A Short Story

Searing pain tore through my head as blinding light slowly crept into my slumber, cruelly banishing the dreams of my perfectly curved woman into oblivion. What can I say? I may be lying in a children’s hospital with princesses coating the wallpaper, but, I’m still a teenager. I need at least some ‘me time’. However, that’s seemingly hard to gain in the ‘Pink Ward’ of Melrose Children’s Hospital. That’s right, the Pink Ward. In case you were wondering, I am in fact, male. You guessed it, a boy in the Pink Ward. Now, I know what you’re thinking, “surely there was a mix up in spaces; maybe there are too many patients in the Blue Ward to be able to keep him there?” Well, I would like to say you were right, but I’m pretty convinced it’s actually because of my totally stylish Justin Bieber hair cut my Mum chopped with a frightfully nightmarish pair of scissors before this unfortunate tumour in my head was found. To be honest, I think they were what were supposed to pass for garden shears following a summer two years ago when my Mum’s newest craze was to become ‘green fingered’. Those days are behind me, and I’m sporting a choppy, short, uneven cut now (which I am rocking), thanks to the cancerous situation currently residing in the left hand side of my brain. At least it was straight before, even if it did make me look like a girl. It’s safe to say I’m attracting all the ladies. Yeah, all the nurses. And, of course, my Mum.

Do you ever get that feeling when you think someone’s watching you? You can literally feel their eyes boring into the back of your head? I have that. Right now. Despite the fact that the back of my head is facing a wall. That’s the headaches. Side effect. I could sense pupils on my eyelids, the colour green coming to mind- don’t ask; it’s a gift. I can tell someone’s eye colour from the sound of their voice. Maybe it’s a present from God to say sorry for burdening me with an incurable disease. I like that, let’s hope I remember it so I can add it to my blog- ironichoroscopeboy19. That’s because my zodiac sign is Cancer. In case you missed the pun.

The weak springs in my mattress squeaked and screeched as another body flopped down by my feet. My eyes flung open in surprise, almost coming off their hinges. Heavy, long brunette waves cascaded around her shoulders; maybe she was a relative. I must have been staring at her hair for a long time because her voice soon filled my ears… “It’s a wig”. She must be a newbie if she has next to no hair. “Why do you wear a wig?” I asked her, quite impolitely. “I don’t understand why people try to hide the fact they have cancer, four out of ten people in the whole world have it, or will have it at one point in their life. And it’s hardly contagious; if you sneezed you won’t pass it on to the people in a three meter perimeter around you, so why do you do it?” I didn’t regret my words, but I figured it was slightly forthcoming when I didn’t even know this girls name. “My Mum just visited, I don’t think she’s really come to terms with the fact that I’m ill. I don’t give a fuck that I have post-Harry Potter Emma Watson hair. It’s quite edgy. We have pretty similar hair, actually!” She exclaimed, leaning towards me and tugging at the tufts on my head.
“What’s your affliction?” I asked her. “Leukaemia. Diagnosed three years ago. And your fine self?”
“Brain tumour. Left hand side. What’s your name?” “I am Patient 23609.” “Pleased to meet you 23609, I’m Patient 37842.” “My pleasure.” She responded. “Believe me, the pleasure is mine” I added with a wink. I used to have quite an effect with that line, the whole looking to the floor, smiling, and rose tinted cheeks. I think I’ve lost my charm. My hair, my dignity, now my charm? Really, Cancer? You really do hate me; you’re taking everything away from me, I’ll start shrinking soon!

