January 2015 archive

Responding to ‘The Screaming Staircase’ by Jonathan Stroud

In English we did a unit on poetry. At the end of each unit we like to combine the books we are reading with the assessments we did on that unit. This time we decided to write a ‘found poem’. Found poems are a specific type of poetry. To create one you take words and sentences from other texts making them sound and look like poetry. You can do this by leaving out certain words, changing the length of the sentences, etc.

There are many people who have done this and there are also many reasons why they would do thisimgres. One of the reasons why someone would write a found poem is that this might make the text that they are reading easier to comprehend. Also it would make them think more deeply about the text. Some people also might like making serious texts e.g. a legal text more fun and interesting. 

So as at the moment I am reading a book called ‘The Screaming Staircase’ written by Jonathan Stroud. I decided to try to make a found poem of my own.

This is what it turned out to be:

The weight of substance pooling in the ceiling

Drips breaking loose in a second place

The rate of falling getting faster

I flicked my flashlight

BLOOD!

I saw the floor stain spattered out

Broken fingers of blood reaching in our direction

Quick, follow me

We approached the door

It was closed.

It is pretty obvious that this book is a horror story. However it also has a lot of adventure and mystery in it. Jonathan Stroud used many literary techniques in his book. You could easily imagine what was happening which is why I think that Rick Riordan’s comment (you’ll want to keep the lights on) is so truthful. The story really gripped me and I didn’t want to stop reading. One of the techniques he used was personification. He did this a lot which again made it a lot easier to visualize. Proof of the fact that he used personification multiple times in his book is that even just in the one scene that I selected he used this technique; ‘Broken fingers of blood reaching in our direction’. This was used in a very effective way as it makes it more threatening than if he would have just said ‘the blood was coming towards us’. Also the mood he created by saying this was rather scary and made you anxious to know what was going to happen next. Another technique that I used in my poem was sentence length and punctuation. The very last line was the only one where I put a full stop. I did this to make it sound more dramatic and so that it has a bigger effect on the reader. Also the exclamation mark after blood (also in caps lock) made it more powerful.

Overall, I think my text shows the theme of the book effectively. However it was hard to create a poem with just limited vocabulary. I will admit that I change a few words so that the sentences will make sense, but I did try to stick with the actually text from the book.

“River Readers.” River Readers. N.p., 26 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2015.

‘Changing Minds: Changing Worlds – Language for emotional effect and change’

In this unit in english we discussed how words and images can effect your emotions. We also looked at how ads and poems can influence how we feel and what actions we take. To understand this more thoroughly we did a comparison of a poem and an ad. We focused on the ways that the texts influenced your emotions to make you become aware of a certain issue, such as deforestation or poverty. This could help us later in life as it will mean that ads/poems will be less likely of bribing us into buying something as we will be able to recognize the techniques they are using to do this.

Another activity that we did in this unit was when we create our own original texts.We could choose if we wanted to make a poem or an ad. I liked this as it let us be creative and use the techniques that we learned about. When we were done with this we looked at the texts of our peers and chose one to analyze. I chose to look at Lisa’s poem about poverty. There are many types of poverty. The one that Lisa focussed on was hunger. It is an important issue to address as it is becoming an increasing issue. The gap between the rich and the poor is becoming larger and larger each year.

The author of the poem chose to use imagery. She effectively described what it felt like to live in poverty by writing a description using most of the five senses. The tone was angry and insulting. She wanted the reader to understand what it would be like to live in hunger. The mood she created was sad. I as the reader felt sympathy for the persona.

I think pathos techniques could definitely have an influence on society if they appeal to the readers emotion. However I think that ads are a lot more effective than poems as many more people look at ads than people who read poems.