Archivo del Autor: englishgençana

“I’d just be the catcher in the rye and all” (Holden Caulfield)

catcher in the rye.jpgTitle: The Catcher in the Rye

Author: J.D. Salinger

Publisher: Little, Brown and company

Genre: Social novel

Year: 1945

Pages: 214

“I mean, how do you know what you´re going to do till you do it? The answer is, you don’t. I think I am, but how do I know? I swear it´s a stupid question.” This is one of the hundreds of thoughts young Holden Caulfield has. Many people feel drown to him because he feels alienated, lonely and responsible for kids who are still innocent and not fake, unlike teenagers and adults. He makes a critique of society from a very identifiable point of view.

Holden Caulfield is a young adult from a rich family. He doesn´t seem to fit in any of the schools he goes to, and at Christmas he decides to go home after he is expelled again. While he wanders around New York many situations happen, which trigger deep critiques about how fake everyone seems to be, or how aloof he is from other people… except for children. He thinks of himself as the one who has to protect children from losing their innocence. He pictures it as a rye field next to a cliff, and he has to catch the kids who get too close to it, making himself become “the catcher in the rye”.

María M. A.

A Clockwork Orange

clockwork.jpgTitle: A Clockwork Orange

Author: Anthony Burgess

Publisher: Penguin Essentials

Year: 1962

Pages: 141

Introduction:

“What´s it going to be then, eh?” One of Alex’s most characteristic sentences. He’s the leader of a young gang who spend their time robbing, fighting or raping until he realizes what his deeds could lead him to.

Contents Analysis:

A Clockwork Orange is a book that deals with themes such as violence, robbery and harassment. The perspective from which the reader perceives the ethical values depends on Alex´s situation. For example, after he´s been brainwashed, you realize people’s unexplainable thirst for revenge towards him, even though he´s defenseless.

Formal Analysis

A Clockwork Orange is a novel whose characters have different psychological states. Alex’s friends believe that they always need to follow their instincts, while the people affected by them have a need for revenge On the other hand, it would be mentionable that the vocabulary used is complex as well as informal, due to the use of gang slang.  Despite that, the book achieves interesting dialogues as well as peculiar descriptions.

Conclusion

The fact that the author suffered many aggressions and his wife was raped would be worth mentioning to understand the story, as those situations are present throughout the plot. Despite that, the book offers an uncommon tale, which I would only recommend to adults and experienced readers, due to the themes treated as well as its slang vocabulary.

Jordi L.

 

A portrait of the soul

dorian gray.jpgTitle: The Picture of Dorian Gray

Author: Oscar Wilde

Publisher: Black Cat

Genre: Philosophical novel

Year: 1890

Oscar Wilde was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1854. He received a good education and became a well-known poet. He only wrote one novel, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”. He was sent to jail because of his sexual orientation, and died in 1900 of an illness.

Dorian Gray is a young, wealthy man. His story begins when he meets a man, Lord Henry Wotton. He tells Dorian about his beauty-based ideals and corrupts the young man´s vision of life. He becomes greedy, and asks his friend to paint a portrait of him. He soon discovers that the portrait ages instead of him, and as his soul rots, so does the portrait, revealing a hideous human that should have been Gray´s appearance to the world. With this story, Oscar Wilde expresses his deepest thoughts about good and evil, and the corruption of one´s soul due to sin. He also mentions that immortality can´t cope with the mortal world.

Oscar Wilde´s Dorian Gray is a great reflection about the world and humanity. This alluring philosophy has captured me and I’m impressed, knowing that this book is more than a century old, as it resembles today´s greedy and influencial people, and the deep unnecessary caring for beauty and wealth.

Dorian Gray is a perfect book for those who love moral novels and questioning things. If you don´t, then this book is not for you, because only deep thinkers will appreciate the nihilism of this work.

María M. A.

The Victorian Era VS Today

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Victorian London, 1887

I cannot imagine my mom just staying at home doing the dishes and washing our clothes, making sure that when my father comes home his dinner is ready. I can certainly not imagine that as my adult life. But that’s kind of what it was like in the Victorian Era, that’s why I think our society is better than the society then.

In the Victorian Era, there was a big difference between classes. There were 3 classes: the upper class, the middle class and the lower class. The upper class barely had to work, because in many cases their families and ancestors had earned enough money for them. Their children were able to get tutors, who belonged to a developing middle class. Other people from the middle class owned industries. The lower class, however, lived the worst life. Their families were big, so only the father working was often not enough. That’s why children had to go to work for long hours with low incomes. Now we cannot imagine sending 7-year-old kids to factories to work all day long. Every child in our society gets educated and if parents don’t earn enough money or don’t have a job, the government can help.

Another big difference between the 2 societies is the way women are treated. Although the Industrial Revolution changed the opportunities for women and they could have a job as well, there were still a lot of inequalities between men and women.

