Saturday, 27 October 2012

Film Club

As a Halloween treat  'Coraline' was shown at Film Club. The room was packed with students from mainly years 7 and 8 rushing in at 3:15pm as Mr Hanlon was still blacking out the room.  As the room filled with excited chitter-chatter,  treats of popcorn and space invader crisps were passed around. The classroom was transformed into a mini cinema as the image appeared on the large screen and the soundtrack blasted loudly through the surround sound system.  With the rustling of packets and crunching of crisps, the atmosphere of the room became a Halloween special in itself.  As soon as the haunting opening credits began silence took over the room and the air filled with excitement as everyone goggled at the screen munching as silently as possible.

'Coraline' is a tale about a little girl who finds another world through a little door where everything seems perfect, but not for long... There are strong similarities between this film and 'Alice in Wonderland' and 'Pan's Labyrinth' as both films follow the main protagonist, a young female character, who searches in a dream world for something missing in their own world. 

From the childrens' reactions after the film it was clear they had enjoyed it despite finding some scenes frightening. All had positive feedback; a new-comer said he would 'definitely come again' as he had so 'enjoyed the film even though it was scary'. The students' resentment at having to leave the film world and the atmospheric room to go home and back to reality was evident.

However, there is always another film to look forward to after a long hard day at school.  The Christmas Film Club treat? 'Elf', of course!


Why We Love a List.

I, myself am a self-confessed, obsessive list-maker. But what is it about lists that we love? I look along the magazine shelf and nearly all the covers use them: 'Top Ten Buys' '5 ways to lose weight' etc. On magazine covers, The 'most wanted' list, shopping lists, Schindler's list, bucket list, friends list, to-do lists, MTV top 40 and wish lists.  Lists are everywhere. Is it the use of order and organization it creates or the control over our lives that makes people write a list.

When I write a list I feel a weight suddenly lifted from my shoulders, like as if my chaotic life has suddenly become clearer. Similar to disorders such as anorexia, could writing a list be a way of dealing with a lack of control we feel we have with in our day-to-day lives? Stress is amplified when something negative and unplanned occurs as it creates disorder and as we know, people like routine. Writing a list gives a clear plan for our day, a routine, making it easier to cope with hassles because we know what is happening next creating less confusion and keeping our day calm...

Writing a list clears our minds of smaller worries such as forgetting things we have to do and also makes us able to establish which tasks are more important and need to be done first. Also, like maths, it is easier to see what needs to be done and when and how we need to do it if it is written down instead of retained in our mind along with the confusion of other thoughts, emotions and mental processes; just like how subtracting or dividing is easier when written down than when solved mentally.

If everyone likes order, then is everyone a little autistic? How do we separate social norms such as writing a list to being obsessive such as following a day exactly in the order written with time frames, leading your life by a time table.... And finally, who is to say we what is socially normal? Maybe in years to come writing a list may be abnormal and living life in chaos normal because 'you only live once'. Who knows.

Love O

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

FASHION:bad things

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Bonjour Tristesse

There is a moment in time when the world stops for a second and then everything around you slows as you digest the new information. It goes through one ear like a spear, piercing through my brain before exiting the other. Hello Sadness. If I were older maybe, I would have welcomed you with bitter sweetness however not yet. I stare blankly at her face unable to process the words. Who is she? What is she saying? Tears tumble down her face with elegance and poise. Another week and I will find out our destiny. Oh how I loathe reality...

