Tag Archives: Butterworth

Jerusalem (Butterworth) feeling the ‘beat’ extracts

6 extracts pdf’d for students to work on to disucss the significance of the Beats as outlined in this post.

new doc 2017-04-03 18.57.33

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Jerusalem (Butterworth): feel the ‘beat’

Following a comment by Martin Robinson in his excellent presentation at Research Ed: Language, I am going to engage students with some specific focus on the ‘Beat’ stage direction which appears throughout the text.

Students can be confused by a text which contains both the word ‘pause’ and the word ‘beat’ in stage directions.  We need to explore what the play-write intends by the altogether stronger word.

Robinson was very clear: the BEAT suggests a pause of enough significance to show a shift in the prevailing atmosphere of any scene.  Something is different, in other words, because of the beat. I thought I would look at  a couple of sequences from the beginning of the play and in the lesson, ivite lower 6th boys to focus on 1 or 2 beats and explore the possible shifts.

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This is the first meeting between Johnny and Ginger, his loyal sidekick. The atmosphere is still light – the previous scene has seen Johnny thwarting the jobsworths from the council imitating a dog -Shep- and generally establishing himself as the Lord of Misrule   – filthy language and spectacular drinking habits.  Ginger enters and asks about the detritus-strewn setting. For the audience this is the next humorous encounter, but after the initial sparring – 4 lines of stichmythia – something alters.  The audience need to notice that Ginger has challenged the veracity of Johnny’s position and that Johnny does not like it.

At this stage not much comes of it, but the line ‘It was a gathering’ must be more significant than a simple exercise in telling the truth: it establishes several things:

  • Johnny does not like being challenged directly
  • Ginger is aggrieved and feels let down by Johnny
  • Johnny does not expect to be further challenged and feels that his position of power is undermined.

He moves on and avoids confrontation by claiming a headache and his intrerrupted ‘Ginger-‘ at the foot of the page suggests something of a backing down and will lead to the Girls Aloud story and the establishing of the ‘sexual prowess’ myth.

A little later in the scene we read

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Here the same thing happens again – Johnny is making his excuses and devising stories to aggrandise his behaviour and Ginger challenges him with the bald statement ‘that’s not the fracas I’m talking about’. Once again Johnny is on the back foot and Butterworth wants us to notice this as significant. As the scene moves on, it is Ginger who tells the tale and it is one that does not show Johnny as a ‘Hero’. Half way through there is another ‘beat’. This one establishes the humour of the scene – the ever more hyperbolic stories all leading to the fracas – but also draws attention to another element of Johnny’s character – Johnny as a feral being with the morals and responses not of society but of an animal. This is not just adulterous sex, but it is sex with the wife of a soldier away serving his country. We laugh, but we notice.

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In the pair of pages above we read a typically fast-paced passage of stichomyhia ending in the beat as the Professor tries to get Johnny to simply say ‘Ginger’s a DJ’ to keep the peace. The passage has moved quickly with Ginger clearly desperate for Johnny to give him this affirmation.  As the squabble breaks down to childish proportions, so the pace builds and the tension increases.  The beat allows for a pause, but one which has weight. As we turn the page, Johnny remains silent and Ginger: ‘(points to Johnny) You’re a cunt. (points to the professor) You I like.’

This moment, though designed to produce  laughter and signal Ginger’s defeat (Johnny may well have been saving this up after the challenges already discussed), is echoed at the end of the play: ‘Once a cunt, always a cunt’ says Ginger as he leaves the stage. Ginger is Johnny’s only loyal disciple, but here we see him emotionally respond to Johnny’s cruelty and use the taboo language as a weapon, rather as punctuation in banter.  The audience laugh but will also recognise Ginger’s hurt. The second half of the quotation shows him restoring his equilibrium and coming back for more. This is significant and will not happen at the end of the play.

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Jerusalem (Butterworth): An introduction for students and teachers. Completed draft

PDF: Jerusalem study guide draft 1 JWP (2)

I have been putting together an introduction to Butterworth’s play. This is my draft complete copy. It is definitely work in progress, but I welcome feedback.
The play appears on the OCR set text list for AS and can be used, therefore for the coursework element at A level, yet there is no published material on the play and OCR have not produced one of their useful guides to give us a hint at what areas of a splendidly rich text they will be focused upon.
I hope some who read this will get in touch with suggestions and corrections… I am still working on it as you can see.

WORD: Jerusalem study guide draft 1 JWP (2)

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Jerusalem for AS English Lit: potential essay titles.