In the Victorian Era, the knowledge about medicine was developing and growing. The problem was that it was only for people who could afford it. Now, no matter how much money you have, everyone can get the medicine he or she needs.

Therefore, I think the society we live in is better than the Victorian Era’s. There is a smaller difference between classes. Actually, I think we can’t speak about classes anymore. Also, our society offers more opportunities: there are more jobs, everyone can go to school and study whatever they want and the equality between men and women is quite acceptable.

Marie Do.

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Queen Victoria’s portrait (1887)

In the history of the United Kingdom, the Victorian era formally begins in 1837 when Victoria became queen and it wasn´t until her death in 1901 that this period was actually finished. Over this period of time the UK was able to consolidate and progress in terms of economy, technology and territorial expansion. In this essay we are going to talk about how this could affect people, and then we will compare the Victorian society with today’s.

On one hand, regarding the Victorian society it is very important to mention that due to all of these rapid changes and development, the British population underwent a massive increase from sixteen million to over thirty two million people. Nevertheless, a portion of this individuals decided to depart to Canada, the USA and other countries in order to find a better life despite the progress in the UK.

Another point of high relevance is that society was actually able to advance in the pyramid, being able to join ranks which belonged to the high-class; of course, they had to obey Victorian stereotypes but it still was the best chance they ever had as ordinary citizens.

On the other hand, today´s society has better life conditions than people in the Victorian era as, first of all, we have almost two hundred years of advantage. However, there are some key features which need to be pointed out. Currently, we have a democratic government so we take part in most of the social and political decisions. Also, our jobs are more rewarding, education has improved and we are able to join more leisure and cultural activities.

In conclusion, modern society has clearly evolved compared to the Victorian one, and as a consequence we can affirm today´s society is much better. But it is also important to say that the Victorian period promoted decisive changes that provided society with some of the advantages that we have nowadays.

Miguel C.

 

Views on the Jack the Ripper museum

ripper museum.jpgThe opening of a museum dedicated to Jack the Ripper in Cable Street, London has recently been the subject for eyebrow-raising. Although many may consider this strange, it’s the original premise of the exhibition what really bothered people: it had been announced that a new museum dedicated to women’s history would open in East London. It’s not hard to see why it was criticized by Londoners and many others, including me, when we found out about its real theme.

My opinion on museums will never be altered: if it’s educational, and adds to the knowledge of visitors, then I’m all for it. The problem begins when something is sold as something it’s not, which is the case of the Jack the Ripper museum. Why is the first  museum in the East End supposedly dedicated to women’s history entirely about a man’s actions? This only proves the fact that sexism is still well-and-alive in today’s society, which leads us to my second argument.

Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe, the creator of the museum, argues that the exhibition explores the perspective of the victims, only to later discuss their responsibility on their own murders. Easy analogies can be made with what happens nowadays with rape claims from women: they aren’t taken seriously based on the woman-in-question’s behavior or clothes, for example. Palmer does the same with Jack the Ripper’s victims when he explores the possibility that prostitution was the deep cause of their death. Aside from the fact that it’s never anyone’s fault when they’re attacked, I’d like to point out how women those days were forced into prostitution in order to survive and how an action for survival should never lead to something much worse like death.

Leaving moral thoughts apart, I want to say I find the idea of a Jack the Ripper museum to be very interesting as, if done right, visitors would be able to enter the murderer’s mind and learn about all kinds of related aspects.

In conclusion, there’s a great appeal to the existence of a Jack the Ripper museum, but it should definitely not be sold as a museum dedicated to women’s history and, much less, try to find their fault in the situation. This is an idea what many don’t seem to understand yet.

Elena A.

ripper museum protest.jpg

Protest against the opening of the Jack the Ripper museum

Everybody knows about the Whitechapel murders and most importantly, about the murderer. It might sound like something sick for some people, but to others it’s just fascinating. This is why the museum should not be closed, although it has to be somewhere appropriate so people won´t complain.

For criminology lovers, this is the chance to see first-hand information, documents and objects which helped in the investigation. It´s the most truthful source they´ll ever be able to acquire knowledge from. As a person who is interested in criminology, I would visit it myself.

Also, for people interested in history, it´s a unique way to experience the Victorian era, from a whole new and different point of view: the mind of the assassin. We might not learn about the sociocultural differences between classes, but historical criminology is also history, and in my opinion, it´s one of the most interesting fields, seeing how detectives worked back in the times of Queen Victoria, and the differences between investigations nowadays. Today, for example, it would be unthinkable to send a bloodstained knife to the police, because it would be like giving your name and address.

And finally, I think the museum is a good option because it gives you perspective. It´s really easy to judge how crazy Jack the Ripper had to be to commit all those murders, but no one actually knows how mentally sick he was. He could have done it all out of madness, or even vengeance, or maybe he wasn´t sick at all and was a cold blood killer. No one will ever know his motives, but we know he killed innocent women and that´s enough to give him his blood chilling nickname, the Ripper.