Love O

Monday, 8 October 2012


What do you do when you like someone, but you know, deep down, that they don't feel that way about you? Every time you see them it's like no one else in the room exists, because in that moment in time, they are all that matters. Everyone describes this feeling as butterflies, but why? I don't feel the fluttering of wings deep down in my belly. I feel a sensation of happiness overwhelming me, like you do when you see a best friend but so much more...
This is where the confusion lies. Do I try and try, to make him like me back? Or do I resign and take my place as the friend who will always be, just-a-friend. Am I ready to wave the white flag and surrender to this game, this challenge? Or do I fight to win?
A friend suggested playing 'hard-to-get' but what if one plays so hard-to-get, that the other person just sees them as cold and bitter? Shouldn't I just 'play' me? But something about him.. His gaze.. It's so hard to be me when he's around, I mumble incoherently and babble like a baby just learning its' first words.
What is this? Who am I? I am a calculated, skeptical and independent woman that relish's in the idea of success and achievement. I love order. But nothing about how I feel or my confusion is logical. It can't be argued for or against like a case study nor can it be reasoned. If only Einstein came up with an equation for the laws of attraction like that of energy. Attraction=mc². Ahhh that's better. But then I think, how dull would life be, if every problem had a solution or an equation to solve it. One of the beauties of life, is the mysteries it holds... Then again, life would be simpler if he felt the same. Like a checklist, I could tick of one of the problems from my list of daily hassles. 
Would I be at my most content if he reciprocated my emotions? Or if these emotions of infatuation, attraction and lust didn't exist? It's not being out of love which is confusing or displeasing but as Romeo quoted 'Out of her favour, where I am in love'.

