Bare Vexed – Letter to the Editor [A response to the articles]

In this essay, I will be discussing my response to Isabelle Kerr’s article about the use of slang in modern English. This is a letter to the editor of the newspaper in which this article was printed on.

I agree with what Belinda Webb’s article says about the beauty of new words but while Isabelle Kerr, on the other hand, has made me change my mind to disagreeing with what her article says and what I once thought. I’m all for finding new ways of communicating between each other because it helps us to understand one another better and possibly break a barrier that has caused so much conflict and disagreements over long periods of time. I believe that if we come up with new words and find shorter ways of saying words that already exist, it could help to enrich the English language and make it better. It hasn’t stayed the same over the years and never will stay the same, for example, who says thou, art or thee any more? We’ve adapted to make communication easier and I think that it is very important and is something that we should constantly be doing, improving the way we use our language to interact with one another I do however question some new words that are being come up with like bruv, innit, fam, outhchea…. Words like these, I admit, can create a bad impression of how our youth is “enriching” the English language to some people because they sometimes sound like accidental noises. I have no idea what that last word means but I hear it all the time. Now that says something. Some of the new words right now are exclusive to certain groups of people just like, I imagine, it was for Shakespeare or anything new in life. Nothing is just born into a universal state. “Great things come from small beginnings”. Some of these words may be unknown to many of us right now but in the future will be used by everyone. These words are completely new and I support their intentions of making an exclusive way of communicating. “We are afraid of what we don’t know” I believe this applies strongly to slang in all parts of the world, people who don’t know what certain words mean are scared to let them into the language but there is no such thing as a wrong word, all words have the intention of helping people express themselves better and have access to more things if they are used correctly.

I’ve had many conversations with elderly people about what they think of the way young people speak now and some have said that it worries them that the English language will just turn into a jumble of accidental sounds and will lose it’s spark. However, there was this one old man that I remember said he didn’t worry about what the English language will become because that was exactly what was happening during his time, the youth were changing words and coming up with new ways of expressing themselves and it will carry on happening, it is something that no one can control or dictate, language will always adapt to its time and will be changed by the people who use it.

Shakespeare was a very famous inventor of slang in his time and his words have become some of our richest words today (e.g. assassination, equivocal, majestic). So what stops our new words from becoming our next generation’s richest words? Nothing. I believe that we as the youth of today have the responsibility and the task of paving what tomorrow’s English language will be. We need to be careful with the words we invent and the short cuts we take to make it easier to communicate because it will be what our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren will be speaking and even they will be inventing new words for the English language each generation on just as our parents, grandparents, great grandparents and ancestors before us have done themselves.

The English language is not something to just play around with, it’s a form of art and passion for some. It is the thing that connects us and allows us to evolve. Imagine being in a country that you don’t know the language of. You’re pretty much alone unless you’re lucky enough to find a translator. That is what would happen if people are not willing to adapt the English language. We need to find ways of communicating better and building stronger bonds.

I believe Isabelle Kerr has made many contradicting and unclear points to back her argument and she hasn’t got a true understanding of why the English language is what it is today. It is the result of many genius minds that have worked together to make communication better for our generation. Kerr hasn’t managed to grasp how beautiful the act of inventing new words is. It’s not just an act, I believe it’s a form of art that will carry on for many more years and will have a huge impact on our future generations. Those are the reasons why I disagree with the very naive and blind article that Isabelle Kerr has written which has been published on this newspaper.

Satirical Writing

Here at the London Nautical School, we are known for our kind students, loving atmosphere and modern facilities. We are quite proud of how young students are able to go to the older students and be turned away with such love and grace, with a hint of swear words. We are also very proud of how wisely our income is spent; 10% goes towards cleaning and sanitation then the other 90% goes towards green pens, yellow and red cards and really bad chairs. We are proud of our recycling, every few weeks during lunch, a dinner lady sneaks out to turn the fire alarm on and, with all the other dinner ladies, collect the food that is left to provide for the next few weeks. No food is wasted.

I am confident in saying that our toilets are very hygienic, they shine with graffiti and sparkle with diarrhoea. The actual toilet seats are nicely stocked up with poo which brings a very unique scent that only The London Nautical has. Hang on. We could make a fragrance out of it. We could make loads of money from it and use the money for even more broken chairs. it’s a really good idea, anyway, the taps and sinks are home to amazing creatures like spiders and are filled with tissue and blood. It’s a generous thing from the guys. They love attracting friends and dirt for them to live on, it just adds more value to the school and separates us from many other schools. It puts us in our own category. Even the maintenance staff have come to realize that they should just leave all the dirt there because if they cleaned it, the creatures would leave and that would be catastrophic for the school.

