Blog 4 – A letter to Mr Gradgrind

CREATIVE: Write a letter to Mr Gradgrind telling him what you think about the way he treated his own daughter, particularly with reference to the marriage arrangements he has created.

Dear Mr Gradgrind,

It has come to my concern that you are encouraging your daughter to marry someone she does not love, and you are encouraging her to marry for materialistic reasons. You have completely misunderstood what a real relationship and marriage should be like. Real relationships manifests through love, comfort and trust which create a deep connection between two people. You cannot call it a marriage when you are arranging it out of a desire to gain wealth or status. Your twisted belief that one cannot be emotional and passionate in life is making you lust after meaningless things in life, and now you are unfairly controlling your daughter to do the same. Mr Gradgrind, I urge you to rethink your morals, values and decisions that will have detrimental affects to Louisa’s life. You have lost the essence of what it means to be human and what marriage was intended for.

Furthermore, I have to make a point and say that even though Sissy Jupe is your servant, it is you and your daughter who I feel sorry for, because she was raised in a much more carefree environment and consequently has much more imagination, compassion, and freedom than you. Again, please consider rethinking your thoughts and actions, and free Louisa.



Peer Review 3

Hi Marija,

I really like this poem, as you build imagery through descriptive language, and you really capture the essence of the poems, ‘Expostulation and Reply’ and ‘The Tables Turned’. Your use of rhythm and repetition makes the form of the poem quite lyrical, which is very interesting. Keep up the great work!

Peer Review 2

Hi Riley,

I like how you’ve explained your understanding of Jane Austen’s intent of the novel, as Austen makes it clear that it is Emma’s ego that creates the chaos in the novel. In order to expand this entry, I would provide some quotes from the text to prove your points about Austen’s intent of the novel, but nonetheless keep up the good work!

Blog 3 – Charles Dickens’s prayer for Coketown


Write a brief critical appraisal of what you think Dickens’s main complaints are about Coketown – from the passage we explored in tutorials today.

It is apparent that Dickens outlines the many wrongs of Coketown in his novel, Hard Times, through syntax, imagery, word choices, and several other literary devices. Dickens’s sentence structure is very lyrical and repetitious to emphasise the quotidian lifestyles of people in Coketown:

It contained several large streets like one another, and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited by people equally like one another, who all went in and out at the same hours, with the same sound up the same pavements, to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the last and the next.

The word choices of “same”, “every day” and “equally” gives the reader an impression that there is no sign of individuality within the community of Coketown, and that they’re almost like a machine, as they are programmed to do the same things in the same way every day. This also builds visual imagery of a dystopian society, similar to George Orwell’s novel 1984. Another example of visual imagery is when Dickens utilises a metaphor to establish the gloomy atmosphere of the town: “serpents of smoke”, the word choice of “serpent” and “smoke” could also symbolise some form of evilness that lurks in the town.

The employment of elongated sentences throughout the chapter establishes a prayer-like tone, the idea of this passage being a prayer is reinforced in the last elongated sentence that ends with a reference to the glory be: “world without end, Amen”. Another reason why this passage is almost like a prayer, is because he critiques the monotonous atmosphere of the town through elongated sentences, so when the reader reads these long sentences, it is hard to pause and breathe. This makes it seem like Dickens is preaching and praying for the town, revealing a sermonising quality in the novel.


Works Cited

Dickens, Charles, and Roland John. Hard Times. 1st ed. Harlow, Essex, England: Longman, 1995. Print.

Blog 2 – The exploration of women’s rights in Jane Austen’s novel, ‘Emma’.

CRITICAL: Both Mary Wollstonecraft and Jane Austen are concerned with the way women lead their lives. Do you think there is any difference between what Austen and Wollstonecraft propose about how women should spend their time?

As I said in my previous blog, Wollstonecraft explicitly advocates for women’s right to an education in ‘A Vindication of the Rights of Woman’. Austen on the other hand, implicitly does this by creating characters like Emma and Harriet who don’t recognise their self-worth of capability. Considering that women were not granted the right to an education in the Romantic period, one can see why Emma spent most of her time thinking that match making was what she was destined to do, instead of pursuing an actual profession: “I planned the match from that hour; and when such success has blessed me in this instance, dear papa, you cannot think that I shall leave off match-making”. This statement shows how she occupies most of her time trying to accomplish meaningless tasks, and the word choice of “success” conveys Emma’s warped view of what success means to her.

