Self Reflection

My self reflection of this year in literature is positive because I learned a lot with Pat Chuman.Also this year I learned new things such as how to write essay with details and with the important things it should include.Furthermore I’m proud of my effort in Literature because as last year I took the subject to december and this yar no this is a positive aspect to.Also because I promoted it in the final term.

But the most important thing is that as Pat makes her clases very entertaining she could captivate my attention all the lessons.Also this year was different form last because I could use the tools pat gave me to improve in literature.

Bilenium Questions

In our Literature class, after reading the storyn”Billenium”, we were told to answer some questions about it so as to make a deep analysis of the story. I’ve worked with Luz Esteban and Juan Elia and this is our work:

1-Write a detailed synopsis of the story.

The story Billenium focuses on a man called Ward who lives in an overpopulated world. Ward, with 30 years old lives in a cubicle, like the rest of the world, located in the staircase between the fourth and fifth floors. It was bigger than other cubicles and therefore he was considered quite lucky. One day, when he was at the library, an inspection was made to each cubicle to check if they had the right measurements. Consequently, Ward realises that his cubicle was going to be divided and so he decides to move out. He rents a cubicle together with his friend,Rossiter, on the outskirts. When they finish settling in this new cubicle, they both found a hidden cubicle next to theirs. Afterwards, they decide to make use of that space and turned it into a living room by fulfilling it with a victorian wardrobe. Talking advantage of the space left, they invited people to move with them,which proves that they can not escape of their reality.

2)Discuss the theme of overpopulation and the effect it has on both the way of life and quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.

The theme of overpopulation modifies people’s lifestyle. Although at the beginning of the story it seemed impossible to leave in such a limited place, the population ends up adjusting to those conditions. This is perfectly represented through the main character: Wards as he was not able to escape from his restricted reality. Although he has a bigger cubicle, he fill it with a huge wardrobe and so turns the place into a limited one, once more. However, at the end, he is forced to remove those furnitures to make space for the people living inside.

3)The quest for living space has become an overriding obsession with the people of the city. Discuss this theme in detail. Include in your answer some discussion of the ways in which Ballard makes the quest for space dominate the characters’ lives.

The quest for living space is absurd because oficina the fact that for having some extra space you need have to a family and at least three kids, which is mad. By doing this, the people are increasing population instead of finding a way to reduce it. At the time the character’s find a bigger space, they have the need to occupy that empty space with big furnitures or having more people live with them. We can see that they are not able to maintain their space.

4)What sort of relationship does Ballard put forward between the inner world of the individual (as represented by Ward and Rossiter) and the outer world in which they live. In other words, how does Ballard conceptualise the effect of surviving daily life in a hopelessly overcrowded city on the consciousness of the individual as demonstrated by the ways in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space in the secret room they discover?

The overpopulation as a consequence, disturb the way in which people live in this society.In fact, they are forced to share the kitchen, the bathroom and the laundry room with their neighbors because they do not have enough space left. When they leave their house, the streets have a pedestrian jam and so it could last them a long time to get somewhere. Also, the traffic makes them arrive to their destination late. The overpopulation as well affects the places where they would go out to have fun, for example.

5)In the story, Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme overpopulation that has beset the world. Explain his views as they are presented in the story.

His social views are that people are selfish, they think about only themselves and their families. We believe this because people instead of wanting and contributing with the reduction of population, they on the contrary do anything to have some more space in the cubicle, which only happens if they have at least three kids.
The political views that Ballard try to show is that the government doesn’t do anything for the reduction of the population. They find a solution but it is not the best On my way! so it is not the one they needed . Instead of doing something to control the number of population and reducing it, they reduce the space of the cubicle where people live in.
Ballard’s economic views were that people needed to pay more rent to be able to live in that small cubicle of theirs. This is a problem because having overpopulation makes people arrive late to work because the streets are full of people from side to side.

6)Do you agree with his argument? Do you think that current population growth projections indicate that we are likely to end up in the situation portrayed in the story?
We do agree with this argument. Actually, a lot of countries have many kids, for which they contribute with the growth of population in their country.If these countries continue having huge amount of children per family, we will end up living in the same conditions as the characters in Billennium for sure.

7)Describe and analyse Ward’s character in some detail. What values does he hold? Why does Ballard make use of this type of character as the main character for this story?

Ward is the main charachter of Billenium. He works as a librarian and he lives in the same cubicle with Henry Rossiter. In addition to this, Ward was the most affected when the Victorian wardrobe was destroyed in order to make more room. He also hates all the landlords that reduces the size of the cubicles to have more money.

8)What role does Rossiter play in the story?

The Rossiter is Ward’s friend and the one who shares the cubicle with him. Moreover, he is the one to convince Ward on inviting people to live with them in the double cubicle.

9)Describe the role of the female characters in the story.

Judith and Helen were the two female characters in the story. They suffered because they lived together in a smaller cubicle that Ward had at the beggining of the story. However, afterwards they took advantage of the space the boys provided to them and their families.

10)Discuss the effects that overpopulation and its attendant ills has had on the nature of family life in relation to Ward’s family as well as Judith and Helen’s family relationships.

In that reality, having a family was considered as a benefit because it allowed you to have a bigger cubicle. However, they were still imprisoned in that suffocating reality. Although they were provided with a spacious cubicle, overpopulation was still a worry and it wasn’t being solved. Another problem was that as a result of the huge quantity of people, families were separated from each other because there wasn’t enough space for all of them.

11)What does the secret room symbolised in the story?

The secret room next to Ward and Rossiter’s cubicle symbolized freedom, it was an opening that allowed them escape from living in a limited space.

