English - A Man for All Seasons
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The Common ManThursday, 28 January 2010 5:52 PM
Central character, who possesses qualities and behaviours that are 'common' to us all. Hence, he is US. He steps from the action of the pay and addresses the audience without disrupting the play's action: this is a dramatic device/technique called the 'alienation effect'. A character turns from the action and speaks directly to us. This forms a bridge between the drama and the audience that is personal and more intimate than our experience when merely observing. In drama, reference is given to 'the fourth wall' The CM receives money from all sorts of people and does quite well to keep his mouth shut and to tell people what they already know. He is astute and a survivor. What is it that the CM alludes to that will be asked of STMore? Allegiance? An oath? More wants to retain a strong moral compass, dedication to his belief, and his sense of self More is described by Bolt as having "an adamantine sense of self". Self = conscience? The part of his identity that will face God. Self = soul? Is one's 'self' identifiable as one's spiritual identity? (If we possess a spiritual identity?) More's faith defines body (physical), intellect (mind), and spirit (conscience). Conscience is that part of us that yearns for God. The common man suggest that this is not a wise philosophy. Is he correct? Is virtue worth the effort? The common man is illustrating, in Machiavellian taste, the dangers of falling virtuous in a human, imperfect world. The temptation for many to simply take advantage of this obsession and More's fear of not passing judgement by The Lord when the time comes. This dilemma confronts Sir Thomas more as it taps into both the moral and religious feelings found in England during the 16th century. Effective words add weight to all that you write. The CM and Rich are not constrained, as is More, by moral values. Instead, they are able to shift their allegiance according to necessity, and their choices and actions according to expedience. Wolsey criticises More's 'moral squint' and reveals his own hypocrisy, since he is a cardinal willing to acquiesce (decide to turn a blind eye, support regardless of complications) with the King's desire to divorce Catherine, and for the sake of social and political convenience.
The CM becomes the Boatman: (water is a motif - a recurring image that connotes meaning in the text. In the new version of Rome & Juliet, man scenes have a Christian cross within them; in Blade Runner, photographs are commonplace...they are motifs that take on meaning - symbolism.) The Boatman understands the river; he can move safely across its width and breadth. The river represents life and its ever-changing pressures, expectations, and nature. Rules can change, people change, also, and to navigate successfully and live a long lide, one cannot be bound by intransigent moral values. Surely, this is true.
Act 1 Page 1
RoperThursday, 25 March 2010 2:17 PM
Represents those (many of us) who are not certain of our 'principles', so this week we do this, next week we do that, and the week after? More, on the other hand, remains true to his word. He holds an oath in the highest possible regard: he says that when a man takes an oath, he makes a contract with God, and God will not break his side of the bargain, We are not so thorough. We break oaths every day. Marriages fail,
Act 1 Page 2
QuotesTuesday, 23 March 2010 11:55 AM
Rich: 'but every man has his price' p2 CM: "...because some day someone's going to ask him for something that he wants to keep; and he'll be out of pocket' p9 (The CM will not be out of practice, and neither will Rich.) Wolsey to More: 'If you could just see the facts flat on, without the moral squint; with just a little common sense, you could have been a statesman' p10 More: '...I believe, when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of public duties...they lead their country by a short route to chaos' p12
Quotes Page 3
Constructing an Essay Response - A Man For All SeasonsTuesday, 13 April 2010 2:36 PM
Construct a chart: Boat, Tree, Grid? Maybe a fish? Grid: 1. Check topic and reduce it to its essence Prevents Roper from marrying Meg Standing up to Henry and becoming a Martyr Retains his opinion To allow himself to be removed from the from family and society that truly needed a person like him friends because of his selfish view of conscience. More's Selfishness Causes his family to suffer (physical, social and psychological)
His defence of risqu statements re: the divorce at his trial2. Work out the best statements, about four Retains his opinion from family and friends Standing up to Henry and becoming a Martyr His defence of risqu statements re: the divorce at his trial 3. Order them in order of importance 4. Retains his opinion from family and friends 3. Standing up to Henry and becoming a Martyr 1. His defence of risqu statements re: the divorce at his trial More's Selfishness 2. Causes his family to suffer (physical, social and psychological) More's Selfishness Causes his family to suffer (physical, social and psychological)
Writing Techniques Page 4
Essay WritingThursday, 15 April 2010 8:43 AM
Make a list of 6(?) topics you think are relevant to the case. Make another list of the play's central moments of developments that MUST be mentioned or used in this essay (a lifeline on the Embankment; the laws of England as a forest of trees that shelter us; a man's oath; etc.) for these will be the pins that tie your response and make it strong. Reduce the list of 6(?) topics to 3-4. These will be your paragraph topics. You are ready to start writing now.