Harriet is presented with a low sense of self worth as she obsesses over unrequited feelings from Mr Elton. One of the many reasons for this is because women in the Romantic period were told to focus on pleasing men: “And so then, in my nonsense, I could not help making a treasure of it—so I put it by never to be used, and looked at it now and then as a great treat”. The fact that Harriet treasured meaningless things left by Mr Elton emphasises the desperation Harriet feels to marry, highlighting another socio-cultural issue where young people were pressured to marry, and by reading Emma, one can see that some couples would marry in order to gain wealth or status, as opposed to marrying based on true love.

Therefore, both Wollstonecraft and Austen share the same beliefs that women should spend their time being educated and pursuing a professional career, instead of being objectified in society.


Works Cited

Austen, Jane, and George Justice. Emma. 4th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2001. Print.

Wollstonecraft, Mary. “A Vindication of the Rights of Woman”. Lynch, Deidre Shauna, and Jack Stillinger. Volume D: The Romantic Period. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2012. Print.

Peer Review 1

Hi Josh,

This is an interesting and descriptive entry about the Romantic period. I also like the picture you’ve included, as it enhances your entry. I believe that it is vital to study the context of any text that one reads, as it can allow the reader to understand the author’s intent of the novel or poem. In order to improve this entry I would change the last line of your entry to: “how our lives would be if romanticism didn’t exist”. I would also join the paragraph where it says “various” to the previous paragraph. Overall, you’ve done a good job in providing important information about the Romantic period, so keep up the good work!

Blog 1 – Mary Wollstonecraft’s most important advice to women of her time


4/ CRITICAL From reading the opening pages of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Woman write what you think is Mary’s most important advice to women of her time.

Early British feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, who is known as the founder of first wave feminism, wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman as a response to political theorists of the 18th century who did not believe that women should have an education.

Her advocacy for women’s rights stimulated important changes in society such as granting women the right to an education. She argued that education should not be exclusive to men, and that the right to an education is a human right, regardless of one’s sex. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman essentially explores the power and capability of women, thus breaking the objectifying view of women: “men who, considering females rather as women than human creatures”, the word choice of “human” implies that women weren’t viewed as humans but rather as sexual objects, which highlights the sexist and misogynistic attitudes towards women. Another quote that exemplifies this is when she states: “marriage may become more sacred: your young men may choose wives from motives of affection, and your maidens allow love to root out vanity”. This suggests that men are supposed to marry women for the right reasons and that men’s objectification of women stops men and women from having sacred relationships.

Wollstonecraft also stresses the importance of allowing women to be role models for their children:

If children are to be educated to understand the true principle of patriotism, their mother must be a patriot; and the love of mankind, from which an orderly train of virtues spring, can only be produced by considering the moral and civil interest of mankind; but the education and situation of woman, at present, shuts her out from such a investigations.

This shows the power of what educated parents can do, as they teach their children, and children are society’s future.

When I was recently on a train commuting to my placement for teaching, I noticed all the women around me wearing their work uniforms and realised how far we’ve come as a society as a result of Wollstonecraft and other feminists prompt for change.


Works Cited

Lynch, Deidre Shauna, and Jack Stillinger. Volume D: The Romantic Period. 9th ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 2012. Print.


Best Creative Entry

Blog 4

Hi everyone! This is one of the very few free verse poems I’ve recently written. I was inspired by T.S. Eliot’s style of writing and the certain ideas and themes he conveys in many of his poems including Wasteland, Preludes and Journey of the Magi.


Tired bones decaying in the ground

When shall the dirt dissolve for them to rise up?

Generation after generation, mistake after mistake,

Trespassing away.

Duty, responsibility, sacrifice,

These values exist to reform humanity.

What will open their minds and save their souls is the question,

Miracles are within nature

But with their whole being,

They cannot see or love the sanctity in the world.

Best Critical Entry

Blog 8

Through studying George Orwell’s essay, ‘Politics and the English Language’, as well as his novel, ‘1984’, I’ve come to understand how powerful language can be, and how politicians, journalists and psychologists can carelessly or intentionally use words to mask the truth.