We sat for a while. We talked. I showed her my scars, and she showed me hers. I found out her favourite films; a mixture of The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, Pretty in Pink, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Say Anything. How she wished she was born in the 80’s but is kind of glad she wasn’t because treatment wouldn’t have been as good back then. How her wardrobe was a collection of her Mum’s old clothes from when she was a teenager in the 80’s, and how she had a secret fantasy of meeting George Clooney and giving him her Mum’s number. How her Dad died in a car accident four months ago, and how she began to hate the world because she was in the car. How ‘whatever bullshit up there should have took the one with Leukaemia’. How unconventionally beautiful she is. She didn’t tell me that, of course. I saw it. We talked through dinner, through daily injections. We lay together on the bed, staring at the pasty white tiled ceiling, our fingers daintily brushing each other from time to time. She found out how my favourite film was Batman Begins and how I always dreamed of living in a manor, with my own ‘Rachel’. How Bruce Wayne loved his Rachel, and how one day I will love my Rachel.

When she had to go back to her own bed, we text each other from the other sides of the ward, having previously swapped our numbers at lunch time. Perhaps I still had that charm, only I had misplaced it momentarily. Her replies became slower and slower, and I realised it was 1:00am. Too late for a Cancer Kid. We said our goodnights, and I stayed up for the next twenty minutes thinking about her. I didn’t even know her name. I quickly fell asleep, even though it felt like years. I dreamt of Patient 23609. I dreamt of her meeting George Clooney through the magic of the Genies and the Make a Wish Foundation. I’d give her my wish if I could.

I woke to the sound of small sobs around me, and suddenly felt something in the palm of my hand. A crumpled up piece of paper, maybe? I waited for the noises to stop and looked at the note. At the top was a direction: ‘Give this to Patient 37842.’ Right at the bottom of the paper was a message.

“All my love, Rachel.”

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The Fault In Our Stars – A Review

“That’s the thing about pain,” Augustus said, and then glanced back at me. “It demands to be felt”

That’s the thing about this book. It demands to be felt.

The Fault in Our Stars was published by John Green through Penguin in 2012, and created a whirlwind of energy throughout the world when it hit our shelves. The story is, essentially, a love story. Yet there’s a slightly more complicated twist- the protagonist is a teenage girl living with cancer. As is the only boy she’s ever loved. This ingenious masterpiece combines the things we love to admire and the things we fear to explore; romance and death.

At the onset of the narrative we meet Hazel Grace Lancaster, sixteen, expressing typical teenager tantrums about wanting to stay in bed and watch America’s Next Top Model. Except Hazel isn’t your average teenager, and the thing she wants to skip by having a reality TV marathon is actually attending a Cancer Kids Support Group. Green uses his signature staccato style to portray Cancer’s Sting by dramatising it in a smartly crafted explosion of acerbic, achingly beautiful characters. This electric, enchanting story will encapture you in a truly devastating tale of life and loss.

Our protagonist soon realises why going to Support Group that evening was such a good idea: ex-cancer patient Augustus Waters. When Hazel feels unmoving eyes on her as she pours herself some lemonade into a plastic cup at the snacks table, she can’t help but feel under pressure (and a little creeped out).  The eyes, however unwavering, result in belonging to the hottest boy in the room. Looking at her. With Hazel not used to this sort of male attention, Green utilises a comedic element to balance the tense atmosphere and Hazel gazes back fearlessly. The staring contest finally draws to a close and the pair’s first conversation isn’t the usual. When Augustus remarks that he fears oblivion and the inevitability of the death of the human race above all, Hazel responds with an intellectual speech, convincing the reader it was almost pre-planned as the words roll smoothly off her tongue. With an initial flame sparked, Green invites us on a witty, whimsical journey of friendship and attraction.

However, at times in the novel, the pairing seems slightly unbelievable. They are meant to be teenagers but they talk to each other like 50 year old philosophers. To say that Green attempts to inspire the younger audience by conveying a seamless love story between two intellectual, dying kids, is an overstatement. It’s understandable that he wants to create a more adapted society where teenagers aren’t visualised by adults as smelly, grumpy, lazy slobs, but it’s sad to say that using exaggerated characters in an extremely rare and unlucky situation just isn’t going to do the trick.

