The Picture of Dorian Gray - Exam Prep

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The Picture of Dorian Gray - Exam Prep

  1. 1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde Examination Preparation
  2. 2. Exam Basic Info • AS Unit F661: Poetry and Prose 1800-1945 • 60% of total AS GCE mark • 2 hour written paper, 60 marks • Friday 17th May (afternoon)
  3. 3. Section B: Prose 1800-1945 There is a choice of two questions on each set text and candidates answer one question on the text they have studied. Candidates should be able to: • respond to a proposition offered in the question demonstrating understanding of the text in relation to the view presented; • explore how themes and issues are presented, taking into account the effects of language, form and structure. • show that study of the chosen text has been complemented by study of a literary- critical text. Recommended OCR literary-critical texts: • Montgomery, Durant, Fabb, Furniss, Mills – Ways of Reading (Routledge). • Malcolm Peet and David Robinson – Leading Questions: a course in literary appreciation (Nelson) • Robert Eaglestone – Doing English (Routledge) • David Lodge – The Art of Fiction (Penguin) Please note that these are not compulsory but you do have to show evidence of some critical reading around the novel and about literary criticism.
  4. 4. Useful Source of Extracts
  5. 5. Examination Assessment Objectives AO1: articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, and coherent, accurate written expression; AO2: demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts; AO3: explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers; AO4: demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received.
  6. 6. AO1 AO1: articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, and coherent, accurate written expression. This means that: • you should be able to respond imaginatively to the text; • you should have a good level of awareness of the writer, the genre as well as others writers from the same period; • you should be familiar with terminology and concepts like irony, narrative voice and structure; • you should be able to write clearly, ensuring that your spelling, punctuation and grammar are of a high standard.
  7. 7. AO2 AO2: demonstrate detailed critical understanding in analysing the ways in which structure, form and language shape meanings in literary texts. This means you will need to read the text closely and show how each writer creates effects through choices of language, form and structure. This is the most important AO in this unit.
  8. 8. AO3 AO3: explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers. In this AO, you only need to focus on the second half (underlined). You may show your analysis is supported by the critical reading recommended by the exam board but you may also find information about different interpretations of your text from other sources. You do not need to quote from these sources in the exam but you do need to show that your study of the novel has been enhanced by the interpretations of other readers (ie critics, biographers and reviewers).
  9. 9. AO4 • AO4: demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received. This means you need to show that you have researched and considered the influences surrounding the novel, such as: • the writer’s life • the society in which they wrote • how this writing compares to other works written in the same period.
  10. 10. Exam Questions (a) ‘Dorian Gray’s attempt to become a living work of art is doomed to failure.’ In the light of this comment, discuss Wilde’s presentation of life and art in the novel. Or (b) ‘The novel’s contrasting settings portray a gulf between social classes in Victorian society.’ How far and in what ways do you agree with this view of The Picture of Dorian Gray? (from June 2012 examination paper) Proposition Your exploration We will come back to these questions later on.
  11. 11. From now until the exam, we will be focusing on: • consolidating your knowledge of theme, character and context (including contemporary writers/novels) • examining critical responses, both contemporary and modern. • exploring approaches to literary criticism as applied to Dorian Gray • analysing structure and language in further detail • planning and answering exemplar examination questions.
  12. 12. Starting today with structure... A comparison of 1890 (Lippincott’s) and 1891 versions • We’re lucky with Dorian Gray and structure, as Wilde has handed us something to discuss on a plate – the additional chapters (Chapters 15 to 18). We have already discussed the significance of these chapters and why Wilde may have added them. • But he made other changes to the manuscript as well. • Look at the worksheet you have been given. This outlines other changes made by Wilde and asks you to comment on why he may have made them. • Working in pairs, go through the worksheet, making notes in your book about each extract. (It may be a good idea to cut out the table and glue it into your book, so you can then make notes alongside each section.)
  13. 13. Comparison of two versions Extract from 1890 version Extract from 1891 version What the changes could imply N/A Chapter three (Lord Henry finding out about Dorian‟s past) was written for the 1891 version and did not appear in the Lippincott’s version. Why do you think Wilde added in this chapter? Who do we learn more about – Dorian or Lord Henry? N/A Chapter five (Sybil tells her mother and brother of her love for Prince Charming) was written for the 1891 version and did not appear in the Lippincott’s version. This chapter marks the start of the James Vane revenge sub-plot. Why might Wilde have added this in? How does this chapter elicit our sympathy for Sybil?
