I’m leaving …. and something about Europe

28 Feb

I’m leaving …


flag           http://europa.eu/index_en.htm

The European Union at a glance

The European Union (EU) is a family of democratic European countries, committed to working together for peace and prosperity. It is not a State intended to replace existing states, but it is more than any other international organisation. The EU is, in fact, unique. Its Member States have set up common institutions to which they delegate some of their sovereignty so that decisions on specific matters of joint interest can be made democratically at European level. This pooling of sovereignty is also called “European integration”.

The historical roots of the European Union lie in the Second World War. The idea of European integration was conceived to prevent such killing and destruction from ever happening again. It was first proposed by the French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman in a speech on 9 May 1950. This date, the “birthday” of what is now the EU, is celebrated annually as Europe Day.


The European Parliament in Strasbourg








The Myth of Europa   Europa


In Greek mythology, Europa was a Phoenician woman of high lineage, from whom the name of the continent Europe has been taken

Europa abducted by Zeus,

According to legend, Zeus was enamored of Europa and decided to seduce her. He transformed himself into a tame white bull and mixed in with her father’s herds. While Europa and her female attendants were gathering flowers, she saw the bull, caressed his flanks, and eventually got onto his back. Zeus took that opportunity and ran to the sea and swam, with her on his back, to the island of Crete. He then revealed his true identity, and Europa became the first queen of Crete.


In Metamorphoses, the poet Ovid wrote the following depiction of Jupiter’s seduction:

And gradually she lost her fear, and he

Offered his breast for her virgin caresses,

His horns for her to wind with chains of flowers

Until the princess dared to mount his back

Her pet bull’s back, unwitting whom she rode.

Then — slowly, slowly down the broad, dry beach —

First in the shallow waves the great god set

His spurious hooves, then sauntered further out

’til in the open sea he bore his prize

Fear filled her heart as, gazing back, she saw

The fast receding sands. Her right hand grasped

A horn, the other lent upon his back

Her fluttering tunic floated in the breeze.



  • Try to answer the following questions:
  1. Who was Europa in Greek mythology?
  2. Being in love with Europa, what did Zeus do?
  3. Who did Zeus transform himself into?
  4. What did Europa do?
  5. Where was Europa taken?
  • The European symbols are four, name and write something

about them.






Notes on JANE EYRE

10 Feb

Jane Eyre

Key Facts

full title  ·  Jane Eyre

author  · Charlotte Brontë (originally published under the male pseudonym Currer Bell)

type of work  · Novel

genre  · A hybrid of three genres: the Gothic novel (utilizes the mysterious, the supernatural, the horrific, the romantic); the romance novel (emphasizes love and passion, represents the notion of lovers destined for each other); and the Bildungsroman (narrates the story of a character’s internal development as he or she undergoes a succession of encounters with the external world)

  Charlotte Brontë

Themes, Motifs & Symbols


Themes are the fundamental and often universal ideas explored in a literary work.

Love Versus Autonomy

Jane Eyre is very much the story of a quest to be loved. Jane searches, not just for romantic love, but also for a sense of being valued, of belonging.

Her fear of losing her autonomy motivates her refusal of Rochester’s marriage proposal. Jane believes that “marrying” Rochester while he remains legally tied to Bertha would mean rendering herself a mistress and sacrificing her own integrity for the sake of emotional gratification.


Throughout the novel, Jane struggles to find the right balance between moral duty and earthly pleasure, between obligation to her spirit and attention to her body.

Social Class

Jane Eyre is critical of Victorian England’s strict social hierarchy. Brontë’s exploration of the complicated social position of governesses is perhaps the novel’s most important treatment of this theme.

Gender Relations

Jane struggles continually to achieve equality and to overcome oppression. In addition to class hierarchy, she must fight against patriarchal domination—against those who believe women to be inferior to men and try to treat them as such.

In Chapter 12, Jane articulates what was for her time a radically feminist philosophy:

“Women are supposed to be very calm generally: but women feel just as men feel; they need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do; they suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow-minded in their more privileged fellow-creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags. It is thoughtless to condemn them, or laugh at them, if they seek to do more or learn more than custom has pronounced necessary for their sex”.


Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.

Fire and Ice

Fire and ice appear throughout Jane Eyre. The former represents Jane’s passions, anger, and spirit, while the latter symbolizes the oppressive forces trying to extinguish Jane’s vitality. Fire is also a metaphor for Jane, as the narrative repeatedly associates her with images of fire, brightness, and warmth.

