Continuum, Alan Curnow: Revision for CIE English Literature 2015

This powerpoint supports a revision session for Curnow’s Continuum. I hope it is useful. The PowerPoint should be used after initial work using the resource in this earlier post : 

continuum revision

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Analysis: Continuum by Allen Curnow


I like this reading and am putting together revision session for my Year 11s. In the meantime, visit the original blog “The IGCSE blog” .

Originally posted on The IGCSE Blog:

Here are some keys for an analysis of Allen Curnow’s Continuum.

MAIN THEMES/ IDEAS: Sleep/ Insomnia: The poem takes place at night time (“moon”) and it starts and ends with the author going or trying to sleep (“It’s no possible to get off to sleep”, “paces me back to bed, stealthily in step”). The insomnia of the author leads to a wondering of thoughts in the moonlight. The proximity of sleep in the poem makes this wondering of thoughts more believable. This time of night when thoughts are blurry and it is easy to slip into the unknown and the imaginary (“bright clouds dusted”). Confusion: The train of thought of the author is unclear as he is practically dosing off. This sensation of confusion is reinforced by the multiple enjambements even between stanzas, ” the chill of/ the planking underfoot rises//in the throat”. The first letter of each verse is…

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I’m the king of the castle revision lecture

On Thursday I will give a lecture on Susan Hill’s I’m the King of the Castle for my yr 11 as part of their revision programmme. I will publish the MP4 file here. In the meantime, here is the PowerPoint that will form the basis of the lecture.

I found the raw materials on line a while ago and am no longer able to give credit to the original writer of these notes. I have altered the detail from time to time and obviously will be discussing my own ideas. If the original writer contacts me and asks me to credit them publicly, I will be only too glad so to do.

IKOTC setting


150423_001  This is the talk that accompanied the slides… around 30 minutes..

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Frailty, thy name is … Eve? A passage in search of a discussion for Year 13.

It seems a little unfair to equate Eve with Gertrude who is so strongly told off and used as a synecdoche for the entire female gender by Hamlet in the quotation bastardised above, yet I want to explore the presentation of Eve in the first 400 or so lines of Paradise Lost IX, a passage in which Milton is foreshadowing the fall, and more importantly, beginning to implicate Eve as the begetter of all that follows. To a heavily misogynistic readership and in a firmly patriarchal society such as his, it is convenient to place the blame for the Fall onto woman in general. We need to see whether Milton leaves open room for doubt in his telling of the story.

LL: 205 – 250:
After the calm glories of dawn, and still with the memory of Satan travelling to Earth and hiding himself in the snake fresh in our minds, Milton allows the couple to emerge onto the “stage” of his writing and begin their dialogue. (In an exam which requires comparison with drama, I find it useful to consider sections of PL as a drama – dialogue and often narratorial comment which tae the place of stage directions.). Eve speaks first with little fuss: “ Adam, well may we labour…”. At this stage there is no great exordium to introduce the argument in debate, but rather a plain request to share out labour. Furthermore, the rationale seems quite worthy: “…which intermits/ Our day’s work brought to little, though begun / Early…”. Eve seems to be suggesting a simple solution to a problem – that of the work not being completed and even seems to suggest that “supper comes unearned”, thus equating the right to relax with the achievement of hard work.
It is interesting though to look at the language which she uses in this speech. The garden is described as becoming “luxurious”, “wanton” or “wild”. IN short, her choice of lexis is suggestive of a sensuous or libidinous world. That this language is natural to her his further suggested by the flower imagery used: although Adam will engage with manly ideas such as providing strength and security in his work with the woodbine and the ivy, Eve will work in a “spring of roses intermixed, with myrtle”. Although Myrtle was generally considered to represent fidelity, roses are of a different plane, suggesting not only beauty of softness, but one which is shortlived and inclined to the decadent.

Adam treats Eve well in his response – his exordium suggesting a willingness to debate the point, though possibly also a sense that as the male, he does not expect to lose the debate. His hyperbolic opening: “Sole Eve, associate sole, to me beyond / Compare…” with its homophonic punning and deliberate playing on Eve’s willingness to be flattered seems rather extreme after the plainness of Eve’s opening. Adam moves into his argument only after a rather chauvinistic comment about how a woman should behave: “nothing lovelier can be found / In woman, than to study household good, / And good works in her husband to promote”. In short: thanks, but no thanks. He further suggests that since mankind has reason, and the ability to feel emotions comes from this source, then God intends them to be more than a mere working pair ( “not ot irksome toil…”) but a pair to share love. Before he moves to his second argument, however, he seems to backtrack on himself. Here it is Adam who seems ot be falling over himself not to seem too didactic or patriarchal. Suggesting possibly that he is aware that Eve does not share his attention span for conversation of this type, he offers the possibility of a “short absence” and is able to see the potential benefit of short separation on the relationship.

