Summer 2019 Reading

What you read
What I read over the summer of 2019 was a fiction novel called ‘The Butterfly Garden’. It was a story following a protagonist named Maya, who happens to be kidnapped by a man who calls himself the Gardener. Essentially, he kidnaps young women and keeps them all in an isolated location, and tattoos large butterflies on their backs, hence the women are the butterflies of his ‘garden’. The book follows her journey of entering this garden and eventually leading to her rescue near the end of the book.

Personal Response (Opinion, takeaway, reaction, inspired or shocked by?, gave me a different perspective?)
Honestly, the contents of the book shocked me at multiple points, especially the narrative of the Gardener’s son. Essentially, the son is in fact the book’s antagonist, and not the Gardener as the women inside the Garden preferred his company, felt safe when he was around as he wouldn’t hurt them, and also because he would stop his son from abusing them. Therefore, this story gave me somewhat of a different perspective regarding stockholm syndrome. I now realise that perhaps there are different stages of this condition, and it’s not simply a case of love. While Maya knew she wanted to escape, and knew she would eventually be killed by her captor, at times when in the Gardener’s company she did feel a sort of comfort.

Literary and Non-Literary features (What made it so? How did they use font and layout? What was the way it was written and how did that impact my response?)
The narrative voice used in this book was first person, and very informal, as though she was recounting her experiences in a journal of sorts, years after her eventual escape. This informal tone that was used allowed for a more friendly and empathetic connection to be formed with the reader and Maya. I feel as though if it was written with a more formal approach, the same empathy could not have been built, instead a dull form of sympathy would take its place. Because of the way it was written, it reflected Maya’s lack of familial love and bonds, which is what caused her to find some comfort in the Gardener. While the story may not be based on true events, it is still very much possible to face horrific circumstances such as this one if one is not careful. The raw and informal narrative voice allowed the reader to understand the raw truth of society, and that there are people similar to that of the Gardener and his son (perhaps not to that extent), who cause unimaginable harm to others.

Concept : What was the connection you can make from your personal response with other writings?
As mentioned above, regarding the idea that this book can give some insight into potential and very real consequences or circumstances that people can find themselves in. It is a regular occurring tragedy in the world, where young boys or girls are kidnapped and held as captives against their will – which is constantly reported in news articles, blogs, or any method of writing that reaches out to a wide range of audience. Therefore, this book almost serves as a warning to young boys and girls of the dangerous people that inhabit the world.

Peter and the Starcatcher (Local Theatre Trip) – Reflection

I feel as thought Peter and the Starcatcher was a Brecht influences piece and took many elements from his teachings and applied them very well within their own production. Their use of narration was very prominent in many of their scenes and throughout their performance – and a lot of other Brechtian elements were used (naming a scene before it starts, songs in the middle of the performance, etc). However one Brecht element was used a lot more frequently and was a lot more emphasised than others, which was breaking the fourth wall and speaking from third person directly to the audience. This was used with almost every character in different moments throughout the piece.

One moment in the play where Molly was sneaking around the Neverland ship, it created an amazing atmosphere. Using the lights to highlight specific parts of the stage, and instead of having a moving set to show Molly moving around the ship, they had the other characters move around the set to show her moving around. The shuffling of the feet and with their heads down created an ambience where the sneaking around of Molly became even more intense – with serious consequences if she was caught.

What does our Language say about us and our culture?

I believe the language we all individually use is representative of who we are talking to and for what purpose the conversation is for. For example, if I were in a rap festival in the United Kingdom, I would intentionally use certain words and slang that I know people who are familiar with rap culture will understand and reciprocate – this is called jargon. However this jargon is not used when I am at home or at school as I am addressing different people with a different motive. This shows that language and culture change depending upon the people we are talking to and why. It also changes over time, for example the generational barrier between consecutive and different generations.

The videos and articles I read for English made me realise how inappropriate and cringe it can be when someone says something culturally insensitive, especially when they have no place in saying what they said (Mitt Romney with his comment relating to ‘black’ culture).

IGCSE – Devised Piece Personal Reflection

In the start we really did not work to our best efforts and didn’t make sue of the time we had. Ms Parr even mentioned that it’s a quick turn around and that we should spend as much time in the beginning rather than cram everything in the end. As if we do, we wouldn’t be able to create the best piece possible as all our ideas will be generated out of stress and not with care. I really regret not working hard enough in the initial lessons, because I feel as though we would have performed a far better piece in the end if we did.

However I am proud of my group being able to work very hard in the end to create a much better piece compared to what we performed infront of the parents.