The declaration of Independance and a little bit about John Locke

Fourth_of_July_by_Radojavor

On the 4th of July 1776, the thirteen colonized states declared their independence. The settlers wanted their independence from Great-Britain; they paid a lot of taxes but had nothing in return, had not liberty of trade, had to support the war effort and didn’t have any American representative. This led to the Independence war. At that time, George III ruled over England. He was a stubborn king who wanted to create an absolute monarchy. To him, colonies were a way to dominate Europe in time of war for they had considerable resources. In 1783, the war was settled by the Treaty of Paris and Americans gained their freedom.

Extract of the Declaration of Independence can be found here:

What values is this society founded on?

This society is founded on Puritans values: All man were created equal and have undeniable rights. Those rights are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Theses values are self-evident and were a source of inspiration for many people (French included) . The declaration was a foundation of the new societies they were creating at the time. This Republic gave power to the people and in 1919, it gave women voting rights. It also separated the three main powers.

(French people were inspired by it but added “brotherhood” instead of “the pursuit of happiness”. )

A critical look on the text:

Since everyone has a right to live, why is there a death penalty or abortions?

“All men were created equal” –> What about the African population with the civil War?

The declaration has some ideals –> Gives it a Utopian aspect

I have been to the States before and was pretty amazed to see how patriotic people were. I can tell this means something to them. When I sneaked in Senior High for a day, I kinda got caught in the middle of what is called the “Allegiance pledge” and the whole classroom became really silence and pledged allegiance to their country. I’ve also been there for the fourth of July and wow, so much blue, red and white everywhere! When I compare it to France…Well, we’re not very patriotic! x)

Anyway, back to our study!

This declarations was inspired by a great thinker:

John Locke:

He was a philosopher and was considered as one of the most important enlightened thinker. His ideas revolve around the theory of the State’s nature which is basically freedom and Happiness…He stated a country had the right to rebel if its government didn’t respect Human rights (That’s what he called the Social Contract) and that human being had several natural rights: Liberty,possession, the pursuit of Happiness, life…He also talked about the separation of the State and the Church.

He had a great influence on the declaration of Independence and many of his principles were kept.

 

(picture credit: RadoJavor – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)

 

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Children’s conditions in the 19th century with Dickens and Hugo

Hey everyone!

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That’s my work for the theme “The writer in his century”. Unfortunately, the girl with whom I worked with was sick on the day of the presentation so I was left all alone, in front of a very scary class and teacher…No, I’m kidding! ^^’ They aren’t THAT fierce…

So… Let me start (Btw: Yay! This blog got over 150 view this month and over 50 visitors, it’s starting to work great, thanks! 😀 ).

As you know, during the 19th century in England, the industrial revolution took place. At that time, children’s conditions got worse: They had to support their families so they worked in factories. Child labor was pretty normal back then and a child (sometimes as young as five years old) would work six days a week and over twelve hours a day. Work injuries were very common and they had no insurance: If they were hurt or sick, they were fired. Most of them had no education and many children were illiterate. In 1870, the government took care of it by making laws but the poorest families couldn’t afford an education until 1891 when the school fees disappeared. Living conditions were very difficult: Poor hygiene, unhealthy or no food, diseases, high infant mortality… The two most terrible and wide-spread diseases were cholera and tuberculosis (and there was no vaccines). Families were used to the idea of losing a child. The situation was pretty similar in France.

Many authors have denounced this industrialized society. Among them are Dickens and Hugo. Through their novels, they have described their society, the social injustices as well as the living conditions…

I) Dickens: Oliver Twist: Misery and Hunger (extract here!):

Through this extract, the author describes the misery in which Oliver Twist lived in and his hunger. Dickens also denounces child exploitation.

Basic storyline: Oliver Twist is a young orphan. At nine years old, he is sent to a workhouse where there is not much food, no affection and hard living conditions.