It is from here that he picks up his argument which foreshadows the rest of the book. Satan is near and will try to tempt them. He is clear that i) Satan wishes to come upon them individually and ii) Satan is jealous of their relationship and will seek to split them up and tempt them. He concludes by repeating the idea that it is safer and “seemliest” for a wife to remain beside her protector.

LL 270 – 290: Milton’s stage directions are clear: Eve, in her “virgin majesty” is offended by Adam’s heavy handed attempt to control the situation. Milton suggests that she replies with “austere composure”. I like this. She knows what she is doing here, and austerity does not immediately suggest someone relying on their femininity to win a point. Eve is intelligent and perfectly able to mix it in debate with Adam. In a short speech she responds first in a voice of injured pride – “I expected not to hear” – that Adam is not telling her anything she has not heard before and she goes on to point out that she and Adam need not fear any physical attack (being immortal) and so it is only Satan’s “fraud” which Adam is fearing. She is insulted, I think, that Adam clearly believes that her “firm faith and love / Can by his fraud be shaken or seduced”. Once again, Milton’s choice of language is powerful – alliterative fs abound, but Eve once again suggests a sensual weakness by her choice of the verb “seduced” which allows the physical sexuality of the moment to be recognized.

LL291 -342: In this sequence, Adam’s comparative weakness is clear. Whether he is weak in the face of Eve’s beauty or her intellect is open to discussion. There is an absence of overtly flirty or flattering speech from Eve, and she seems to take some control of the scene for this point. Adam, in “healing words” (again the stage direction points the reader towards a clear understanding of the characters) offers more argument, though the material is weak: first he suggests that he is worried that Eve will be discredited by the attempt alone, and then that Satan is wish to attack him, being the stronger, since greater kudos will come to Satan as a result. He does suggest, however, that he gain strength from Eve’s presence and that he shall be driven to his “utmost vigour” by “you looking on”. He goes on to suggest that his vigour will help typo unite them.

In this passage, Adam is described both as “domestic” and as possessing “matrimonial love”. Eve is not impressed and Milton seems to be pushing us to see her as the home breaker here. She is offended still by the suggestion that she might be seduced and replies in accents “sweet” – presumably an ironic comment due to an enforced politeness. Certainly her response is swift in its attack on Adam’s ideas – she is in control of this debate and raises the essential question: “How are we happy, still in fear of harm?”. This, together with “What is faith, love, virtue unassayed / Alone, without exterior help sustained?” show a clear train of thought or reason here – there is no real life for the pair if they are in constant fear. There is also a hint at the pride to come in her idea that he and she will gain “double honour” by overcoming Satan. She sees no stigma from his attack and is focused solely on the glory of overcoming him. She challenges Adam to rethink his ideas concerning God’s gift of Eden – “frail is our happiness” she cries and forces Adam to respond “fervently”. It is as though he finally realizes that he will not win this argument based on logic and has to engage with his emotional response to God.

LL343 – 400: It is hard to see “Oh Woman” as anything other than a put-down. Certainly it is neither hyperbolic in grandeur nor expressive of love. It suggests that it is time for the Man to educate the Woman about God and his ways. Adam tries to explain Free Will and Reason, suggesting that God wants mankind to use reason but also to “beware…lest by some fair appearing Good surprised / she dictate false…” He offers a crumb of comfort by suggesting that he is not mistrusting her, but engaging in the sort of mutual support that will allow them to use Reason, yet not be deceived. His speech becomes rich with imperatives and he seems to be moving into the ascendancy until in Line 370 he offers another sharp contradiction: “Go, for the stay, not free, absents thee more”. It is hard to work out what Adam is doing here. The two obvious possibilities are i) that he is allowing Eve to use her Reason and will not seek to impose his will upon her, or that ii) he is actively pushing her away. I see no reason for ii. The effect tof the passage is that the decision to leave and therefore the beginning of the sequence leading to the fall either has to be seen as Eve’s choice following the options, or as Adam’s failure in that he pushes Eve away.

