’s personality in particular is portrayed in this way. He wears an unusual tie in the staff room, and as such stands out somewhat. Cara describes how it was a “terribly hopeful tie”. Ties are worn by people to fit in to social norms and societies, for example as part of a uniform, and it therefore suggests his efforts to fit in at the school, but ultimately how he failed as his tie was different and as such seems out of place. Furthermore, ties are often tight around the neck, choking and restricting people but Stefan’s is “wider than normal ties” implying how he is not confined by expectations or stereotypes, but instead is free to move around. Additionally, Baines’ use of the adjective “bold” to describe his tie is a short, monosyllabic word with the plosive /b/ sound showing his confidence, and him being unafraid of being different. The tie is a symbol of his uniqueness, colour and brightness, in the staff room of people so quick to stereotype and judge. Cara seems to learn this from him, and it plays a significant part in her character developing as the story unfolds, tying in with the strong theme of change in this story. Her opening statement: “I wear a uniform” suggesting a feeling of being repressed, contrasts strongly to her final comment “I like your tie” which conversely gives a sense of rediscovery and new life.
Interestingly the word ‘Tie’ also has a double meaning, and could be interpreted in the title “My Polish Teacher’s Tie” as the connection that Cara shares with Steve. He allows her to rediscover her Polish roots and as such she develops a close connection with him throughout the story and so perhaps this importance is reflected in the title.
Extremely lucid and well explained. Superb.
Wow. A perfect answer 🙂 Very neatly written. Excellent blend of AO1&2. Original and thoughtful interpretation. Congrats.
In compass and torch, there is a lot of symbolism used mainly to help understand the relationship between the father and the son. When the father and son are out on the moors they both realise that they have forgotten their compasses “I didn’t bring my compass” “and guess what, I forgot mine too!”, something that literally guides them to where they need to be and something that figuratively guides them within their relationship; since they have both forgotten their compasses they have no clue as to where they are going on the moors nor which direction they’re taking with their relationship. Not only does Baines use the compass as a symbol of how the father and son are feeling but she also uses the torch, both the boy and father remember their torches and forgot their compasses which shows there’s some kind of father son bond; this gives a glimpse of a relationship working out between the pair as there has not been much of one so far with the dad somewhat excluded from the boys life by his own will. However, as they both brought light with them it shows that a relationship could be on the cards and the torches are there to light the way into that relationship. The boy needs reassurance that his dad will be there from now on and he finds this reassurance in his dad also bringing his torch, “Have you brought your torch?” “oh yes!”. The boy sees this as a positive because of their similarities and assumes a relationship must come out of this as he is young and still quiet naïve.
Symbolism is used in My Polish Teacher’s Tie to present Carla’s relationship with her Polish roots. Helen Dunmore uses the symbol of Carla’s Polish speaking being the “a bird in a coal mine”. This could be linked to her father’s feeling of “What use is Polish ever going to be to her?”, as her Polish is symbolised as the bird, whilst England is the coal mine. The Polish language as the bird shows that, in many situations it could be advantageous to be a bird, however in a coalmine you are immensely disadvantaged by being a bird. This helps convey her father’s opinion that she should not know Polish. An alternative reading of this is that Carla is the bird and her song was the Polish, so she “sang and sang until it died”, showing that as a child she said spoke Polish a lot and then suddenly it stopped and could never start again, as shown by “died”. “Died” also creates morbid imagery, and emphasises how large a loss Carla had when she lost her Polish, it wasn’t just a temporary loss, but the eternal death of a part of her identity. Carla’s Polish being symbolised by a “bird” shows the fragility of it, and that if it is not nurtured, then she will lose it very easily. When it goes on to say “Everyone heard it singing, but no one could find it”, it shows the reader that Carla had been listening to the tapes of her as a child speaking Polish, and was trying to find that in her adult self. Her sadness at not being able to rediscover the Polish part of her identity is shown when she says “I think I’m going to understand what we’re saying, and then I don’t”.
A very sensitive reading of the ‘died’ and the fragility of the bird image – it has enabled you to produce a very sophisticated and intuitive response. I like your critical voice.
Misleading symbols of safety and new opportunities are used in “When the Wasps Drowned” by Claire Wigfall. When the children dig the hole in the garden, it is “tunnelling under our wall and into Mr Mordecai’s garden”. The suggestion of the wall as a limitation suggests that the tunnel is viewed as an escape route from the confines of their lives, contained within the house and garden, and that it travels away from their mundane lives. However, this is juxtaposed with the later-revealed sinister knowledge that Mr Mordecai is a very dangerous man, and that leading them into his garden has unknown consequences. The preposition “under” also has connotations of death and burial, implying that using this tunnel to escape may have deadly repercussions. The fact that the tunnel also contains “a pale hand” that “reached towards us” suggests that the contents of the tunnel is forcing the children back, and changes its idea from an escape to a kind of trap. It also implies that it could be a source of danger which brings trouble to them, hinted at by the verb “reached”; the introduction of the corpse into the children’s lives is seen to be deliberate and cruelly brought about by a contrary source – an apparent escape route for the children. This twisted scenario is not what it at first appears to be, mirroring the story’s theme of appearance and reality, and sets up other elements of the story which are not quite as they seem, such as the increasingly developed character of Evelyn.
A fascinating interpretation – you pursue it methodically and deftly. Very precise comments and well cross-referenced. I wonder if the tunnel, which you note as both opportunity /trap could link to adulthood? As something young people aspire to reach but then discover it presents dark truths and unwelcome experience?