Love O

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Jane Eyre: Opening Analysis

Charlotte Bronte’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is a novel that takes you on a journey through an eponymous heroine’s life. Jane starts off as a dependant, delicate and isolated young orphan and through experience at Gateshead hall becomes a strong, independent and successful woman.
Bronte uses a first person narrative which brings a strong bond between the reader and Jane as we see the world through her eyes. It also makes Janes experiences real, as though we are living through her abused, harsh and lonely childhood. For this we really sympathise with Jane. Jane is an ill treated orphan girl; she has no correlation with her aunt or cousins and is a ‘discord’ at Gateshead hall. Jane feels vulnerable and emotionally unstable; we feel a great deal of sympathy towards Jane as she questions her existence and at just the age of ten is already planning attempts of suicide. The reader is made to feel hatred towards Jane’s aunt as she continually neglects Jane because she is different to her own children. Jane’s aunt-Mrs. Reed- dehumanises Jane and is aware that Jane is being bullied by her son John. Jane's childhood is most definitely not a happy one.
Jane lives with the Reeds because her uncle took her in following the death of her parents; Jane’s mother was her uncle’s beloved sister. If Jane’s uncle hadn’t died all would most likely be well for Jane. Mr Reed loved Jane dearly. He could have left her for the poor house but he took Jane in and treated her as his own until the day of his death where he made Mrs. Reed promise to treat her as well as her own children. Little did he know that her promise would not be kept.
When Jane has an outburst of rage at John Reed, after he pushes her too far it really surprises us. Jane is terrified of John Reed yet she follows her gut instinct to fight back and her feisty character shines through this shy girls fear. ‘Unjust, unjust’ she screams at john.  This gives us an insight to her independent and liberal future.
By the end of the second chapter charlotte Bronte has succeeded in: showing us that Jane has a strong and free future ahead of her,  creating sympathy for the heroine and showing us how out-of-the-ordinary this young girl is. She is by far more intelligent than the average ten year old.
‘Jane Eyre’ is a Victorian novel which reflects the customs, beliefs and traditions of the 19th century society. The novel relies on the experiences of the writer to make experiences throughout the book realistic and believable; only one who has experienced so much horror in one’s life can recall the violence realistically. The novel Jane Eyre was influenced by Charlotte Bronte’s life. Bronte uses experiences in her own life to relate to Jane. Bronte, like Jane, had to come to terms with the death of a parent at a young age. Bronte lived in isolation along with her sister in Yorkshire. Like Jane, she too went to a boarding school. Another thing both Jane and Bronte had in common was  being brought up by a cold and unfeeling aunt. The similarity between Bronte and what she describes as a delicate, isolated and lonely child makes us deeply sympathetic to both of these shy, reserved women.
Society’s class structure was very important in the Victorian era. If one was of a higher class, he or she couldn’t mix with anyone of a lower status. For this Janes’ mother was disowned; she was from a rich family and yet she married a poor clergy man. Moreover, moving between classes was difficult. If you were poor, you were most likely going to die of starvation in a poor house. If it were up to Mrs. Reed, Jane would be in a poor house .But, much to her dismay it was her husband’s dying wish for Mrs. Reed to bring Jane up like one of her own children. This has left Jane feeling isolated and dependant. Her father was a poor curate yet her mother was of the landed gentry. Jane doesn’t  really fit into either class because although she has been brought up into a middle class family, she is not accepted by the Reeds and is treated as a dependant. ‘You are a dependant’ ‘You have no money; your father left you none’. Sympathy is created as ten year old Jane is constantly rejected and neglected by the Reeds.
The position of women in the Victorian society was extremely degrading, sexist and unjust. Women were subservient to men. The men were the ‘master’ of the house. It was expected that middle-class women would make a career out of marriage. Their jobs would be looking after the children. The only real job women in this class could do, would be some charitable work.  Single women, on the other hand, could become a governess and teach children-for they have none of their own to look after. Jane starts of as subservient ‘say, ’’what do you want Master Reed’’,’ by becoming a governess at Thornfield hall Jane becomes more intelligent and free to think and do as she wishes.
Both gothic and romantic influences are used throughout the novel. Bronte uses them to create fear and isolation. The romantics believed that art and nature where powerful and that it helped you find your inner self. The romantics also believed that everyone can fulfil their potential and destiny. Jane has a romantic nature; she is strong willed and will succeed. In chapter two she fights her fears by retaliating against John Reed. This shows that Jane will overcome all bad in her life. Jane also has a strong sense of justice like the romantics. She questions why she has been treated so indifferently. An example of this is ‘Why was i always suffering...For ever condemned?’ Jane is presented by Bronte in a very romantic manner; she uses pathetic fallacy and nature to describe Jane’s feeling of coldness and isolation. Bronte also shows us that Jane finds herself through imagery of adventure and nature books. Moreover, gothic influences are used in chapter two, Bronte builds up horror when Jane is treated badly and left locked alone in the red room. Jane is convinced that her uncle-who died in the red room- has come back from the dead to haunt her and take revenge for the way Jane has been treated. This creates a chilly, dark and depressing atmosphere. The superstitions that Jane has been manipulated into feeling have left her terrified. Jane screams to get out, but her heartless aunt locks Jane back in leaving her on her own in her virtual nightmare. Then subsequently Jane faints from fear and we are left on a cliff hanger...
The setting is described in the first to chapters and is also used to create sympathy for Jane. Gateshead hall is a large country house, this shows off their wealth. Furthermore we know they are well-off by the furniture and rooms described. Examples that show wealth are ‘folds of scarlet drapery’ and ‘small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing room.’ They also own numerous bed chambers and own lots of books. Only the rich owned books; only the rich were taught to read. The use of rich materials ‘covered in a crimson cloth’ suggests wealth and opulence.