The introduction is not a list of topics you wish to discuss. Its purpose is to show your reader that you comprehend the text, that you appreciate the wider implications of the topic (that it is an insightful assessment of man's ability to be strong, virtuous, and true; but at the same time, gives insight into the propensity (natural inclination/learning) we have to surrender to our passions; to take the road most travelled by, to follow the others when we might chart our own course), and that you hold a strong point of view in relation to the topic.
P1S1: S2: S3: S4: S5: P2-4/5 S1: S2: S3-5: S6: S7: S8: Strong (short(ish) 1.5-2 lines) assertion/statement Elaborate, add and develop context, show your comprehension and knowledge. Evidence and discussion Make some sensible observations about the evidence in relation to the topic. Link the discussion to the contention: show its relevance (optional) Bridge your discussion to the next paragraph Generate a highly accurate statement about the text. Place the point of topic within the framework of the text: connect the two. Approach the topic and define its key terms. Contextualise the topic in relation to the text. State your contention.
Conclusion The conclusion should be concise, short, to the point, crisp, and strongly worded. Be sure of yourself and assert that what you have said is accurate and right. It does not 'argue the case' because you have already done that, but it does assure the reader that your 'argument' is valid. In many ways, the best conclusions echo introductions but are not the same as introductions. The sentences you use reflect and support what you said in the introduction; they say the same thing, but they say it DIFFERENTLY. In my view, three sentences (maybe four) are enough to conclude any argument. S1: S2: S3:Writing Techniques Page 5
Generic statement about 'More's essential difficulty' (for instance) or 'the Common Man's symbolic value' (for instance) Comment of the writer's intentions or achievement; and the important lessons we take away from the experience. Rephrase your contention and make your position/stance.
Rephrase your contention and make your position/stance. Finish with a sentence that contains a (great) quote that has particular relevance to your topic.
What you MUST do: 1. Show your understanding of human nature, motivation, and Bolt's purpose 2. Use excellent quotes in an integrated mannar (eg. Embed them in sentences and never leave them in isolation) "At their final meeting, More tells Meg, 'You have always known the firstlings of my heart,' and reassures her of his love. He also counsels her to 'Be not afraid. Death comes to us all. Even when we are born, he stands nearby,' and this is achieved without unnecessary sentiment or anguish, as father and daughter bid each other farewell."
3. Write neatly and take your time. What NOT to do: 1. Summarise the plot or 'tell the story' 2. Say (after a quote) 'This quote by More means that' Or before a quote: 'When More quotes.'
1. More is a foolish man. Discuss. 2. The play teaches us more about selfishness than it does about selfhood. Do you agree? 3. The Common Man is the real 'man for all seasons'. Do you agree? 4. More may be nave, but without people of principle, there is little hope for any of us. Discuss. Look at each topic carefully and quickly assess which of them will give you a chance to speak broadly and knowledgeably about the text. Look at key words and conceptualise their meaning and where they might lead you when you begin discussing them and the implications. Choose one and draft a response. Start with the body paragraphs: decide on your content. Essay Draft 1
Writing Techniques Page 6
Essay Writing 2Monday, 19 April 2010 1:47 PM
As well as analysing, exploring, and discussing important themes, characters, and ideas in A Man for All Seasons, try to make connections between these moments and the author's purpose. Read the preface again because it does reveal clearly how and why Bolt constructed More as he did. You may discover that the play is also 'a play for all seasons', in so far as it plac