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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…

Comparative Quotes for Leaving Cert English

A lot of students ask, do I need quotations for the Comparative?

They don't seem to be important, based on our experience. However, they are very important for Single text and Poetry.

We made this list below should you want to use quotation. It also serves as a revision aid for the key moments of the texts.

Note: all of these quotes were taken down from the films and books directly with the intention of being as precise as possible. We cannot guarantee that they are the exact same as the script or your edition of the book and cannot accept responsibility for their precision. Please make sure you do not misquote in your Leaving Cert.


"Third test today, mama bear?"
Judgemental attitude about Juno's pregnancy from shop clerk when Juno buys her third test

"Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails!"
Su-Chin yells to Juno outside the abortion clinic in an attempt to change her mind

"A couple nice lesbos"
Juno contemplates potential adoptive parents

"Dude, that thing is freaky looking"
Juno's friend says about the baby when she sees the ultrasound scan, her teenage lingo is juxtaposed with the seriousness of the situation

"It's obviously a poisonous environment to raise a baby in"
Ultrasound technician oversteps her boundaries

"Why don't you go back to night school in Manteno and learn a real trade"
Brenda, Juno's step mother, stands up to the ultrasound technician

"I am in a fat suit that I can't take off"
"Pretty much everyone's making fun of me behind my back"
Juno to Bleeker about being heavily pregnant

"You broke my heart... I still have your underwear"
Bleeker to Juno

"I got bored and had sex with you"
Juno to Bleeker

"Do you think there's something between us?"
Mark's inappropriate advances towards Juno

"I don't even know if I'm ready to be a father... I never said I'd be a good father"
Mark backs out of the adoption

"Your shirt is stupid... If I have to wait for you to become Kurt Cobain, I'm never gonna be a mother"
Vanessa speaks to Mark

"Well aren't you the cool guy"
Vanessa comments on Mark moving to a loft


"It’s the feeding them that’s the trouble"

"She hasn’t enough to pay the man"

“We’ll have you togged out in no time”

"I want to see gold stars on them copy books next time I come up here"

“Daddy,” I keep calling him, keep warning him. “Daddy.”

Big Maggie

"He was a good man, if he had a failing, Maggie, twas a failing many had"

The Handmaid's Tale

"there was no corresponding word that meant to behave like a sister."
Context: describing relationships between women. "Fraternize means to behave like a brother. Luke told me that. He said there was no corresponding word that meant to behave like a sister."
Significance: women often don't treat each other well as is reflected in the language - or, if you prefer, women aren't seen to be deserving of a special word to describe their bonds.

"Low status: he hasn't been issued a woman, not even one."
Context: describing Nick. " He doesn't rate: some defect, lack of connections."
Significance: women are a commodity that's assigned to men based on a similarly commoditised rating.

"There's always a black market, there's always something that can be exchanged."
Context: looking at rare, better cigarettes
Significance: a utopian society is against human nature. People will always find a way to trade. It's a possible allusion to Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" where better cigarettes came from a hidden "normal" part of the US that hasn't been overtaken in a socialist utopia.

"There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from."
Context: "I think about laundromats. What I wore to them: shorts, jeans, jogging pants. What I put into them: my own clothes, my own soap, my own money, money I had earned myself. I think about having such control. Now we walk along the same street, in red pairs, and no man shouts obscenities at us, speaks to us, touches us. No one whistles."
Significance: lack of freedom.

"I am a national resource." 
Context: "I cannot avoid seeing, now, the small tattoo on my ankle. Four digits and an eye, a passport in reverse. It's supposed to guarantee that I will never be able to fade, finally, into another landscape. I am too important, too scarce, for that. I am a national resource."
Significance: about not being in control of her own fate.

"You must be a worthy vessel." 
Context: Aunt Lydia's reasoning behind encouraging the main character to eat well.
Significance: she is only there to serve society, she's not an individual.

"My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech."
Context: "I compose myself. My self is a thing I must now compose, as one composes a speech. What I must present is a made thing, not something born." 
Significance: she feels that society expects her to be an object rather than a person.

"Her fault, her fault, her fault, we chant in unison."
Context: "It's Janine, telling about how she was gang-raped at fourteen and had an abortion."
Significance: rape culture, victim-blaming, discriminating against women.

Stop at Nothing: the Lance Armstrong Story Leaving Cert English

Stop at Nothing: the Lance Armstrong Story

"I had this sense of a guy who just wouldn't be beaten"
Journalist (David Walsh) about Armstrong's experience of approaching the finish line

"Nothing's gonna stop you, nothing's gonna harm you"
Frankie about racing

"I am going to achieve everything I ever wanted to achieve. Whatever it takes."
David Walsh on the significance of Armstrong visiting Dr Ferrari during his cancer therapy

"Ruthless alpha-male leader"

"This man managed to come back from the face of death and now he..."
Commentator on Armstrong's climb during the Mountain stage of the TdF

"We have the oldest secret in the book: hard work."
Armstrong speaks to a journalist when accused of cortisone use

"It's a necessary evil"
Armstrong's wife on EPO as per Frankie's wife

"It was a fraud... they were buying into this fairytale."
Frankie's wife on the TdF win

"I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles."
Lance Armstrong

"They very, very mean and very dismissive of Emma O'Reilly as they were really of almost all of the women who testified against Mr Armstrong"
Gender roles

"A clinical sociopath, someone able to do wrong without remorse"

"You are not worth the chair that you're sitting on with a statement like that"
Armstrong responds to a journalist from The Sunday Times

"Nobody is that conniving, nobody is that good to try to get away with something for 17-18-19 years. No way! Nah."
Lance Armstrong

"To put a bullet in my head"
A journalist on the threats he received when investigating the conspiracy

"Lance believed that he was bulletproof, that he was invincible"

Brooklyn Leaving Cert comparative


"The mistake was coming home from America in the first place"


"Freedom is slavery"

“The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power.”

The Plough and the Stars

"Ireland is greater than a wife"

"I’d be as well sewin’ or doin’ something about th’ place"

the pair of them used to be like two turtle doves… but I’m thinking he’s beginning to take things more quietly.”

I'm Not Scared

"Monsters don’t exist. It’s men you should be afraid of, not monsters."

A Doll's House

"I was simply transferred from Papa’s hands into yours. You arranged everything according to your own tastes."

"Has my little spendthrift been wasting money again?"

"I have been your doll-wife."

Rear Window

"Here lie the broken bones of L. B. Jefferies" (touch of humour in the exposition of a rather sinister film)

"I will get married - and then I won't be able to go anywhere!" (Jeff's commitment phobia)

"You don't know the meaning of the word 'neighbours'" (Social commentary)

Hitchcock's cameo: "I have wormed my way into my own pictures as a spy." [Source]

The Fault in Our Stars

The title comes from "Julius Caesar": "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, / But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

To be continued...

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