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Unit 4 English

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Title: Unit 4 English


1
Unit 4 English
  • Kooweerup Secondary College

2
Unit 4 - Outcome 1
  • Outcome 1
  • On completion of this unit the student should be
    able to develop and justify a detailed
    interpretation of a selected text.
  • To achieve this outcome the student will draw on
    knowledge and related skills outlined in area of
    study 1.
  • Key knowledge
  • This knowledge includes
  • an understanding of the ideas, characters and
    themes constructed by the author and presented in
    the selected text
  • the structures, features and conventions used
    by authors to construct meaning in a range of
    literary texts
  • the ways in which authors express or imply a
    point of view and values
  • the ways in which readers interpretations of
    texts differ and why
  • strategies and techniques for constructing a
    detailed written interpretation of a text,
    supported by textual evidence and including
    appropriate metalanguage
  • the conventions of spelling, punctuation and
    syntax of Standard Australian English.
  • Key skills
  • These skills include the ability to

3
A Christmas Carol
  • By Charles Dickens
  • UNIT 4 ENGLISH Introduction

4
HISTORICAL SETTING
  • Victorian London 1840s
  • Dickens writes to describe a London that his
    readers will recognise, for example, Camden where
    the Cratchits live. .
  • The Industrial Revolution had brought about
    irrevocable changes in England. Poor farming
    families flocked to the cities hoping to find
    better lives as workers in the massive factories
    that were appearing.
  • London suddenly became overpopulated. It became a
    difficult time for the poor. Debtors were sent to
    jail and their children to work in factories, as
    chimney sweeps or domestic servants.
  • Workers like Bob Cratchit were forced to accept
    whatever treatment and wage he was offered.

5
HISTORICAL SETTING
  • Dickens opinion was that those with riches and
    influence had a duty to take care of those who
    were less fortunate than themselves, particularly
    since their wealth was often
  • founded on the labours of a poorly paid
    workforce.
  • In A Christmas Carol, Dickens continued the
    deep commitment to social reform he had begun in
    novels like Oliver Twist (18371839) and Nicholas
    Nickleby (18381839), both of which sought to
    expose poverty and privation. (Privation a state
    in which things that are essential for human
    well-being such as food and warmth are scarce or
    lacking).
  • Workhouses centralized distribution of aid and
    provided those in need with a roof over their
    heads and a food allowance. They were seen, by
    wealthier classes, as a deterrent to idleness but
    were a source of terror to the poor (who regarded
    them as prison-like).

6
HISTORICAL SETTING
  • Dickens uses the relationship between the miser
    and his clerk to draw attention to the enormous
    gap between the living conditions of masters
    (like Scrooge) and their workers (like Cratchit).
  • Social conditions in Britain in the 1840s were so
    markedly divided that Dickens referred to the
    country as being made up of two nations, the rich
    and the poor.
  • Part of Dickens aim as a novelist strongly
    committed to social reform was to make his
    comfortable middle-class readers aware of the
    poverty and degradation around them.

7
HISTORICAL SETTING
  • The novella is a damning indictment of the
    inertia of the British government and public in
    the 1840s and their failure to respond to
    widespread poverty and suffering. (Indictment a
    thing that serves to illustrate that a system or
    situation is bad and deserves to be condemned).
  • Ebenezer Scrooge is an extreme example of the
    self-interest that Dickens sought to attack.
    Dickens lashes out at the greed and selfishness
    that he saw at the time.

8
HISTORICAL SETTING
  • Dickens used A Christmas Carol to criticise
    Thomas Malthus who argued that the world could
    not sustain a large population and that famine
    and disease should be seen as a form of natural
    intervention to prevent overpopulation. For
    Malthus, a small and affluent society was more
    desirable than a large population across which
    resources would be stretched. His ideals are
    repeated throughout the novella, for example when
    Scrooge asks, Are there no prisons? and
    suggests that the poor die to decrease the
    surplus population. Later, the Ghost of Christmas
    Present repeats Scrooges words to him to shame
    him with this reminder of his lack of compassion
    and empathy.
  • While the ideals of Malthus may seem logical,
    when applied to individual stories the underlying
    brutality becomes obvious. Dickens uses the
    Cratchit family to turn an abstract concept into
    a very real scenario.