So, in conclusion, Jack The Ripper museum should be built somewhere appropriate so people can visit without anyone being annoyed at it, and so everyone can gather knowledge, learn about history or try to guess Jack the Ripper´s darkest motives to do what he did.

María M. A.

 

Jack the Ripper and the sensationalist media

ripper news.jpg

In 1988, a terrible serial killer known as Jack the Ripper haunted the cold streets of the East End of London. Although he only killed prostitutes, the newspapers and the media accentuated the citizens’ fear by publishing Jack’s grotesque and explicit letters to the police and not hiding any details from the murderer’s crimes. My opinion on this matter is that, nowadays, these kind of horrors should be kept away from the general public.

Firstly, I’d like to talk about how impressionable people might be affected by these type of crimes. Nowadays, everyone has access to newspapers, television or the Internet, including little kids or mentally ill people who could be triggered by the situation. If the details from the crimes are divulged with no initial thought whatsoever, this could affect people’s lives forever.

Although I consider myself to be a curious and open person who doesn’t want to be lied to by the government or the media, I care way more deeply about the health and well-being of people around me, and wouldn’t want to risk these vital aspects of someone’s life just to know the truth.

Finally, I need to point out how, in 1888, Jack the Ripper sent a series of letters to the police laughing at their uncertainty and giving details about his next work. These letters are believed to have been written by different people as the written expression significantly varies from one to another. Although numerous theories discuss the possibility of Jack the Ripper being more than one person, the letters are more likely to have been written by impostors as a way of entertainment. We can’t risk this happening nowadays, seeing that it could lead to fake clues and only keep the authorities away from the real criminal.

In conclusion, I believe that, in general, the truth should not be hidden from the citizens, but there are cases in which there’s no alternative because it could alter their welfare, like it happened more than a century ago with Jack the Ripper’s case.

Elena A.

ripper letter.jpg

‘From Hell’ letter handwritten in blood, allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper to Scotland Yard in 1888

“Jack the Ripper” might be the most well known killer in the world. But do people know about the real story that lies behind? Or do they only know what the journalists said about him? His murders were horrible, atrocious and insane; but he was never caught by the police.  Apart from that, the police didn’t give much information about his crimes so the sensationalist journalists invented stories.

Here’s the problem of keeping the information away from people. Everyone wants to know what’s going on with the murders, the killer… so if they don’t have the information, they’ll probably invent it. By the way, the people need to know what types of dangers they are exposed to. Imagine that the killer murders at night in a particular place, so the police need to warn people not to be out at night alone in the dark…

That way people would be safer, because they’d know what the killer does. Also, it’s really important that the information the police gives to the journalists doesn’t change. People need to know the truth, it doesn’t matter if it’s grotesque or terrible because the story hasn’t changed.

In conclusion, the truth is the most important element when fighting against crime. In the case of “Jack the Ripper”, if the police had given more information about it, the journalists wouldn’t have invented stories. Maybe some people wouldn’t have sent fake letters to the police and maybe the case could have been solved with everyone’s help. But we’ll never know who “Jack the Ripper” was and all the murders he or she committed will never be punished.

Eider V.

The issue of drug legalization

bi-graphics_marijuana map (1).png

Since the Victorian era, drugs have been legalized and prohibited once and again, depending on what country one resides in. The question is, should we legalize, regulate or prohibit the use of all drugs? I, for one, support regulated legalization of only some drugs because of quite a few reasons, although I’ll be centering on marijuana.

For starters, I’d like to press on the fact that I think drugs like cocaine, meth and heroine should be completely prohibited, due to being highly addictive and extremely harmful. This leaves marijuana, which I consider the only drug that should be legalized, albeit while regulated by the government. Here’s why:

When put under government regulation, drugs are subjected to a higher standard of quality, eliminating the illegal and toxic substances some dealers add to their product. It would also make it more expensive, more so than cigarettes, as it would be taxed as a recreational drug. This would also factor into the loss of appeal for the younger generations, as it would be legal and would lose the “coolness” of being illegal.

Aside from these legal and social benefits, marijuana also presents some benefits to our health when consumed in its natural state. For example, it is used for people with anxiety to calm them down and by some asthmatics to relax the throat muscles.

Lastly, the legalization of marijuana would be key when talking about the eliminations of the cartels and crime related to drugs. By presenting a legal, higher quality product, people would stop depending on these criminal associations, thus causing their decline.

In conclusion, I support the legalization of marijuana as long as it’s regulated so as to ensure a safer, higher quality drug, at the same time as reducing the population who takes drugs, earning more money through taxation and exponentially reducing crime linked to drugs.

Paco S.