A list of essay titles for revision purposes.  Whilst these are not really intended to follow the OCR outlines, I think that the ground covered in a sensible planning of each will leave little to chance…

  • ‘What the fuck do you think an English forest is for?’ Explore the depiction of England as part of a pastoral narrative.
  • Ginger needs Johnny, but Johnny also needs Ginger: Discuss
  • Explore the depiction of youth as shown in the characters Davey and Lee.
  • To what extent do you view Troy Whitworth to be the ‘villain’ of the play?
  • ‘A fairy tale for the 21st Century’. To what extent do you agree with this idea of the play?
  • Explore the role of music in the play
  • From Blake to Gog and Magog. What is the role of Heritage in this play?
  • The audience should pity Johnny. Do you agree?
  • The audience should feel sympathy for Fawcett. Do you agree?
  • Phaedra is as much a victim as Johnny is. To what extent do you agree with this view?
  • Jerusalem is play which never loses its relevance. Do you think this is a fair comment?
  • How is violence used in this play?
  • Consider the theme of friendship in this play.
  • Johnny is little more than a scallywag, he should not frighten us. To what extent do you find this to be a fair comment on the play?
  • Choose two minor characters and explore the dramatic function of these characters in the play.

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Jerusalem (Butterworth): An introduction for students and teachers

I am putting together an introduction to Butterworth’s play. This is the beginning s of the first draft… it is definitely work in progress, but I welcome feedback.
The play appears on the OCR set text list for AS and can be used, therefore for the coursework element at A level, yet there is no published material on the play and OCR have not produced one of their useful guides to give us a hint at what areas of a splendidly rich text they will be focused upon.
I hope some who read this will get in touch with suggestions and corrections… I am still working on it as you can see.

jerusalem-study-guide-draft-1

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“Jerusalem is the most Shakespearean of Butterworth’s plays”. Looking at the play, what are the features which reflect this cultural heritage.

A series of student essays in response to the above.

I like the discussion of double entendre and sexual allusion in this one

It is said that Butterworth’s ‘Jerusalem’ has irrefutable references to Shakespeare and cultural literary heritage. Like Shakespeare, Butterworth also makes crude and yet humorous sexual innuendos alongside profanities, the only difference being Shakespeare’s are subtler. Furthermore, Johnny and Ginger resemble characters from Shakespeare work and resemble what ‘real Englishness’ truly means.

Whilst the language in ‘Jerusalem’ is so clearly offensive, the rudeness in Shakespeare’s plays are often overlooked or misunderstood. Throughout ‘Jerusalem’ we hear Byron and his battalion of “rats” utter all kinds of crude words. From a simple “bloody” to a more aggressive “cunt”, the characters in this play feel more than happy enough to speak with such colour. One might expect that Shakespeare plays, ones that have been approved by a Queen and now taught in schools, to contain no sexual innuendos or profanities at all. This is not the case. His plays were littered with various comments hat often go unnoticed. In arguably Shakespeare’s most famous work, Hamlet, we see the mad Prince make a racy comment concerning Ophelia and some “country matters”. In writing one would think nothing of this comment, however, phonetically it is clear that “country” is implied to replicate the word “cunt”. Shakespeare used profanities, the only problem being: our language has evolved. The same words that were considered ‘rude’ in Shakespeare’s time no longer hold the same context or meaning. We now live in a world full of “fucks”, “shits”, “cunts” and so on. Both Shakespeare and Butterworth use swear words to depict what the real world is like. People swear, especially the English. This has been part of English culture for centuries. In Henry IV we see the female anatomy being disguised as a “Pie-corner” and again “pie” is used in ‘All’s Well That Ends Well’ to describe the vagina. It is not abnormal that Shakespeare plants subtle sexual innuendoes or oaths that are almost impossible to find unless you know they are there. These jokes or references are only clear for someone of that time. Like in ‘Jerusalem’ with the “Mars Bar” story, only someone who understood the reference to a young and wild Mick Jagger would pick up on it. Shakespeare did the same and wrote for the people of his era.

