"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, AND that has made all the difference" The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

DREAMING IN ENGLISH. Are you dreaming in English yet?

WELCOME!!! This is a bit of a challenge for me!!! This blog is intended for all audiences. I hope you enjoy and get the most of it!!!

Here you might find resources to help you navigate the muddy waters of English. The humble aim of this blog is just to keep you in touch with different types of English and different aspects of the English culture , to increase your curiosity about English through many different fields.

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Are you dreaming in English yet? por BE se encuentra bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 3.0 Unported.

sábado, 19 de enero de 2013

What´s Poetry?

What´s poetry for you? Do you like it or do you find it hard?
Watch the following extract from one of the best movies about poetry and literature DEAD POETS SOCIETY and find out why learning and reading literature can be interesting and it can add new perspectives to our lives because as Mr. Keating ( the teacher in the movie) says
 " words and ideas can change the world".
Mr. Keating arrives to teach literature to the prep school Welton Academy and the students will find thmselves with a very passsionate teacher in a very conservative school and he will change their lives for ever.

Try to answer the following questions:
1. A new teacher arrives at Weldon Academy. What´s the students reaction and the first thing the teacher does?
2. Mr. Keating mentions a very famous  Latin expression " Carpe Diem". What does he mean? When he is talking to his students at the hall he says " we are food for the worms". What does he mean and how can we connect it to the idea of " Carpe Diem"
3. The other teachers don´t seem very happy with Mr. Keating´s methods. At lunch time  we see the conversation between Mr. Keating and an older teacher. This one in a disaproving, cynical way tells Mr. Keating that he is wrong and that "when his students realize they are not Rembrandts they will blame him for that" . What kind of teaching does this man represent?

4. Both teachers represent realism and disillusion and romanticism and passion. Who is who? and who says the following " Only my dreams can make me truly free, it was always thus and thus it will always be!"?
5. Why is  the teacher standing on the table?
6. What does Mr. Keating say about the introduction to Poetry the students have in the book? Why and what does he tell them to do with it?
7. What does the teacher want them to learn?
8. Why do you think poetry was created? Read the teacher´s explanation. Do you agree with him.
"We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, 'O me! O life!... of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless--of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?'  Answer. That you are here--that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?"
8. Why type of homework do the students have to do? When´s the deadline?
9. The students read some poems. What is the first poem about? and the second one?
10. What´s poetry about according to the teacher?
11. Mr. Anderson (one of the students) has problems with his poems and he is not very self-confident. What´s the opinion of the teacher?
12. " I sound my barbaric YAWP over the rooftops of the world" What does this mean and why do you think the teacher wants the student to do it?
13. Do you know who is the man Mr. Anderson is describing? Here you have the poem he makes up in class. What do you think of it.
..."close my eyes and this image floats before me:
A sweaty-toothed madman with a stare that pounds my brain.
His hands reach out and choke me,
and all the time he's mumbling.
Truth like a blanket that always leaves your feet cold.
You push it, stretch it, it'll never be enough.
You kick at it, beat it, it will never cover any of us.
From the moment we enter crying to the moment we leave dying, it'll just cover your face as you wail and cry and scream"

  Reading poetry is challenging and difficult in any language. Depending on the poetry you are reading you may come across old fashioned words, "wierd expressions" and so on that can make it hard to understand a text or poem. To help you understand a bit better English poetry here you have some of the most common devices used in most poems:
Metaphors, similes, alliterations, Assonance, meter, onmatopeia, rhyme, personification, repetitions, narrator point of view ,etc.

Are you familiar with some of them? in the web  esl about you can read some examples and definitions of these devices. Here you have a few definitons taken from this site:
Metaphor - A comparison between two objects giving meaning to one of them. Often forms of the "to be" verb are used, such as "is" or "was", to make the comparison.Example: The boy was a helpless bird waiting for its mother.
Simile - A comparison between two objects using a specific word or comparison such as 'like', 'as', or 'than'.Example:
We watched the ghostly dancers spin
To sound of horn and violin,
Like black leaves wheeling in the wind.

Like wire-pulled automatons,
Slim silhouetted skeletons
Went sidling through the slow quadrille.
(by: Oscar Wilde)
Alliteration - The repetition of beginning consonant sounds.Example: Silently seeking the silky sounds.
Assonance - The repetition of vowel sounds. Example: Elaine waited in plain train.  
Rhyme - The similarity of ending sounds existing between two words.
Example:Inside, above the din and fray,                                                 
              We heard the loud musicians play

Meter - The recurrence of a pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables.
Example:We caught the tread of dancing feet,
              We loitered down the moonlit street,
              And stopped beneath the harlot's house.
(by: Oscar Wilde)
Onomatopoeia - The use of words which imitate sound. Example: He crashed into the car as he heard the screech of the wheels.
Repetition - the repeating of words, phrases, lines, or stanzas.
Example:Hear the sledges with the bells --
             Silver bells!
             What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
             How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
             In the icy air of night!          
(by: Edgar Alan Poe)
Imagery - Words or phrases that use the senses or a combination of senses.
Example: His could almost taste his fear as he smelt the fright of the bolting horse.
Personification - A figure of speech which endows animals, ideas, or inanimate objects with human traits or abilities.  Example:  The window winked at me.
Point-of-view - The author's point-of-view concentrates on the speaker, or "teller", of the story or poem.
1st person: the speaker is a character in the story or poem and tells it from his/her perspective (uses "I")Example:Then, turning to my love, I said,`The dead are dancing with the dead,The dust is whirling with the dust.'   (by: Oscar Wilde)
3rd person: the speaker is not part of the story, but tells about the other characters.


If you want to know more about poetry and its literary devices have a look at this slideshare. We will discuss in class the examples and poems included in the slides

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