Monthly Archives: December 2018

The Road, exercise two.

So I made notes in OneNote. Hope you can read my crappy writing. The Road by Cormac McCarthy

He pushed the cart and both he and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things in case they had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that he used to watch the road behind them. He shifted the pack higher on his shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the still grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? He said. The boy nodded. They set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.



The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Exercise one.

I had to start with researching other narrative styles.

First Person = I

Second Person = You (DnD/adventure games)

Limited Third Person = He/She/They, but limited view of just that character.

Omniscient Author = All seeing overlord

Unreliable Narrator = suspect assumptions

Observer Narrator = witness, not a character.

Changing the Narrator.

I pushed the cart and both the boy and I carry knapsacks. In the knapsacks are essential things in case we have to abandon the cart…..

By changing to the first person the story becomes present tense. I tried to write in the past tense but the urgency of the story became lost.

I tried to write second person, but my brain became overloaded and fizzed.

You push the cart, and both you and the boy carry knapsacks. In the knapsacks are essential things in case you have to abandon the cart…..

Again the tense has switched to the present tense. This time the reader feels directed, like a puppet.

Changing the narrator.

I reread the snippet and found that there’s a loss of control if the third person narrative is from the boy’s point of view. In the slice of story the man is clearly in ‘control’ of their actions with the boy following.

As for the choice of omniscient narrator, I find a detachment from the story, voyeuristic in its approach to the characters. Without reading the rest of the story I find it hard to deduce why. There are nudges towards some impending threat, so I presume it’s so the reader can remain outside of the story?

Fern Hill by Dylan Thomas

Close Reading

I found this particularly difficult as I had atrocious brain fog this year. A lot of distractions with my care agency handing my contract back to social services.

My first discernible thought is that the poem shows movement through time with seasonal references throughout.

“…happy as the grass was green”

A symbolic gesture towards spring, whereas later in the poem it nods towards the end of summer.

“…………………….., the hay

Fields high as a house,”

Ending with childless land and lamb white days, Thomas also reflects on the changing light through the seasons, from golden spring glow to white winter’s glare.

The imagery is vivid in this poem and it certainly brings images of farms and childhood. Of laughter and freedom. Lack of responsibility and growing. Using crops to symbolise the growing and maturing of a child into adulthood. The use of alliteration and consonance as poetic devices are apparent, even if Thomas’ lines are spread over many.

As to a rhythm there is one, its took me ages to find it.

My syllable counting of the poem.

Took me a whole evening to count the syllables in this poem to find a rhythm.

There’s a choppiness to the rhythm which I find reminds me of being easily distracted as a child. The meandering between activities, with school interjected between fun.

He also uses personification to add human qualities to the changing sun and seasons. I think this adds to the metaphors and enhances the symbolism of growth, time and life.

My scribblings on FernHill

I get to a point where I’ve read it so many times with brain fog that it becomes a jumble of words.

The last two lines confuse me. They seem to be referring to some constraint, and I can only allude to meaning, maybe the responsibilities which comes with adulthood, and with age, mortality.

“Time held me green and dying,

Though I sang in my chains like the sea”

Ways of Looking by Ossian Ward.

One of those books which I’d have missed if my tutor hadn’t recommended it. It breaks down viewing artwork into a formula which I can’t wait to try out.

  • Time: 5 breath rule. Just look at it whilst you breath.
  • Association: Do I relate to this piece of art? What do I feel?
  • Background: What’s the artist’s story? What’s their meaning behind this piece?
  • Understand? Has this helped you see the art from the artist’s point of view?
  • Look Again: Has your perception or opinion changed with this information?
  • Assessment: What do you think of the art now?

Apparently this is different to when Ossian Ward is critiquing a piece, when he uses Quality, Consistency, Endeavour, Originality & Bravery.

When I’ve read some more, I’ll come back and expand this post.

Terms and Definitions

Thought I ought to add a space that crosses all the units of my degree of terms I had to google!

  • Avant Garde. From the term advance guard. Forward thinking; radical; experimental.
  • Marxism. The belief that capitalism is unsustainable and socialism’s time will come. That the fundamental problems facing modern society are inherent in the capitalist ideology.
  • Postmodernism. Not a movement, a philosophical ideology that crosses industry.

The Seven Basic Plots

by Christopher Booker.

I loved this book so much I returned the ebook to the library and bought it instead. As a reader who inhales books, I have found this book so enlightening. Although the downside is now I’m breaking books down as I read them.

The book is constructed with four parts. The first part is the plot types. I’m half way through and loving it. So many notes….I’m still reading this book, it’s a whopper of a book, so I shall add to this post as I go. 

So the first part is the plot types. Christopher Booker, what an apt name…sorry I digress, has broken them down into 7 types. He then takes each plot type and breaks them down into a plan. For example, the first plot type Overcoming the Monster, I now realise how many of my books are this plot type. I read mostly fantasy sagas and they fit this type really well. Then C. Booker breaks the Overcoming the Monster plot down into the journey. Anticipation, Dream, Frustration, Nightmare, Escape from death, Death of Monster. Even watching the Avengers has become a different adventure!

At this point I’m torn between breaking the whole book down for you, or making you buy a copy. For now it will be making you buy a copy. 

Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction

by Christopher Butler.

This is one of those books that looks fabulous, a concise book to illuminate the reader. Then you open the cover and realise you need a dictionary for every other word. Rather than translating Postmodernism into a book for the masses it, which would have been fantastic, this reads as an academic essay. You’d have to already understand postmodernism for this book to explain it to you.

I shall endeavour to find a digital copy so I can use the inbuilt dictionary to translate this to english.