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English Department: Work of the Week

By 5 March 2021June 2nd, 2021No Comments

Year 7

Saffiya Abdul has written a fantastic narrative!

The Note

As I picked up the bag, I started to feel uneasy but also intrigued. Whose bag was this? I gasped as something glimmered in the corner of my eye. I smoothed it down, it was beautiful. A golden lock, as shiny as the sun and as beautiful as butterflies. Gems surrounded the edges as if protecting something inside. I suddenly felt a rush of excitement, which started to affect my breathing. I was unsteady, but what held inside left me horror- struck.

My fingers went numb and my blood ran cold as I dropped the locket. Inside was a note, not just some ordinary one. I was told in school that recently people went missing after reading a note. The rumours were that the notes held some type of hex or spell. I never believed in it…until now.

I was frozen and my body wouldn’t move. My fingers were numb and I was in pain. I passed out but in the last few seconds when I was conscious, I felt myself being dragged. Where to? Why? Who? Those were my last thoughts, before entering the unconscious world of horror.

“Hey?…Hey! HEY!”

 I gasped.

“You’ve been asleep for quite some time now, I started to get worried.”

I looked up, it was a girl. A strange girl but when I looked into her eyes, I felt a feeling of comfort.

“Would you stop staring at me?” She asked quite annoyed, though I wouldn’t blame her.

“Where are we?” I asked

 “Like I know! I just woke up here from the start, like you! I’ve been here for a few days though.”

A few days?! I was stunned. Immediately, I recognized her. Mary Greenhouse. One of the missing people.

“I assumed you read a note before being dragged here?” She asked calmly.

I nodded reluctantly. How could she be so calm? In a state like this? I looked around, more people were together, like a group. I assumed they were all asking each other the same question. Where were we? A sudden voice came from a loudspeaker.

 “Testing, testing? Ah! Here we go! You all have been chosen to participate in a series of games which will test your strength, speed and smartness. Winners will live and losers will, well… you know. I will explain more later but for now, you all need to eat up! You’ll all need your strength because for what’s coming, you need to do your best, TO SURVIVE!!!

Year 8

Here is an outstanding poem written entirely independently by Fatimah Matadar.

Broken

And so I dressed in baggy clothes, my hair still untouched.
I starved myself from sleep, and chewed off what was left of my fingernails.
My stomach begged for nourishment,
My mind warned me to stop,
But my heart told me to carry on.
So I carried on picking at my scarred skin, and biting my bloody lips,
And drinking more water than the ocean could ever hold.

I was at war with myself,
My mind and my heart were mortal enemies.
Headaches were a constant battle,
But they didn’t hurt anymore.
Nothing did.

My heart cracked once more,
As I lay there in my cramped bed.
I had no idea what was going to happen to me,
The numbness became more frustrating as time passed.

I didn’t need anyone,
I didn’t need friends or a family.
They think they know me.
I ask you, if you think you know me,
What kind of person am I?

Am I sweet and kind?
Am I cruel and ambitious?
Am I sarcastic and judgemental?
Am I a liar and a cheater?

My mind constantly wondered to scary places,
Places where I was the bad guy.
Places where I was alone and vengeful.
I was the one causing the screams,
I was the one who was taking their lives.
I was the monster.

I wanted to scream, to shout, to cry,
To ruin the lives of everyone I knew.
But the tears never came,
And I lay there in the dark, not moving,
Too exhausted to blink.

Trust was a weakness that only the strong can admit.
Everyone leaves.
I stumbled across a saying once,
‘Even your shadow abandons you when darkness comes.”
That was the moment when everything clicked.

So at my darkest hour, I finally got the strength to get out of bed,
I opened my window and sat on the ledge.
The cold air danced around me and truly opened my eyes.
I was lost and confused,
So I went to the only being that I knew would never leave me.

I whispered to her, the universe,
And told her about everything that haunted me.
Everything that had caused the circles under my eyes to deepen,
Though it took quite a long time for her to respond.

I sat there, taking in her beauty,
Admiring the peace of the night sky.
The way the long gone sun had once sent golden rays shooting through the horizon.
Adoring the way the paints in the sky blended together,
The way the stars had never stopped sparkling.
Even after every lightning storm,
Or the big claps of thunder,
They shone over us, assuring our safety.

