Tag: Reading

Week 6 Class 1: Pride and Prejudice

Pride and Prejudice is well known of its ability pointing out the problem of first impression (which is actually the first title given to the work) as well as those things that happened to the society at that time, such as marriage as a sort of trade, the male-as-the-heir system. And Pride and Prejudce did change the world for 21st century women.

There is the matter of education. In the story, Elizabeth was disrespected because Elizabeth and her sisters did not receive any formal education. And Darcy even talked about the lack of ‘class’ within her family. And at the same time,  Elizabeth’s friend Charlotte married to Colins (very probably, for the sake of money matters). Charlotte mentioned that she has no class, received no education and she is getting old and therefore she felt the insecurity. This gave a signal to the female readers: there’s only two choice – to get educated, or marry to someone rich and become someone else’s asset for your rest of time. But we should also take a look at the rules that have women in control at that time, which means that women should try to get educated in order to be free. Therefore, women started to fight for protection of their right of being educated and the social status of women has risen as educated women would try to defend their own rights.


Week 5 Class 1: Lover VS Summer’s Day

Select one of the poems discussed in class today and write a Topic/Theme/Analysis critical reading.  Remember to:
1) Identify which topic you will examine,
2) Articulate what you believe the poem is doing with or saying about that topic,
3) Show how one or more of the elements of poetry are helping to support your analysis.

An analysis of Shakespeare’s love philosophy will be carried out by looking at the lines, the symbols within Sonnet 18, one of the most famous sonnets by Shakespeare.
Shakespeare, though admits that time would wash away the beauty of his lover, he still view his lover as flawless and he will never change his loving, like how sun rises from east. At the beginning of the poem, it says that his lover is fairer than the summer’s day. But in line 7, he wrote about the inevitable mortality of beauty: “And every fair from fair sometime declines”. However, he wrote “But thy eternal summer shall not fade / Nor lose possession of that fair thou owes” after that and to eternalize the lover’s beauty.
In the sonnet, Shakespeare talked about lots of dissapointment towards summer because it is too short. He wrote  ‘and summer’s lease hath all too short a date’ at the beginning, and how the sun behaves imperfectly – sometimes too hot, sometimes covered by clouds, causing a great contrast with his lover, who is much more well-tempered and is an “eternal summer shall not fade” . Also he claimed that his lover’s beauty will never fade in line 12.

Week 4 Class 2: Rendition of Fast Talking PI

Fast Talking PI (Rendition)

(Note: PI does not stand for Pacific Islander.)

I’m a fast talkin’ PI
I’m a real-depressed PI
I’m schizophrenia, bipolar disordered PI

I’m a slitting my wrist PI
I’m an alcoholic PI
I’m a losing interest in everything in my life PI

I’m an overwhelmed PI
A self-conscious PI
I’m an interpersonally, socially reluctant PI

I’m a so worthless PI
I’m a quite guilty PI
I’m a having intensified, serious PMS PI

I’m an irritated PI
A stay in bed PI
I’m a ‘they never, ever care a thing about me’ PI

I’m a violent PI
A mouth-closed PI
I’m an anti-social, irrational…I can’t help…PI

I’m an eating less PI
I’m a stop shaving PI
I’m an eyes blood-shot, dark circled..well, I’m pretty lost PI

I’m an insane PI
A being consulted PI
I’m an everything will be ok-just like they say PI

I’m a nobody, PI
I’m unwanted PI
I’m a need some time to free and clear my messy mind PI

I’m a tearing up PI
I’m a breaking down PI
I’m a talking to myself in my own sleeping room PI

I’m a taking drugs PI
I’m a medicated PI
I’m a ‘where am I, I found myself losing word count’ PI

I’m a fast talking PI.

(204 words)

Try to guess what PI stands for, and please, provide care to those PIs around you.

Week 4 Class 1: Cultural Identity

What parts of Clear Light of Day enlighten you about your own cultural identity?

Clear Light of Day is all about how women live under the challenges and burdens brought by a patriarchal society that underrestimate women.

After reading the work, I realized that I am really, the lucky one. Living in Hong Kong, we have a diversified culture, and everyone is equal before the Law. Governmental organizations made efforts for both legislation and education in order to ensure equality. Nowadays, male do not have much privileges, where female rights are protected. Sexual harassments, terminating contracts with pregnant women are prohibited.