The next lines show Eve leaving. She is clear that she has heeded Adam’s most recent warning and clearly understands the risks, even though she does not believe that Satan will attack her. Here she seems to be offering Adam a sop. She has bested him in debate, but has no wish to seem overproud as she leaves. And she is the instigator of the farewell – “from her husband’s hand her hand / Soft she withdrew” and it is she who breaks the clear symbol of marital unity before leaving Adam he “pursued” her with “ardent eye”. She seems to be much the more reasoned of the two. Even at this stage Adam seems to be emotionally affected in a way we do not see in Eve. Far from being weak and driven by emotion, the Woman here is in full control of herself. Milton undercuts this by his choice of Simile and Classical allusion. Each of the nymphs mentioned will end up being seduced. We can understand that despite her victory in the debate, she will not return for “noontide repast, or afternoon’s repose”.

Her midmorning snack will put an end to this clam repose forever.


Filed under AQA LitB 4, Milton, OCR A level, OCR English Literature

Women in Frankenstein: Cue card revision activity

This powerpoint is a starter for an activity designed to encourage students to seek out relevant quotations with regards to key themes or characters. In this case I have put 13 slides together to consider the presentation of the female in the novel. It is not meant to be complete, but is to be used in a lesson to initiate discussion.

I have looked at the thread linking Caroline, Elizabeth and Agatha – all representing the “Angel in the House”, a title derived from Coventry Patmore’s poem of that name (exerpt):

Man must be pleased; but him to please
Is woman’s pleasure; down the gulf
Of his condoled necessities
She casts her best, she flings herself.
How often flings for nought, and yokes
Her heart to an icicle or whim,
Whose each impatient word provokes
Another, not from her, but him;
While she, too gentle even to force
His penitence by kind replies,
Waits by, expecting his remorse,
With pardon in her pitying eyes;
And if he once, by shame oppress’d,
A comfortable word confers,
She leans and weeps against his breast,
And seems to think the sin was hers;
Or any eye to see her charms,
At any time, she’s still his wife,
Dearly devoted to his arms;
She loves with love that cannot tire;
And when, ah woe, she loves alone,
Through passionate duty love springs higher,
As grass grows taller round a stone.

Also,I wanted to draw attention to the exotic nature of Safie – so unlike the others in appearance and passion and not part of the typical patriarchal Geneva-set.

I begin with Margaret Saville – denied a voice in the text and presented as Walton’s sounding board, yet given a clear personality at the very opening of the book.

There are a couple of passages here to make students reflect on the nature of Frankenstein’s relationship with Clerval. I compare the reaction to his death with that of Elizabeth and also the brief character description of Elizabeth and Clerval as children – so clearly praising of the male friend and dismissive (though understanding) of the female.

frankenstein women

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Frankenstein: planning a “3 narrators” question

This quick plan is in response to a question from 2012 – “The use of three narrators contributes significantly to the novel’s air of mystery”…

It is aimed at OCR AS level students and any others reading the text. I use these in class to develop bare-bones thinking. Students should go away and prepare quotations relevant to the question after using the PowerPoint as well as challenges to the plan.

frankenstein 3 narrators plan

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Frankenstein: Planning a doppelganger question

  • The question is taken from the June 2013 OCR paper and examines the balance between Frankenstein and his Creature in the light of Doppelganger/Doubles.  I have written on the Doppelganger and suggest that you might like to read  before you embark on the plan.

frankenstein doubles plan

This should be feasible in 10-15 minutes – good luck!

An overview of teaching ideas is provided by OCR:

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Frankenstein: Seduction and promises

Frankenstein: Seduction and broken promises.

This is a short stimulus piece designed to look at the pattern of seduction and broken promises that run through the novel. It is not an exemplar essay for examination.

Seduction, it should be remembered does not merely imply a sexual predation, but any attempt to win another over to one’s side and to keep them there.

