…entre nous soit dit…

between me you and the gatepost.

Philosophy Essay Two: The Meaning of Life.

“Human life can only have meaning if God exists and there is an afterlife.” Demonstrate why this claim is true or false.

Many people hold different beliefs as to what the meaning of life is, and for thousands of years, philosophers and theologians have pondered over the truth of it – some producing theories on the subject. Among them are Epictetus, a Greek-born Roman slave who developed theories on stoicism and Robert Nozick who wrote about ‘The Experience Machine’ [1] and held an anti-hedonistic viewpoint. While both of these philosophers developed different ideas, they both shared a common goal: trying to understand what the most important thing in our lives is. Many believe that through theology and belief we gain meaning to our lives, but what if there is no God and no afterlife? Can we still have meaning? Atheists believe that there is no meaning to our lives, but we seem to be unable to accept this so we ‘have to invent meaning (and as a result we create) religions and areas of study which help structure and give explanation and purpose to our lives.’ [2] Although some believe this – that we use religion as an explanation for the meaning of our lives – others such as Nozick and Epictetus developed other ideas and tried to prove that there can in fact be meaning to our lives if there is indeed no god or afterlife.

While neither philosopher directly denies god and religion, each one says that there are other things more important. Epictetus writes that what matters for a good life (for most) is a peaceful state of mind that is tranquil. He insists that ‘all your attention must be given to the mind’ [3] and that the ‘price of a quiet mind’ and ‘freedom from passion’ [4] is by only caring about the things that are within your control – this includes everything that is our own doing – and to ignore all that is not in our control. Robert Nozick, on the other hand, does not condemn passion and desire or focus on the tranquillity of the mind, but instead says that in our lifetime it is not only our experiences and happiness that give our lives meaning, but also the contact with reality that we have. Nozick states ‘What else can matter to us, other than how our lives feel from the inside?’ [5] He then proposes for the reader to imagine that there is a machine that can simulate any experience we want, and asks the question do you plug yourself in? Nozick takes the stance that it’s not merely the experience that creates meaning in your life, but the lessons learnt and how actually doing those things forms you as a person, however for this to occur you can not have a simulated and unrealistic experience. This is completely contrary to a hedonistic view, which dictates that happiness is the only thing that matters in life – no matter how it is gained. Other philosophies can be seen to draw from hedonism, such as utilitarianism, which believes in the maximisation of utility for a good life [6]. The common factor throughout all these theories, however, is that mankind can search for, or reach, meaning in their life without the necessity of God or an afterlife.

Nozick and Epictetus seem to clash on the ideas of the involvement of emotion, passion and desire. While Nozick is relatively ambiguous as to how much weight must be given to happiness and contact with reality, he is certain that they must both be present. It can be assumed that to be happy you must have passion and emotion, and care for things that are “not in your control” as Epictetus would say. Based on this, with this happiness comes the contact with reality that Nozick describes as necessary, and in turn the downside of life that balances the out the happiness we are granted through our experiences. Without this touch of reality, we would be plugged into the theoretical “experience machine” unknowingly and without any individuality. We would not form self-identities and we would not be able to question reality. Of all the things granted to humans, some would argue that the ability to question “Why?” is one of the greatest and we need this contact with reality in order to use this ability. However, these emotions that comes with Nozick’s ideas are not included in Epictetus’ idea of a good life. Epictetus believes that all we need to have is a tranquil mind at peace with nature, and in achieving this, we shall also achieve contentedness. In a modern day society, Epictetus’ ideas may be seen as being submissive and impassive, but this is how he intends them. He says that ‘you will only be harmed, when you think you are harmed’ [7] and that the signs of a person that is making progress at achieving this tranquillity ‘blames none, praises none, complains of none, accuses none, never speaks of himself as if he were somebody, or as if he knew anything’ [8]. All of these aspects, nevertheless, would go against Nozick’s ideas of experience and contact with reality, because they veto the person from both feeling and passion, as well as the ability to adeptly question “why?” Despite these differences, both theorists have created plausible theories that would give, what they consider to be, meaning to our lives without the need of god or an afterlife.

Both stoicism, as described by Epictetus, and anti-hedonism, as argued by Nozick, can produce viable theories about what gives meaning to mankind’s individual existence without the need of God or an afterlife. Each philosopher comes to his own conclusion through different ideas, both with their positive and negative aspects to the lifestyle. Stoicism disregards emotion and passion for contentedness and tranquillity of mind, and in return doesn’t allow the person to be either hurt, or conversely, experience the joys of life fully; and Anti-Hedonism, which allows both as much happiness as we can gain, as well as contact with reality through our real experiences, that help to shape the person we become. Both theories involve self-development and education of the mind, whether it be questioning reality and life, or disciplining it to be at peace with nature. Neither of the theories involves the blind following of a religion created to satisfy our need for meaning to our existence, and in turn the necessity of a God or an afterlife.