However, in Clear Light of Day, Bim was not that lucky. Being educated and strong, she realized that her whole life would be controlled by men if she doesn’t fight back. Though Bim and Tara were not controlled by any parents, they still can’t attain freedom. Bim though open-minded, still takes up the responsibility of doing housework-the traditional ideal figure of a woman, especially in the east. Where in Hong Kong, the stereotyping is not that extensive. It is still fine for woman not to do the chores, as they can be passed to maids, more and more husbands even quitted their jobs in order to help with housework.

(196 words)

Week 3 Class 2: Shakespeare – The Literary Canon


Discuss why Shakespeare has become the literary canon.

The great Shakespeare is still the symbol and the standard of English Literature.

The reasons why he has become the literary canon are listed below.

Firstly, he was able to change the theatre world by writing historical plays. Before him, there were seldom playscripts founded to be related to kingship but mostly scripts were related to religion. It was probably becuase at that time people who try to make critics related to the politics could be sentenced to death. Shakespeare took the lead in terms of defending freedom of speech. Also, the historical plays are good educational materials for students to understand history.

Secondly, his works are in great variety. He wrote comedies (such as Taming of the Shrew), tragedies (Hamlet), as well as historical work (Henry VI) which can attract different readers and persuade them that he is a versatile writer. He also invented many words to help himself to express himself, which is also a great contribution to the English speaking societies.

Thirdly, Shakespeare uses a lot of poetic devices and literary devices in his works and also strictly follows rules of poem writing. His writing sets the standard for later writers and became the most widely used works in teaching English Literature and educators passed them on and on.

(212 words)

Week 3 Class 1: To be or not to be


What does Hamlet’s soliloquy mean for you? If you were to perform it, how would you perform it?

My understanding of Hamlet’s soliloquy is the struggling between carrying on his life or die (which can also be interpreted as escaping from the reality from my point of view). The soliloquy reminds me of the days where I was preparing for the public exams. The competition was tough and I nearly thought of ending my life before the exams such that I do not have to face the exams and the results. However, I also realized that dying is never easy neither. Everyday I was repeating the same struggle.

If I am going to perform the soliloquy, I may speak with an uneven pace due to anxiety and fear. Also, my eyes would change focus time to time to show how lost I am. I would try to have interactions with the audiences because I believe that performing art should not only be something that helps expressing oneself, but to make someone feel connected to your content. I would like the audience to rethink of their own struggles in life and find solution that fits. If I have more actors working with me, I may try an ‘Inside Out’ adaptation in order to emphasize the complexity of the emotions within Hamlet.

(202 words)

Week 1 Class 2: Modern Literature: Murder, Money and Mystery


Dr Lanyon has died mysteriously from shock, and has left behind a letter. Why do you think Stevenson has chosen to reveal crucial information in the form of a letter, that is, what effect does this letter have on the plot development of the novella?

In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, Stevenson has chosen to reveal crucial information in the form of a letter left behind by Dr Lanyon. Here are the major reasons for him to do so.

The letter can add suspension to the whole novella as well as to further shape the darkness of the storyline. This is because there is another letter enclosed in the letter wrote by Lanyon for Utterson, with‘not to be opened till the death or disappearance of Dr. Henry Jekyll.’ and the contents in the envelope can answer to the questions in both Mr. Utterson and the readers’ mind. The foreshadowing make the readers feel puzzled as well as tempted to continue to read the novella in order to get the key to the questions popped up in their minds due to the limitation brought by the third-person limited-perspective of Mr. Utterson:

1) Why could Hyde provide a cheque by Dr. Jekyll as a compensation to the girl he tortured within such a short period of time?

2) Why did the Dr. Jekyll decided to made Hyde the new sole beneficiary of his will, under the stressed circumstance of ‘disappearance or unexplained absence of Jekyll’?

3) How does Dr. Jekyll involve into the muder in Hyde’s mudering of Sir Danvers Carew? 

Even why the letter-in-a-letter has to be enclosed and not to be opened is also a question for the readers to think about.

Furthermore, the suspense also postponed the climax of the whole storyline such that Stevenson can further add more details related to the strange case such as the observation of Dr. Jekyll’s servant, Poole, of how his master’s voice and height change in a sudden, as well as to help the readers to focus on Dr. Jekyll, which further intensified the atmosphere of the novella to advance the climax – the death of Hyde and the opening of the letter.

An another advantage of revealing the crucial information of the story in the form of a letter is that, a first-person-narrative can be adapted such that the whole transformation from Dr. Jekyll to Hyde can be descripted in detail and close up a story in a more persuasive tone, to stir up emotions and empathy within readers and to think about how the story relates to his own life – everyone has both the bright side and the dark side. Everyday we must decide which side we want to show and which side we want to hide but afterall, we must try to admit that everyone has an unknown dark side.