As well as the free use of profanities and sexual innuendoes, Butterworth and Shakespeare share the same enthusiasm and engagement with the English forest. The woods in Flintock are dangerous and “strange”. From “a rainbow” hitting the “earth and set fire to the ground” to “a young girl…give birth to a baby boy” the forest demonstrates a degree of beauty and magic. The time throughout ‘Jerusalem’ goes ever so slowly and it seems as though the woods are a place outside the realm of ‘civilised’ people. The woods are a completely world altogether. Similarly, Shakespeare’s forest in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ contains magic through the use of fairies. One must draw similarities between the fairies in this play and that of the “May Queen”, Phaedra, dressed as a “fairy” in ‘Jerusalem’. Furthermore, the forest is often seen as a place to escape and find solitude. We see Phaedra “flee” from her arguably abusive stepfather into “Rooster’s Wood”. Again in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Hermia and Lysander escape into the forest to be alone from the rest of the world. Ginger, Pea, Tanya and the rest of the Flintock misfits come to the forest to experience something they cannot otherwise experience in the ‘real world’. A place where there are no rules, no policemen and nobody judging you is what the woods provide. Despite its danger of a “Werewolf” in ‘Jerusalem’, the forest can provide an element of safety but also riot. After all “What the fuck do you think an English forest is for?”

As well as the language and imagery that have similarities, the characters in ‘Jerusalem’ demonstrate a significant reference to the characters in some of Shakespeare’s most famous plays. Firstly, characters like Pea and Tanya share the same names as Shakespeare character, such as Peaseblossom and Titania from ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’. These similarities mustn’t be overlooked and should be seen as a clear reference by Butterworth to English literary heritage and therefore the Pastoral.

However, Johnny can be compared to one Shakespearean character in particular, Falstaff. Much like Rooster, Falstaff creates riot and misrule, something Johnny has an expertise in. Many critics link the character of Falstaff to carnival and the spring festive season. Once again, Johnny is also associated with carnival and is described as “the Flintock Fair”, implying that without him fair day, carnival and riot are not the same.

On the other hand, Ginger also shows characteristics similar to that of Falstaff. He too takes part in riot and misrule, but also stands by Johnny throughout the years; despite the fact Johnny often abuses him verbally. Prince Hal insults Falstaff by calling him a “trunk of humors” or a “bolting-hutch of beastliness”, whilst Johnny tells Ginger “I’m not your friend” and calls him a “rat” regularly. Furthermore, it seems as though all Ginger wants is Johnny’s approval, and that’s the reason he’s stayed with him for so long. All he wants is for Johnny to say” Ginger is a DJ”, and yet Johnny won’t give in. Perhaps Rooster enjoys infuriating Ginger over small things like this or maybe it is friendly ‘banter’. Falstaff also wants approval from Prince Hal, and goes out of his way to impress and obey him. Even Falstaff’s occupation resembles Ginger, after all being a knight means you must obey the orders of the Prince. Similarly, it is Johnny who “winds the siren” and rallies the troops, therefore Ginger is just another one of his soldiers.

In the end, Johnny turns his back on Ginger and says ”We’re not friends” and orders him to leave “Rooster’s Wood”. Again, Falstaff is repudiated by Hal and never earns his approval. This cannot be a coincidence and must be seen as a nod to English heritage and the importance that Shakespeare has had on what it means to be ‘English’

In conclusion, Butterworth has written a play littered with references to the Pastoral, the Golden Age and of course to Shakespeare. It must be said that Shakespeare and his plays have had such an impact on England, so much so that it is still taught in schools today and has shaped the way we speak. I think Butterworth recognizes the importance of Shakespeare and tries to replicate the intrinsic nature of what it means to be ‘English’ in ‘Jerusalem’.

 

 

 

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Jerusalem (Butterworth) knowledge organiser

A knowledge organiser to support teaching of Butterworth’s Jerusalem on the OCR AS syllabus.

jerusaelm-organiser

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Jerusalem (Butterworth): Term Paper collection

I thought I would collect a few essays written this term about Jerusalem by my Lower 6th Boys.  I believe these to contain some excellent material, perhaps not in the form of model essays for examination, but in the form of written work to promote discussion and to provide material for discussion.

Please use them and share them to a wider audience.  I have not edited them and have not included the “marked” versions quite deliberately. This is the work of 16 and 17 Year olds and I believe it stands on its own regard without excuses.

binder2

 

Please enjoy.

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“The vision of England depicted by Butterworth is a bleak one. Society is in crisis.”.

A lower 6th discussion seminar base don an essay by one of the class. Please feel free to listen and to add comments as you will.

I find the use of MP3 recording in these sessions is having a real impact on the quality of the written expression – vindication in its own right.

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Yr 12 conversations after OCR AS texts

Two members of my Lower 6th class surprised me last week by announcing that they had been recording conversations about our set texts as a revision model. I am so pleased.

I hope they are useful. I would be happy to post responses if anyone has them…

I will share them below as they appear:

Tom and Karan on Jerusalem and Hypocrisy (among other things)

 

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