Analysis:

  • Irony (Black humor)
  • Lexical field of misery and hunger
  • Anaphoras
  • Denunciation of the society through a novel and its characters

II) Hugo, Les Misérables: Poverty and Family (extract here!):

Through this extract, the poverty in the 19th century and the attitude of poor families is shown. As I said earlier, infant mortality was very high so the families didn’t create significant bonds with their children. Most of them had many children. Here, Hugo denounces children being neglected and left alone.

Basic Storyline: Gavroche comes from a poor family who doesn’t love him. He lives in the streets and wanders around. He has no love, no food, no place to stay and finally, no education.

Analysis:

  • Lexical field of poverty and antithesis to underline the drastic living conditions of Gavroche
  • Narrative speech

Hugo denounced through his novel and Gavroche the children’s living conditions in the 19th century.

Thorough the century, laws have been established to protect children and to provide education. Authors have influenced their society by underlining their flaws and denouncing injustice. They have had a very positive impact and have played a role in the evolution of society. As we could witness it,  France and England coped with similar problems and showed similarities concerning their economic and social situation. Other authors such as Blake, Mark Twain, Flaubert, Voltaire or Oscar Wilde have been dealing with such topics.

(picture credit: Eudard-Angelo deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)

Writing workshop: First meeting

Warm_Winter_by_VanthMithra

Hey everyone…This post should have been written months ago…I’m so sorry it’s uploaded just now!

To put an end to our theme “first meeting and love at first sight”, we wrote something in groups of two. We had to imagine characters meeting for the first time. This story is actually greatly inspired by a fiction from Tina, (Check out her blog here!) my teammate for this task, called “Blood Diamond“. We kept the same storyline but we changed a few details here and there… So here it is, enjoy! ; )

Eyline Olsen is a sixteen year old orphan. One day, her godmother disappears leaving behind a name : “Lowland” and a phone number. Eyline ends up in some huge manor in London where she meets Jewel, Michaël and Eleanor who work as employees there. However, she still hasn’t met any of the Lowland’s family members.

Another rainy day in London… Eyline sighted. Everything looked the same: the sky was grey and only the sound of raindrops falling on the ground disturbed the deep and heavy silence in the manor. How many days would she have to stay here? She felt as if her life was passing by, as if time was slowly fading away… Boring. The appropriate word was “Boring”. She turned away from the window and wandered around. She climbed to the second floor and was heading to her room when something caught her eye: a door, an open door. She was about to get in when she felt a presence behind her. Carefully, she turned around, just in time to see what looked like a shadow. She must have dreamt, there are no strangers here! Shaking away the thoughts in her head, she took a timid step into the library . The first thing she noticed in this dark and old room was two shining emeralds. She then realized it was someone’s eyes, incredible deep green eyes. A strange thought came across her mind: Even thought she had never seen such a particular eye color before, it looked very familiar. Suddenly, she was assaulted by memories and sounds. Bright colors were flashing through her mind, voices of the past were mixing up in her brain. She started to feel unwell, it wasn’t normal, these memories did not belong to her…This past was not hers. But, the strangest thing of all is that she felt connected to him, in a way she had never been with anyone before. They had already met, but not there, not now. He then stood out of the darkness and Eyline’s heart stopped beating at once. Not only was he stunning but he was one of those people who had this powerful and terrifying aura. Michaël’s words popped out into her mind: “He’s what they would call handsome but his heart is as hard as a stone and he’s a real jerk. Don’t fall for him!” Eyline could see his long blond hair tied up in his back. He was rather tall and his skin was way paler than hers. He was a complete mystery, dark and compelling at the same time.

-“It would be best if you left” he said.

-…What? I…I don’t understand… Eyline replied

-Get out of here! You have no right to be here and you are certainly not welcome either! Get out of here or I’m afraid you’ll regret it…”

Eyline ran away. What else could she have done?

That’s it for today! Hope you liked it, don’t forget to leave a comment! ; )

(picture credit: Vanth Mithra deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)

short studies about Romeo and Juliet and the Fifth child

Hey everyone,

Merry Christmas! So…as you can see, I’m a bit behind schedule! (that’s not very surprising anymore is it?) Anyway, I’ve thought about updating this article for a few weeks now…so here it comes!e9b8ac5b56a059033b685412f6edb74c

Romeo and Juliet: (summing up the situation!)