12)Why do you think Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves? Is Ballard making a comment on how our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live?

Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves because they were used to live in a small place called “cubicles” however when they found a bigger place, they started putting filling it with huge furniture and then inviting people to live with them. By doing this, they started reducing the space that they had. In my viewpoint, Ballard makes a comment on how difficult is to change and adapt to new places for all the human beings. In this case, Ward was not able to benefit from the free space he had.

13)What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?

At the end of the story, there were seven people living in the secret room.Therefore, they divided that room in seven parts so all the people have their own “room”. However, they ended up living in a smaller place than the cubicles.

14)Discuss Ballard’s style and language in the story? Consider also in what ways it is appropriate to the nature of the story being told.

Ballard uses different techniques of speech to highlight the overpopulation existent in the story. For instance, he uses hyperbaton and oxymoron so as to make the reader understand his feelings towards that suffocating society. What is more, the author uses the word “cubicle” to emphasize on the fact that humans are destined to live in a place meant to be in an office.

Project Work:Poem and Description of The Recoleta Cemntery

In the language class we have learnt how to write a description of a place and we have been writing several of them. We wrote the last description in pairs, and I worked with Sofia Mele. We had to choose a picture of a touristic place of our neighborhood and describe it. Then our literature teacher Pat Chujman asked us to write a poem about the place we had picked for our description, which in our case was the Recoleta Cemetery. I wrote the poem with Sofia Mele. Here I leave the description and the poem:

Sredni Vashtar

Sredni Vashtar-  paragraph 15 analysis.

“ And then of a sudden he stopped his chanting and drew closer to the window-pane. The door of the shed still stood ajar as it had been left, and the minutes were slipping by. They were long minutes, but they slipped by nevertheless. He watched the starlings running and flying in little parties across the lawn; he counted them over and over again, with one eye always on that swinging door. A sour-faced maid came in to lay the table for tea, and still Conradin stood and waited and watched. Hope had crept by inches into his heart, and now a look of triumph began to blaze in his eyes that had only known the wistful patience of defeat. Under his breath, with a furtive exultation, he began once again the paean of victory and devastation. And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, yellow-and-brown beast, with eyes a-blink at the waning daylight, and dark wet stains around the fur of jaws and throat. Conradin dropped on his knees. The great polecat-ferret made its way down

to a small brook at the foot of the garden, drank for a moment,
then crossed a little plank bridge and was lost to sight in the bushes. Such was the passing of Sredni Vashtar.
“Tea is ready,” said the sour-faced maid; “where is the mistress?”
“She went down to the shed some time ago,” said Conradin.
And while the maid went to summon her mistress to tea, Conradin fished a toasting-fork out of the sideboard drawer and proceeded to toast himself a piece of bread. And during the toasting of it and the buttering of it with much butter and the slow enjoyment of eating it, Conradin listened to the noises and silences which fell in quick spasms beyond the dining-room door. The loud foolish screaming of the maid, the answering chorus of wondering ejaculations from the kitchen region, the scuttering footsteps and hurried embassies for outside help, and then, after a lull, the scared sobbings and the shuffling tread of those who bore a heavy burden into the house.
“Whoever will break it to the poor child? I couldn’t for the life of me!” exclaimed a shrill voice. And while they debated the matter among themselves, Conradin made himself another piece of toast”

In paragraph 15, there is something sinister and frightening at the point Conradin enjoys a piece of toast while Mrs. De Ropp lies dead. This shows his lack of interest towards the situation because he is pleased when all around him is panic and fear. Therefore, in this paragraph the author uses devices such as symbolism to represent through the toast both  Conradin’s unattainable object of desire and freedom, as the authority restricted him everything that he possibly wanted. However, now without the guardian’s presence he was the lord of the house, which means he could indulge himself by eating the toast without any restrictions and with satisfaction . “ And while they debated the matter among themselves, Conradin made himself another piece of toast.” In this quotation, Conradin was smiling and keeping distant of from all those emotions people were having, so it is clear that the toast represents hypocrisy, as well. This is because it is an entrance to the hypocritical british society at the moment he acts calmly as if nothing was going on by eating a toast, while in the house it is happening something bloomy.  Furthermore, towards the ending there is a role reversal due to the fact that now Conradin has the control, rather than the guardian. In fact, he eats another piece of toast without anyone telling him it was prohibited.

  

 Literary devices used in the paragraph

   

  • Symbolism:

      We can highlight three important symbols used in this paragraph.  Firstly, the toast represents Conradin’s freedom and celebration. Moreover,we can identify another symbol such as the shed, which that symbolizes a cathedral of conradin’s faith and a safe place where he goes for worship. Here he was the authoritarian and has the power, rather than Mrs. De Ropp.  Finally, the Ferret, the deity, known as Sredni Vashtar, is a symbol of Conradin’s Anger towards his cousin.

 

  • Imagination:

 

In this extract, imagination is present because the protagonist fantasies with his cousin’s death until he makes up in his mind a scene in which Mrs. De Ropp is murdered by his pet. Meanwhile he was enjoying of the situation, eating calmly a couple of toasts.  In addition to this, imagination is relevant for Conradin, because without it he would be dead. In fact, his mind is what keeps him alive.  Finally, his actions were influenced by his imagination, which made him act or think in such a way. which way?

Point of view:

This extract of the story is written in third person narrator limited, because it is focalized in Conradin´s mind. We understand this due to the fact we are not certain about  his cousin’s death or her being murdered by the ferret as it was all part of his imagination.  Therefore, we are not sure if the story was a fantasy or if it was real.