Ofsted loves to visit and they say really nice things about us, we are a satisfactory school which the governors and school staff are very proud of. When an Ofsted inspector comes, they never leave because they love the school so much but it is rumored that each inspector is actually killed and their ghosts are kept in the basement to torment kids during detentions so that they are NEVER late again. It’s effective I guess. I have no problem because I’m never late. The office ladies are really nice and are the most helpful people you will ever meet, They are always there to put an ice pack on anything, a cold, broken leg, heart attack or seizure, they have ice packs for everyone and everything.

Our school focuses on the important and serious issues such as the type of hairstyle you have, whether or not you have a slit in your eyebrows or if you aren’t wearing your jumper (or blazer if you are in KS4). These things help us to become better people and will get us the grades at GCSE’s and A-level’s that we want if we don’t do them.

If you run in the corridors there is always a member of staff to tell you off and give you a yellow card, it shows how alert the staff is but how playful they can be by issuing yellow or red cards- they treat it like a football game haha.

Our food is the best out of all the schools in Stamford street. We cut down to almost 0% salt which is really healthy and they’ve made the prices of drinks that are high in sugar, overwhelmingly expensive which helps to stop kids from buying them and pushing them to the healthier, cheaper options that have no taste.

Our library is always quiet because not many people go there. The librarian doesn’t let anyone noisy in. It creates a working environment and helps to keep the books dusty and tidy, I think that’s why the librarian doesn’t let anyone in her library, to keep the books neat, duh. The library has high level security, an alarm that goes of when it senses anything go by, and rings so that everyone can hear and look at the culprit at the door. It’s a very effective technique, the attention and dirty looks that the thief receives causes them to emotionally break down and return the stolen item. It stops them, and everyone watching, from ever stealing in the future. It’s a really good alarm. Sometimes, however, I do see certain people walk out of the library with a book in their hands holding it above the alarm and the it doesn’t go off so the alarm has it’s weak area.

Detentions are always the best, everyone sleeps which makes it quiet while the teacher on duty just glances up every now and then to check for anything unusual. Some boys sit behind pillars and go on their phones or just chat to their friends for half an hour and once they’re done, they just simply walk out.

Safe. Simple. Helpful. Productive. That’s the London Nautical School.

 

Now and Then

THEN

You look at the man at the sound desk but can only see an outline of his body. He waves his hands in the air simulating the actions of someone playing the guitar. You laugh at the awkward air guitar but realise that he’s telling you to play something. You take a deep breath and play the easiest riff you know, the thing you know off by heart. The man suddenly cuts your volume down and you look up towards the figure trying to make out what you did wrong, he speaks into your earpiece and tells you to play something else. Your palms begin to feel sticky and wet, you wipe them slowly down on your trousers. You grab the neck of your guitar, dig in your memory for something more complicated, take another deep breath and play. The sound of your guitar and the odd gallop-like delay fills the empty hall and bounces back to you. A feeling of satisfaction fills you. There were no mistakes, let’s just hope it goes that way on the night of the event. The man at the sound desk gives you a thumbs up and moves on the next instrument, the drums, all you can hear now is the awkward sound of a raw drum kit just randomly being hit off beat as if it were in another room. You begin to daydream and think of all the practices you had with the band. Your mind wonders like it was trying to distract you and you fight it off. you won that little battle, let’s hope that DOESN’T happen on the night. Finally it’s the bass guitar’s sound check, he plays a short bass riff and plays around with his pedals a bit then his sound check is over. The fastest, easiest of them all. You then remember when you used to play the bass and music life was so much easier. Again you fight off the distraction. The man then gestures the whole band to play as if he were a conductor. You look at your brother on the drums and your other brother on the bass and nod at them, the drummer then screams “1!, 2!, 3!, 4!” then you play the first song on the list, without any mistakes. You finish and then everyone looks at you, for a moment you think you’ve played something wrong but remember that you play the intro to the next song and all of a sudden, get a small lump in your throat and your eyes tear up. Everything around you seems to be getting hotter and hotter but you know it’s just you being nervous. The singer speaks into the microphone and says “come on man! you should’ve started by now!”. You get even hotter with all the pressure and attention on you. Gravity begins to feel like its stronger on you alone, you look up, breath out and start the next song.