  14. 14. At the start of Chapter Eight: “„Well, Master Dorian‟, she said, „what can I do for you? I beg your pardon, sir,‟ – here came a courtesy – „I shouldn‟t call you Master Dorian anymore. But, Lord bless you, sir, I have known you since you were a baby, and many‟s the trick you‟ve played on poor old Leaf.‟” At the start of chapter ten : “Mrs. Leaf bustled into the library. He asked her for the key of the schoolroom. „The old schoolroom, Mr Dorian?‟ she exclaimed.” In the earlier text, the housekeeper Mrs Leaf is described in much more detail and tells us something about Dorian as a child. Why might Wilde have removed these details for the later edition? The opening to chapter ten (in which Dorian murders Basil): “It was on the 7th November, the eve of his own thirty- second birthday, as he often remembered afterwards.” The opening to chapter twelve (in which Dorian murders Basil): “It was on the ninth of November, the eve of his own thirty- eighth birthday, as he often remembered afterwards.” Some have argued that in the longer narrative Wilde could extend the timeline of the plot; others have claimed that in the Lippincott’s version the “thirty-second birthday” alludes to when Wilde first engaged in homosexual relationships. What is your view?
  15. 15. N/A In chapter twelve, find the paragraph beginning, “ „Stop, Basil. You are talking about things of which you know nothing.‟” This paragraph was added in 1891. What do we infer about Dorian‟s character from the passage? Do we empathise with him less with this addition in place, and if so, why? N/A In chapter fourteen, find the paragraph beginning, “The suspense became unbearable.” This paragraph, describing Dorian‟s fear of being hanged for Basil‟s murder, was added in 1891. Does Dorian appear cowardly in this passage or do we sympathise with his fear? In chapter thirteen, when Dorian stabs the picture, the narrative reads, “it would kill the past, and when that was dead he would be free. He seized it, and stabbed the canvas with it, ripping the thing right up from top to bottom.” In chapter twenty, when Dorian stabs the picture, the narrative reads, “It would kill the past, and when that was dead he would be free. It would kill this monstrous soul-life, and without its hideous warnings, he would be at peace. He seized the thing and stabbed the picture with it.” What allusion is present in the 1890 version that is omitted from the later text? Why does Dorian appear more immoral in the later extract?
  16. 16. Plenary • Look at your notes. • Keep in mind additional Chapters 15-18. • 2 minutes: discuss what you feel are his most significant reasons for making the changes. Is there any reason(s) cropping up more than once? • Feedback to the class.
  17. 17. Wednesday 17th April 2013 Learning objectives: • To be able to make comparisons between the book and the film, focusing on changes to structure and character. • To consider why changes have been made. • To assess whether the changes detract from Wilde’s original intention/vision.
  18. 18. HOMEWORK: due 25th April • Enter into Google: New Yorker Alex Ross Wilde • Read article ‘How Oscar Wilde Painted Over Dorian Gray’ by Alex Ross, from The New Yorker magazine, Sept 2011. If you can print it out, do so; it is 12 pages long. • Find three interesting quotations from it relating to: – The characters – Other reviewer’/critics’ views (name the reviewer/critic) – The homosexual subtext
  19. 19. Wednesday 24th April 2013 Learning objectives: • To be able to make comparisons between the book and the film, focusing on changes to structure and character. • To consider why changes have been made. • To assess whether the changes detract from Wilde’s original intention/vision.
  20. 20. CHARACTER PERSONALITY AND ROLE IN BOOK PERSONALITY AND ROLE IN FILM MOST SIGNIFICANT CHANGES Dorian Gray Lord Henry Basil Hallward
  21. 21. FOCUS ON STRUCTURAL CHANGES In the grid, note down at least three instances when the director of the film decided to either change or omit some part of the book. CHANGES OMISSIONS
  22. 22. Take one character change and one structural change/omission and consider why the director may have made the decision to alter Wilde’s original or omit it completely. CHARACTER: STRUCTURAL CHANGE/OMISSION CHANGE: CHANGE/OMISSION: POSSIBLE REASON: POSSIBLE REASON:
  23. 23. What did the critics think? • Rotten Tomatoes
  24. 24. PLENARY Taking into consideration both the changes made in the film, the possible reasons for making them and the film overall, do you feel that director Oliver Parker stayed true to Wilde’s intentions and vision in writing the book? • Discuss in pairs for two minutes. • Make notes. • Feedback via class discussion.
  25. 25. Tuesday 30th April 2013 Learning objectives: To know how the book was received by contemporary critics.