9
HISTORICAL SETTING DICKENS
  • Dickens felt first hand the effects of poverty in
    his youth. As a result of his fathers lack of
    business acumen, Dickens spent some of his youth
    in a poor house.
  • Like Scrooge, Dickens worked incredibly hard he
    literally died at his desk. Whilst Scrooge and
    Dickens both loved money they see it for
    different means. For Dickens it represented
    security for him and his family, but for Scrooge
    it was more of a joy of money for its own sake.

10
GENRE
  • It is paradoxically a Carol in Prose
    (suggesting a light, musical theme) but also A
    Ghost Story of Christmas.
  • It is a novella shorter than a novel but longer
    than a short story.

11
GENRE
  • A Christmas tale
  • A Christmas Carol is not a religious tale.
  • The appeal for most people at Christmas time is a
    personal or family one.
  • Part of its appeal is stories (and carols).
  • Dickens offers a very personal view of Christmas
    (and insight into the family lives of Scrooge and
    the Cratchits).
  • All families have their own traditions that they
    hold dear and A Christmas Carol allows readers
    to reflect on their own experiences with it.

12
GENRE
  • A Christmas morality tale
  • In which evil is exposed, virtuous characters are
    rewarded and everyone celebrates at the
    conclusion.
  • Dickens first politicised Christmas book. He
    balances the cheerful with the bleak so that it
    was still well received by his readers. He had to
    take care not to articulate is broad political
    arguments too forcefully.
  • Christmas is traditionally a time to think of
    those who are less fortunate and whilst initially
    Scrooge refuses to adopt this ideal, other
    characters still demonstrate this belief, such as
    the two gentlemen.

13
GENRE
  • The gothic genre
  • It is a thrilling ghost story that is at times
    chilling and terrifying.
  • Dickens blends realism and the supernatural to
    create a world in which the Gothic and mundane
    sit side by side.
  • Eighteenth century Gothic writing was highly
    formulaic and often remarkably melodramatic,
    often set in castles or houses and saw a
    protagonist fleeing from supernatural horrors.
  • Dickens often drew on Gothic elements to
    sensationalise his writing, as is the case with
    A Christmas Carol with its dark, chilly setting
    and supernatural visitors.
  • Dickens includes descriptions of a tower and
    bell, which are often an element of Gothic
    literature. The tower and bell convey darkness
    and fear.
  • Dickens adapts the Gothic, using it
    intermittently in his descriptions and
    juxtaposing it with the real and also brighter
    scenes such as those of Christmas morning.

14
GENRE
  • A ghost story
  • Stories of spirits visiting the earth are some of
    the oldest narratives told by humans.
  • The idea of a ghost returning to warn someone to
    change their ways is timeless.
  • Many ghosts return to right the wrongs of the
    living, as is the case with Marley.
  • Once Scrooge accepts that he is talking to a
    ghost, seems to understand Marleys purpose.

15
STRUCTURE
  • His decision to write a novella reflects an
    understanding of the need for a piece of short,
    light reading during the festive season.
  • The piece is particularly concerned with time, to
    the extent that it can be considered a
    time-travel narrative.
  • The ghosts somehow truncate their visitations
    into a single night whilst moving backwards and
    forwards in time. This playful attitude towards
    time blurs the boundaries between the real and
    imaginary.
  • Structurally, Dickens readers move between his
    important socio-political message and the festive
    hilarity.