Images of ice and cold, often appearing in association with barren landscapes or seascapes, symbolize emotional desolation, loneliness, or even death.


Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.

Bertha Mason

Bertha Mason is a complex presence in Jane Eyre. She impedes Jane’s happiness, but she also catalyses the growth of Jane’s self-understanding. The mystery surrounding Bertha establishes suspense and terror to the plot and the atmosphere. Further, Bertha serves as a remnant and reminder of Rochester’s youthful libertinism.

The Black Hole – Description, Discussion and Writing

28 Jan

The Black Hole – Description, Discussion and Writing.

Dickens’s life

25 Jan

Dickens’s life – animation


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John Dickens (1785 – 1851) – Outside Family House

John Dickens worked as a naval pay clerk for most of his life. He married Elizabeth in 1809, and they had 8 children. He was always short of money and was imprisoned in Marshalsea debtors prison in 1824 and 1834. Upon his release, he was so unhappy that his young son was working in such poor conditions he insisted that Charles left his job at the Blacking factory.

After retiring from the naval pay office he worked as a reporter on the Mirror of Parliament, a political publication run by his brother.

His inability to manage money continued and he called on Charles and Charles’ associates many times to help him financially.

He died on 29 March 1851 in the presence of Charles and Elizabeth. He is buried in Highgate Cemetery in London.

Charles is thought to have modelled Mr. Micawber from David Copperfield on his father. Mr. Micawber was a jovial character who always had financial troubles.

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Blacking Factory

The family moved to London in 1824.  Charles’ schooling had to end, and he was sent to work in Warren’s Blacking Factory.  John Dickens was briefly imprisoned for debt.  When John was released from prison, he rescued his son from this terrible work, enraged that Charles was ‘exhibited’ working in the window of the shop.  Elizabeth tried to get Charles reinstated in his job, an act which Charles was never to forgive. Charles briefly returned to school.

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Jail 1822 – 1827

Born at home in Old Commercial Road, Portsmouth.  His early years were hard, new siblings arriving, many house moves, and a general lack of money due to his father’s financial inabilities.

The family moved to London in 1824.  Charles’ schooling ended, and he was sent to work in Warren’s Blacking Factory.  John Dickens was briefly imprisoned for debt, but when he was released, he ‘rescued’ his son from work, and Charles briefly returned to school.

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Solicitors 1827 – 1835

At 15 Charles began work as a solicitor’s clerk in the offices of Ellis and Blackmore.  He was well liked there because of his ebullient nature and talent as a mimic.  The absurd nature of the legal system was a recurrent theme in his

writing and probably stemmed from his time here.

Whilst at Ellis and Blackmore, Charles began to learn shorthand, in order to increase his chances of becoming a Parliamentary reporter.  He began work on the Mirror of Parliament, a periodical owned and edited by his uncle John Henry Barrow (his father also worked there at this time).

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Books and Children 1842 – 1844

Charles worked hard and eventually gained employment on the Evening Chronicle.  Through this job he came into contact with the editor of The Morning Chronicle, George Hogarth.  He met and fell in love with George’s daughter Catherine and they were married in 1835.

Once married, they lived with Mary Hogarth, (Catherine’s younger sister) and Fred, (Charles’ younger brother).

When Mary Hogarth died suddenly in 1837, Charles was strangely affected by her death.  He kept a lock of her hair, and removed her ring to wear himself.  He kept her clothes, and requested that he should be buried with her when he died.  Her gravestone was inscribed, at Dickens’ request, with the words “young, beautiful, and good”, adjectives later used to describe his fictional characters Little Nell (Old Curiosity Shop) and Florence Dombey (Dombey and Son).  He was said to have night-time visions of Catherine, immediately preceding her death, and when in Italy 7 years later.

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USA 1842 – 1844.     The Britannia (1840 – 1880)

This was the first of three wooden steam ships to be built by the Cunard Steamship Company.  It’s maiden voyage was on 4 July 1840.  It sailed from Liverpool to Halifax, Nova Scotia in 11 days and 4 hours.  This fast crossing of the Atlantic enabled the Atlantic mail service to start.

When Dickens sailed on it in January 1842 to Boston, he was shocked by the smallness of his cabin, “I do verily believe that … nothing smaller for sleeping in was ever made except coffins”. He described the whole vessel as ‘a gigantic hearse with windows’.

Indeed for the return journey Dickens chose to go by sail power, rather than steam.

