Monday, 26 September 2016

Things Fall Apart Background Information

Things Fall Apart is an English-language novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe published in 1958 by William Heinemann Ltd in the UK. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and is widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world. The title of the novel comes from a William Butler Yeats' poem, "The Second Coming".

The novel shows the life of Okonkwo, a leader and local wrestling champion in Umuofia—one of a fictional group of nine villages in Nigeria, inhabited by the Igbo people (in the novel, "Ibo"). It describes his family and personal history, the customs and society of the Igbo, and the influence of British colonialism and Christian missionaries on the Igbo community during the late nineteenth century.


There is no specific date for the events in the novel.
Based on these same events, however, we can surmise that the novel takes place during the early nineteenth century to the early twentieth century.
The story occurs in Igbo territory in Nigeria.
Specifically, the plot unwinds in the villages of Umuofia, Mbaino and Mbanta.

Historical Context

British expansion had just gained relevance in the African interior.
Many of the missionaries, explorers and traders thought that the interior of Africa was a wild and dangerous place that was inhabited by primitive people.
There was a scramble for territorial control of Africa between 1870 and 1900 for two reasons:
           1. Africa was an untapped source for raw materials that could fuel the Industrial  Revolution in           Europe.

           2. Trade could be enhanced by using Africa as a stop off port on the way to the Middle East.

This scramble opened the door to the missionary's need to 'civilize' and 'enlighten' the population of this new colony/continent.

With the infiltration of these missionaries came churches and schools, both of which were instrumental in the colonising process.

The over arching result of the European infiltration was:
                    1. The indigenous cultural and religious practices were rejected and viewed as     uncivilized and heathen.
                    2. Tribal practices were outlawed.
                    3. Local judicial systems were replaced.
                    4. Trading posts and monetary systems replaced barter and rural systems of trade.

Social Context

The men are dominant and the women are subservient.
Social mobility is possible through personal achievement.
Success is measured by the number of barns one owns and titles that their wealth can buy.
The society is polygamous, and social prestige is accorded to a man that can afford to support      many wives.
The acquisition of a bride is a solemn event that involves ritual and ceremony.
Children are a sign of virility.
Villagers feel a sense of obligation to help each other.
Being hospitable to each other is very important.
Conversation involves ritual - palm-wine, kola nut, alligator pepper - and proverbs.
Members of the clan are prohibited from killing each other.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Things Fall Apart Audiobook

Monday, 12 September 2016

This is the Dark Time, My Love -Martin Carter

Link to a Reading of the Poem

The persona speaks to some-one that he cares for. He tells this person that this is the dark time, which is, in essence, a time of sadness. It is implied, by certain key terms; such as 'dark metal', that it is a time of war. The persona warns his 'love' that it is a dark, sad time.


Stanza 1, line 1 & stanza 2, line 7: The repetition of this phrase highlights that there is something seriously amiss. The persona is telling his 'love' that this is a sad and terrible time.

This device literally draws the readers' visual attention to the sentence. The sentence implies that everything that is good and positive is hidden away, or gone. This alliteration sets a sad tone at the very beginning of this poem.

This device emphasizes the sad tone of the poem. This is the case because flowers are usually associated with feelings of happiness and cheerfulness. Therefore, if the flowers - embassadors of joy -  are sad, then it highlights how really sad the times have become.

The contrast in this device is startling. The terms 'festival' and 'carnival' not only describes fun and festivity, but also a large amount of each. Both words are associated with huge crowds. This emphasizes how terrible the times have become because guns and misery are plentiful.


Stanza 3, line 13: This device informs the reader/ audience that a threat exists and that it comes in the dark of night.

Stanza 3, lines 14 - 15: It is implied that the threat is a soldier through the term 'boot of steel'. The 'slender grass' is the innocent youth who is cut down and trampled by these 'boots of steel'. The fact that we are given this information through the use of rhetorical question adds mystery and intrigue to the poem.

6.'All round the land brown beetles crawl about.'
Some variety of brown beetles are scavengers that feed on decaying or dead carcasses. Therefore, when the persona states that they crawl about, it implies that a lot of dead or decaying bodies exist in the land.

7.'season of oppression, dark metal, and tears.'
A season is an extended period of time. Therefore, the persona is telling his 'love' that it is a period of extreme sadness. This sadness is brought about by the 'dark metal', which can be literally interpreted as vehicles of war.

8.'man of death' 
The man of death, in this context, is the soldier.

