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AS and A Level: Other Criticism & Comparison

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  1. A Comparison of the Role of Fantasy in The Vampire Lestat and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone

    Anne Rice however designs 'Lestat' for complex, teenage readers endeavouring to captivate them with the bold, 'sensual' character of Lestat. The first sentence, short and candid, 'I am a vampire,' seeks to shock and charm by countering the expectation of the usual hidden depiction of dangerous, mythical creatures, portraying them as socially recognised and welcomed, a feeling both Rice and Rowling's fans desire for themselves. A common sentiment between all youths is alienation; both authors relate to their readership, via fantasy worlds, possibilities outside of their respective realities.

    • Word count: 791
  2. "Harrison Bergeron" by Kurt Vonnegut and current American politics.

    One example that shows that our government is heading towards a total socialist society is the Obama Heath Care Plan, which mandates all Americans to purchase health care insurance. If any Americans has not met the necessary requirement they will be found with charged a misdemeanor offense and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will impose fines that will be automatically added to their tax bill. ( 1 ) This is just the start, we may be heading to a society much describe in the short story written by Kurt Vonnegut, a society of absolute uniformity among humanity due to a socialized government.

    • Word count: 1086
  3. The texts, As You Like It by Shakespeare and Angelas Ashes directed by Alan Parker communicate the notion of identity and its inextricable connection to belonging

    The McCourt?s are a dysfunctional family, as Mr. McCourt?s alcoholism and unemployment present a barrier to positive loving relationships between family members. Constant high angle shots reinforce Frankie?s small size and powerless position as a child witnessing his own family collapse around him which results in Frankie questioning his own values and forces him to become independent form a young age.

    • Word count: 490
  4. Control, submission and rebellion in the novels The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood, Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the film V for Vendetta.

    Offred first shows her defiance against Gilead?s system by having a discreet friendly relationship with the commander. The commander is one of the main founders of Gilead. How ironic that Offred?s rebellion was aided by the person who helps make the rules himself. The commander asks Offred to have a game of scrabble; Offred does not refuse even if she knew the consequences by doing so. She says ?My presence here is illegal. It is forbidden for us to be alone with the commanders.? This suggests that despite Offred?s knowledge of what could happen to her if she gets caught; she decides to grant the commander?s wishes anyway.

    • Word count: 4491
  5. In the short stories The Dolls House, Her First Ball both by Katherine Mansfield and Thinking of Bagheera by Owen Marshall, important ideas were developed for the purpose of showing the contrast between nave attitudes of youth and cynicism of age

    Leila is from the countryside and it’s her first time attending a city ball. Leila somewhat feels socially out of place as she is not a ‘city girl.’ This is why “an old man-fat” targets her because she is naïve. When the fat old man and Leila are dancing, the fat old man tells her “And you’ll smile like the poor old dears up there, and point to your daughter, and tell the elderly lady next to you how some dreadful man tried to kiss her at the club hall” to make her feel indifferent.

    • Word count: 1280
  6. Literary theory- new historicism applied to Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein"

    ?Historical Criticism looks for evidence about the economic, social, and political events going on at the time a literary was produced to explain the content of its literary works.? (Sandford) Key Contributors Stephen Greenblatt was a Renaissance scholar and the father of the contemporary literary criticism, which consequently makes him ?as the major figure commonly associated with New Historicism? (Felluga). In his work, The Power of Forms in the English Renaissance (1980), he delivers insight on Renaissance values. Greenblatt provides readers and Renaissance scholars with accounts that a derived from personal experiences rather than facts.

    • Word count: 1235
  7. 'Prufrock and Baudelaire'. Something that interests me is the influence that European literature, and particularly Baudelaires work has on Eliots poetry.

    time, and the only positive Baudelaire is able to extract from this tragic situation is our dignity in our understanding of the human condition, our base instincts and our death. This is reflected particularly in the word ?patient?, and in his patient Eliot describes someone who despite being helpless knows about his present situation. Later on in the poem, the line ?I know the voices dying with a dying fall? reinforces this idea, and here the narrator is reminded of his inescapable fate.

    • Word count: 880
  8. Critical Analysis Of Chapter two Of The Big Sleep

    The portrait of the family featuring eyes of ?coal black directness? however, indicates there may be more than meets the eye with the Sternwood family and in particular, behind the ?leaden mask? of General Sternwood. Just as the eyes in the portrait form a porthole into the work of art, so too do the eyes of the characters allow a glimpse of their true selves hiding beneath. The apparent respectability of the grand mansion masks a fundamental core of horror, corruption and death.

    • Word count: 1012
  9. With detailed analysis of Mary Shelleys Frankenstein and with wider reference to Bram Stokers Dracula, compare and contrast the presentation of the monster in both texts. In your answer make reference to critical opinions and the social contexts in which Shelley and Stoker were writing.

    Shelley uses a gothic setting for the birth of the creature. Brought to life on a ?dreary night in November? the reader is introduced to the sense of foreboding through Shelley?s use of pathetic fallacy. The creature?s 'dull yellow eye' opened. The colour yellow connotes dirtiness and decay, emphasised by the use of the word ?dull?. 'It breathed hard and a convulsive motion agitated its limbs'. The word ?convulsive? outlines the element of fear connoting the word agitated and is cacophonic which connotes violence suggesting a painful, metaphorical birth.