16
STRUCTURE
  • It is divided into five staves like a song (or
    Christmas carol) suggesting a lightness.
  • The three main visitations take place in the
    middle of the story, whilst scenes from Scrooges
    current life, before and after his conversion,
    frame his supernatural experiences.
  • The Ghost of Christmas present sits at the very
    centre of the novella. Part of Dickens message
    is a call for people to live in the present and
    take care of those around them, rather than
    hoarding up wealth for an indefinite future.
  • In the final stave, Dickens finally restores the
    festive atmosphere, whilst emphasising that even
    a man as removed from society as Scrooge can be
    redeemed.

17
STRUCTURE
  • THE FIVES STAVES
  • Preface (see next slide)
  • Scrooge at work with Cratchit and different
    visitors. Scrooge has dinner alone, returns home
    and is visited by Marley. (12 small sections)
  • Scrooge is visited by The Ghost of Christmas
    Past. He is shown a range of shadows from his own
    past and of people in his life.
  • Scrooge meets The Ghost of Christmas Present and
    is shown a range of shadows relating to Christmas
    as it is being celebrated in the present story.
  • Scrooge is shown the future by The Ghost of
    Christmas Yet to Come. This is the most
    frightening section of the story as Scrooge
    recognizes how meaningless his life has been
    through the scenes of his death.
  • The final section is brief but important. Dickens
    must show that he has learned all of the lessons
    the ghosts have provided. Here, Dickens ensures
    readers are convinced of Scrooges full
    redemption.

18
PREFACE
  • Sets up a contrast between the works seasonal
    humour and levity and the Ghost of an idea,
    which is its broader message about a shared
    humanity and responsibility.
  • Dickens assertion May it haunt their houses
    pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it suggests
    that he expects the story to have an afterlife
    and that its spirit (or the issues he raises)
    will linger in the home, perhaps providing a
    lesson to readers.
  • His hope that the idea will not put his readers
    out of humour with themselves, with each other,
    with the season or with me demonstrates his
    careful attempt to balance entertainment and
    didacticism (teaching a lesson or moral), so that
    his readers will learn from the story without
    feeling that Dickens has introduced misery into
    the festive season.

19
LANGUAGE
  • The opening and closing passages suggest a
    convivial (friendly and lively) narrator who
    might be telling the story to a group of close
    friends
  • The first, the Ghost of Christmas Past is gentle
    and has very little to say (besides introducing
    visions)
  • The Ghost of Christmas Present begins in a
    beneficent (generous/ doing good), jovial manner
    but as his time on earth grows shorter his words
    become more urgent and condemnatory. His
    vocabulary is appropriately bleak as he predects
    the doom ahead.
  • The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come is denied of
    language altogether, depending only on eerie
    gestures and the readers imagination to generate
    his meanings. Here, Dickens forces readers to
    project their own terror onto the phantom.

20
LANGUAGE
  • Scrooges own language undergoes a remarkable
    transformation. To begin his favourite expression
    is the dismissive Bah!... Humbug! His speech is
    limited to necessary communications only and when
    alone he is silent. The force of his words is
    emphasised through his growls and snarls.
  • Once he has been redeemed by the spirits ghostly
    visions, his language changes as rapidly as his
    personality. His speech becomes effusive
    (expressing feelings of gratitude) and is
    punctuated by laughter and expressions of joy. He
    also incorporates simile and metaphor into his
    exclamations and talks endlessly of his happiness
    about the second chance he has been offered.

21
LANGUAGE - NAMES
  • Dickens genius as a writer was his ability to
    create engaging and unique characters and names
    were important to Dickens.
  • Scrooge - contains the word screw (associated
    with tightness and being driven). It is also a
    harsh sound and suits a nasty character.
  • Cratchit somehow signals something worn and
    easily broken.
  • Ebenezer is an Old Testament name, as is Jacob
    (outdated for the time), compared to the more
    friendly and known, Bob.
  • Marley is an old term for sleet.
  • Names such as Fezziwig suggest unique qualities.
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