Romeo and Juliet is a playwright written by William Shakespeare in 1564. It’s a classical tragedy wich lasts a complete day. The characters from the story are submitted to fate and the two teenagers are what we call star-crossed lovers (they were born under an unlucky star). They have to face a tragic curse: hatred. But, can they get married and have a happily ever after? …No, apparently not. It seems Shakespeare and happy endings didn’t quite match on this one…You see, both families were fighting over power. Power to dominate, power to crush the enemy. Too bad for them, a prince (a very selfish one!) ruled Verona. So, Romeo and Juliet ended up facing the anger of their siblings, jealousy, twisted plans and loads of bad luck! (Not to mention Romeo was banished from the city after killing Tybald…)

Act 1 scene 5 study:

Where did they meet?

They met at the Capulet’s house.

On what occasion?

It was during a masquerade.

What time of the day was it?

It was at  night.

Did they know each other before?

No, they knew nothing about one another.

Who saw the other one first?

Romeo saw Juliet first while she was dancing.

What was his impression then?

He fell in love with her at first sight. It was a fated love. But from the beginning, Romeo feels inferior to Juliet, he considers her as apart from the rest of human beings. They are not on an equal footing: he seems to worship her, she’s like a goddess to him.

How did they start speaking together?

Romeo, behind a curtain, grabbed her hand and courted her. They then managed to get away from the rest of the crowd.

Who spoke first?

Romeo spoke first, asking permission for a kiss.

What was his tone?

He was pleading her to agree to his request. While talking, he sounded passionate.

Where they on the same wave-length?

At first, Juliet was a little frightened but not long after, her heart belonged to Romeo.

What words did Romeo and Juliet use?

The words they used revolved around three themes:

  • Religion: “profane”, “unworthiest”, “holy shrine”, “pilgrims”, “saints”, “holy”, “prayer”, “sin”, “the book”…
  • Body: “lips”, “hand”, “palm”, “cheek”, “ear”, “heart”…
  • Beauty: “bright”, “rich jewel”, “beauty too rich”, “dear”, “snowy dove”, “true beauty”…

Did the others pay attention to them?

No, they continued to dance and didn’t even notice they were gone.

What were their feelings towards Romeo?

They didn’t like Romeo’s presence, he was an intruder.

What were their feelings towards Juliet?

Juliet was well appreciated and many danced with her.

The Fifth child: (a little bit more about the sixties!)

The story takes place in 1960. At that time, the mentalities changed: It went from a strict to a very open-minded spirit. Before that, in school, boys and girls were separated and teachers were scary (some of them still are today) and strict. Most of the time, teenagers would wear a uniform and had to ask their parent’s permission to date or marry the one they loved (if they weren’t twenty-one). They also had to stay pure. All those values were rejected in the sixties by the younger generation. This period is known as “the swinging sixties”…People started dressing differently; with flashing colours! The Hippie movement appeared at that time, as well as the “Flower power” in music.

Extract 1 study:

Who are the main characters?

The main characters are Harriet and David.

Where and when did they meet?

They met at an office party in the sixties.

Find out more about : Harriet

  • Her physical description:

    Harriet has a flowery dress, curly dark hair and soft but thoughtful eyes. She’s pastel blur and her lips are firmly closed. She’s a healthy young woman with strong and good features.

  • Her profession:

    After attending an arts college she became a graphic designer.

  • How other people see her:

    People see her as a conservative, old fashioned, timid, hard to please, crazy, laughable, ungenerous and troubled person. (nice people aren’t they?)

  • How Harriet sees David before speaking to him for the first time:

    To her, he doesn’t look solidly planted. But he seems similar to herself and not very glad to be here. They both look quite compatible in fact!

Similarities and differences between Romeo and Juliet and Harriet and David:

Capture tableau R&J et H&D

(picture credit: Kecky deviantart – no copyright infringement intended; for educational purposes)