In the opening Epistolary frame of the novel, Walton reports to his sister that he has met a stranger. Although Frankenstein is at first silent, once he is able to speak his ability to charm Walton and his crew suggests a similarity with a man trying to win over a potential lover rather than merely responding to kindness. Walton is clearly entranced by Frankenstein’s ability to speak: “When he speaks, although his words are culled with choicest art, yet they flow with rapidity and unparalleled eloquence”. It is clear that by the final letter, Walton is entirely seduced and has fallen under Frankenstein’s spell: “Will you smile at the enthusiasm I feel over this divine wanderer?” It seems that his suffering, together with the way he has told his story, has completely won over Walton who is trying to convey the power of Frankenstein’s words to his sister, safe in London and removed from the novel. Not only Walton, of course, but “even the sailors feel the power of his eloquence” to the extent that they temporarily view the ice cap as little more than “mole hills”. But it seems to be temporary. Once the voice is removed, so the power fades. Walton is clear that his sister will not be moved since she does not hear the tale “from his own lips” and this suggests a seducer who’s power extends to all who hear him, though they may not be aware of the seduction itself. In this there is a clear reference to the power of the “Glittering eye” of the Ancient Mariner, a poem referenced by Walton himself earlier in the frame. The voice seems to carry power. The reader should note that since Walton narrates the entire book of frames within frames, we are also likely to be spared the power of seduction since we never “hear” Frankenstein’s voice other than through Walton’s narrative. To this end, there is an interesting feature of the writing in that the voices of Frankenstein and the Creature are almost identical despite the assertion that the Creature speaks in a voice that though “harsh, had nothing terrible in it”. Thus there is no identifiable change in voice or tone regardless of which strand of the story we are reading and the focus sits squarely on the story itself. Character is denied a clear point of view.

It is rare to be led outside the narrative, but it happens in the Justine sequence in terms of the letter Frankenstein is reported to have received from Elizabeth. Crammed with detail that seems irrelevant but which sets up the first murder – that of William – the letter has a 2nd person narrative in terms of the introduction of “Justine, you may remember…”. This jars a little but is unavoidable in the telling. The full detail of this scene has to wait for the Creature’s telling in Frame 3 – Justine is unable to construct any meaningful defence (women in this novel seeming to be very poor communicators) to seduce her prosecutors and gain her rightful freedom since she does not know the truth of what happened. The only one who does is the creature, and the tale he tells suggests his response to failed seduction.

When the Creature narrates the events leading to William’s death, the image is clear. He wishes to seduce William to “seize him and educate him as my companion and friend”. Seeing William as unprejudiced he makes a clumsy attempt to befriend him (the wish for a companion echoing that of Walton), and finally kills him in a fit of rage as he hears the name “Frankenstein”. There is little doubt that his feelings are aroused by the image in the locket a she gazes “on the dark eyes, fringed by deep lashes, and her lovely lips” before his sexual passion is replaced by rage. However on finding Justine alone he gazes at the sleeping girl and remembering the locket is engaged once again in an attempted seduction: “Awake fairest, they lover is near”. Despite his body thrilling to the sight, he is once again unable to pursue his seduction and invents a pretext for killing Justine: “the crime had its source in her, let her be the punishment”. It is the telling of this tale in the frame in which the Creature is using his rhetoric to seduce Frankenstein that leads to the request to create the Eve-Creature. The honesty of the Creature’s narrative is designed to win the agreement of Creator to make a partner.

One can also see the Creature as a failed seducer in his attempts to win over the De Laceys. He watches over his family from “afar” and is material in assisting their recovery and relative prosperity before he decides to go to the next stage – integration. In his conversation with De Lacey, who is sightless, it is his ability to talk eloquently that seems to be the winning feature of the scene. He wins De Lacey’s confidence: “ I have no relation or friend on this earth”, before seeking to win his confidence in a story about his raising by a “French family” which avoids the need to tell the truth whilst managing not to be a direct lie. He finally resorts to emotional blackmail, crying: “You and your family are the friends whom I seek. Do not desert me in the hour of trial”.

The two stories are recounted in the Creature’s narrative and need to be seen in the context of his purpose – the seduce or win Frankenstein to his request for a partner. His wish is clearly for sexual consummation and he needs to extract a promise from Frankenstein to assist in his desire. Frankenstein will, while telling this tale attempt exactly the same from Walton at the end of the novel: “Swear to me Walton, that he shall not escape, that you will seek him…”. Although Frankenstein promised a moral tale at the beginning of his narration, the Creator and the Creature seem to have the same purpose in their narrative – to extract a binding promise form the listener.