  26. 26. AO1: articulate creative, informed and relevant responses to literary texts, using appropriate terminology and concepts, a coherent, accurate written expression. QUICK QUIZ What does narrative form mean? What does narrative content mean? Narrative arc? First-person narration? Third-person narration? External narration? Internal narration? Restricted narration? Unrestricted (omniscient) narration? Focalisation? Stream of consciousness?
  27. 27. Terms explained Focalisation ‘The way in which a text represents the relationship between who ‘experiences’ and what is experienced. Focalisation falls into 2 categories:  External focalisation, where an anonymous, unidentified voice situated outside the text functions as focaliser;  Character focalisation, where phenomena are presented as experienced by a character within the story.’ Critical Anthology for OCR AS English Literature, page 63-65 Stream of consciousness Character focalisation where the reader is taken into the mind of a character, reading their thoughts (inner speech) without overt narrative structuring. A famous novel written completely in stream of consciousness is ‘Ulysses’ by Irish writer James Joyce.
  28. 28. Example of stream of consciousness a quarter after what an unearthly hour I suppose they’re just getting up in China now combing out their pigtails for the day well soon have the nuns ringing the angelus they’ve nobody coming in to spoil their sleep except an odd priest or two for his night office or the alarmlock next door at cockshout clattering the brain out of itself let me see if I can doze off 1 2 3 4 5 what kind of flowers are those they invented like the stars the wallpaper in Lombard Street was much nicer the apron he gave me was like that something only I only wore it twice better lower this lamp and try again so that I can get up early
  29. 29. Narrative and narration in A Picture of Dorian Gray? • Narrative form? • Narrative content? • Narrative arc? • What types of third-person narration?
  30. 30. AO3 AO3: explore connections and comparisons between different literary texts, informed by interpretations of other readers. In this AO, you only need to focus on the second half (underlined). You may show your analysis is supported by the critical reading recommended by the exam board but you may also find information about different interpretations of your text from other sources. You do not need to quote from these sources in the exam but you do need to show that your study of the novel has been enhanced by the interpretations of other readers (ie critics, biographers and reviewers).
  31. 31. HOMEWORK: due 25th April • Enter into Google: New Yorker Alex Ross Wilde • Read article ‘How Oscar Wilde Painted Over Dorian Gray’ by Alex Ross, from The New Yorker magazine, Sept 2011. • Find three interesting quotations from it relating to: – The characters – Other reviewer’/critics’ views (name the reviewer/critic) – The homosexual subtext
  32. 32. What did you discover from the article about the characters in „Dorian Gray‟?
  33. 33. What critical views did you find?
  34. 34. What did you discover about the homosexual subtext?
  35. 35. We’re now going to look in more detail at contemporary responses to ‘Dorian Gray’.
  36. 36. ‘Why go grubbing in muck heaps?’ ‘The world is fair, and the proportion of healthy-minded men and honest women to those that are foul, fallen or unnatural is great. Mr Oscar Wilde has again been writing stuff that were better unwritten; and while ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, which he contributes to Lippincott’s, is ingenious, interesting, full of cleverness, and plainly the work of a man of letters, it is false art – for its interest is medico-legal; it is false to human nature – for its hero is a devil; it is false to morality – for it is not made sufficiently clear that the writer does not prefer a course of unnatural iniquity to a life of cleanliness, health and sanity. The story – which deals with matters only fitted for the Criminal Investigation Department or a hearing in camera – is discreditable alike to author and editor. Mr Wilde has brains, and art, and style; but if he can write for none but outlawed noblemen and perverted telegraph-boys,* the sooner he takes to tailoring (or some other decent trade) the better for his own reputation and the public morals.’ Review in the Scots Observer, July 5th 1890 * Reference to Lord Arthur Somerset and the ‘Cleveland Street affair’ of 1889, surrounding a gay brothel for aristocrats; because of the rumoured involvement of Albert Victor, son of the Prince of Wales and second in line to the throne, it was hushed up but scandal erupted later when the government of the time was accused of a cover-up.
  37. 37. Contemporary reviews • The review on the previous slide is typical of many of the reviews ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ received when published. • Highlight the three accusations that the book is ‘false’. • What is the reviewer actually accusing Wilde of here?
