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Brendan Kennelly for Leaving Cert English: Begin

"Begin" by Brendan KennellyYou may also like: 2019 Guide to Leaving Cert English. Full notes on Brendan Kennelly will be made available to everyone who has the 2019 guide, free of charge, as soon as they are ready.

Summary: a philosophical reflection on starting something new again and again communicated through the description of a morning walk across the Grand Canal in Dublin.

Style features:
anaphora (1) (highlighted in bold) adds a sense of determination as does the repetition of the word “begin” throughout the poemenjambment highlights the never ending need to begin again imperative tone, “begin again” is an encouraging command to never give up alliteration e.g. “dying in dark / determination” enhances the imageryreference to familiar places, “Pembroke Road” near the Aviva Stadium in Dublin 4, make the poem more accessibleimagery appeals to multiple senses: “summoning birds”, “sight of the light”, “roar of morning traffic”, “crying birds in the sudden rain”, “branches…

Cultural Context - Wuthering Heights, The Great Gatsby, The Plough and The Stars for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

"The main characters in texts are often in conflict with the world or culture they inhabit"

In light of the above statement, compare how the main characters interact with the cultural contexts in the texts you have studied for your comparative course.



The world that characters inhabit has a huge impact on how they adapt to their culture and how they meet expected standards of them within that culture. (Very hard to read. Split sentences like this into two. Don't expect the examiner to have to read it twice.) These increasing pressures to behave according to these standards can lead to different forms of conflict. The three texts I have chosen for my comparative study are "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Wuthering Heights" by Emily Bronte and "The Plough And The Stars" by Sean O'Casey. (This author makes good points. However, he has a bad case of long-sentence-itis. It steals a lot of his hard-earned marks.)

Beginning with Emily Bronte's timeless classic "Wuthering Heights", Heathcliffe from the outright faces prejudices for his background as a gypsy. This discrimination displays itself in the forms of bullying, taunting and an expected role for him to play in his household. Heathcliff copes well until his expected role is to constrain him from displaying his love for Catherine. A gypsy's social placement is that of a poverty stricken slave who dare not attempt to mingle with persons above his social class. Catherine also recognises this, "It would degrade me to marry Heathcliff". Heathcliff snaps and his determination to enact his revenge sees him aggressively rebel against the culture he inhabits. He knowingly mentally tortures Catherine and destroys Hindley morally and financially. Similarly seen in "The Great Gatsby", Gatsby is haunted by his poverty stricken past the poverty he faced in the past and sees his social status as a barrier for him win back the love of Daisy. He undertakes illegal dealings and creates schizophrenic like tales of his past the imitate the ideology of a gentlemen in other people's eyes. The objective aim to win back Daisy entrenches his whole world in conflict when he comes to the realization that his wealth and gentlemanly attire will not be enough for him to repeat the past as he so eagerly anticipated it would be. This disillusions Gatsby, he struggles to cope and he begins relying on unethically hopeful scenarios. From the beginning, Gatsby has struggled to accept his social placement and constantly rebels against it even at the pinnacle of his wealth when he dismisses his Nouveu Riche label. (Virtually every sentence in this paragraph should be split into two or stripped down. The content, on the other hand, is ok. The author's message is a little fuzzy. He should just zone in on the prejudice aspect rather than retelling the bones of both stories.)

The role of women in the texts "The Plough And The Stars" and "The Great Gatsby" is another major cause for conflict within the worlds the characters dwell. Daisy, Tom Buchan's perfect trophy wife, attempts to break free from the shackles many women of her era are trapped in. Daisy is all too aware of Toms' extra-marital affairs and for basic self-respect Daisy had every right to divorce Tom but her expected role is that of a commodity and to stay loyal to her husband no matter how his behaviour and actions harm her. (Do you see what I mean about long sentences? There are about four sentences trapped in there.) This boils over into Daisy seeking to find true love again with an affair with Gatsby, this rebellion against her fit in the society she inhabits embroils the play in chaos and conflict. (Or is Daisy just using Gatsby to get back at Tom?) This is mirrored in "The Plough And The Stars" and projects itself through Nora Clitheroe. Much like in "The Great Gatsby", Nora's role is to obey her husband and stay at home. The first glimpse we see of this is as Nora attempts to run to Jack in the rebellion only to be restrained by Fluther and to be asked 'what are you more than any other woman?' Jack shrugs off Nora and ignores her, which could be disputed that he felt embarrassed in front of the crowd, but in my opinion this further exemplifies the expected role Nora was expected to play, not to embarrass her husband with displays of affection especially in public. Nora constantly argues about the pitfalls of war and how she just wants Jack to come home and stop fighting, the expectation of her in the text was to be outlandishly proud of Jack risking his life for his country but Nora refused to accept her role as proud housewife. "I'm ashamed of ya Nora, a man must fight" - can't verify this quote. This is a more focused paragraph content-wise, well done.)

Religion initiates a major struggle for characters in both texts "The Plough And The Stars" and "The Great Gatsby". The whole backdrop of "The Plough And The Stars" is the war between Catholic nationalists and Protestant unionists. This war controls and dictates the society the characters live in and eventually leads to the death of Jack Clitheroe and Bessie Burgess, these events drove Nora to the brink of mental insanity as she struggles to accept the very reality shes been so fearful of throughout the text. (Shorter. Is. Better.) Similarly in "The Great Gatsby" religion plays a constructive role in the struggles and conflicting battles many of the characters face, but for the opposite reason. In "The Plough And The Stars", the value of religious morals is so strong, it leaves a trail of death and carnage (Death and carnage are similar concepts, so we don't use both. It's like saying round circle. The proper name for this is tautology. Tautology is part of the reason the author's sentences are so long.) in its wake, but the complete absence of religion in "The Great Gatsby" is just as destructive. (Haha, how clever! What an elegant way to segue into "The Great Gatsby"! ) The society lacks moral and ethical values and the uncommonness of religion in the upper echelons of society leads to the characters undertaking outlandish displays such as having multiple affairs, involving themselves with shady acquaintances and dealing in illegal trades. George Wilson's dialogue to his wife regarding God seeing all is the only direct mention of religion in the text, but even with his faith George self destructs in the final chapters and murders Gatsby in cold blood.

In conclusion, the conflict the characters face in each text is often overwhelming, the struggle to battle (tautology) against these unbeatable prejudices, roles and existing or non-existing religious sentiments almost always leads to the destruction of themselves or destruction of others. Heathcliff was forced to live out the rest of his life miserably without true love. Nora suffered tremendous tragedies through no fault of her own and Daisy was forced into a life she didn't want to lead with a man she didn't love. 

I am a little perplexed at this author's sympathy for Daisy, but fair enough. 

The author only compared two texts in each paragraph. Why not three? It's totally doable. Drop the regurgitation of the plot and add in more comparisons. Consider adding in another aspect of cultural context.

The author has what it takes to get a H1. Most of all, it is the structure and clarity of his message that gets him the marks. His messy sentences and lack of focus on comparison are weighing him down. I am sure he will get around those :)

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