Jane doesn’t like living at Gateshead hall. Despite all the wealth and comfortable furniture Jane does not fit it because she is unloved hence this big house doesn’t feel like home to her. Jane feels a sense of awkwardness in this big house an example of this is ‘I was a discord’. Jane is left isolated in this mansion, unloved, for she is neither a servant nor is she accepted as part of the family. ‘You are less then a servant, for you do nothing for your keep.’
Bronte starts chapter 1 with pathetic fallacy and then uses it to lead into Mrs Reads’ dislike for Jane. Jane detests the cold and wintry weather as she despises the Reeds. The miserable setting is affective at setting the mood and reflecting Jane’s emotions-‘clouds so sombre’. Even Jane’s imagination is dark and isolated. Whilst looking through adventure books filled with images she uses words like ‘forlorn, bleak, dreary and desolate’. Jane sees the worst of everything ‘ghastly moon’ because the Reeds are always negative towards her. Her imagination and ideas reflect her depression.
Bronte’s description of the red room also creates sympathy for Jane. Jane’s passionate and wild emotions transform the bedchamber into a vision of pure horror. ‘Glittering eyes of fear’. The red room is described in Jane’s point of view: scary, overwhelming and horrific. It is called the red room to add an element of fear, passion and danger. Abbot uses gothic references to panic Jane. For instance ‘God will punish her: he might strike her dead’  ‘say your prayers Miss Eyre’ and ‘ something bad might be permitted to come down the chimney and fetch you away.’ The servants shut Jane in the room leaving her to her terrors and nightmares. Jane thinks her uncle has come back from the dead to haunt her because his last wish has not been carried out. Jane sees the room with a supernatural presence. Everything in the room becomes terrifying, such as ‘the room was chill’. Although the red room is scary it also has a sense of mystery-‘Secret drawer’. As the room gets darker and the day turns to night Jane’s imagination goes wild. ‘Glittering eyes of fear’ and tiny phantoms’ are examples of what Jane sees in the dark room. Nothing is how it usually seems, furniture becomes bloody and ghostly.  The concept of a big, dark and empty room with a little girl in it increases our sympathy for Jane. It is clear that Jane is vulnerable and has an emotional break down when she faints.
The novel Jane Eyre is written in first person narrative. This makes the eponymous heroines experiences so real. She describes the settings, her family and her treatment in her own perspective. ‘Me she had dispensed’. In addition it makes the novel true to life, convincing and recognisable; we see events from Jane’s point of view. The first person narrative is also an effective device for creating a bond between the reader and the main protagonist, our sympathy is naturally extended unconditionally towards Jane; we feel what she is going through. Hence we are encouraged to be sympathetic towards her situation.
Jane sees herself as an inferior and less attractive to her cousins. For example ‘humbled by the consciousness of my physical inferiority.’ As a result to her low self esteem and lack of confidence she is a likely victim of bullying as she is so vulnerable and such an easy target.
We are sympathetic towards Jane as she recalls her childhood in an adult’s point of view and our sympathy increases as the adult Jane acknowledges that no matter how stunning she was Mrs Reed would always be irritated by her. ‘Now, at the distance of-i will not say how many years, i see it clearly’, ‘i had nothing in harmony with Mrs. Reed.’ Mrs Reed is irritated by Jane because Jane is above the intelligence of a child-Jane would rather read a book than play outside-and her aunt does not understand this so she excludes Jane instead of trying to understand her.       
Bronte reveals Jane as a lonely and isolated character. Her life is so sombre, so lamentable, that even when she tries to escape from her realty to the world of her imagination it is dark, desolate and filled with evil. She hasn’t been loved or happy in so long that she can’t imagine what it’s like. Jane looks at adventure books and separates herself from the rest of the world, leaving her to her own imagination. She hides behind the curtains and reads. ‘Folds of scarlet drapery shut in my view’
Bronte uses very little dialogue between Jane and Mrs Reed to emphasise on the coldness and distance of their relationship. Jane never asks Mrs Reed anything, the only time they speak consists of Mrs Reed chiding Jane. ‘Jane, i don’t like cavillers or questioners’.
Mrs Reed thinks of Jane as a nuisance and doesn’t value her ideas or opinions. More over Mrs Reed thinks Jane always acts and lies- ‘I was a precocious actress in her eyes’- that everything Jane does is just a charade. Mrs Reed addresses Jane as if Jane is always lying. Even when Jane is begging her aunt to get out of the red room her aunt shows no mercy. ‘I abhor artifice’. Mrs Reed is very much dictatorial and shows no affection towards Jane. We readers are initially shocked by how Mrs. Reed treats Jane and by the way she speaks we instantly know that she is in charge and has the power.
Bronte uses John Reed as a catalyst to increase our sympathy for Jane. We, as the reader going through Jane's experiences, loath John. ‘Every morsel of flesh on my bones shrank when he came near.’ John Reed constantly dehumanises Jane and physically bullies her. John is a big, fat 14 year old boy and Jane is a petite, 10 year old girl. The idea of such a big grotesque boy bullying such a small terrorised girl increases our sympathy for Jane and our envy towards John. John is the master of the house. He can do what he wants, when he wants and he knows that there won’t be any consequences for the actions he takes. ‘He bullied and punished me’. ‘Won’t i tell mamma? But first...’ John exploits his power by bullying Jane. Furthermore John forces Jane to address him how he wishes and constantly belittles her.
Jane's’ resentment and strong will to keep on going through the suffering she faces in the hands of John Reed shows her strength and potential to do well and be successful.
By the end of chapter 2 Bronte has successfully described Jane’s increasing anxiety and fear which increases our sympathy for Jane. We readers recognize that Jane has been treated unfairly. Through chapters 1 and 2 we watch Jane’s fear increase and progress until all the tension and anxiety is too much for ten year old Jane and she loses control. In conclusion by the end of chapter Jane is a victim of bullying, terrified and isolated but surprisingly she still has a strong spirit that nothing can get past and from this we know that Jane inevitably will do well.