·      Manual’ extracted from: Oates, W.J. (ed), (1940). The Stoic and Epicurean Philosophers. (New York: Random House)

·      BonJour, L. (ed), Baker, A. (ed),(2008) Philosophical Problems: An annotated Anthology, (Second Edition) (United States: Pearson Longman)

·      The Experience Machine’ extracted from: Nozick, R., (1974). Anarchy, State, and Utopia. (New York: Basic Books)

·      Hawthorn, E., (1998). Atheism for Survival. (Australia: The National Library of Australia Cataloguing in Publication)


May 20, 2009 Posted by | essays, homework, life, morals, observation, philosophy, School Work, university | Leave a comment

"And Slacker of the Year… goes to ME!"

Ok so I have a psychology Lab Report due in 3 hours give or take a couple of minutes now. I have known about it for the last couple of weeks and could  have easily done it, but as per usual, I was my normal slack self and didn’t do it. Now I’m left to try and do last minute scrapings to get it together. except I still can’t bring myself to do it.
How pathetic do my studies and attentions want to be hey?
Grrrr! I hate psychology. Pretty sure it would be easier to drop the damned subject and pick up an extra one next semester, then attempt to try and catch up on everything that I have missed so far. it’s my own fault I guess. Owell, guess I better go attempt to see what I’m supposed to be doing and actually try to get it done. 

April 20, 2009 Posted by | homework, idiotic, School Work, trouble, university | Leave a comment

Philosophy Essay One: Ethical Egoism

Question Six: Is Ethical Egoism a viable ethical theory? What is the relation between psychological egoism and ethical egoism?

An Ethical theory proposes how morality can be gained in terms of ‘…right and wrong behaviour, and especially of how people ought to behave in relation to each other’ [1]. This means that a set of justified guidelines can be drawn up from this theory of moral behaviour that any man could adopt and live his life by. Egoism is a theory concerning the selfish behaviour of people and the action of pursuing ones own-interest. Philosophers have developed two strands: Psychological and Ethical. Theories have many facets upon which they must be judged before they can be considered viable. In terms of continuing the development of the human race and the world as it is presently, there can only be negative aspects seen within ethical egoism and as a result, in this respect, it cannot be counted as a feasible theory. In societies of this century (and many more previously), the human population has become an inter-dependent, socialising species and humans would not be able to survive with the same ongoing positive advancements if ethical egoism was proven as viable and became the adopted theory. This is because humans would become an antisocial and disinterested race as a result of this moral theory. In order to continue with our society as it is today, it makes more sense to follow the common sense theory which can been seen to be slightly reflected with Egoism, but still as counting against it. For the purpose of this argument I will look precisely at just one aspect of the feasibility of ethical egoism – whether or not it is viable judging by the impact that it would have on society.

Psychological egoism is a simple theory that claims to explains all human behaviour: that people are capable of doing nothing other than pursuing their own self-interest, human nature being what it is. Ethical egoism proposes that in order to be virtuous every person ought to wholly pursue his or her own self-interest, but does not claim to be a human motives theory based on psychology. The difference between the two theories lie in whether promoting our self-interests is the only thing we can do and the only thing we ought to do. While ethical egoism says to be virtuous we ought to follow our self-interests, it doesn’t say that we are not allowed to help others at all – only that you don’t need to promote other’s interests at the same time as yours. However, both of these proposals present a number of problems. The first and foremost, is that if one is true, then the other can’t be – psychological egoism insists that we have no choice but to act selfishly, whereas ethical implies that there is a choice, but we ought to anyway. Of the two theories, ethical egoism is the most disputed, because it still works on so many levels.