NOW

Here you are again, on that same stage you once dreamed of being on but now were dreading. The same stage you pictured yourself on in front of thousands of people but now were too afraid to be on. The hall is dark and dimly lit. The video is playing on the big screen behind you. The music in the video is building up and you know that you are up soon, the video finishes and the crowd applaud. That’s your queue. The light focuses on the stage, the people continue to clap. The spotlight blinds your eyes. You can’t see anyone so you just look down at your pedal set-up to check if everything is in its correct position. The drummer begins and everyone else joins, clapping along to the bass drum. The first song begins a bit stiff but you get looser and looser by the end. You finish and now it’s your turn to start the next song. You close your eyes and play the guitar lead line just as you had remembered it and open your eyes to see the crowd all looking at you. That same small sudden heat from the sound check creeps back and urges through your brain, trying to take control over your body. You resist it but know it will come back again. Your fingers begin to shake. You cannot gain control of them. A trickle of sweat slides down the side of your face and you feel it go into your mouth. It tastes salty and you try to spit it out but remember that the attention of a thousand people are on you. A sudden pulse of heat races through your body at the thought of making a mistake in front of that number of people. The extreme heat resonates through your bones as if you were an instrument that something was playing. The only thing you can hear now is the music as if it were in another room, muted and muffled. There’s an annoying ring in your ear as if something had exploded right next to you. Everything seems to be fading away from you. You step out of your skin and take everything in as it is. You realise that you haven’t made any mistakes so far and you join your flesh back on stage. You fall back to earth and continue to play. You let your mind think of something else to distract the worry of making a mistake and it works. You’re playing everything smoothly. “You know that feeling that you get when you know you’re doing something right and then it all suddenly goes wrong?”. Well that happened. You make a mistake and the musicians all look at you with a face of discontent. Everything you felt in those last moments hit you like a wall. You just want to get this over with now but the songs just seem to get slower and slower as you move further down the list. The last song seems so far away.

This was once your biggest dream but now your worst nightmare.

Practice Exam Question

Question 10 – June 2015 Higher – Who do you think suffers more in Touching the Void, Joe or Simon? How does Simpson make you feel as you do by the ways he writes?

Touching the Void is a book that explores both of the main types of pain that a human can feel and that is physical and emotional. The events that occur during the book cause both characters to suffer from both of these pains but I believe that each character suffered more of one type of pain than the other; Joe suffered more physical pain than Simon but Simon suffered more emotional pain than Joe. I believe that Simon’s emotional pain was the result of the very difficult decision he had to make between cutting the rope that held Joe and let him fall to his death or keep holding on and eventually fall down with him. Simon decides to cut the rope and this decision invites many unanswerable questions into his mind and many thoughts that trouble him throughout the rest of the trip. He burnt Joe’s clothes as a ritual act to get rid of any threads that may connect to Joe’s spirit and remind him of his unforgivable decision. The parts of the book where Simon is talking are written by Simpson himself which may suggest that the pain Simon went through, lead him to not want to write about his perspective himself but rather let Joe express himself through Simon’s thoughts.

NOT COMPLETE

Shakespeare and the Literary Heritage

How do the studied poets and Shakespeare use literary techniques to show how people respond to forces in the world over which they have no control?

Forces that we have no control over are things that we as humans cannot interfere with. The poems that we have studied and the play by Shakespeare, Hamlet, all involve forces that the characters cannot change or that are out of their control. They all address the aftermath of a tragic event because they are all written as a result of a real-life, incident that occurred to each author.

In the poem “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas, he writes about the force as being something to be fought with, something that humans can defeat and something whose actions can be avoided. In “A song in a storm” by Rudyard Kipling, he portrays the uncontrollable force as being so much greater than humans; “The game is more than the player of the game, And the ship is more than the crew!” he shows the force as something that humans have absolutely no control over. In Ben Jonson’s poem “On my first Sonne” he laments his son’s death and repeatedly refers to the force’s actions as justifiable and unavoidable.

Metaphors are regularly used throughout the poems and help to show how each character reacts towards these forces and the extents of their attitudes towards what has happened to them. Something I noticed that all poems had in common was that death was the main force that they had no control over. A metaphor used in Dylan Thomas’ poem is “Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight”. I believe that this metaphor means that the men close to death in the poem begin to see things that they haven’t seen before and they begin to see with closed eyes. This metaphor helps to portray the supernatural force around them that cannot be understood, like death. Death is a force that everyone encounters and can’t avoid, it’s something that certain people have been very close to. This metaphor helps to show the extreme of being encounter by this force called death, you begin to see what you and others have never seen before.