For the first time in a long time,
I was fine.
And this time,
It wasn’t a lie.
I’m not a bad person.

And maybe I was too tired to think straight,
But she whispered back,
“You only ever need yourself.”
And in that moment,
I was okay.
I was finally okay.

Year 9

Well done to Mariya Suleman who has written a fantastic MAPIt response on the character of Eddie Carbone in ‘A View from the Bridge.’

In the play, Miller presents Eddie as indecisive and toxic. He uses a comparative sentence when he says “I don’t care what question it is. You – don’t – know- nothin’” to show that he is in control. The phrase “I don’t care” implies that Eddie feels as if he is always right and does not care about the fact that Catherine is old enough to look out for herself. The overall message of this quotation shows that Eddie is a very dominant person and will always have some command over Catherine’s decisions as it is in his nature to have some kind of leadership as the “man” of the house. Readers may feel sympathy for Catherine as she is naive, clueless and unaware of how Eddie is actually treating her. This could contrast with the fact that men in those times always had to be the person who had power and ran everything whole women were expected to obey.

Secondly, another way Miller presents Eddie in this play is as vigilant and possessive. He uses a declarative sentence “you’re walkin wavy” to indicate that Catherine’s hips are attracting attention as the way she is walking expresses the movement of her hips. The adjective “wavy” suggests that Eddie feels it is very erotic and he is trying to imply that it is dangerous but Catherine is unobservant meaning she isn’t educated about the real dangers of the world. Readers may feel as if Eddie is doing the right thing as Catherine walking past men may attract danger that she is not wary of. Similarly, this links with the fact that Eddie is possessive later on throughout the play because of Catherine and continues to supervise her.

Year 10

Here is a brilliant article written by Phil Ufuoma.

Freeview with no Bill


Nowadays the companies of catch up TV and on demand streaming services are taking the world by storm. With your favourite shows available just by the touch of your fingertips, online streaming has never been easier but does that mean the beloved Freeview channels should just be tossed out the window because the more conveniently accessible apps and online services are now in the picture?

In my opinion, I believe that the Freeview channels will forever be loved and bring a sense of nostalgia as the foundation for the now ever growing platform for video on demand streaming service increases but as one door closes another opens and it’s time for a new era in the production industry and that means removing the Freeview channels and ushering in the better used apps and services maybe even making it more accessible than it already is. 

As people have already moved on from Freeview over the years, it only makes sense to now stop it as it’s no longer worth funding for the small percentage left watching it. As it very well might be free for its audience, Freeview channels actually cost the current shareholders: BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Arqiva and just recently Sky, money to run them and this could easily be abolished therefore allowing those companies to invest more money in their already growing on demand apps and services such as BBC IPlayer and ITV hub. This will not only make the companies more money as more people will want to come due to the more improvements they make but the former Freeview audience can move to a better on demand and free platform with all the shows they know and love.

Another reason why we should move into the future with on demand streaming apps and services is because it has a vast variety of shows that are constantly added to on a weekly basis so a customer can constantly binge watch and never get bored or uninterested as something new is always being added unlike the standard same shows always playing on the Freeview channels. Another advantage of these variety of shows is that because they are already in the app or online service there will be no need to record or skip back as you will never miss a show again; you can simply rewatch the episode or go forward in episodes with the click of a button. Who wouldn’t love it?

Although viewers with a few more years on their life such as the elderly would thrive on Freeview as maybe they haven’t known anything else, they wouldn’t be familiar with the thought of on demand services and just simply don’t know how to navigate it so will more than likely rely on Freeview for their entertainment pleasures. Who are we to deny them at such a fragile age? As well as this, some viewers may not have the funds to purchase subscriptions for the luxury of on demand streaming so will also rely on Freeview to entertain them for the times they have to themselves and by taking it away, it’s like stripping them of their enjoyment.