9.'Watching you sleep'
Sleep is a state of extreme vulnerability. This is the case because when one falls asleep, they fall into unconsciousness, which equates to a state of defenselessness. The fact that the man of death, ie soldier, watches the persona's 'love' while he/she sleeps, implies that this person is not only vulnerable, but in extreme danger.

10.'aiming at your dream.'
The man of death's purpose is to destroy the persona's 'love's' dreams, or desires.

The mood of the poem is a sad one. The persona is giving his 'love' sad and depressing news.

The tone of the poem is also a sad one.

Racism, War, Oppression, Dreams and Aspirations, places.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Video Analysis of 'Dulce Et Decorum Est'



Saturday, 10 September 2016

'Dulce Et Decorum Est' by Wilford Owen



Wilfred Owen, the poet, tells of his first hand experience in war. He tells the tale of tired and wounded soldiers walking through dirt and sludge. Suddenly, there is a warning about gas, which the soldiers hurriedly and awkwardly heed by donning their helmets. Unfortunately, one soldier is too late in donning the helmet and his companions watch him 'drowning' in the gas. The unfortunate soldier was thrown in the back of a wagon, where it is implied that he was left to die. The persona points out that if you (the reader/ listener) could have witnessed these events, then you would not tell children the old lie: dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (It is sweet and honourable to die for one's country).



Stanza 1, line 1: This simile introduces the exhaustion of the soldiers.

Stanza 1, line 2: This emphasizes not only the tiredness of the soldiers, but the fact that they might be sick as well.

Stanza 2, line 19: This device gives a visual image of how the soldier physically reacted to the gas. Floundering implies flopping about, therefore, the soldier was flopping about violently. We know it was violent because fire and lime illicit excruciating pain.

Stanza 4, line 39: This device gives a visual image of the expression on the soldier's face. This is a particularly grotesque image that highlights the soldier in the throes of death.

Stanza 4, line 39: Cancer is a horrible disease that takes many lives on a daily basis. Therefore, to compare this dying soldiers face to this disease is to emphasize the agony that the soldier was going through, which was reflected on his face.

Stanza 4, lines 39-40: This is another graphic comparison that compares the soldier's face to incurable sores. 'Sores' is a disgusting visual image of degradation which, in turn, highlights the soldier in the throes of death.

Stanza 1, line 7: This device points to the level of fatigue that the soldiers were undergoing.

Stanza 1, lines 7-9: This highlights not only the fatigue that the soldiers were feeling, but the fact that they were injured as well.

Stanza 4, lines 29-30: This device highlights a visually graphic death mask. The soldier is in the throes of impending death.

3.'Bent double'
The soldiers are bent over with fatigue. It is very significant that the poet/ persona initiates the poem by highlighting the exhaustion of the soldiers. He is trying to emphasize the harsh realities of war.

4.'haunting flares'
Flares are typically used to signal distress. The flare is fired from a flare gun, in the air, where rescue crafts, at sea or in the air, can have a general idea of the location of the soldiers who are in distress. Therefore, to describe the flares as haunting implies that the soldiers are severly distressed by their situation.

5.'deaf even to the hoots of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.'
Five-nines are German 5.9 artillery shells. This means that bullets were firing around them while they were walking. The extent of the soldiers' tiredness is also emphasized at this point because the soldiers do not hear the shells going off around them.

6.'An ecstasy of fumbling'
The word ecstasy, that is used to describe the fumbling, implies the level of panic that this one word (gas) elicits. The soldiers' were so tired that they could not even hear the five nines, but this one word immediately wakes them up.

7.'Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light, as under a green sea, I saw him drowning.'
This describes exactly what the outside world looks like through the lens of a gas mask. The effect of the gas is seen in the mention of the word 'drown'. It implies that the unfortunate soldier could not breathe.

8.'He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.'
This is the very graphic result of breathing in the gas. It is a very violent reaction, as seen in the word 'plunge'. The dying soldier did not simply reach for the persona/poet, but he did so in a desperate manner, while all the time being unable to breathe.

9.'wagon that we flung him in'
The statement implies that the soldier was left for dead in a wagon. No regard was shown to him, through the use of the word 'flung'. This implies that war is heartless and tragic.

10.'Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.' 
This statement literally means it is sweet and honourable to die for one's country. The persona/ poet clearly does NOT believe this to be the case.

The mood of the poem is reflective. The persona/ poet is thinking about his experiences in WW1.

The general tone of the poem is both sarcastic and ironic. The persona/ poet tries to present a visual of the realities of war while using the haunting words that contradict that reality. It is, in fact, NOT sweet and honourable to die for one's country.

War, death, survival, oppression, patriotism

A video analysis of the poem will be posted tomorrow.