    • Word count: 2079
  10. How do the writers present sexuality and gender in Tales Of Ovid, Streetcar Named Desire and Behind The Scenes At The Museum?

    As he continues to struggle, she prays that ?we never, never/ shall be separated, you and me?[8]. Her plea is hubristically answered and, ?with a smile?, the gods look on as ?the two bodies/ melted into a single body/ seamless as the water.?[9] The conjunction of the two sexes seems incompatible as observed in the drowning of what a modern audience would recognise as a hermaphrodite. Hughes? selection of this myth, with the same destructive conclusion as Ovid?s original, conveys the commingling of the two sexes as resulting in the debilitation of the male qualities, rather than their strengthening, thus presenting effeminacy pejoratively.

    • Word count: 4150
  11. Explore the relationship between Shakespeares Macbeth and the version produced in the BBCs Shakespeare Retold series. How successfully does it relate to a modern audience?

    And so, in this essay, I will be exploring the relationship between Shakespeare?s original story of Macbeth and comparing it in relation to the BBC?s Shakespeare?s retold series, looking particularly at how successfully the latter relates to a modern audience. The tale of Macbeth includes many and various themes which make the play what it is, the more apparent ones occurring frequently and shown throughout the play such as ambition, prophecy; how power corrupts and guilt leads the key characters to their ominous demise.

    • Word count: 1556
  12. How do the characters in the plays Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof protect their versions of reality and to what extent do they accept their illusions as false by the end of the two plays?

    Nick and Honeys illusion is much more subtle, in that they have fabricated a ?perfect? life for themselves, in which they do not have a loveless marriage and in which Nick is not an opportunistic adulterer. The cover up of the hysterical pregnancy is also an illusion within the play. The characters in ?Cat on a Hot Tin Roof? have their own personal versions of reality. Big Daddy pretends that he is not seriously ill, and Big Mamma refuses to believe that this is the case when she too is informed.

    • Word count: 830
  13. In the play, Romeo and Juliet, by Shakespeare and Black Boy written by Richard Wright the story perfectly illustrates that the roots of all chaos stems from family.

    These two powerful families had been feuding for years, to the point that no one remembers the initial cause of their hate. No leader of either household even thought about making peace which would have prevented all the drama to happen. Only after the death of several members of their families they realized how wrong they were. The conflict and violence between the 2 houses has its climax just after Romeo?s and Juliet?s marriage. Tybalt murders Mercutio in act III, scene 1.

    • Word count: 1055
  14. Edward Said's book "Orientalism" and his criticism of colonial writers.

    This a priori knowledge establishes ?the East? as antithetical to ?the West.? Such Eastern knowledge is constructed with literary texts and historical records that often are of limited understanding of the facts of life in the Middle East. Orientalism questioned a pattern of misrepresentation of the non-western world. Said directly challenged what Euro-American scholars traditionally referred to as "Orientalism." Orientalism is an entrenched structure of thought, a pattern of making certain generalizations about the part of the world known as the 'East'.

    • Word count: 1134
  15. Explore the way writers present love in Antony and Cleopatra and the poetry of John Donne

    The motif of love is automatically introduced with Cleopatra demanding Antony to declare his love to her. The audience is able to establish the relationship Antony and Cleopatra share, with Cleopatra expecting a declaration of affection. ?If it be love indeed, tell me how much.? The use of ?if? can depict the doubt Cleopatra has, the uncertainty of whether his love is real or not. Antony?s response suggests that love that can be ?reckoned? is not a worthy love, such to why he also responds that if their love could be measured it would be beyond earth and heaven ? Then must thou needs find out new heaven, new earth? .

    • Word count: 1405
  16. Impact of Memory in "Kindred" by Octavia Butler

    Dana values life over freedom whereas Alice values freedom over life. Also, Dana and Alice contrast in terms of positions of power. Dana believes that knowledge of situations lead to power as opposed to Alice's belief that resistance to situations lead to power. Their positions and roles in life are influenced by memories and significant experiences which mold their moral character. Octavia Butler denotes in Kindred that given more or less knowledge of a situation, a person's behavior will be influenced by their memories. This causes their demeanor to act differently to various situations because of their knowledge or prior experiences.

    • Word count: 2675
  17. Heroes in "The Lord of the Rings". Samwise The Brave

    Sam is first introduced as an eavesdropping gardener at Bag End. Readers can infer that Gandalf may have sensed Sam?s loyalty toward Frodo and allowed him to accompany the fellowship. Frodo and Sam become inseparable, due to Sam?s loyalty, he is self-sacrificing; he is willing to face any threatening challenge without any complaints to ensure his master?s safety. For instance, he disregards his inability to swim when he dives into the waters of Parth Galen in order to remain by Frodo?s side. He emerges victoriously through the water coughing and nearly drowned but his will to serve Frodo is unshaken: ??Now, Sam? said Frodo, ?don?t hinder me .

