Carol Ann Duffy – Medusa

Medusa is told in the first person as a dramatic monologue by a woman who is insecure and worried that her husband is cheating on her. The poem begins: ‘A suspicion, a doubt, a jealousy’ and it is this jealousy which has turned the woman into a gorgon and now everything she looks at turns to stone. Unlike our normal hate feelings towards the Medusa this poem evokes empathy for her as she is clearly distressed and suffering. Especially when she recollects, in the final stanza, the time she was young and beautiful, illustrating her complete lack of confidence.  Nevertheless, she is still presented as a foul character who threatens the reader, with the line ‘Be terrified’. The poem also ends with the line ‘Look at me now’ which has a double meaning. It could be read as a cry of distress or, as a threat as if you did look at Medusa you would die. This leaves the reader feeling conflicting emotions for the character, probably similar to how Medusa herself felt about herself throughout the poem. The poet uses a sibilance in the first two stanzas to create the sound of a hissing snake. Rhetorical questions, ‘Are you terrified?’ are used to involve but also intimidate the reader. The metaphor describing her husband’s heart for a shield suggests that he didn’t love her properly.

Red Riding Cap

How has Carol Ann Duffy rewritten/transformed a known text or story? How can her versions have the same characters, but be “about” something different?

Carol Ann Duffy has used a common and well-known children’s story but has completely changed the meaning of the story. In her version, she has made the story more sexual and more violent with a much deeper meaning. It is her personal experience of having a relationship with an older man. The older man is represented by the wolf, as they are animals that are said to be evil and aggressive because she thinks of her experiences with him as troubling and feels that he took advantage of her lack of maturity. She uses the story of ‘Red Riding Hood’ as a way to tell her story in a way that many people may understand by using a well-known story as well as the same characters. In her version of the story, Red Riding Hood represents herself while the wolf represents the older man whom she had a relationship with and who took advantage of her lack of experience and immaturity.  The grandmother represents her grandmother in real life except in the context of the story the grandmother had been in a similar situation when she was younger and was trying to advise her daughter against falling into the same trap. The forest seems to represent the oppression of the relationship she had with the man and just like in the story when Red Riding Hood’s mother told her not to step off the path, Carol Ann did and this is how she ended up in that type of situation.

What is a Personal Essay?

A personal essay is a broad essay that often incorporates a variety of writing styles. Most personal essay assignments ask writers to write about an important person, event or time period in their life. The goal is to narrate this event or situation in a way that the reader can fully experience and understand.The personal essay has loose structure and conversational tone. It is usually written in the first person. The writer uses self-disclosure, honesty, and truth. The writer can write about any subject, topic, or personal experience.

When Cupid Is a Prying Journalist

  1. What choices have been made to be “good TV”?

Compared to the essay, the episodes have changed some details to maybe attract more viewers and make the story more relatable and interesting. In the essay, it says that the guy kept repeatedly breaking the woman’s heart but however in the episode, it was the woman who broke the guy’s heart when she slept with another guy, this may have been changed, from the essay, as it is more relatable to viewers – it also creates more drama which most viewers enjoy. Another thing they changed from the essay to the episode was the situation they met in, in the essay it mentioned that they had been in love in college but in the episode, it showed that they had met in an interview in which the guy gave up his interview so he could meet up with the woman or else he would have missed her. This may have been done to emphasize how strong the initial attraction was between them, especially for the guy. It also made the viewers feel more sympathy for the guy when he found out she cheated on him.

2. What would you have done differently? Why?

I would have tried to keep most of the details the exact same as they were in the essay because I feel that a story is best said the way it happened in real life. Yes, some details were changed as they were good marketing strategies to help popularise the episodes, but some of the changes in the story made it lose its true essence, in my opinion.



Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter

If Aunt Julia and The Scriptwriter represent Mario’s two loves (romantic love, literature), then what does the book seem to say is more important to happiness?

In my opinion, I don’t think the book is portraying one love as more important to the other – it is saying that both loves contribute a great amount to his happiness. Sometimes his love for aunt Julia may be more important based on his situation and Vice-Versa, but overall they both matter and amount to his happiness. His love for Aunt Julia is romantic, its something thta brings joy to his life not only when he is with her but also when he thinks about her and their relationship. His love for literature is more like his passion for his job, the thing that motivates him to wake up everyday, go to work and try to make a difference. Both these loves contribute to different aspects of his happiness, but they both equally contribute to his personal happiness.



Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

1) The Mario Vargas Llosa telling the story is obviously older than the “Marito” who is living it . . . How would you describe the tone? What is the attitude of the narrator to the young man he was? 

Mario Vargas Llosa writes the story as if his younger self was as mature as he is now and the tone stays the same throughout the book. He doesn’t seem to condescend or criticise his younger self and makes it seem as if his younger self made decisions the same we he would now. The tone is quite neutral and he doesn’t seem to disagree with anything.  

2) If every other chapter, basically, represents one of Pedro Camacho’s serials —if they didn’t happen, in other words, what is the point of spending so much time on these characters/events/conflicts?

I think the point of this is to show that Pedro Camacho is quite lonely and to make up for this isolation and loneliness he creates his own world, through his stories, where he is in control and it can be whatever he wants it to be. The stories and characters he makes up are his ‘friends’ and company on a daily basis, they are the people who get him through the day and never stop listening, the people who aren’t too busy to be with him.

3) If a story is basically, “one time, in one place, something happened” then it’s not really literature —it’s journalism or history or maybe even just gossip. Literature is usually thought to express something timeless —something true in a bigger sense. What might this novel be saying about life?

This novel is talking about how one’s life has so much going on, all at once, to the point where people don’t get a break. It shows how life can take you to different and unexpected places and throw unprecedented things at you. This novel really shows how life is timeless and so are the events that occur during life.


Kobe Bryant Ad

In class, we looked at a few advertisements for Kobe Bryant’s shoe. In these advertisements, we didn’t see the shoe at all but we saw a few ‘successful’ and famous people, such as Kanye West, Richard Branson, etc. I believe the main focus of the advertisement was too sell Kobe Bryant and his brand rather than just the product. By not showing the shoes throughout the ad, it made the audience more curious and interested in seeing the product, which is quite an interesting marketing strategy. A lot of Nike’s shoes are extremely and unnecessarily expensive and to a lot of people this gives them less incentive to buy them, but by doing this Nike ends up selling shoes which would have been previously considered expensive. By showing such popular and famous people in this ad, it seems to target quite a large range of people, those who aim to be successful in life and seeing people like Kanye, Kobe, etc, just makes them more interested in the product. Women, however, may view this differently due to the fact that most of the successful people shown were men and this may upset a lot of women.

Who gets to tell a story?

I think the answer to this question depends on the situation. If someone is writing a story based on someone else’s experiences they have every right to unless that person is against it or if they are revealing any personal information of that person, such as the name, etc. If someone is writing a story based on a group of people from a different culture, I feel that then they would have to have some relation with those people, maybe by going and staying with those people for a while and interacting with them. But if someone chose to write a story about a different culture of people, without any relation to them, then I feel it is not right to do so because they may be making things up about those people without realizing because they would have read it on the internet or heard it from a friend and they  would have no proof. It is like ‘Judging a book by its cover’ and I feel this is unfair to those people because they are being judged by someone who has never met them and has no relation to them. To conclude I believe that every person has the right to tell another person’s story only if they have their permission or if they have some relation/ experience with them.

Gordon Park – Photo Analysis

This photo was taken by Gordon Parks at a segregated drinking fountain in Alabama, 1956. It shows how bad racism was at the time in the United States. This photo shows a black family drinking water, from a drinking fountain, outside a convenience store. It seems that the other girls are waiting for their turn to drink water even though there is s second drinking fountain right in front of them. One interesting thing about this photo is how close the two drinking fountains are to one another. The proximity of the drinking fountains maybe because the white population wants to show their power and superiority and by doing this they are trying to ‘teach’ and provoke the black population. Another interesting thing in this photo is that the white people’s drinking fountain seems to be cleaner and a newer model than the colored ones. This may be to again imply their superiority over the others, by showing how they get the better things in life and are cleaner than the colored people. Through this photo, Gordon Parks was able to display how atrocious racism was back then, so much so that it took place even for a basic necessity such as drinking water in a public area.

Ta-Nehisi Coates Video – Reflection

We watched a video about Ta-Nehisi Coates in which he discussed what types of words and phrases are offensive. In the video he implied that offensive is a relative term meaning that it depends on the environment it is said in and who it is said too. Also if the word is said in the right context and the person you say it to knows you well then it should not be considered offensive. 


Something that I find very offensive is when people insult my culture and my community. India is a country that is known for its vast wealth disparity and its lack of gender equality. When people joke about these issues it really offends me as these are issues that should be taken seriously and prevented.


Skip to toolbar