Hey Victoria, I love this entry! You did a really great job describing the painting as well as allowing me, the reader, to step inside and experience the scenery. You also expressed the message behind it beautifully, which is to emphasize the beauty of nature as well as allowing humans to be mesmerized by it and find serenity. This inspired me a lot with my entry because I almost chose this painting as well, and I can really relate with what you have written. Keep up the great work!
Select any one painting explored today and describe it creatively in either prose or verse, bringing all its details into focus.
During our visit at the Art Gallery of NSW, I was immediately captivated by Eugene von Guérard’s paintings of nature, not just by the unbelievable details but by the message behind them. My personal favorite was Waterfall, Strath Creek (pictured above). What captured my eyes from afar was the fact that the subject of the painting, the waterfall, interestingly resembles a ray of lightning. After a longer look, I also noticed how clean the water looked, unpolluted and free-flowing. It was a scenery made by the spontaneity of mother nature, without human interference; such a rare sight is hard to find today. Guérard included himself as well as his travelling companions at the top and the bottom of the waterfall as the tiniest figures which would be easily ignored without closer inspection. By doing so, he emphasized the grandness of the scenery as well as the insignificance of human, which was a common theme during the Romantic era. From beneath the waterfall looking up, it seemed as if the stream flows down from the sky, oozing out endlessly and vigorously from the white glowing clouds flowing through. We are but a tiny speck of dust next to a grand wonder, quite intimidatingly so but also humbling, as there is no other option but to admire such a stunning jewel. It is a great painting that focuses on the freedom of nature, unrestricted and unique, all complete opposites of the industrialism at the time, when all had to be monotonous and precise with little room for creativity. Creativity and individuality were hardly of use, and humans were disappearing into machines. In my opinion, besides the aesthetics aspect, this is a Romantic expression with a subtle message of protest against society in the past.
This is quite an intense letter, and I would probably have the same tone if I were to write to someone as despicable as Mr. Gradgrind. However, your ending sentence does not seem as intense, which does seem like a suitable ending. Aside from that, I do notice that you tend to repeat phrases way too often, such as “your little girl”, and it made the paragraph a bit dull. Other than that, you had a nice idea and I like that you were passionate in response to his behavior towards his kids. This would have been so much better if you had taken a bit more time editing your ideas.
CREATIVE You are Sissy Jupe. In a short paragraph tell Louisa what it has been like living in a circus for most of your life. Tell her what you have enjoyed and what your relationships have been like with other people in the circus.
*Disclaimer: this is a creative dialogue, and all the characters mentioned are from my imagination*
During Louisa’s recovery, Sissy opened up to her about her past in the circus.
“I’m happy and grateful for having a home, and to share it with you, Louisa, I truly do. Do I miss the circus? Of course I do. I would do anything to go back. It may seem strange to you, the world I grew up in, chaotic and disorganized, but that is the world that made me who I am today. You and I are brought up in two opposite worlds, and for that, the philosophy that shaped you will never be valid to me entirely, as would mine to you. I come from the land of imagination and spontaneity, but that does not mean I fail to look at life as it is. It is quite the opposite, for my circus friends are those that taught me about life. Mr. Bender, the most flexible man I had ever known, was a dear friend and a man with great wisdom. The Mirror Twins, Mandy and Sandy, oh such mesmerizing ladies! If only you were able to see them perform, how they perfectly synchronize with each other as if they were one. The crowd used to go crazy for them. They were from Coketown you know, two orphans taken under Mr. Sleary’s wings and blossoming into one of his best acts. Pat the Cat Whisperer, how could I forget him! All the children attending the shows love him so, how he controls his feline friends and perform unimaginable tricks. His most mind-boggling performance, The Ring of Fire, where he commands them to jump through moving fire hoops, still confuses me to this day. He would never tell me the secret to that act, but I did not mind, for I was close to his cats very much. They were all so friendly and talented. And lastly, Mr. Sleary, I will forever be grateful for his kindness, caring for me when my father was no longer with me. I know you may see us as a laughing stock, but we were performers, entertainers, and a family who cared for each other very much. I wish them the best, and I dream of meeting everyone again every day.”
Hi Annabelle, this is quite a nice read! I do see a bit of Dickens in your story but not much, which is fine because what fun is in imitating someone else entirely. What I got from your story is a vibrant suburban where everyone is different as well as lively, which is why I personally do not think the image was the right visual for your blog. I see more of the Sydney city highway more than the suburb you described. It is just a little note you should take into consideration. Aside from that, your story is really great. Keep it up!
rite a brief critical appraisal of what you think Dickens’s main complaints are about Coketown- from the passage we explored in tutorials today.
Coketown, as described by Dickens, is a monotonous suburb created for working and only that. The most mentioned colors are dark heavy tones, smudged by the blackness of coal. The town citizens follow a daily routine with little change, if at all. Deprived of all creativity, they are surrounded by “fact, fact, fact”. The entire area is smothered by a “serpent of smoke”, infiltrating every corner and leaving no exceptions. The intentional use of long sentence give readers a sense of the dull, monotonous atmosphere surrounding the town, uncomfortable and unsettling. The Coketown citizens knew only of work and nothing else, because they were not allowed to do anything else. The second paragraph, which is basically made up of one really long sentence, made it clear of the things they were forced to give up, because their comfort and basic needs were of no use to the industrial machine that they were a part of. All the buildings were built and painted the same without a distinctive feature, to a point where one could have been mistaken for another. The only exception seemed to be the churches, but even that fact seems skeptical. Are they built just for the sake of having one or is it built with the people’s interests taken in consideration? It is difficult to decipher whether it is really a safe place for religion or just another part of the machine, disguised as a “elegancy of life”. The story ended quite interestingly, with the last sentences imitating the rhythm of the bible. It can be seen as Dickens’ way of mocking the religious persuasions, all eighteen of them, for using the excuse of caring for the people to deprive them even more. For a town made for industrialism, “the people” seemed to be weirdly invested in religion, so much so that eighteen churches have been built and more are in the progress. Perhaps, by giving people the illusion that are somewhat free, it is easier for the government to control them. Dickens did not make clear his feelings towards Coketown, but if readers are not willing to dig deep and put in the work themselves to discover his intention, they might as well be one of the Coketown people.