Texts 5 and 28Objectives:•To examine two linked texts•Explore the form, structure andnarrative stance of literary writing• Make a comparative analysisbetween two texts.
Context of Production• Charles Dickens was one of the great popular writers of his day. Writing in the Victorain era, he popularised ‘realism’ in his writing; depicting the struggles of the poor and the tyranny of the powerful through vivid characterisation. His writing is now seen as social commentary for the Victorian era.• Oliver Twist is set in a workhouse, a typical institution where poor children would end up, working for the rich. The children were exploited and treated poorly, often receiving meagre portions of food for hours of labour.• By the time James Berry had moved to Britain from Jamaica in 1948, it was a whole different society in Britain. With the influx of immigration, came a whole new culture of food and its availability. No longer was healthy, nutritious food only for the middle classes.• Whereas Oliver Twist documents the class divisions and with it the food restrictions that poor people had to endure, James Berry’s poem celebrates not only the closing of class divisions but also cultural divisions.
Exam Focus• Typical Exam Question: – How do the writers of these two texts convey their attitudes towards and ideas about experiences of food.
Critical Response Activity Decide which overview best describes each text Oliver Twist The Coming of Yams and Mountain Honeya. A social commentary about the a. A celebration of the coming together ofhardships of the Victorian workhouse. two cultures through food.b. A criticism of the way in which poor b. A criticism of the UK, throughchildren were treated by the ruling contrasting it to the beauty of theclasses. Caribbean.c. An insight into how people in the c. A nostalgic reminiscence of the poet forVictorian era lived and the food that they his home countryate.Write a short paragraph that sums up the significant similarities and differences between the two texts.
Commentary• Both texts highlight contrasts in society; for James Berry it is the differences between Jamaica and London, and for Charles Dickens it is the contrast between rich and poor.• The texts are very different in their tone and mood. James Berry’s poem is very much a celebration that two cultures can come together despite being worlds apart and can combine successfully. However, for Charles Dickens the contrast between rich and poor is a division that cannot be closed; illustrated by the difficulty in communication between the poor Oliver and the rich Mr Bumble.
Key Terms - Narrative• Stance – the position and attitude adopted by the narrator towards the events described or narrated• Persona – a narrator or voice created by a writer (in prose or verse) who is different from the writer himself• Omniscient narrator – a narrator who has a complete overview of the story and can move freely between different characters and scenes with full knowledge of what happens
NarrativeStance Explanation ExampleFirst Person: The author writes as himself usingauthor the first personFirst Person: The author creates a characterpersona (persona) from whose first-person point of view the story is toldThird Person: An all-knowing author is notomniscient directly present in the story but simply relates it – and has access to the thoughts and feelings of all the main charactersThird Person: The author uses the third personindirect/ but only to express the innerrestricted feelings and point of view of some characters – perhaps even just one.
Form StructureIn poetry: All kinds of literary text:• what genre of poem is it? (sonnet, ballad...) • How does the text start?• How is the poem broken down into stanzas? • What kind of sequence does the text• Is there a regular pattern (length, rhyme, follow? Does it:metre) being followed? - develop an idea logically, like an argument?In prose narrative: - include any digressions or diversions?• what genre of prose is it? If a narrative, does it:• was it written as a single text or produced in - tell a story in chronological sequence?instalments? - use flashbacks and other devices that• what is the narrative stance of the story? break away from this order?• how is the text broken down into chapters andother sections? • How does each stage of the text relate to• how are the three elements of narrative the previous one and lead on to what comesemployed (narration – description – dialogue)? next?In drama: • Where are the points of real tension, crisis• what genre of drama is it? and climax, and how are they resolved?• How is it organised into acts and scenes?• what use is made of dialogue, monologue, • How does the end conclude or resolve thesoliloquy and other dramatic methods to tell the previous ideas and problems?story?
Oliver Twist The Coming of YamsHow many paragraphs/ sections is the How many stanzas are in the poem and howextract divided into? many lines are in each stanza? Is there a pattern?How evenly is description and dialogue Is there a rhyme pattern of any sort?distributed?Are there any moments of tension and if so How does the structure of the poem relateis there anything noticeable about the to any of the feelings and attitudes beingparagraph lengths or the sentence lengths? explore?Oliver Twist The Coming of the YamsSet in two main sections; first of all a description 11 stanzas, 45 lines in total – unequal amount ofof the room and the boys – to emphasis the lines in each stanzahunger and desperation of the inhabitants of theworkhouse. Secondly, the description of theaction that takes place when Oliver asks formore...More description than dialogue. After each No rhyme patternsection of dialogue there is more description.Repetition of the phrase – ‘please sir I want some The structure is irregular. This could reflect themore’ emphasises the need for more on Oliver’s displacement felt by the narrator. It could signifypart and the shock at hearing such as phrase on the ‘irregularity’ of seeing such bright sun ripenedthe part of the master. colours among the typical London scenery.
Critical Response Activity• You already have lots of notes on the two texts and are almost ready to do the exam question. There’s still more to organise though...• In the exam you only have an hour to write about the texts. This isn’t enough time to write about EVEYTHING in both texts• You still need to talk about language and style, so from the list, your task is to select the most significant features of each text – place them in rank order
Oliver Twist The Coming of the Yams Feature Rank Feature Rank order orderSibilance used in lines 12 – 13 Alliteration and sibilance on line 1Animalistic imagery to describe Semantic field of unusualthe boys’ hunger Caribbean fruitsThe description of the master Sensory Imagescompared with the descriptionof the hungry boysThe use of verbs to create The tone change in stanza 9atmosphereSyntactic parallelism The imperative used in the penultimate stanza which addresses the reader directlyRepetition of the word ‘bowl’ Metaphors
You should now be ready to write a response• How do the writers of the two texts convey attitudes towards and ideas about experiences of food.• word choice• figurative language• grammar• sound patterns• form and structure• layout and presentation• contexts of production and reception.