Week 11 Critical/Creative

Assuming the role of Oscar Wilde, say in a paragraph or so what you were trying to illustrate about the way of life of the rich in late Victorian society.

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The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
Image from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-1WPFBTqq4 

Pomposity. The way of life for the rich in late Victorian society was ridiculously pompous. It was about celebrating your money. Boasting about your money. Talking about your money. All without actually saying how much money you had. It was in the detail. Rich Victorian society relied on your party observing the amount of money you spent on such event: the food, the decor, the outfit you were wearing. It was immediately about building your character, not for self-fulfilment or the purpose of another, but for the purpose of building a reputation. It was the difference between serving scones, and cucumber sandwiches, from serving bread and butter. It is in the name of yourself that defined who you are. For, it is the importance of being Earnest. The irony in the name of the play itself can tell you about the lives of the rich in late Victorian society. It wasn’t exactly about being earnest in the sense of being steady, committed, devout, heartfelt, zealous, or sincere, but merely being known as being those things. Perhaps if you speak fast enough, or boisterous enough, or refined enough, people may not be able to notice what you are truely like underneath. For these people, the surface was all that mattered. Everything was fodder. The essence of the soul was something you couldn’t see, so why bother with it?

Creative, Wk 9 Blog Post

Write a letter to any one of the following four characters telling them what you think of their choices in chapter 19 of the novel: Godfrey, Silas, Nancy and Eppie

Dear Godfrey,

Eppie is a wonderful girl. She has grown to become mature, loving, caring and open to all people, no matter their walk of life. She has come to love Marner. She has come to love the working people. She has come to love her simple life. It is obvious that this need to have her in your life is not a decision based on your own want. You do not want her because you love her. Nor, do you want her because you feel it’s the right thing to do. More so, you want her to want you, to fulfil the hole that your negligence has dug in your soul. This request to have her live with you and you be her ‘rightful’ father, is not out of love for Eppie, your biological daughter, but out of love for your wife. Nancy cannot have children. I feel that knowing you have conceived a daughter and not included her in your life has deprived Nancy of a potential stepdaughter. Godfrey, you could provide Nancy with a daughter, but you would be tearing away the daughter of Marner. Yes, she is a product you have manufactured, but she is not a daughter you have loved.

In your avoidance, spurning, ‘if I pretend it’s not there it never happened’ attitude – whatever you want to call it – you gave Marner life, hope and spirit. You gave him gold. To forcibly remove someone’s gold, you must never have held such prize yourself. Whilst your choice is simultaneously selfless and selfish, it still is not one that affects only yourself. Selfless in the way you are going through the actions for Nancy. Selfish in the way that you are taking the joy of a man’s life away from him. Even worse! You are doing so through bribery! Flaunting your materialistic goods is a shallow way to allure someone into your home. You may be able to attract a bird with shiny objects, Godfrey, but you cannot win over the heart of a child with luxuries.

Please do what is right, and respect the child’s wishes. If Eppie wants to engage and connect with her biological father, then that is great. I would be immensely happy for you and Nancy. However, if she feels that her foster father’s love is too well-earned and shows her loyalty to him, then you must not be angry. You must understand. If I am wrong, and you do love this child, then you will respect her wishes and love for a distance.

Perhaps one day you will find your own gold.

Best wishes,

Victoria.

Week 7 Blog Post: Art Gallery, creative

Select any one painting explored today and describe it creatively in either prose or verse, bringing all its details into focus.Image result for eugene von guerard milford soundMilford Sound, Eugene Von Guerard (1877-1879)

One painting that stood out from my visit to the Art Gallery NSW was Eugene Von Guerard’s “Milford Sound” (1877-1879). This undeniably romantic piece, with its focus on the beauty of nature, offers great insight into the human potential nature allows us to achieve.

