Blog 6, Week 8

Take one stanza from the Scholar Gypsy and carefully explicate its meaning saying how you think the language and form (stanza shape) contribute to the stanza’s power and effect.


The Scholar Gypsy written by Matthew Arnold explores the ideas of the ways of fulfilling life and how an individual show potentially live within a materialistic world. Arnold writes during the industrial revolution, meaning that his work is warning for his intended audience as he does not want his society to lose the essence of nature and reality. In particular, stanza nineteen it the most important part of the poem as it delves into the consequences of materialistic ideals and how their modern society is losing touch with the way of life.

The stanza itself, the turning point of the poem as the comparison between the gypsy and the persona highlights that the Scholar Gypsy is free from modernism and the effects of the industrial revolution. Unlike the persona whose tone is almost envious of the Scholar Gypsy as he seems to understand that he is trapped within this new structure and purpose of society. With the line:

“O life unlike to ours!”

It emphases the divide between the utilitarian society compared to rural, more traditional types of societies. With this line, it also changes the feel and concept of the poem. Moving it away from the Scholar Gypsy towards the downfall of a materialistic society that functions off the greed of wealth. The line divides the poem and conveys the difference between the two individuals in this poem.



Peer Review 4

Hi Josh,
Nice summary of the art gallery visit! I feel the same way as you as I think it is fundamental to literature to understand art as both go hand in hand. I too, found that the Victorian Hall was my favourite as well, might be due to studying in the middle ages and having the understanding of what it was leading up to. Most of all, I liked your critique of Briton Rivière’s “Requiescat” as it showed both your understanding and personal opinion of companions. The concept of loyalty was good but I feel that it could of been a bit stronger. I would of maybe added another sentence or two and go deeper in the concept of loyalty. Apart from that, great blog and I look forward to reading more of your blogs. Riley

Blog 5, Week 7

Write a paragraph explaining why you think it is worthwhile exploring art works even though you are a student of literature.
I believe that art and literature go hand in hand as both are creative outlets for an individual. Regardless of the content or context of a person’s work, I believe it is fundamental for a literature student to understand the real meanings of artworks like how they delve deeper into an author’s work or a character’s persona. In relation to works we have studied this semester, such as Hard Times by Charles Dickens and Emma by Jane Austen; as a student when you go to galleries and observe artworks that were created during both the Romanticism and the Victorianism; It does help in understanding both the context of both the artworks and the novels.


In particular, one of the works that I found helped me understand the background of the Romanticism was John Seymour Lucas’ “The Gordon Riots 1780” painted in 1879; it depicts the events that some of the poets we have studied this semester had to undergo to seek peace. Even though, the context of the riots was initially a protest about religion; it did turn into a divide between upper class and the lower class. As you can see through the facial expression of both the soldiers and the rebels, they have looks of determination and passion as both are fighting for their causes and beliefs. With knowing a general understanding of what occurred; as a student, I was able to gain a deeper level of knowledge of what occurred and what thoughts and ideals there were through both studying this artwork and thought the works by poet William Wordsworth and other Romantics. Though this work was created a hundred years after this took place, it does give as a viewer some indication of what was the atmosphere in London during that time.

Therefore, as a literature student, I believe it is extremely important to study all creative arts that do focus on the context of what you are studying as it allows you to gain a deeper understanding of particular thoughts and views of what was occurring during the context of what period you are studying. Because both literature and art are outlets for creative minds and delve deeper into the beliefs and ideals during certain periods of time.


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Peer Review 3

Hi Nicole,
I did the same topic as you this week and I do enjoy the way that you critic Mr Gradgrind’s parenting and teaching methods. I do like how you relate this back to your own experiences and feelings towards this forced marriage. The use of the rhetorical questions does highlight the injustice that Mr Gradgrind has done to Louisa. The only thing that I would of done would of been to related it back to context of the work and the particular chapter that the marriage proposal does happen. Though, I do understand how that can be difficult due to it being a creative piece. Apart from that, I do like your response to Mr Gradgrind and look forward to more of your blogs. Riley

Blog 4, Week 6

Write a letter to Mr Gradgrind telling him what you think about the way he treated his own daughter, particularly with reference to the marriage arrangements he has created.


Dear Mr Gradgrind,

I have become to realise that your teaching methods and ideals for your daughter, Louisa, are extremely inappropriate. Your obsession with work has made your daughter mechanical and unable to develop emotions. I’m not saying that your daughter is unhuman, but you have driven out the essence of her heart and identity.

The main reason why I’m writing to you currently is due to the fact that you have played match maker and are forcing her into this commitment of marriage with Mr Bounderby. I am aware of the fact that you gave her a “choice”, but her decision was based on your own happiness and ego. You want her to be married to a man that has become unnatural and lost the ability to even be sympathetic is any matter. As I heard from Louisa herself, that you were overjoyed by this news and that she had to keep herself grounded in order to follow your teaching. Are you not a hypocrite to your teachings in this situation? Are you not going against your own morals and beliefs?