Friday, 9 September 2016

Dramatized Scenes from The Lion and The Jewel

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Persuasive Writing Notes

To persuade is to get a person or a group of persons to see something from your point of view or at least to understand how you see a situation.

In this type of writing you need to consider:

Audience:-knowing the audience to whom you are speaking or for whom you are writing. This will determine your Register.

Register:-this refers to the tone/language you use, for example, formal, informal, casual {formal to the Prime Minister; informal to a group of friends}This of course depends on the Subject.

Subject:-What you are writing about

Purpose:-reason for writing or talking about. Are you trying to:
-convince that your point of view is the correct one?
-appeal to someone’s weakness?
-get persons to change?

Persuasive Writing Must:
be logical
be based on fact
take into account the age, education and interest of the audience

Persuasive Writing should:
be convincing
use references to authority
use concise clear language without repetitions which make no sense
have clearly defined arguments

Persuasive writing can:
Appeal to emotions
Come from the writer’s imagination as well  as from experience

Persuasive writing includes:
Letters to the editor
Articles in the editorial of newspapers, agreeing or disagreeing with issues
Letters to members of the community, teachers, parents, presenting a point of view
Speeches meant to persuade or dissuade the listener or to express one’s point of view
Arguments, debates, speeches meant to express a point of view strongly

Monday, 5 September 2016

CSEC English A Course Outline 2016

English A Course Outline
Grade 10

Date:                           September-May 2016-2017
 Teacher/s:                   Miss Blair
No. Of hours:             3hours

This subject is designed to guide students to mastering oral and written language skills through a variety of strategies.


Duration: 1hour and 30 minutes
Duration: 2 hours: 45 minutes

This paper consists of sixty multiple choice questions.

All questions are compulsory (must be answered).

Paper 1 is worth 60 marks

This paper consists of SEVEN questions, arranged in three sections

v  Question 1

v  Questions 2 and 3: Answer 1 Question

v  Questions 4 and 5: Answer 1 Question

v  Questions 6 and 7: Answer 1 Question

You are expected to answer THREE (3) questions, ONE question from EACH section.

You MUST write in the essay format and develop all responses fully.


v Synonyms
v Antonyms
v Sentence Completion
v Equivalent Sentences
v Construction Shift
v Error Recognition
o   Misused/Mixed Metaphors
o   Clichés
o   Redundancy
v Usage
o   Spelling Errors
o   Subject Verb Agreement Errors
o   Punctuation Errors
o   Pluralization Errors
v Comprehension
o   Persuasive Passage
o   Advertisement
o   Narrative Passage
o   Expository Passage
o   Informative Passage
o   Poem
§  Poet
§  Persona
§  Figures of Speech/Figurative Language
ü  Alliteration
ü  Hyperbole
ü  Imagery
ü  Irony
ü  Onomatopoeia
ü  Oxymoron
ü  Paradox
ü  Personification
ü  Pun
ü  Metaphor
ü  Simile

v Summary
o   Identifying Main Ideas
o   Paraphrasing Ideas
o   Combining Ideas
o   Summarizing Passages
o   Summarizing Diagrams
v Comprehension
o   Persuasive Passage
§  Writer’s Tone
§  Writer’s Attitude
§  Writer’s Purpose
§  Irony
§  Sarcasm
o   Narrative Passage
o   Expository Passage
o   Informative Passage
o   Poem
v Letter Writing
o   Business Letter
o   Report Writing
o   Letter to the Editor
v Short Story
o   Character
§  Antagonist
§  Protagonist
o   Point of View
§  Narrator
§  First person Narrator
§  Third Person Narrator
o   Setting
§  Weather
§  Environment
§  Time
o   Plot
o   Conflict
§  Man vs Man
§  Man vs Nature
§  Man vs Himself
§  Man vs Society
o   Climax
o   Theme(s)
o   Resolution

v Persuasive/Argumentative Essay
o   Thesis Statement
o   Five Point Essay

This is the first part of the English A course outline. The complete document can be seen here.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Tips for Answering Comprehension Questions

1. Read the passage more than once to ensure that you understand it fully. 

2. Look at the questions after you feel that the passage is clear to you.

3. Express yourself as clearly and as accurately as possible.

4. Your answer should not be long-winded.

5. Use your own words to answer and do not copy sections of the passage unless you are      asked to quote. 

6. Remember the use of quotation marks when you do quote.

7. Always indicate clearly the sub-part of the question to which you are responding.

8. Skip a line between answers.

9. Answer each  question using  complete sentences.
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