    • Word count: 1070
  18. Heroic qualities of Beowulf and the comic character Daredevil?

    After landing on Denmark he proves devotion by single handedly defeating both Grendel and his mother. Beowulf has the strength of thirty men and can submerge himself for over twenty four hours. ?There was no one else like him, alive./In his day, he was the mightiest man on earth,/highborn and powerful? (Beowulf 196-197). Beowulf proves his strength by swimming to the bottom of a bubbling lake fighting off sea monsters throughout his long swim to Grendel?s mother?s hideaway. Beowulf beholds a great amount of bravery.

    • Word count: 835
  19. Compare & Contrast The Way Women Are Portrayed In Hamlet, Wuthering Heights and A Dolls House.

    In A Doll?s House, women are seen in a stronger light than the other texts; however, some people may suggest that Ibsen shows women as less important than men as they have to sacrifice their integrity within the play. In Hamlet, Shakespeare uses the women as tools and to emphasise key themes such as betrayal, revenge and also to enable the audience to gain a deeper understanding of how the male characters view women and how they are used as a dramatic devices in order to contribute and highlight main themes in the play.

    • Word count: 3088
  20. The struggle between being human and non-human in Aldous Huxleys Brave New World and George Orwells 1984 summarizes the two novels.

    In room 101 the people of Oceana are given their own specialized torture and Winston?s torture is with rats. Winston screams during his torture ?Do it to Julia! Not me! Julia! I don?t care what you do to her. Tear her face off, strip her to the bones, Not me! Julia! Not me!?(Orwell 286) Winston is so terrified by the idea of the rats and room 101 he is broken from the trance that he loves Julia and instead ?He loved Big Brother.?(Orwell 298)

    • Word count: 1769
  21. Write about the ways Shakespeare explores different characters experiences of love in Act 1, Scene 2 of Richard III and Act 2, Scene 2 of Romeo and Juliet.

    Also it suggests that fate plays an inevitable part in their love for each other. In contrast in ?Richard III? Shakespeare uses a soliloquy, the structure of it being a dramatic monologue shows that Richard is a lonely and isolated character since he cant express his views to another person. We understand this because he says ?But I that am not shaped for sportive tricks?, straight away the use of this euphemism suggests that he has no intentions of being involved in a relationship because he describes himself as ?Deformed, unfinished, sent before my time?, and he believes that he will never be able to get a woman.

    • Word count: 3161
  22. Shakespeares As You Like It and Khyenstse Norbus Travellers and Magicains are two texts in which an exploration of belonging and its different meanings for individuals ultimately leads to a deeper understanding.

    of the concept of belonging and thus that individuals can find a true sense of belonging in a great range of places, not limited to relationships. Relationships by nature embody ideas of a connection on a psychological level between two people which can fulfill other fundamental human needs such as the need for social interaction, and thus can result in the individuals involved attaining a true sense of belonging. When individuals find meaning and purpose in connections with other people, as they often do in relationships, the need to belong is fulfilled in the greatest sense as the individuals life is enriched by the positive outcomes for their self esteem, security and stability.

    • Word count: 1574
  23. Exploring Connections Between Pride and Prejudice and Fay Weldons Letters to Alice

    Both Austen and Weldon, as highly successful female writers, take particular interest in women and act as social commentators as they navigate their lives. Weldon contextualises Austen?s novel and context for her readers, stating, ?Women were born poor, stayed poor and lived well only by their husband?s favour.? The repetition of ?poor? explicates the negative repercussions if a woman failed to marry in Austen?s time. She delineates a woman?s sole purpose to marry through the four metonyms of marriage being ?The great prize, the aim?the stuff of their lives, their very existence.? With this in mind, we can return to the characterisation of an individual representative of her time period as a whole, with an empathetic mind.

    • Word count: 1293
  24. Strictly Ballroom (1992) directed by Baz Luhrmann, Uglies (2007) a novel written by Scott Westerfeld and The Wave (1981) a novella written by Morton Rhue all explore the human spirits craving for a sense of belonging

    This is further exemplified with a tracking shot of a line of ready dancers who all wear theatrical costumes like a uniform in order to gain some sense of belonging in this world. Liz?s craving to belong to this world is shown when she yells at Scott ?I?m not dancing with you until you dance like you?re supposed to? illuminating Liz?s overriding desire to conform to the strict rules of the federation even if it stifles her individuality. The dramatization of Shirley?s character highlights her spirit?s craving to belong.

    • Word count: 1317
  25. Totalitarianism and Censorship in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

    A predominately totalitarian government has used censorship as a means to destroy anything they do not agree with showing the readers how terrible government censorship and mindless conformity can be. 1. After seeing many of his fellow writers and other entertainers being "blacklisted" by Senator Joseph McCarthy in the early 1950's, Ray Bradbury criticizes the censorship of the early 1950's by displaying these same themes in his futuristic dystopia novel Fahrenheit 451. Published in 1953 during the Cold War, the novel reflects Bradbury's concerns about censorship and conformity during a period when free expression of ideas could lead to social and economic ban.

    • Word count: 1981

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