In Orwell’s essay, Orwell provides an example of how a person of authority can waffle and not actually answer the question when being asked about a humanitarian crisis where the public have the right to know the truth:

While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigours which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement.

Instead of outright saying: “I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so”.

In 1984, Orwell’s employment of paradoxes in the first chapter, such as “War is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance is Strength” exemplifies the manipulative propaganda the inner party enforces over the outer party and the proles, creating a dystopian society.

The ironic slogans of the party such as, “The Ministry of Truth” and “The Ministry of Love”, which is referred to as “Minitrue” and “Miniluv” in “Newspeak”, are considered to be coded messages that heighten the actual truth of the situation, as the word ‘mini’ means ‘minimum’, which suggests that these ministries actually contain a small amount of love and truth.

The lack of freedom and privacy in the working society is also evident in the first chapter. The recurring phrase, “Big brother is watching you” displayed on a television screen, serves as a symbol of constant surveillance and gives the reader an understanding about how much power and control the inner party have over the outer party and the proles. The recurring phrase also highlights how the totalitarian government repeatedly misuses language to threaten them.


Works Cited

Orwell, George. Nineteen Eighty-Four. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Co., 1949. Print.

Ramazani, Jahan, Jon Stallworthy, and Stephen Greenblatt. The Twentieth Century And After. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton, 2012. Print.

Summative Entry

In the first week of this unit, I learnt about the importance of literature, art and music in the 20th century. Artists like Picasso, used different conventions of art to make a statement and explore the outcomes of war through his famous painting, Guernica. Similarly, Igor Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring that challenged the traditional ways of composing music.

My second blog is in the form of a letter to Wilfred Owen expressing my appreciation for his ideas that exposes the truth of war in his poetry, and how his ideas need to be understood by everyone and applied in the government to establish worldwide peace.

Erich Maria Remarque’s novel, All Quiet on the Western Front also exposes the impacts of war and contains other meaningful ideas about not taking life for granted, living in the moment by appreciating the simple aspects in life, as these simple aspects are miracles in itself.

My fourth blog is what I consider to be my best creative entry. It is a free verse poem inspired by the works of T.S Eliot, who is one of my favourite poets because of his unique style of writing, the modernist ideas and spiritual themes he conveys in his poetry.

The excursion to the Art Gallery of New South Wales also taught me a lot about modernism. Vincent Van Gogh and Lucian Freud both focused on revealing humanity at its core. Lucian Freud, was interested in exposing how people are and was also fascinated by the physical truth of bodies, which is why most of his paintings are of people sleeping. When people are asleep, they are themselves. Like Lucian Freud, Gogh was interested in portraying the soul and the energy of a person, regardless of their social status in his works, as he considered everyone to be equal. To view my fifth blog, click this link:

Studying the works of Virginia Woolf, who was also a modernist, made me appreciate and consider the importance of her works, as she addressed the issues of the traditional structure of writing in her essay Modern Fiction. Woolf stressed the importance of ‘looking inwards’ in the characters of a short story or a novel, as opposed to focusing on the outward appearance of the characters, hence her utilisation of the stream of consciousness in her novel, Mrs Dalloway. To view my letter to Virginia Woolf, click this link:

Looking into the life of George Orwell reminded me of the importance of knowing the context behind a novel or any form of literature, including the biographical context of the author, because the author’s experiences in life can help shape their ideas on important topics in life, and therefore explore these ideas in their literature. Orwell’s ideas on how language can be misused by politicians, psychologists and journalists to mask the truth are explored in his essay Politics and the English Language, and his novel, 1984. Furthermore, I consider my blog on Orwell’s essay, Politics and the English Language, and his novel, 1984, to be my best critical entry. To view my best critical entry, click this link:

My last blog is another free verse poem inspired by the works of many immigrant writers such as Wole Soyinka and M. Nourbese Philip. It explores the history of indigenous inhabitants in many countries in the world and how they were oppressed, and the impacts of this oppression. Impacts include, the loss of identity, culture and the separation between families.

When studying the interests, concerns and experiences of writers in the 20th century, I realised how they’ve assisted 21st Century human beings in their understanding of the purpose of existence and the importance of appreciating certain aspects in life that humans tend to overlook and take for granted.