What Makes a Paragraph?

paragraph

Note: this post has been password-protected because it contains examination answers from the 2017 JC1 cohort, which is not mine (and not right) to share with the world.

What makes a good body paragraph in a Literature essay? You may be asking yourself that question after receiving your CA2 and CA3 responses; this post tries to answer that, clarify a few misconceptions (if any), and examine two of your seniors’ paragraphs to light the way forward. From here you can re-enter our notes with a clearer perspective of your writing can reflect and even go deeper than our analysis, and we will only read stellar work from here!

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Narration

In our second Lit Cut after the first one on metaphors, we will be studying the art of narration and the many different ways we can analyse the narrator. In the first half, we’re split hairs on what or who an omniscient narrator, limited narrator, first-person narrator, unreliable narrator all mean. Once our voices are hoarse with these literary terms, we’ll progress to analysing examples of Austen’s narrator from Pride and Prejudice.

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Chapter One

Before we all ride into the sunset and bring 2017 to a close, I thought I’d kickstart our reading of Pride and Prejudice with a detailed analysis of Volume I Chapter I that lays the ground for our future study of Austen’s narrator, characters and the overlapping concerns of the text.

Beginnings are important, because they set up the reader’s expectations and illuminate the chapters that follow.

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What the Duke Has Done

Just who is Duke Vincentio and what are his real motives? With these vital questions in hand, Ms. Ang’s lecture rummaged through the rampant “plotting, manipulation and duplicity” in Measure for Measure. Do these means justify the ends — that of exposing Angelo, restoring social order and purging Venice’s moral/sexual corruption?

This question assumes that the Duke “conforms to the traditional figure of the wise ruler” who always exercises “his wise and kindly concern for others” (Miles).  In other words, he must be the “convincingly remote” authority figure  whose actions are ultimately “benevolent” and morally righteous, even if his methods arouse our suspicion at times. This is the Duke that predominates Act 5.

This post, taking inspiration from an unlikely source, rethinks the above assumption. What if the Duke is not a corrector of vices? What if he is instead “profoundly disingenuous” (Miles), “very odd” in his execution of intentions (Adelman) and finally, self-important to disconcerting extremes? Lest the audience forgets, the Duke spends a protracted sequence in disguise and never clarifies his shifting position on Angelo. The play arguably presents to us three distinct Dukes with different intentions:

  • The Duke in Act 1 (“D1“) who avows his love for the people but not their vehement attentions. He proceeds to temporarily cede control to Angelo, his deputy;
  • The Duke disguised as the Friar (“D/F“) in Acts 2 -4, and the early section of Act 5, lurking in the shadows to manipulate; and
  • The Duke who resurfaces triumphantly in public during Act 5 (“D5“), pronouncing and quickly renouncing punishment upon Angelo and Lucio, and making amends to Claudio, Isabella and Mariana.

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CA3 Review: To Catch a Thief

This supplementary review of our third CA on Act 2 Sc 1 in Measure has been much delayed by sickness but hopefully arrives in time for revision purposes.

The Term 2 Week 9 lecture already covered the key ideas for this particular passage-based question (PBQ), as well as some of the skills. Regarding the latter, I’m confident that most of us are fully aware of the need to analyse methods and effects, close analyse specific words for effects, discuss concerns, and evaluate links to elsewhere in a PBQ answer. The question that a typical student would (and should) have is really, ‘how do I do this?’ rather than ‘what must I do?’. If you do need to ask yourself the latter question, you may wish to acquire a guilty look not unlike the picture above before moving to the next paragraph.

This post seeks to demonstrate the aforementioned skills (with periodic reminders of what they are!) while also studying what I found to be a conceptually difficult part of the passage — Angelo’s ironic avowal on the ‘thievish’ traits of a jury or judge. We’ll have this on lockdown in no time, so let’s get to it.

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Productions of Measure for Measure

Comic Summary

Reviews and synopses of various productions:

The Guardian (Shakespeare’s Globe)
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/jul/05/measure-for-measure-shakespeare-globe-dominic-dromgoole-review

The Guardian (Young Vic)
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/oct/09/measure-for-measure-review-sex-decay-astonishing-romola-garai

https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/oct/18/measure-for-measure-review-young-vic-romola-garai

 The Guardian (Cheek by Jowl)
https://www.theguardian.com/stage/2015/apr/19/measure-for-measure-russian-language-declan-donnellan-barbican-london-review
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Power and Transgression in Measure for Measure

Excerpts from ‘Power and Transgression in Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure‘ by Jesse A. Goldberg

Shakespeare’s comedies, at first glance, seem to uniformly end on a positive note, with the fulfillment of desires, the overcoming of obstacles, and the victory over malevolent forces. In Twelfth Night and Measure for Measure, however, this is not the case. The conclusions of both plays are reiterations of problematic power structures present in each play. […] Measure for Measure, in its focus on religion and motifs of manipulation and falsity, depicts how those who are empowered by status use their power to reinforce their own position and shape the world around them, thus leaving those who are set in a lower position subject to the power of the elite. Continue reading “Power and Transgression in Measure for Measure”