Peer Review, WK 7 Suzanne

Suzanne, this was an excellent recap of our excursion to the art gallery. I love the analysis of your chosen artworks, and how they reflect their culture. Your focus on the position of women in society is a unique one, that I would not have thought of myself when thinking about our visit. I loved how to chose two juxtaposing artworks. By doing this you really capture the multitude of women’s roles and their diversity.
I would have liked some sort of preamble or question at the top of the post just to know where this post was going. Some further linking between literature and artwork could have been made.
Nonetheless, your analysis of the paintings was great!
Victoria 🙂

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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

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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.

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Week 6, Peer Review 3# Riley Powers

Great piece. Your identification of how Dickens epitomises the Industrial Revolution in the description of Coketown is great. The insufferable nature of the elongated sentences was an extremely good point and I appreciate your attention to detail. In your mention of the snake being the smog, I disagree slightly. For me, snake’s connote chaos, moreover turmoil, and temptation, generated from Biblical stories. This temptation could be then interpreted as the intense greed for money – like you said, people’s obsession with money that ruins society. Your quote choice was exceptional in displaying the way in which ‘fact’ is a form of religion.
I thoroughly enjoyed your blog.

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Week 5, Blog 3

gradgrind.jpgMr Gradgrind
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Own critical topic: Comment on the importance of facts and their impact on the individuals of Coketown. 

The Victorian Period was a time that promoted social responsibility. It was an age of efficiency and improvement, particularly for economic gain. With the Industrial Revolution in full force, the immediacy of these needs was evident. In Charles Dickens’ Hard Times, we are able to identify this urgency for practicality in school, the community and home life, and its detrimental effects on the soul.

Social responsibility is epitomised in the workers of Coketown. In the passage, riddled with repetition, we are encouraged to acknowledge the monotony of the workers’ lives in order to achieve society’s financial goals:

‘ It contained several large streets all vey like one another,

and many small streets still more like one another, inhabited

by people equally like one another, who are went in and out

at the same hours, with the same sound upon the same pavements,

to do the same work, and to whom every day was the same

as yesterday and tomorrow, and every year the counterpart of the

last and next.’ (18)

Coketown is anaphorically denoted as a town with ‘so much material wrought up, so much fuel consumed, so many powers worn out, so much money made,’ a place of ‘direful uniformity.’ It is the uniformity that is viewed as practical in the town, as individuality is not effective, or is deemed unnecessary. The ‘unnecessary’ is found in feeling, in difference, in uniqueness, or in expression. For the avid members of Coketown, like Mr Gradgrind, these are not qualities that can be quantified and are therefore not resourceful.

Mr Gradgrind advocates anything quantifiable, such as facts. He is so passionate about his facts, such that ‘you may force him to swallow boiling fat, but you shall never force him to suppress the facts of his life.’ He was an ‘eminently practical father’. So much so, that the value he saw in his daughter, was not love, but a ‘metallurgical Lousia’, seeing only her knowledge in science and technology. The same as his son Thomas, ‘mathematic Thomas’, impressing his father solely by his facts in mathematics. Mr Gradgrind removes all sense of imagination and childhood innocence from his children’s lives. A cow is not a cow, and can never be featured in a nursery rhyme jumping over the moon, but is a ‘graminivorous ruminating quadruped with several stomachs.’

It is living with these ‘facts’ and constant determination for more useful knowledge that, whilst expands the mind, diminishes the soul. This is evident in the ‘jaded sullenness’ of both children, Thomas and Louisa, each with a ‘starved imagination.’ Neither had ‘the brightness natural to cheerful youth’, like that of Sissy Jupe, who has sunlight irradiating from her. There is a juxtaposition between classmates Bitzer and Sissy, the former from elite society, and Sissy, the daughter of circus performers. Bitzer with skin ‘so unwholesomely deficient in the natural tinge’ was a ‘pitcher’ full of facts and yet did not have the same soulful capability that Sissy did.