In the story ‘compass and torch’ by Elizabeth Baines ,symbolism is used throughout the novel to reinforce the theme of relationships, particularly between the father and son. The compass strongly represents direction in the relationship but both boy and Father forget their compasses ;’ then he groans ‘ I didn’t bring a compass’ . This emphasizes the lack of direction both of them have obtained – They need directing in their relationship. Their very broken relationship struggles to strengthen due to the confusion between both sides , they are both lost which is symbolized by forgetting their compasses . I believe the father needs a moral compass , the lack of support and attention that he doesn’t show throughout the story shows he is lacking in respect for his son . The mother says ‘ he hasn’t seen his son in four months’ this justifies his lack of effort that he is putting into wanting the relationship to work . There’s a possibility the father had purposefully forgotten his compass as he knew the relationship was not going to work and without the aid of direction he knew it would crumble faster , which links to him removing the symbol for hope at the end of the story ‘he removed the torch from the boys hand’ . The lack of optimism for the relationship to work from the father is symbolised by his lack of thought to bring the compass .
It’s nearly 10pm – I’m tired , I have coursework to do next – I am sorry for the horrendous quality of this piece ; I hope you forgive me ❤
Nothing to forgive;) A really excellent interpretation which shows a real confident handling of the text – very impressed by your movement from one quote to the next whilst pursuing a singular idea.
Throughout the short story “Anil”, Ridjal Noor uses symbolism to further expose Anils thoughts, feelings and aspirations. Anil is ambitious to escape the traditional cycle of his community and seeks a way in which he can eventually fulfil his hopes and dreams. The symbol of the star is an essential in portraying the emotional turmoil which Anil experiences. At the beginning of the story, we are introduced to Anil as an innocent yet determined child who finds the star above him “fascinating”. His sheer passion and captivation towards the star illuminates his naivety but also his indomitable character. For thousands of years, people have used stars as a means of navigation on journeys and so perhaps his adulation towards the star reflects his desperation for some guidance on how to find a support for his optimistic future. However, his innocent optimism concerning his future is shortly destroyed after he is “numbed from the horror” of witnessing the woman “struggle for her life”. It is not surprising that after this disturbing occurrence there were “no more stars”. The brutal killing of the woman exposed Anil to the harsh injustice of the world and after discovering that humans are capable of such distressing horrors, his hopes of a successful future, like the star, are gone.
I am sorry it is very unoriginal
It is excellent. Well done.
A compass is used a symbolism in ‘Compass and Torch’, as it is used to give direction, which is what the boy and his dad need to reconnect and rebuild their relationship. The boy becomes upset, when his dad explains “I didn’t bring a compass”. The boy gets worried, because he feels like he needs something to point him in the right direction to becoming closer to his father. He relies on physical objects to guide him instead of changing his frame of mind to become more optimistic about the situation. However, when the boy sees that the dad is okay with not having a compass, he becomes relieved and cries “I forgot mine too!” He recognises that he doesn’t need objects to bring them together; they can do it on their own. He needed his dad’s approval, so he knows it is possible to reconnect without the compass or other objects. This links to the end of the story when the dad “takes away the torch” that apparently brought them together, which shows that they didn’t need it to continue the relationship. This conveys the theme of hope that the bond between them will continue to stay strong.
Good idea about the reliance on a tangible object rather than the abstract concept of love. Well done!
In Compass and Torch, Baines uses a closed gate to symbolise the father and son’s want to enter their relationship. The quotation “the road ends at a gate” suggests that both characters had been avoidant of the “gate”, which acts as the first obstacle on their journey, and shows that if they want to continue, they must be willing to open it. Baines writes that the father opens the gate “abruptly, too hard” and the word “abruptly” suggests that he’s tried to rush into the process, in a style similar to that of ripping of a plaster. It implies that he wants to get the relationship up and running quickly so that they can continue on the journey.
Very concise and insightful. Well done.
In ‘When the Wasps Drowned’, Wigfall uses the setting of the garden to symbolise childhood and its confinement and subsequent safety.
Eveline narrates that ‘finally I was tall enough to see peer over [the walls’] mossy tops’ – representing that she is on the brink of beginning to grow up and understand life beyond the ‘line of gardens’. The time phrase ‘finally’ portrays Eveline’s initial joy at this and desire for adulthood, giving a sense that she had been wishing for such a thing for a long time, further emphasised when Eveline, later in the story – therefore later in the summer, reveals that she ‘lay awake’ ‘listening to the street’, further conveying her interest in the things happening in the outside world and adult life. This directly links to the theme of growing up.
Super – and a very disciplined and streamline application of the suggested structure: AO2 device + detailed interpretation + cross-referenced quote + theme. Fab.
In Compass and Torch symbolism is used to present the relationship of the father and son. In the first passage the gate the father opens is used to foreshadow how he will attempt at their relationship but he isn’t successful as he ‘pushes the gate with one arm, abruptly, too hard.’ This could represent how he is keen for a relationship with his son but tries too hard at something he doesn’t know how to do. The father still makes the first move as he is opening the gate which is opening up the possible opportunities between him and his son for the future. The gate ‘swinging’ open and then slowly coming to rest may also foreshadow how their relationship goes; at first it is very full on with their camping trip but soon they realise their differences and their inabilities to know how to make their relationship work so slowly it dies out just as the gate comes to a halt.
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