Thus promises seem to dominate the Frames of the novel. In addition to the two mentioned, Walton has promised his crew that he would sail South as soon as the ice melted, only to seek to humour Frankenstein and renege. So we should consider the litany of broken promises in both the main narratives and the minor plot devices. Apart from the obvious breaking of the promise to create Eve-Creature, which absolves the Creature form his promise to leave the known areas of the Earth, promises are a feature of the narratives of Walton’s crew and the De Lacey’s which echo each other in the early frames. The apparent digression by Walton to discuss his first mate serves to show the power of a promise kept against the odds and bringing misery on the promiser. He remains “silent like the Turk”, a simile which gains relevance only when the tale of Safie is told at the centre of the novel. Here we see Safie’s father -a Turk – renege on a promised marriage and become the catalyst for all the woes to befall the De Lacey family. That both promises are concerning marriage is, of course, relevant given the role that Frankenstein’s broken promise on the same subject will play in the destruction of his own marriage to Elisabeth. The Creature makes a promise atop Mont Blanc when he promises to “quit the neighbourhood of man” and in so doing ensures his temporary seduction of Frankenstein to do his bidding. Whilst Frankenstein never speaks the words “I promise”, his adoption of the Creature’s request is evident form all that follows. In fact this is the last in a series of failed seductions. However powerful the Creature’s rhetoric, he has no hold over Frankenstein once the latter is out of the range of his voice and the Eve-Creature is eventually destroyed. It is this destruction that sets in train the events of Frankenstein’s wedding night thus ensuring that no marital harmony will exist in the novel.
At the heart of the destruction of the family and marriage lie broken promises. The promises are extracted by the force of rhetoric and all are driven by male narrators. It seems that women have little power to persuade by rhetoric in this novel and are regularly to fall victim to broken promises and failed seduction.

The single female who is untouched is Margaret, Walton’s sister. She sits outside the framework of the novel and is protected from the power of both Frankenstein’s and the Creature’s rhetoric by the power (or otherwise) of Walton’s narrative. Although the tale is meant to be “strange and harrowing” it is Walton who hears the “full toned voice” swelling in his ears and it is he who is seduced by the tale.


Filed under AQA LitB 4, Frankenstein, OCR A level, OCR English Literature

Paul Mason on Jerusalem: “Butterworth’s Jerusalem: the full English”

This article is copied from the blog of Paul Mason, working for BBC Newsnight.  The original can be found here:

Butterworth’s Jerusalem: the full English

[in July I promised to write a blog about Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem. Here, finally, it is.]

“This, Wesley, is a historic day,” says a middle aged drunken traveller, posed at the front of his caravan with various no-hopers, low-lifes, teenage runaways and misfits from semi-rural England…”For today I Rooster Byron and my band of educationally subnormal outcasts shall swoop and raze your poxy village to dust. In a thousand years Englanders will awake this day and bow their heads and wonder at the genius, guts and guile of the Flintock Rebellion…”

It’s just one glorious speech out of many from Jez Butterworth’s play Jerusalem, staged at the Royal Court Theatre this summer with Mark Rylance in the role of Johnny “Rooster” Byron, and set to be revived early in 2010.

Butterworth’s play achieves two things: in Rooster he has created one of the most compelling, complex and iconic characters in modern British theatre; at the same time he has managed to capture an era in British political and social life at the very moment of its ending.

Jerusalem was five years in the writing and depicts the life of a poor-ish, prospectless, rave-addicted, casual drug using, unskilled social group that is absolutely central to the society we live in, but which the media barely notices exists. It captures their reality better than any soap opera and their dreams better than any tawdry Saturday night talent show.

Life for such people is about to get very tough. Indeed, the economic data tells us that the UK’s “flexible labour market” has already been the key to avoiding mass unemployment. The real life Daveys, Lees and Tanyas have gone on short time, taken pay cuts, slept on floors at their mates’ houses, worked for no wages (in what our parents’ generation used to call overtime).

They have scrabbled around the bargain shelves of major supermarkets, shopped in the pound shops, borrowed from doorstep lenders and bunged their electrical goods into Britain’s booming pawnbroking sector. As we go into 2010, they will now be faced with an economic “recovery” in which public services are cut, benefits are very likely frozen or slashed, credit is in short supply and all political parties implore them to “help themselves” and become “social entrepreneurs”.

The sociology of Jerusalem is interesting: Rooster is a drug-dealer and fairground daredevil rider, a kind of anti-social entrepreneur. In real life he would be drawing some kind of benefit. Of the three young male foils to Rooster, Lee is “a pisshead and a wizzhead” about to emigrate to Australia; Ginger is an unemployed plasterer with delusions of being a DJ; Davey is a slaughterman. The West End theatre reviewers tended to describe this demographic as a “bucolic underclass”, “wastrels”, “waifs and strays”.

But the power of the play lies in the fact that Rooster’s band of outcasts are not at all marginal to real life in Britain. They are only marginal to the “real life” portrayed on soap operas and the slick, unreal drama series that British TV specialises in making – and of course to the pop tribute shows and star vehicles that clutter the West End.