It is evident from Charles Dickens’ Hard Times that there is a stress put on individuals to know all the facts in order to operate a well-working, streamlined, productive society. However, these qualifications may be stripping the individual of their capacity to love, to feel and to imagine. 

Week 5, Peer Review #2 – Jessica Welford

I completely agree with this post. Austen’s didactic texts are directed towards the female audience, rather than a male one. Her common themes throughout her oeuvre definitely promote her favoured way of life. She shows her readers, female primarily, through the actions of her heroines and peripheral characters alike. In Emma’s wrongdoings and enlightenment found through realisation of her mistakes, Austen advises her audience on how and how not to live. As you said, Chapter XI definitely captures this. I really enjoyed your comparison of the traditions and way of life in the 19th Century, rather to contemporary society. The need to marry in order for a ‘complete’ and happy life is definitely an outdated custom.

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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)

Week 4 Peer Review, Alina Goro

This was a great anecdotal piece that captured what Wordsworth was telling Matthew in ‘The Tables Turned’. This experience gives audiences a perfect example of how captivating nature can be, more so than books.You have highlighted the notion of immersion into nature that I feel Wordsworth was also trying to convey. Your piece develops a sense of self-growth: from glorifying books and their knowledge to the understanding, that comes with age and experience, of the emotional impetus that nature constantly unceasingly allows for. I feel this piece could have been improved by an extension of the experiences and emotions encountered at Niagara falls.

Link to blog post:

Wk 3 Blog Post

In your own words briefly, say how the ideas in “Expostulation & Reply” & “The Tables Turned” have helped you to understand Romanticism.

Romanticism was a movement that boasted individuality, self-expression and evaluation, and encouraged individuals to connect with imagination and feeling. These facets of Romanticism were a  subversion of the Enlightenment; an age of reason, logic, knowledge and fact. This period encouraged an investigation into the human heart, revealing its immense capacity and impressionability. William Wordsworth is an exceptional example of a Romanticist. The aforementioned qualities of Romanticism permeate his oeuvre, particularly in the lyrical poems ‘Expostulation and Reply’ and ‘The Tables Turned.’ Both of which enhance and aid in our under of Romanticism.

Romantics urge the human to connect with nature and be enlightened by the natural. Wordsworth’s narrator urges the same thing within ‘Expostulation and Reply’. Enticed by rhythm, responders are invited to engage in what is only natural: to feel. Wordsworth compares the notion of feeling, to that of the instinct of seeing:

‘The eye – it cannot choose but see;

We cannot bid the ear be still;

Our bodies feel, where’er they be,

Against or with our will.’ (281)

Wordsworth argues that it in that lack of action, the lack of reading from books, or deliberately engaging in education, that we learn the most. This action, or lake thereof, he terms a ‘wise passiveness’. This passivity allows one to wholly immerse themselves in their surroundings, and in such engagement learns only what nature can teach. 

Furthermore, Wordsworth continues his enticement of nature in his 1798 poem ‘The Tables Turned’. Through descriptive language, riddled with sibilance, and further amplified through rhyme, responders are attracted to the melody of nature:

‘The sun, above the mountain’s head,

A freshening lustre mellow,

Through all the long green fields has spread,

His first sweet evening yellow.’(281)

Wordsworth’s employment of the imperative encourages us to ‘Come forth into the light of things. / Let Nature be your Teacher.’ He directly critiques the logic and reason encouraged by the Enlightenment period, and states you can learn more by nature than by man: ‘One impulse from a vernal wood / May teach you more of man’.

Thus, Wordsworth’s work has aided in my understanding of the tenets of Romanticism, encouraging me to engage more in nature, hence, leading a fuller, more in-tuned life.

Reference list:

Romanticism. Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2017, 15th March, 2017.

Wordsworth, William. “Expostulation and Reply.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. F. New York: Norton, 2012. 280-81.


Wordsworth, William. “The Tables Turned.” The Norton Anthology of English Literature.

Gen. ed. Stephen Greenblatt. 9th ed. Vol. F. New York: Norton, 2012. 281-82.


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