Place yourself in the painting. As you inhale, you’re hit with the sharp, fresh air. The cold slightly burns as you breathe, but it’s an enlivening burn. Your spirits awaken, everything is refreshed. As you take a step towards the water, your boot crunches on the pebbles bellow. You take it in: the warm brown of the earth beneath your foot, the glistening dewdrop on the shrubs’ leaves. You look out to the water, and see double: the mountains flipped, double the height, double the beauty, double the magnificence. In the mountains’ grandeur, you feel insignificant.  What are you, a mere 5’3″ human in comparison to this immensity? The sun casts its rays and lights up the mountains. The peaks shine, the grass gleams. The clouds above do not shadow this beauty but magnify it. For, between those clouds, in the gaps where the blue is clear and hopeful, we see that nature extends into something more. The gushing of the waterfall to your right brings you back from your daydream, and you focus in on the noise. It is a deafening silence, where all you hear is yourself. Your thoughts are louder than ever, and you are forced to reflect, just as the water reflects the mountains, and the sky reflects the water.

This is a Romantic beauty.

Week 6 Blog, Creative

CREATIVE Write a thong, thung by Mr Thleary, about how he thinkth people thhould lead their liveth.33.jpg

Image from: http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/diniejko.html

Come hither my dear lithenerth,

For Thleary knowth the go,

For he ith Dickenth’ mouthpiethe,

He ith alwayth in the know.

Hard work ith number one, 

Having a retht ith number two,

We work hard to get thingth done,

But through all, what we do ith true.

We work to make a living’

But that’th not what life’th about.

Itth your mum, you dad, your thithter

Who you couldn’t go without.

We an’t to work ath machineth,

Tick-tick-ticking by the hour.

No, that life’th not good for uth!

It turnth you rotten, lemon-thour.

In everything that you do,

You thhould never, not once, forget,

The birth of your originth,

For it ith thomething never to regret.

For, it’th you, your family, your home,

The eththence of who you are!

Without it, you are empty,

Never to prothper, or thhine like a thtar.

Try your betht in everything you do,

Earn your keep fairly,

And when you retht, enjoy it!

You’ll be grateful, thquarely.

They can’t be alwayth a learning,

nor yet they can’t be alwayth a working,

They mutht be amuthed,

Or trouble’ll come lurking.

Image from:http://www.victorianweb.org/authors/dickens/diniejko.html

Week 4 Blog Post

CREATIVE: Write a short review of what you imagine might be the sequel to Emma (imagine it is out in the bookshops now).

An inferior accompaniment to the outstanding Emma – but then again, how many sequels ever surpass their predecessor? – was the still enjoyable, still entertaining, still emotionally provoking, Knightley. We are reacquainted with familiar characters in the town of Highbury, England, and are extremely aware of the absence of a notable individual: Mr. Knightley. Set nineteen years after Emma, we are presented with a widowed Emma. In an attempt to keep herself distracted from her sadness, we observe her falling back into her matchmaking tendencies. The third person narration favours Emma, however, follows her son, William, rather closely. William and Harriet’s daughter, Elizabeth, are involved in secret relations, and this brings up all too familiar emotions in Emma. Not only does William reject Emma’s preferred choice of bride, but he rejects his mother’s controlling nature. Isolated and alone, it is through Emma’s dejection that she comes, once again, to realise the error of her ways. Knightley conveys themes of free will, love, friendship and the detrimental effects of gossip – stirred by the nosiness of Highbury.

Author, Stacey High* recreates the Romantic period extremely well. Adopting more of the Romantic tenets than Austen does with the original, allows for a more emotionally engaging text. We are not limited by the Classical elements more typical of Austen’s work but are encouraged to engage with our own emotion from the beginning to until the end of the text. While lesser in sophistication, this novel brings a modern edge more comfortable for today’s readers. I highly recommend this book to audiences who strive but struggle – as many do – to comprehend the language and context of Austen. Knightley provides concepts, plot development, and elegance that Austen and other 19th Century writers provide, but in a much simpler, contemporary way.

Would I reread Knightley? Perhaps not. Or maybe I would on a very bored occasion if Emma wasn’t available. Would I recommend this book to someone else? Yes. Whilst I wouldn’t rush to read it again, I may be biased in my opinion as a Classic lover.  To those who have dabbled in Romantic novels, some Sci-FI, and dare I say, teen-romance-vampire novels, then I would recommend this read.

An applaudable effort to High for even approaching to succeed a novel in the class of Emma.

* Please note this is not a real author.17409921_1492286710805759_1152861978_n.jpg

Artwork: Untitled, Victoria Zullo, 2014, oil on canvas (40cm x 30cm)

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