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Thursday, 16 June 2011

BLOG: 2nd Exam Report - English Literature

With 2 out of 3 exams down, you can say I'm pretty content and with English Literature done and dusted it seems like I'm going to have a lot less to do. It also brings about the realisation that this is it; after this next exam I am done with education maybe forever. I don't know yet, I haven't got my results envelope but I felt most confident about the English Literature exam in comparison to all the others thanks to my love of reading. So, I feel good about today, no one else does but I do which counts, I suppose.

 Anyway the first question was a comparison of two prose extracts which admittedly seemed to have a lot of people stumped when we came out and talked about things afterwards. I can understand why we followed the advice of our teachers and where one said poetry would come up and the other said plays; neither actually did. Which I suppose was a bitch but I had mostly read novels so I wasn't short on wider reading for prose. It was an extract from Jude The Obscure and an extract from a book called Disgrace. Now both extracts were pretty much about seduction, in this Disgrace extract a university lecturer was desperately trying to seduce his student; paying her compliments and touching her at every given moment. Whilst in Hardy's book we were privy to the aftermath where a woman had thrown a 'pig's penis' (you can imagine how happy I was to write that in my exam) at Jude to grab his attention. In both extracts the seduction was obvious, the woman tried to seduce Jude and the teacher, Laurie, tried to seduce his student. Simple enough, right?

 What was the difference was the contextual conventions of both pieces; in Hardy's day and age it was women seen as the predatory sex and more seductive; it was their beauty which captivated it and they used it to get their kicks. Whilst men were too good for that obviously, we never did that sort of stuff but we went to the brothel for a good time. Whilst Disgrace dealt with a male taking up the role of not just a seducer but someone who was about to cross a line in the audience's eyes. So the context of both texts had made a hell of a lot of difference in the two texts I saw. Apart from that, both texts were rather similar using the same feral images to describe characters and using a hell of a lot of irony (Laurie mentioned Byron who is tragic and also mentioned Byron's scandal, where as Hardy used a penis to show a female's interest in a male). So question one seemed good. Wider reading wise, I used Wide Sargasso Sea and Great Expectations as they both had a similar trend; the younger of the two texts setting a male as the seducer rather then the older making them female.

 Section 2, was pretty cool too. It featured a play and poem extract and it was pretty straight forward. It asked me to compare their views on sexual relationships. Score. It was Behn's The Rover Vs. Sir Wyatt's poem They flee from me. Where as one talks about it being irresistible and it bringing out inconsistency in men which we could link to Romeo and Juliet and the famous balcony scene; we can also see both used sex as a way to show absolute love. There was also some status issues that I got from it and the fact the restoration begged for bawdy drama after years of having no theatres and heavy censorship. That was pretty much it really, I thought it was pretty good. Some others didn't think. I thought it was okay for me.

 I may have taken extra time but I was pretty confident with my exam today. So...

One more to go!

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