Hazel’s distracted mind often wanders to the inevitability of her death, which is encouraged and supported by her unconditional love for the fictional book created by Green for the novel:  An Imperial Affliction, by Peter Van Houten. The protagonist in this novel is also suffering from cancer, just like Hazel.  Her ideologies about everything in life being a side effect of dying prove important to Hazel, and sticks with her through her days. Her cancer, her depression, and everything, is a side effect of dying. Depression is also probably a side effect of reading this book, as the tragic, heart breaking plot rips its way through the reader’s soul and destroys every happy memory they’ve ever experienced. Okay, so it’s not that bad, but still, read with caution.

As the story rolls on, we become more and more confident that things are going good for Hazel. Even though she’s re-admitted into hospital for extra fluid in her lungs, she’s soon better again and on her way to Amsterdam. This ‘bump in the road’ reminds the reader of the harsh truth behind the seemingly simple, sweet, summery love story that the protagonist is actually seriously ill. However, things are going well for Hazel and Augustus gets to come with her and her mother to the ‘City of Freedom’, as Green charmingly puts it.

But when Augustus admits to Hazel that his cancer is back and he’s just got months to live, the fun of Amsterdam drowns like the petals from their candlelit dinner in the canal. This massive plot twist stirs up a tornado of panic for the protagonist as she realises that even though the severity of her medical case is worse than his, he’s still going to die first. The rest of the plot follows Hazel mainly feeling sorry for herself as Augustus’ parents are strict with visitors because he’s so ill, until his impending death hits us all like a sack of bricks. Even though we know for certain it’s going to happen, it’s still difficult to stop the tears from flowing as the death of her boyfriend finally impacts Hazel. She attends his funeral, and around a week later she finds a letter that he wrote to her in his days where he knew he was deteriorating fast. The book finishes at the end of the letter and as the last page is turned, you feel a sense of loss yourself, as if you were part of the story and lived through the high times and the low times with the characters.

The novel creates an air of melancholy through constant philosophical and intellectual ideas about life and death from the protagonist, lamenting the loss of her soul mate with an elegiac style of writing. It’s a heartfelt story of love and loss, and is suitable for any reader with an enthusiasm and an appreciation for real life tragedies and the rollercoaster of emotions they bring with them.

Analysis of ‘The Butlers’ English Language Coursework

Within text C, an inclusive tone is immediately created by the author. This is evident through the repetition of the incorporative second person plural pronoun “we”, which is indicative of a welcoming, colloquial tone sustained throughout the text, implying that the idea of a butler or a servant is less serious than it used to be.

The whimsical tone of the writer’s attitude towards his chosen topic of servants is also implied through his utilisation of comedic elements to highlight the informality of the text… “General factotum – or ‘wife’, for short.” The common noun “wife” supports this. This is also denominative of the change in the social stigma attached to butlers, as seen in Text A, the attitude towards personal services were strict, and even adopted an almost biblical tone, whereas the modern text acquires a much more jovial tenor.

The idea that the attitude of the author towards personal service was a serious matter is noticed in text A through the utilisation of the archaic verb “travail”, derived from the French language, which indicates an “all work no play” attitude. This further reiterates the statement that in 1613, butlers were only there to serve and that would be their life choice.

Throughout the text, the author often references to old television shows and dated common sayings: “I feel like Bertie Wooster” “I say Jeeves, what about a snifter before luncheon, what?” This, in addition to the repetition of the proper noun “Jeeves” provides the text with prevalence and a sense of familiarity, thus further engaging the reader with the text, and so the aim of the text is achieved.

(not sure what point to put here before evidence?) The author employs the hypothera “for what is obedience…defined by… own will” in which he answers his own rhetorical question, thus providing the reader with an option. They can either leave the text alone, or take its rules as absolute and infinite as the abstract noun “obedience” and the pre-modifying adjectives “voluntary” and “reasonable” help the text adopt a tone of agreeance with the author.