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Charles in Italy 1844 1856

The group travelled to Genoa, staying in Villa Bagnerello, and then Palazzo Peschiere.  Dickens seemed to feel the villa was haunted and was troubled by visions of Catherine’s dead sister Mary.  He wrote the vision into his Christmas story The Chimes.  He could not settle well to writing in Italy.

He and his family undertook travels around Italy taking in Pisa, Rome, Pompeii, Naples.

Pictures from Italy was the resulting writing from his time in Italy.

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Frozen Deep 1858 1870 ( A theatrical project)

Charles’ fascination with the theatre had a been long and enduring.  As a child Charles had a paper theatre which he and his brothers would play with, moving paper characters around to stage plays.  He visited the theatre as a youngster in Chatham, and the excitement of it inspired him.

When he was 20 he managed to organise an audition at Covent Garden as an actor, but missed it through illness.

Charles wrote theatre reviews, when he started out as a journalist.

When he was older he organised amateur productions with his friends, some were adaptations of his own works.  He once performed for Queen Victoria.

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Death 1870

Charles collapsed at home at dinner with Georgina on Wednesday 8 June 1870.  He never regained consciousness and died the next day, Thursday 9th June with Georgina and his children Kate, Mamie, Charley, and Ellen all present.

He had hoped to be buried in Rochester Cathedral, but instead was placed in Poet’s Corner in the Westminster Abbey.


Lifelong learning.

20 Jan

Lifelong learning.

I ………

Christmas in my house goes like this …

28 Dec


We go to church around 7.30pm on Christmas Eve (that’s the 24th December). Well, we try to. The problem is that there are three girls in our family and only one and a half bathrooms. This means that the hour before church is extremely hectic – every plug socket is busy with straighteners, hair-dryers, digital-camera-chargers (you have to look extra nice on Christmas Eve).  We usually manage to leave the house at about 7.25pm, so we get to church for 7.35pm. Any other time of the year, this wouldn’t be a problem. But Christmas is the busiest time of the year for churches in the UK, so those 5 minutes do make a difference. There are never any free seats when we arrive, so we often have to stand up for the mass. In high heels. It’s not as bad as it sounds — as soon as you start singing the Christmas hymns, you don’t notice the pain!

After church, we all go to the pub. When we were children, we went to bed as early as possible (it made Christmas come faster), but nowadays Christmas Eve is a great chance to catch up with old friends at the local. When we get home, though, we still are strictly forbidden from going into the living room. We have to go straight to our rooms in case we disturb Santa.

We usually wake up around 10am on Christmas Day.  The rule is that we have to enter the living room at the same time, so we all have to wait outside the living room door until everyone’s there (mum, dad, sisters, brother-in-law, and the cat). Sometimes we have small-ish arguments at this stage because someone wants a cup of tea and everyone else just wants to open their presents.

Then it’s the jackpot moment: the door opens and we get to see all the presents. Me and my sisters sit on the floor and go through them. Our parents (or Santa) always put the presents out in a chaotic mess on the floor, so we have to really search for our own presents. When we were little, this led to problems. Often, you would see a huge present, get ready to open it, and then realise you had to pass it to another member of the family. But now that we’re older, we can handle the disappointment. (Also, when you’re older, the best presents tend to be smaller).

After we have opened our presents, we sit and admire them for a while, and mum usually makes bacon sandwiches. So breakfast on Christmas is bacon sandwiches followed by whatever chocolate you can find near the tree. Once the eating has started, it never really stops. We go from breakfast to sweets, and before you know it, Christmas dinner is ready.

Christmas dinner is funny. We all wear our new Christmas presents (posh socks, clothes which still have the labels in, glittery things), we have paper crowns on our heads (you get them inside Christmas crackers), and no one is really hungry. Despite this, we manage to eat most of what’s on the table: turkey, beef (dad doesn’t like turkey), garlic bread (not Christmassy but everyone likes it), many, many vegetables, sauces, drinks…

After dinner, we relax (or recover) in front of the TV for a while. Christmas TV is great. There’s usually a new film on, followed by Christmas favourites like ‘Home Alone’ and ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. Then we go and visit other members of our family for the evening. As you have probably guessed, this means more eating and drinking …

The days after Christmas are spent trying to finish all of the leftover turkey. Which is good because turkey and ketchup sandwiches are delicious.


What’s Christmas like in your house? Do you have any special traditions?

Marketing, a teaching unit

20 Nov