Comparative Studies 2016: The Plough and The Stars, Foster, The King's Speech

Lorenzo Battilocchi
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Comparative notes on each of the three texts for LC 2016 Exam under each of the following headings: Cultural Context, Literary Genre, General Vision and Viewpoint

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Comparative Studies 2016: The Plough and The Stars, Foster, The King's Speech
1 Cultural Context
1.1 The Plough and The Stars
1.1.1 1916 Rising
1.1.1.1 Time when there was a rebellion against those in power
1.1.1.2 However, doomed to failure
1.1.1.3 The powerlessness is made clear in Act 4 when Sergeant Tinley complains that the rebels are not ‘playing the game’ and says that they should ‘come into the owpen and foight fair’.
1.1.1.3.1 Fluther is stung by this comment and snaps back that fighting fair is not an option when the Irish are ‘a few hundhred scrawls o’ chaps with a couple o’ guns an’ Rosary beads, agains’ a hundhred thousand trained men with horse, fut an’ artillery’.
1.1.1.4 The shift from Anglo-Irish to Irish rule is not a positive one
1.1.1.4.1 Ordinary people won't benefit from it
1.1.1.4.1.1 Nora loses her sanity, husband and child
1.1.1.4.1.2 Molter dies of consumption
1.1.2 the Anglo-Irish and the British are not seen as in any way benevolent and care nothing for those in their charge
1.1.3 'The Voice Of The Man'
1.1.3.1 Represents those who seek power
1.1.3.2 Focused on willing sacrifice and dying for Ireland
1.1.3.2.1 People are urged to 'rejoice in this terrible war'
1.2 The King's Speech
1.2.1 Start of W.W. II
1.2.1.1 Difficult time to be king
1.2.1.1.1 Has to motivate people
1.2.1.1.2 Speech impediment
1.2.1.2 Rise of Nazism in Germany
1.2.2 Power rests firmly in the hands of the noble/well off
1.2.2.1 We are led to see those in power as good, unlike the other texts
1.2.2.1.1 King fights for and with his people
1.2.2.1.1.1 He regrets that he has to send men to war, saying that he would have preferred ‘a peaceful way out of the differences’
1.2.2.1.2 Bertie serves his people and doesn't seek personal glory
1.3 Foster
1.3.1 Set in 1980s Ireland
1.3.1.1 Mention of the 'Hunger Strikes' in N.I.
1.3.1.1.1 Politics doesn't play huge part in the lives of the characters
1.3.2 Religion
1.3.2.1 Background
1.3.2.2 Not overly influential
2 LIterary Genre
2.1 The Plough and the Stars
2.1.1 Described as a 'tragedy in four acts'
2.1.2 A tragi-comedy which combines elements of both tragedy and comedy without belonging fully to either genre
2.1.3 O'Casey shares the views of various classes of people who were in the country at the time of the Easter Rising through skillfully created characters
2.1.4 The use of irony contributes to the comedy e.g. when Bessie and Gogan defend their ideals but proceed to join the forces when looting commences
2.1.5 There is no single plot but rather developments structured around the themes concerning the clash of opposing ideals
2.1.6 Authenticity of the characters is shown by the famous Dublin dialect which is shown very well by O'Casey in this play e.g. adding unnecessary s's and words like shutterin' and thwartin'
2.2 The King's Speech
2.2.1 Based on factual historical events as opposed to O'Casey's fictional depiction of a historical event
2.2.2 Movie/Film
2.2.2.1 Interesting Camera angles
2.2.2.1.1 Start
2.2.2.1.1.1 Bertie is portrayed from the mic
2.2.2.1.1.2 Red light reflects onto him
2.2.2.1.1.3 Start mirrors end
2.2.2.1.1.3.1 Great broadcast of which England is proud
2.2.2.1.2 As Bertie delivers his final speech, the camera cuts repeatedly from him to a montage of various locations in which we see the king’s subjects listening raptly and respectfully to his words
2.2.3 Dialogue/Language
2.2.3.1 Extremely reliant on it
2.2.3.2 Helps to fill in background events
2.2.3.3 Easy to follow, though little colloquialism
2.3 Foster by Claire Keegan
2.3.1 Short Novel
2.3.2 Traditional slang used by Dan
2.3.2.1 Adds credibility to story
3 General Vision and Viewpoint
3.1 The Plough and The Stars
3.1.1 Nora dies in the end
3.1.1.1 Makes the play a tragedy
3.1.2 Drinking
3.1.3 Neglect
3.1.3.1 Poor vision of marriage
3.1.3.1.1 Wives are there to please their husbands, but only when required
3.1.3.1.1.1 Eg. Nora and Jack
3.1.3.1.1.1.1 Nora is ignored when she pleads Jack to stay at home
3.1.3.1.1.1.2 Nora is given out to for burning the letter that requested Jack to be present at the Easter Rising
3.1.4 Negative
3.2 The King's Speech
3.2.1 Largely positive but with elements of negative
3.2.1.1 Bertie does overcome his speech impediment
3.2.1.2 However, war is breaking out
3.3 Foster
3.3.1 High contrasts between Kinsellas and the Child's family
3.3.1.1 Kinsellas
3.3.1.1.1 Economically OK
3.3.1.1.1.1 Edna gives child money to go to town
3.3.1.1.2 Respect
3.3.1.1.3 Tasks shared evenly
3.3.1.1.4 No secrets in the family
3.3.1.1.5 Dignity
3.3.1.1.5.1 Clothes
3.3.1.1.5.1.1 "We can't have her go out like that again"
3.3.1.2 Child's Family
3.3.1.2.1 Extreme poverty
3.3.1.2.1.1 Father 'sells/rents' child off to apparent strangers
3.3.1.2.2 No real respect
3.3.1.2.3 Mother does all the work
3.3.1.2.4 Drink/gambling
3.3.1.2.4.1 Father lost cow at game of cards
3.3.2 Very ambiguous
3.3.2.1 Starts bad
3.3.2.1.1 Family situation
3.3.2.1.2 Starts to get better
3.3.2.1.3 Ends when child has to go back to poverty and initial situation
3.3.2.1.3.1 However, she has grown, and will hopefully bring some of the practices of the Kinsellas to her family
4 Comparison of: The Plough and The Stars (TPATS), The King's Speech (TKS) and Foster
4.1 For more..... see www.aoifesnotes.com by Aoife O'Driscoll! Great notes to be found there!!!

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