Are you being your perfect model in this situation? The answer to this is no. You being the lawgiver are allowed to slide by while if another acted in this manner, you would be disgusted. I how I am with you. You want Cecilia to conform to your ideals while you fail to do so yourself. If you wish to continue your inhuman teachings, I believe it is your own undoing. And ultimately you will ruin the life of your own daughter by forcing her into this lifestyle with Mr Bounderby.

If I were you Mr Gradgrid, I would consider the things that are close to your heart and attempt to place yourself in the position that you have created for your daughter. I can see the outcome of this situation, and it does not end in a happy forever after.

Kind Regards,


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Placement 4

This week, I found out that we, placement students, weren’t meant to go in. But the assistant principle said that I could come in for my placement. Unlike other weeks, I had to leave early for family reasons which made me feel restless as I felt the need to be getting work finished as soon as possible. Now reflecting on this, I was in the wrong as I shouldn’t attempt to pressure students to finish their work early.

Another thing that made me feel uncomfortable was that one of the students that isn’t usually in this classroom, grabbed me and pulled on my hair. I didn’t know how to react as this student does struggle emotionally and psychologically. I understand that the student was having a bad day but I felt useless when he reached out and grabbed me. Luckily, one of the teachers was there to help me out and actually primarily look out for the remainder of the class. She explained to me, when this student gets violent, we need to call their parents to collect them to ensure the safety of the other students.

Peer Review 2

Hi Jessica,

I think the context of your letter is very good, but there are a few things I would fix up in regards to appearance and formatting of your letter. I’d break up your main points into smaller paragraphs as it would be easier to read and it does look a bit more professional; as you are writing to Queen Victoria. I understand that you are trying to write in the style of Charles Dickens but for the audience, it makes it harder to follow. Also maybe be future, put your images in between your paragraphs to break up your work.

With your introduction “Dear Her Majesty Queen Victoria”, I found it a tad awkward to read aloud, I’d change it to “To Her Majesty Queen Victoria”. Apart from the structure, I particularly liked how you used the imagery of the snake as smog like Dickens did. And as a history student, I did like the end question to Queen Victoria of “One must enquire Her Majesty, Queen Victoria? Do you not remember the account of Marie Antoinette?”

I look forward to reading more of your blogs and keep up the good work.

Blog 3, Week 5

Write a brief critical appraisal of what you think Dickens’s main complaints are about Coketown- from the passage we explored in tutorials today.

One of the most enjoyable works that we have studied so far in the 19th Century Literature course has been Charles Dickens’s Hard Times. The section in our tutorials that we focused on was the introduction into Dicken’s perspective of Coketown, the heavily populated civilisation that had been ruined by pollution. I think Dickens almost perfectly tackles the main issues of the Industrial Revolution and how materialism and the obsession of money and urbanisation have been the downfall of humanity.


As Dickens describes Coketown, through the rapid and elongated sentences, it makes the audience feels like there are gasping for breath. Dickens did this to emphases the fact that the people within Coketown are trapped within their society’s beliefs and work ethic.With this Dickens uses the imagery of highly respected animals such as Lions and Elephants that have been forced into captivity, to highlight the fall from grace that humanity has undergone. I believe Dickens was correct in challenging his audience in saying that the Industrial Revolution was a backwards step for society as he saw it more as a negative due to the loss of cleanliness and how the rural side of England was being destroyed.

” A blur of soot and smoke, now confusedly tending this way, now that way, now aspiring to the vault of Heaven, now murkily creeping along the earth, as the wind rose and fell, or changed its quarter: a dense formless jumble, with sheets of cross light in it, that showed nothing but masses of darkness” (Dickens)

One thing, I found most interesting was the use of the imagery of the snake being the smog created from the machinery. It is quite ironic as usually an image of a snake is seen as a sign of health and good fortune while Dickens uses it as the opposite. What I’m unsure of is whether or not Dickens did this to be ironic and laugh at the mess that Coketown created or was it just the best way to create an image of the smog.


Another part of the passage I found important in regards to Dickens’s opinion was the use of religious elements. He ends the chapter with the use of “Glory Be”. I felt that Dickens used this as cruel irony meaning that society had become so regimented and controlled that its own central being was work ethic.

“The M’Choakumchild school was all fact, and the school of design was all fact, and the relations between master and man were all fact, and everything was fact between the lying-in hospital and the cemetery, and what you couldn’t state in figures, or show to be purchaseable in the cheapest market and saleable in the dearest, was not, and never should be, world without end, Amen” (Dickens)

This was the most important part of the passage that we look at in class for me as I agreed with Dickens and the how society is becoming purely focused on work and how people focus more so on being able to have money rather than live a happy lifestyle with little.

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