Thanks to the recent incline in technology over the past century, the way language is written has changed dramatically due to increasingly popular neologisms, where the actual text is published (e.g. the difference between texts written on social networking sites and those written in a newspaper), and the context of the text. Such neologisms are prominent in the text: “Weetabix”, “Kid’s Stuff” and “hairdryer”. By including modern-day terms like these, the author is keeping the text current and readable as it’s easier to understand, and thus the purpose of the text is met.

Since 1613, many semantic changes have occurred over time. This is evident in text A, where the semantic meaning of “without” is now narrowed and doesn’t mean ‘going outside’ in the modern day. This is a typical example of how language has changed over time. Other examples within the text are noticeable, such as the archaic prepositions utilised in “whereunto”, however in the modern day, this has been dropped from use.

Also, text C illustrates how technology has influenced the context of written language through the utilisation of advertisement at the beginning of the text, whereas text A and B do not contain this type of advertisement. This is indicative of a society being adapted to a more capitalist approach.

The onset of text A features the pre-modifying adjective “every” and the common noun “creature”, creating a similar inclusive tone to that of text C. An almost biblical undertone is suggested through “every creature is called to some one thing”, suggesting that the text and subject was extremely serious. The pre-modifying adjective “every” is indicative of the incorporative tone like text C, and assumes that all readers agree with what the text states. This biblical tone is also indicated throughout the text within the repetition of the proper noun “God” and the onset of the text, which is written in past tense, providing the text with prevalence. The pre-modifying adjective “same” intensifies the noun “nature”, reiterating the common biblical theme throughout the text.

A Level English Language Coursework – The Good Wife Guide

Over the years, a lot has changed, including the utilisation of language. With the uprising of technology in the 21st Century, language has adapted to the social norms of society and events that have happened from 50 years ago to today have an effect on the way language is used.

In 1955, an article was published in an issue of Housekeeping Weekly, a popular magazine read by women of the time. The article, ‘The Good Wife Guide’ was intended to provide help and advice for women on how to properly look after their husbands.

The onset of the article begins with an imperative “Have dinner ready.” These imperatives are utilised throughout the entire article to inform the women of the correct way they should act and behave: “prepare yourself” “be happy to see him”. These commands induce an authoritative tone throughout the text and ensure that the reader has a clear understanding that this isn’t advice; these are rules that should be strictly followed if you want to ensure your husband is entirely satisfied while at home. This is further conveyed through the use of direct address to the wife using second person pronouns. The use of imperatives also illustrates the dominance of the male race, as this was written in the 1950s and second-wave feminism only arose in the 60s. This is a clear example of how times were for women in this era and demonstrates the representation of women as housewives.  This is further exemplified through the utilisation of the adverb “promptly”, implying that your husband’s needs are much more important than your own, and you are only there to serve him and ensure he’s keeping well before worrying about yourself. Other adverbials of manner include “on time”, “ahead” and “let him talk first”, creating a social normality that men were superior and a woman’s role is to take care of him.

The intelligence of the female readers of this article was often belittled, as the author chooses to mainly write in simple and compound sentences. “Minimize all noise” and “Don’t complain if he’s home late for dinner, or even stays out all night.” These implications of stupidity were not uncommon, suggesting that it was the norm for men to treat women like they weren’t as intelligent as themselves. This is further indicated through the repetition of the negative conjunction “don’t”, providing the reader with an easier alternative to the standard English language by shortening ‘do not’ to “don’t”.

The importance of the husband’s pleasure and comfort is the main component to this article which can be noticed at any point throughout the text. The utilisation of positive pre-modifying adjectives such as “pleasant voice” and “favourite dish” support this as they are indicative of the priority of the husband’s wants and needs. It was the role for the women of the household to ensure that everything is perfect for the husband’s requirements. The repetition of the generalised plural “most men” implies that this was the standard way that all women were expected to behave and that it was the social norm.

The Good Wife Guide has a prevailing attitude of a sense of reward when the actions are carried out properly. “Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order and it will give you a lift too” and “catering for his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.” This implies that it’s not only the social norm, but it’s the right thing to do and wives will feel pleasure from their actions of serving someone else.