Jerusalem then, is real. The plasterer, the DJ, the weekend drug dealer, the ex-squaddie looking to work abroad, the bored slaughterman – are mainstream figures in the real English workforce and down the real English pub: two million ecstasy tablets are taken in Britain every week; one in eight young people are not in work, education or training; 15% of all households claim in-work benefits.

Also real is the effing and blinding which seems to have uniformly discomforted the mainstream theatre critics: the swear wordcount in Jerusalem is acutally low compared to reality, and the swearing is generally genial, compared to reality where it is often aggressive, racist and violent. This, then, is the real English spoken by something close to the majority of real people: it’s an indictment of the state of theatre (also, while I am at it, English literature, which has recently become dominated by surreal narratives told in a kind of quasi-poetry) that the language of Jerusalem is seems so challenging to theatregoers and critics alike. For this alone Jerusalem will go down as one of the great plays of the decade.

But Jerusalem’s greatness is that it is also hyper-real. In Rooster Byron the playwright has created a character who both embodies, understands and rebels against everything that is wrong with this real England. (I am deliberately not writing here about Mark Rylance’s superb rendition of Byron, because I think the play is even bigger than the performance).

A relentless fantasist and purveyor of tall stories to his mates, Rooster is also the protector of runaway kids abused by their parents, a serial rebel against the planning department of Kennet and Avon council, the local bogeyman whose anti-social behaviour can fill the local church hall with outraged Rotarians (“You get a cup of tea. Flapjack. Then they all sit down on foldy chairs and go beserk.”). He is also a force of nature: Falstaff and Henry V in the same body, the original Green Man of pagan folklore whose face vomiting vegetation can be found on the corbels of early medieval churches all over England.

And he embodies magic. At the centre of the play, which is dark in ways impossible to discuss without revealing the plot, is the ambiguity between Rooster’s tall tale telling (I will call it that because this is a BBC blog but you know the word I am thinking of) and the tantalising question of whether or not he really has magical powers. Is the 90ft tall giant who once gave Rooster an earring in the shape of a golden drum on Salisbury Plain, and who will one day be Rooster’s own personal close protection guy in showdown with Kennet and Avon Council, real or imaginary?

By placing this unreal, magical, flawed, wounded, complex character onstage amid an unflinching portrayal of real life in low-skill, low-pay, low-horizon England (“When I leave Wiltshire, my ears pop,” says one character) Butterworth asks layer upon layer of questions about the society we live in.

And the biggest one is this: what would happen if this happy go lucky world of cheap booze, semi-employment, casual sex, Saturday night raves etc were one day disrupted by something serious. What if the music stopped, the benefit office closed its doors and the caravan got dragged away by the council.

The coming fiscal crunch has made this a relevant question. Because Butterworth’s characters are captured at the end of an era of debt-fuelled consumption, cheap credit and amoralistic drift. When we sit in London and say: the Greeks’ lifestyle can’t go on; or Latvia is living above its means; or Dubai was a dream built on sand, Butterworth’s play shows us there are equally telling observations to be made about British society in the era of Shopacheck and whizz at £3 a tab.

And what still stuns me is how new and raw and original and terrifying life in semi-rural working class Britain seems when viewed through the experience of Rooster and his mates. And the very low chances of escaping it.

As whizzhead Lee explains to slaughterman Davey:

“Ever since I’ve known you, come Tuesday you ain’t never got a pound for a saveloy. You’re broke…You are a sad, fat povvo what thinks he’s Alan Sugar. You’re going to live your whole life with the same ****ing people, going to the same s*** pubs, kill two million cows and die a sad fat povvo.”

Davey, capturing the spirit that has sustained the downtrodden English bloke from Agincourt to Helmand replies:

“Sounds unimproveable”.


Jez Butterworth’s “Jerusalem” is published by Nick Hern Books in association with the Royal Court Theatre. The Royal Court production reopens at London’s Apollo Theatre in January.

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Links to articles about Urbanisation relative to Jerusalem (Butterworth)

These links are to articles which I find relevant to an understanding of Butterworth’s play and will serve as a starting point for next year’s Year 12 teaching.

From Newcastle University, on issues caused by counter-urbanisation

From the Telegraph: Readers feelings about country/urban dwelling:

newcomers struggle in the face of rural life:

Prince Charles on valuing the country, and the response:

On the shrinking Green Belt:

On housing issues in the 21st century:

The countryside is not for the fainthearted:

On Child Poverty in Wiltshire:

Songs: Scallywag by Jake Thackray:

Werewolf: This song opens Act 2

Jerusalem sung by Billy Bragg:

Train Song by Tom waits:  (the original of Rooster’s insemination?)

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