A metaphor used in Rudyard Kipling’s “A song in a storm” is the line “The game is more than the player of the game, and the ship is more than the crew!”. This metaphor is very effective in showing the nature of life as being a journey on sea and humans as the players of what the force sees is a game. This line presents the force, which in this case is death again, as a controller of this game called life, it can bring people out of the game whenever it wants to and chooses when to give or take opportunities away. This metaphor explores how humans relate to these forces and are brought together by this journey we are all on. This line takes away the weight of the seriousness of life and shows the start and end of this journey as being so insignificant. This metaphor is very effective in its context and really emphasises how the characters in this poem relate to this uncontrollable force.

In the last poem “On my first Sonne” Ben Jonson expresses his sorrow towards the death of his son and with a specific metaphor, “Exacted by thy fate on the just day” shows his reverence to this force, which again is death. This metaphor really shows that there is a mutual respect towards this force and that the character’s attitude towards it is not to fight it or try to change “fate” but to just accept that death had to take his son and fate chose the right day. In Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, he uses several metaphors and one of them is in Hamlet’s soliloquy when he says “The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune”, this metaphor helps to show that this uncontrollable force doesn’t just place obstacles or fortunes in people’s lives, it fires at them with slings and arrows. These weapons were to be used from a long distance with emphasizes how insignificant Hamlet was to that force, so much that the force could easily fire hardships at him which he refers to as outrageous. This adjective describes Hamlet’s attitude towards this force as unsatisfied and angry which is why throughout his whole soliloquy he contemplates the notion of suicide. This metaphor is extremely effective in revealing how Hamlet felt annoyed with this force and found it unfair.

Another literary technique that is used is personification, this helps to give the uncontrollable force, human-like features that will allow it to relate to the characters in the poems and the play. A use of personification in the poem “Do not gentle into that good night” is when Dylan Thomas says “Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay”. This personification shows the fragile acts of men as something separate from them, perhaps suggesting that they are blameless as their acts are separated more and more as they get closer to this force called death. The line mentions that the men’s deeds might have danced in green bays and this to me means that the men’s acts are somewhere else in a better and nicer place without blame while they are in this storm. This implies that when any human comes close to death, their acts and deeds, good or bad, mean nothing and cannot help you to escape death. From the title of the poem, I can see that Dylan Thomas uses these types of personification to show their attitudes towards death as being rebellious and that they should not give up easily and succumb to the unavoidable force called Death.

In Rudyard Kipling’s “A song in a Storm”, he uses personification several times throughout the poem but one that stood out to me was the line “Then welcome fate’s discourtesy”, this line is very clear and effective in showing that the crew, which would be us humans, see fate as a person and whose actions are rude and that fate is inconsiderate. The crew ‘welcome’ fate’s rudeness because they have that respect for it but still realise that it is very inconsiderate by intervening at the worst times or at times which the characters are not prepared, just like in Hamlet when he is surrounded by the forces of loss, death, grief. This gives death a human persona which can relate to all of us humans. This personification shows how the characters in the poem believe that they have absolutely no control over death and that again, they are very insignificant to this force. Most of the poems all explore the belief that they are insignificant to their own forces.

In the poem “On my First Sonne”, Jonson gives death a human face by saying “Seven years tho’ wert lent to me, and I thee pay,” This line shows how the character in the poem feels that his son wasn’t truly his and was just lent to him perhaps for his good deeds but was now taken away from him. This shows the overwhelming power of this force that has taken back this reward and now makes the father pay the price. I believe that the price that the father pays is the grief and sorrow that he feels as a result of this loss. This personification helps to present the force that gives and takes life as a very selfish but just character. The characters have a very weak opposition to this force, if any, and have a great amount of respect towards it. Similarly to Rudyard Kipling’s poem, in which the characters are insignificant to these forces, The character in Jonson’s poem realises that he can do absolutely nothing about his loss because of the power that this force has and now has to take everything in and accept that death has overpowered him.

Finally, in Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, he uses a lot of personification and constantly gives it humanistic features when he uses personification like “For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,” and refers to death’s actions as being forceful and severe. This gives death as very fierce image and character which Hamlet believes is true. The whips and scorns of time show how even time can hurt you with whips which were used for slaves or prisoners. This connotation helps to emphasise how Hamlet believes that time and death are the prison keepers and that we are the inmates of this prison called life. This personification, I believe is very useful to describe how death is a force that cares about no one and will always cause us pain no matter how hard we try to fight against it, which is a very different approach to the rest of the other texts.