Common female stereotypes are indicated in the Good Wife Guide as the women are undervalued through a derogatory tone which can be easily established throughout the text. This is illustrated through the utilisation of the pre-modifying adjective ‘little’ and the post-modifying adjective ‘trivial’ when describing a woman’s hobbies and interests ‘when compared to men’s’, further suggesting that the women were just housewives and are only there to clean and cook and make men comfortable, rather than have their own lives and work for their own personal benefit.

The use of unidentified third person singular pronouns such as ‘he’ ‘him’ and ‘his’ are ambiguous of a God-like persona, implying that the husband is as important as a God and brings a biblical and religious element to the text. This demonstrates that the text was meant to be serious and not taken lightly or as a joke, and these are specific ways you should act around your husband. Furthermore, another way that the biblical undertones are conveyed in this text is through the use of the noun phrases “your husband” and “the master of the house” which are very impersonal and suggest that the women are working for a greater being than themselves.

The time era that this article was written in is easy to distinguish with the aid of the archaic use of “gay” to describe happiness and being buoyant in spirit. Other ways in which the 1950s style of writing is illustrated is through dated verbs such as “awakes” and “retire to the bedroom”.

A slightly chauvinistic attitude is conveyed along with that of misogyny. The way that the women are almost referred to as slaves for the men and house maids is perhaps a disguised misogynistic attitude of the author. The chauvinism against feminism is clear through the phrase “try not to bore him speaking of these [little hobbies] ”, suggesting that the men of the time should not have to endure what a woman has to say.

In 2010, Primer, a popular online magazine tailored especially for the entertainment of males caught wind of the Good Wife Guide article and decided to create their own: ‘The Good Man’s Guide’. Language intended for different genders differs dramatically depending on the author, the intended audience and the time era. In this particular case, a male is writing for a male audience, which is indicative of taboo language and crude attitudes and expressions. However, the entirety of the article mainly focuses on equality of gender in a relationship and ways men can help make her life easier, instead of the opposite ideologies proposed by The Good Wife Guide.

The immediate utilisation of third person singular determiners such as “her” “hers” and “she” connote that the article is centred on the female and her desires, instead of just the males. Through the imperative phrase “keep in mind that she’s had a rough day too” the article suggests that women work just as hard as men and the two genders are equally as important as each other.

This is further exemplified through the post modifying adjective “equal” when discussing who makes dinner for the family. The role reversal of household acts between men and women suggest a complete disregard of misogynistic attitudes and include feminism as a valid ideology.

Positive dynamic verbs such as “help” “try” and “listen” imply that it is a joint effort of both the male and the female to make the home environment friendly, relaxing and comfortable for the both of them.

Negative conjunctives such as “don’t” are also repetitively used in the Good Man’s Guide, similar to that of the Good Wife’s Guide, and for a similar reason. By shortening down an instruction, it makes the command much simpler to follow and the ones completing the demand are more likely to easily respond.

After the period of second wave feminism in the 1960s, the stereotypical ideologies of a female’s responsibilities began to change and women weren’t categorised as housewives so harshly anymore.

‘When fighting for equality and justice and participatory democracy ‘in general’, women become tired of just making tea for the revolution, sleeping with the leaders, and typing their manuscripts’ D. Dahlerup (1986) The New Women’s Movement.[1]

Nearing toward the end of the article, a religious element similar to one hinted in the Good Wife Guide is illustrated through the compound sentence “Do unto her, as you would have her do unto you”. This obvious biblical reference implies that a relationship is as big of a commitment as being part of a religion and requires dual intentions and attempts to make it work.

The final statement takes on a mocking tone as it adapts the original article to a man’s point of view: “ A good man always knows his place.” This suggests that the aim of the article was to provide entertainment for its readers but also to set a new standard of how relationships should have equal amounts of effort from each gender.

Bibliography

[1] http://fightforliberation.weebly.com/

http://www.primermagazine.com/2009/love/the-good-wifes-guide