English class always has something going on, and when we aren’t learning poetry, we are reading a wide variety of different books. Not one is like the other. Don’t get us wrong (english is our favourite subject), there are so many things we can analyze and themes shown that will truly broaden your perspective. However, there are just some inconsistencies and “characteristics” we just can’t stand. Worry not, Estrella and Emma are here to point them out for you :)
P.S There will be spoilers for all the books we have and will read (I personally will not be reading Emma’s section).
P.P.S Please don’t hate us English Department <3
Starting off with Feather Boy, the first book we read in MYP. Frankly, there isn’t much I remember from this book and it feels a bit like a fever dream. Although we can’t deny the wholesome and empowering friendship Robert develops with Edith. The story very briefly told though entails an elderly lady telling a young boy to go to an abandoned house and solve the death of a young boy who “supposedly” dies there. Fair enough. He also ends up having a sleepover with his bully in that abandoned house. All in all, it is a great starter story for the MYP as we learn about how Robert builds his confidence and he learns that he can do anything he puts his mind to.
Why were all of them so dark? Whether it included stoning people to death, killing your husband with a lamb leg, or killing someone because their eye annoyed you, there was never a suspenseless moment reading these stories. I don’t know about you but I see a common theme among them.
I have never been so frustrated as I was when reading this novel in class, with many of my classmates complaining alongside me. That a reliable form of evidence was pretending you were possessed and then pointing the blame onto someone you disliked. Don’t even get me started on Abigail...
1984. A book we were meant to read in MYP5 about an oppressive totalitarian society. Sounds familiar, no? The most terrifying part about this book is how much it assimilates to real life. Were the English teachers trying to get us to rebel, or is this book part of the curriculum by coincidence? In the book our main character Winston is told how to behave, talk, think, dress etc. Once again, one can’t help but notice how familiar this sounds. Winston and his peers are under constant surveillance from “Big Brother” and in the digital age sometimes we can’t help but feel as though we are being observed all the time. Not to mention the cameras we had to keep on during the entirety of our online classes… If 1984 doesn’t forever change the way you view the world, nothing will.
Much Ado About Nothing (Emma)
Much Ado About Nothing. Now I know for a fact that Shakespeare must’ve had fun writing this one. The whole play is in essence one big sex joke. Everything from the title is a double entendre which actually refers to the absence of a penis. Imagine having a play whose title alludes to lady parts in the 15th century, now that’s bold. But in all seriousness, despite reflecting the portrayal of gender roles in that era, the play was actually significantly forward-thinking for the time it was written. Characters such as the loud-mouthed outspoken Beatrice were unspoken of at that time. Perhaps one of the funniest parts of the play was Benedick’s and Beatrice’s constant bickering as a means of flirting. Now we know where y’all are getting your tips from ;)
Dracula - Bram Stoker (Emma)
Wait no, you guessed right. Yet another book that constantly alludes to sex...CONSTANTLY. But wait a minute, this book is actually different, this one alludes to homosexuality. But only alludes to it because remember, we are in the 19th century. Why you may ask? Because English books aren’t meant to be modern. No no. They are meant to be about issues of other centuries that are still present in society nowadays because we are clearly doing great. But back to Dracula, it kind of feels like Bram here has something to tell us. Maybe some “coffin” to come out of perhaps? I don’t know. On a separate note, the Gothic’s take on sexuality is interesting and completely differnet because it explores those sexual desires that are seen as “sinful” such as homosexuality, necrofilia and incest. In the end it is just another “family-friendly” English read.
No Exit - Jean Paul Sartre (Emma)
The end. The end is what actually sends me, Estelle stabbing Inez in the heart knowing very well they are both dead. Now this is comedy at its finest. I actually thought I was done talking about literary works that have sex as one of their main recurring themes, but here is yet another one in the bag. Sartre explores the existentialist idea of “hell is other people '' through the construction of three characters that are meant to be each other's eternal damnation. Based on what some of these characters had done one would assume they wouldn’t require other people’s judgment to feel guilty, but alas they do. A vast majority of them are horrible people and don’t learn any actual meaningful lessons in the end. The ending remarks could be a warning to the readers to not commit the same mistakes as them.
TROTAM - Coleridge (emma)
When reading this narrative poem I actually thought I was rewatching the movie “The Lighthouse”, it seemed merely identical. Notwithstanding The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is actually the story of a mariner who shoots an albatross and has to later on deal with the consequences of his actions. He also then goes about telling this story to innocent wedding guests like a completely normal person. Whilst TROTAM might be excellent for analysis, understanding it on the first read through is definitely no easy task. Whilst Coleridge is a poetic genius, the literary devices are so abundant that at times it is hard to comprehend the text through the density of the content. All the same, I can’t help but point out how curious it is that Coleridge chose an albatross as the representation of a bad omen. We are thinking of the same feathery cute white bird, right?
Well, that’s all for today folks. This is our honest appraisal of some of the English books we read throughout the years.
“Take Online Courses. Earn College Credit. Research Schools, Degrees & Careers.” Study.com | Take Online Courses. Earn College Credit. Research Schools, Degrees & Careers, https://study.com/academy/lesson/double-entendre-innuendo-in-much-ado-about-nothing.html.
Mambrol, Nasrullah. “Analysis of Coleridge's the Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” Literary Theory and Criticism, 16 Feb. 2021, https://literariness.org/2021/02/16/analysis-of-coleridges-the-rime-of-the-ancient-mariner/.
Ronca, Debra. “Why Is It Bad Luck to Kill an Albatross?” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 6 Aug. 2015, https://people.howstuffworks.com/why-is-it-bad-luck-to-kill-albatross.htm.