To conclude, I believe that each of the poets and authors have explored their ideas of forces over which we have no control through similar methods like metaphors and personification but each have their different opinions about those forces and have presented them in their characters of their poems and play. Dylan Thomas has a fierce approach, Rudyard Kipling has an understanding approach, Ben Jonson has a very sorrowful and respecting look towards the force in his poem and Shakespeare presents a very confused and troubled opinion of the several forces that encounter the character Hamlet. All of these texts contain similar themes like death, loss, lament, sorrow, fear, respect and are each effectively supported by the literary devices that each poet and author use.

 

Story

I knew this was it, all my friends but one had died while being in the front, i wanted to die in style, so i put on my best suit, my dad’s favourite cologne and my brand new shoes and I also wore my grandad’s watch. My mother smoothed down my shirt’s upturned collar and picked away all the little cat hairs on the suit. I smiled because i knew that I wasn’t afraid of death anymore. I smiled at my mother while we both cried, but for different reasons. I hugged her and walked away towards the old jeep, awaiting death.

3 Months Earlier…

“Alright boys, this is your lucky day!”

No it isn’t, don’t lie to me. We were all lined up ready to get picked to go to war, some few number of men would be spared but there were very slim chances of NOT being picked, you just had to be prepared for the worst.

Just as I predicted, the marshal picked me with a smile on his face. I walked towards the shack to get my uniform and dog tag, no longer was I a man anymore… I was a slave to war, which was every man’s worst nightmare.

I could already see my name on a tombstone;

|Here Lies |
| |
|2018-2034 |
|He loved music… |
|(that’s as much as we know) |

It wasn’t that bad, I had to think of something to be known for. Maybe the wimpiest kid, the most stylish or maybe just for liking music.
I collected my things and left, I had nothing else to do but pass time till i was called to go to the war front.

Hamlet Soliloquy Analysis

“For who would bear the whips and scorns of time”

“SCORN”
noun
1.
“a feeling and expression of contempt or disdain for someone or something.”

This phrase is extracted from Hamlet’s soliloquy in the play Hamlet by Shakespeare and the definition from an online dictionary.

Whips are a form of torture and are weapons that don’t need much force to have a big impact. By using this word I think that Shakespeare is trying to show that life causes torture without effort and that the pain is not bearable. Whips were also an old fashioned form of discipline which Shakespeare also uses to imply that life disciplines us and we sometimes can’t take it. Within the play I think that the situation that Hamlet is in, causes him to question whether he should take and withstand the blows and the disciplines from his life or just end it all with one simple action.

Scorn is a feature to describe a human action which shows that Shakespeare is personifying Hamlet’s situation and makes it look like a deliberate act of Evil.

This phrase is a metaphor to describe Hamlet’s dilemma as a person rather than a thing.

Another metaphor similar to the previous one that Shakespeare uses in the play is when Hamlet is delivering his soliloquy.

“Or to take arms against a sea of troubles”

This to me means that Shakespeare is referring to life as a journey on sea that sometimes gives is storms and huge waves and to overcome it, we need to take arms and stand firm. This metaphor also implies that in the play, that Hamlet wants help and he wants to tell someone else about his dilemma but he can’t and he is now in a sea of troubles with endless waves of problems that he has to face on his own which will steal him away with it. In the play Shakespeare uses this metaphor to show Hamlet’s situation as him being in the middle of the sea with no help around him leaving him to face it all on his own.

Hamlet Act V Scene 1 Summary

In this scene, two gravediggers argue about wether Ophelia deserves a christian funeral. one of the defends her and the other explains the the gravedigger that it was her choice and that she decided to shorten her life. one of the gravediggers leave and Hamlet and Horatio arrive. They discuss how the gravedigger is throwing around skulls of people who were once important people and skulls that once spoke words and sang. In his digging the gravedigger finds the skull of Yorick, one of Hamlet’s old friends and Hamlet asks if Alexander the Great looked like that once and the gravediggers tells him that he did and he even smelt that bad. Hamlet is surprised at how low humans can go, that even the greatest can fall to the same place. the King, Gertrude, Laertes and a Priest enter with a coffin. The priest tells Laertes that Ophelia should be buried outside the church graveyard and should have stones thrown on her body for taking her own life. Laertes gets angry and tells the priest to perform a proper ceremony just like the other ones. He jumps into the grave and demands to be buried alive with Ophelia and curses the person responsible for her death. Hamlet appears and jumps in the grave with Laertes and they both wrestle. Hamlet proves that he can be as crazy as Laertes, then he leaves.

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