In conclusion, I believe Freeview should be done away with and there should be change in the TV and entertainment industry to on demand apps and streaming services. Both businesses and consumers will benefit greatly from this decision: businesses will generate more money from the plethora of subscriptions coming in and the consumers will get the chance to enjoy the highest quality of entertainment the world has to offer – obviously a win-win on both ends.

Year 11

Holly Hargreaves has written a tremendous essay on the character of Mr Birling.

How does Priestley present Mr Birling throughout the play?

Immediately, Mr Birling uses a patronising tone when he talks to Gerald and Eric, he feels as though he is giving advice as he is a ‘hard headed, practical man of business’. The fact that Priestley intentionally portrays Mr Birling as a narcissistic, supercilious father indicates his lack of emotional connection with his son, everything and anything is to do with business. He has so much self-belief, he believes only he can know business and the way to make money. Furthermore, Mr Birling believes ‘community’ is ‘nonsense’ and doesn’t look out for any other individual. From a Marxist perspective, the audience would oppose Mr Birling and his views portraying himself as the bourgeoisie and start to resent him from the moment he enters the stage. 

Ongoing through Act One, Priestley presents Mr Birling as a sycophant as he implies that his ‘duty’ is ‘to keep labour costs down’, conveying how he believes in Capitalism and because Eva asked for even a small bit of money he believed ‘she’d had a lot to say’ and ‘so she had to go’. Priestley has shaped Birling in this way so that it can be transparent from a Marxist perspective that Mr Birling doesn’t have any compassion for those who need help because if he did, he would help to raise labour costs and aid Eva with a small amount of money. The fact that Eva only gets one chance to ask for the money could mirror how that’s what caused her to be sacked and forced to work at Milwards which was her only job where she was happy, until Sheila ruined it for her. Again, it is as though the Birling family are the ones corrupting Eva in a financial way. Not only this but as Eva has only one chance to ask for money, the Birling family will only get one chance to change and admit to their crimes against Eva. Everybody only has one life which denotes to audiences that they should change to more morally correct people in society, than be like the Birlings who with a 1945 audience are rejected for their views. In addition to this, Mr Birling cannot stand the thought that the lower class aren’t all criminals. He sees that everything they do is wrong and that it’s their fault for the position they’re in. When Eva got the job at Milwards, Birling supposes that ‘she got herself into trouble there.’ However, what he doesn’t understand is that not all the lower class people are criminals as this is sometimes the opposite, upper class people can also be criminals. Audiences know from a Marxist view that the bourgeoisie exploiting the proletariat is a crime which the upper class are blind to because they think that is how they should treat those inferior to them. 

Following on from Act One, in Act Two Mr Birling is conveyed as secretive and devious as he sees ‘no point in mentioning the subject – especially -’ then he cuts himself and the stage directions show he is ‘(indicating Sheila)’. He is trying to hide the truth from his own daughter which highlights how cunning and manipulative he is because this indicates that he doesn’t care for her happiness or welfare. If he did care he wouldn’t try to cover up Gerald’s affair but he wants to sustain the facade he has built. The way Priestley has used the stage directs to show Birling isn’t directly addressing Sheila links to Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory. Birling is represented as the Id because from this he gains instant gratification which is the benefit of the marriage for his business. In contrast to this, Birling changes his ideas to seemingly caring for Sheila as he comments that his ‘daughter, a young unmarried girl, is being dragged into this’. As the audience however, we know that he is only saying this to benefit himself by sidetracking the Inspector onto Sheila rather than himself. Birling is also oblivious to the fact that the Inspector is omniscient and so already knows how to handle his sly ways of shifting attention and responsibility. Not to mention that it shifts the bad attention from Mr Birling onto the Inspector for upsetting a ‘young’ and innocent girl. In addition to this, Birling states that Sheila is ‘unmarried’ which links to how the marriage is the base of higher profits and benefits for his business and that he is using his daughter for money and status. At the heart of the marriage is the business which from the Marxist theory connotes that the bourgeoisie will do anything to exploit individuals more vulnerable than them. Audiences would be ashamed of Birling for treating his daughter in this way and being superficial rather than a responsible parent who should be looking out for the wellbeing of his child. 