  38. 38. Wilde’s response (extract) ‘Your reviewer suggests that I do not make it sufficiently clear whether I prefer virtue to wickedness or wickedness to virtue. An artist...has no ethical sympathies at all. Virtue and wickedness are to him simply what the colours on his palette are to the painter. They are no more, and they are no less. He sees that by their means a certain artistic effect can be produced, and he produces it. Iago may be morally horrible and Imogen stainlessly pure. Shakespeare, as Keats said, had as much delight in creating the one as he had in creating the other. It was necessary...for the dramatic development of this story to surround Dorian Gray with an atmosphere of moral corruption. Otherwise the story would have had no meaning and the plot no issue. To keep this atmosphere vague and indeterminate and wonderful was the aim of the artist who wrote the story. I claim...that he has succeeded. Each man sees his own sin in Dorian Gray. What Dorian Gray’s sins are no-one knows. He who finds them has brought them.  What arguments does Wilde put forward against the reviewer from the Scots Observer? Highlight key sentences/phrases on your copy.  Is it a strong counter-argument? Why/Why not?
  39. 39. HOMEWORK: due 8th May • Go to http://books.google.co.uk and google Oscar Wilde: The Critical Heritage by Karl E Beckson. * • Read contemporary reviews of ‘Dorian Gray’ on pages 67-83, particularly the review by Walter Pater. • Find out who Walter Pater was in relation to Wilde. • Pick out a positive quotation from the Pater article about Wilde’s book. * You can also download these articles onto Kindle free of charge; if you have the Norton edition of the book (that’s you, Olly T), these reviews are printed at the back.
  40. 40. Plenary • Bearing in mind the time it was written, is Dorian Gray an exercise in ‘grubbing in muck heaps’? • Discuss. • Conclude.
  41. 41. The Picture of Dorian Gray: Themes • Themes: – Evil in humanity, the pleasures of evil and the destructiveness of evil. – Sin and redemption – Appearance versus reality – Hedonism – The purpose of art : aestheticism – Love, marriage and friendship – The supremacy of youth and beauty – The superficial nature of society – Hypocrisy – Influence/manipulation
  42. 42. The Picture of Dorian Gray: Themes • Themes: – Appearance versus reality – Hedonism, including pleasures of evil – The purpose of art, aestheticism – Love and friendship; marriage – The supremacy of youth and beauty – The superficial nature of society; class; – Hypocrisy
  43. 43. Wednesday 8th May 2013 • Learning objectives: • To know the different types of irony. • To be able to write about Dorian under exam conditions in one hour.
  44. 44. IRONY Verbal irony: where we do not literally mean what we say; instead we imply an attitude of disbelief towards the content of our utterance or writing. A proposition is made; we interpret an attitude towards that proposition that may not correspond to the words spoken/written. It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife. (Opening lines to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen) In what way is this verbal irony?
  45. 45. IRONY Situational irony: a conflict between what two different people (or groups of people) know. In ‘The Woman in Black’, the villagers of Crythin Gifford purposely keep information from Arthur Kipps (and, hence, us). In what way does this create irony? • Dramatic irony is a sub-kind of situational irony, where the reader/audience know more than the characters.
  46. 46. IRONY • Uncertain irony: where the true opinion of the writer is hard to define, even though we think they are communicating propositions they are unlikely to believe. • Often an issue with writers from other cultures or from another era. • Shakespeare – can you think of any examples from plays you have read?
  47. 47. IRONY • Apply your knowledge to Dorian Gray. Try to find examples of: • Verbal irony • Situational irony/dramatic irony • Uncertain irony
  48. 48. Exam question • ‘Dorian Gray’s attempt to become a living work of art is doomed to failure.’ • In the light of this comment, discuss Wilde’s presentation of life and art in the novel.
  49. 49. Exam Mark Scheme – good response • Good answers to this question may point out that living as a work of art might seem to be a way of avoiding moral responsibility. They may refer to Wilde’s Preface to the novel, where he suggests that art is not moral: ‘an ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style’. • Candidates may argue that, on the contrary, the novel seems to offer a very firm moral: it is easy to see Dorian as a kind of modern Faust, living a life of hedonism at the expense of the figure in the portrait, then destroying his alter ego in the picture and regaining his humanity at the cost of his death. • Answers may suggest that the book seems to be about living freely and freshly, but that punishment is stored up in the end. • Some candidates may suggest that art proves to be fatal for Basil Hallward, too, who is murdered as a result of painting the portrait, and also perhaps for Sybil Vane, who first attracts Dorian’s attention as an actress.
  50. 50. How would you respond? • The exam board says, ‘the indicative content….is not prescriptive, nor is it exclusive; examiners must be careful to reward original but well-focused answers and implicit as well as explicit responses.’
  51. 51. Plenary • Feedback your four idea developments for the essay. • Next lesson, you’re going to write it.

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