After this point in the play as Act Two progresses, Priestley designs Birling as a callous and unfeeling character as all he cares about is the future benefits of his business that will result from Sheila and Gerald’s marriage. Birling tells Sheila that he is ‘not defending’ Gerald but tries to justify the affair by saying that ‘a lot of young men’ have affairs, almost making it sound normal. This conveys that again he has no care for his daughters welfare or happiness as he is continuously trying to keep up the facade so she will marry Gerald. It exemplifies that men can seemingly get away with treating women like toys and disposing of them whenever they feel like it. Priestley uses Birling in this way as it links to the male gaze that all women are made for men’s entertainment and justifies that men get bored and therefore, they’re allowed to have affairs. Audiences in 1945 would see this as harrowing and abhor Birling’s misogynistic behaviour. Likewise, Mr Birling thinks so highly of himself as he believes that because he is a public man he should have ‘privileges’, however, the Inspector corrects him that ‘public men’ have ‘responsibilities as well as privileges’. The stage directions used here signify that the Inspector says this ‘massively’ which could suggest how he is coming to power in the face of Birling. The Inspector is a socialist and therefore it reflects how socialism will come to power and defeat capitalism or knock it down, just like he is doing with Birling. Priestley presents Birling as a hypocrite because he doesn’t take responsibility for his actions and denies all allegations against him. This highlights to the audience that because he won’t take responsibility for his crimes, then he shan’t receive any privileges. 

Moving into Act Three, Priestley portrays Mr Birling as a volatile, paranoid and impertinent character as he is like a ticking time bomb that can explode at the slightest thing that doesn’t go his way. Priestley uses the stage directions to describe how Birling is ‘explosively’ talking and has a look of ‘interrupting explosively’. The juxtaposition used here by Priestley denotes the transparent contrast between Birling and the Inspector. It also mirrors the difference between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Adding to this it could foreshadow to World War Two with the bombs and explosions that are volatile and unpredictable just like Birling. Similarly, Mr Birling is impulsive and violent as he threatens Eric, calling him a ‘hysterical young fool’ and shouting at him to ‘get back’ or he’ll hit him. This again refers to his explosive behaviour and paranoia because Eric could say something that reveals any secrets and ruins the facade. This links to Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory as Mr Birling is representative of the Id. He is acting on his impulses as he was about to hit Eric which he would’ve gained instant gratification from as it would have shut Eric up, preventing him from letting go of any secrets. Audiences would feel dismayed and guilty that they can’t help Eric and they would feel dejected about his position in this dysfunctional family. 

Finally, nearing the end of Act Three and the play, Priestley uses Mr Birling as a mixture of all the emotions he has been throughout the entire play; manipulative, ostentatious, controlling, hypocritical and oblivious. Birling’s hypocrisy is emphasised when he is ‘shouting, threatening Eric’ to ‘stop shouting’ yet really he is also yelling. Additionally, he states that ‘some fathers’ he knows ‘would have kicked’ Eric ‘out of the house’ for all that he’s done. Priestley created Birling to say this as it indicates he is abusing his power not only as a father and an elder, but also as a public man due to his familiarity with the other fathers he knows in society. This reflects the difference between upper and lower class people. Upper class people generally care more about their reputation over their family, whereas the lower class value their family and the small things. Birling would sooner have his son kicked out of the house than have a shadow cast on his reputation. In comparison to this, Birling is presented as manipulative as he returns back to persuading Sheila to marry Gerald, just so that the marriage will go ahead and send his business soaring. He doesn’t care that it won’t make Sheila happy, his only interest is that it will make him happy and his business will become more successful. He tells Sheila to ‘ask Gerald for that ring’ and tells her it’ll make her ‘feel better’. His cunning nature is again brought to life here and his controlling attitude. The fact that the marriage is for business and not love to him could suggest that he never felt any love for his wife and only married her because she was of a higher status. That may have been the only reason he married her as it boosted his status within society. The stage directions also show how he said it ‘heartily’, conveying how his heart lies within business not love or family. Audiences are left stunned at Mr Birling’s callous nature and lack of adoration for his family which should, amongst social responsibility, be the most important thing to him. Again this links to the Marxist Theory that everybody should be equal within society and how Birling is completely against this view.

 

 

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