One issue that is commonly raised and of great interest is that ethical egoism is compatible with Commonsense Morality. If ethical egoism can combine the commonsense morality, it would be a very good argument as a viable theory. Of the commonsense principles, the duties not to lie, to keep our promises, and not to harm other people, emerge as the most important in order to maintain relationships. James Rachels raises this point in The Elements of Moral Philosophy, with the moderate view of ethical egoism accepting commonsense morality. Without these principles being enforced in society, there will be a resulting deterioration of relationships due to the lies, injuries inflicted and lacking of trust. There is also the likelihood of jail sentences for more people and the possible breakdown of the legal system due to the lacking of need to tell the truth. Rachels argues that these principles are accepted by ethical egoism because it is in our own self-interest not to break them, however this argument both works for and against ethical egoism. While it proves that the theory does not promote morally unacceptable behaviour (by non-egoist standards) which is positive, it also shows that for this to be true, the person would not only be thinking of his or her own self-interest, which goes against the idea of ethical egoism. For example, if a child’s self-interest is to steal a cookie before dinner, they know as a result of satisfying this self-interest, it’s also in their best interest to lie to their mum and say they didn’t take it (and that it was probably their sibling). The reason they know this is because they know it’s in their mother’s self-interest not to let them have one before dinner and therefore she won’t allow it. However this thought process, which allows the child to decide that lying will be the best option, shows that they have to take into account their mothers self-interest as well. This again goes against the ideas ethical egoism, because we don’t have to consider others self-interests at all – it is just a happy coincidence if they concur with our own. Pure ethical egoism would see the child take the cookie and not care about whether or not the mother knows.

In order for the more radical and pure form of ethical egoism to be in place, people would have to become more detached without emotional ties to people so that they are able to focus more solely upon themselves. Rachels also admits that when dealing with friends and family we often have close and personal relationships. He states simply, ‘Bargaining and calculating play a much smaller role, while love and caring dominate.’ [2]. This bargaining and calculating would be essential for any form of egoism to be true and the intimacy would have to be pushed aside in order to make purely selfish decisions. However, this straight form of ethical egoism will result in the break down of human relationships and on an even larger scale societies and populations. Presently, nations are interdependent and every individual relies on a network of other people in order to survive. With this breakdown people would be forced to become more independent, because at the end of the day the only person you could wholly rely on and trust would be yourself. This argument shows that the commonsense theory is vital to our way of living, but does not and cannot be an essential principle within ethical egoism, because it involves considering the self-interests of people other than yourself.

For a person with common sense and good logic, ethical egoism could work. Despite the problems faced in ethical egoism it could be considered to be a viable theory based on the grounds that a person uses logic, common sense, and to and certain extent emotions, to sensibly and rationally assess what their self-interests are.  However without commonsense morality being combined into the theory of ethical egoism, it will only result in chaos, and the deterioration of the populations and societies. Thus on a moral ground, the theory is not a viable one in this respect.

April 4, 2009 Posted by | essays, philosophy, School Work, university | Leave a comment

My first Publishing! ….well maybe

Joyful Joy!!
I’ve been sent a letter from the Curriculum Council asking for my permission for one (or possibly more) of my essay answers from the 2008 Literature WACE  exam to be considered for inclusion in the Literature Good Answers Guide, produced by the English Teachers Association.
You have to score above 85% for your essay to be considered for this publication, because it is supposedly only the most original of the best and the best of the best that are published. While there’s no guarantee that one of my essays will be chosen to be published, it’s still exciting to know that my essays (well at least one of them) were scored high enough to be considered.
It would be my first piece of published work anyway.
That’s definitely exciting enough for me.

March 1, 2009 Posted by | exams, Literature, school, School Work | Leave a comment

English Lit: Medea Quotes





Nurse: With Jason mad for him (p1)

Tutor: He’s no love left for any who live here. (p3)

Jason: you could have stayed here, kept your home (p15)

Jason: You’re lucky exile’s your only punishment./ I tried to calm him, to make him let you stay. (p15)

Jason: …d’you know why I’ve come?/ To do my best for those I love. (p16)

Jason: I know. Hate if you must,/ I care no less for you because of that. (p16)

Medea: D’you think it noble, think it brave/ To savage those you love, then visit them? (p16)

Medea: Well, Jason, you love me. (p17)

Medea: I made enemies/ Of those I loved, for you, hurt those/ I had no need to hurt, for you… (p17)

Chorus: What anger worse, or slower to abate,/ Than lovers’ love when it has turned to hate? (p17)

Jason: But it was Aphrodite’s weapon, passion,/ That made you save my skin. (p18)

Jason: …this royal alliance… I’ll show how good it is/ For all of us – me, you and the children too…. What better safeguard could I find than this… (p 18)

Jason: You’re wrong. I don’t want her… Our sons, yours and mine, are enough for me./ I want security, prosperity (p19)

Medea: If this marriage was so sensible,/ Why not tell me before you started? (p19)

Jason: You can’t control your fury as it is. (p20)

Jason: I marry/ not for sex… But as I said: to care for you… To protect us all. (p 20)

Jason: Must you take personally what helps us all? (p20)

Medea: And I? Exiled, betrayed, alone. (p20)

Jason: You brought it on yourself (p21)

Jason: Your cursed the royal house. (p21)

Jason: If you or the children need anything… ask./ I’ll be generous (p20)

Jason: I’ve done all I could – for you, for them… You kicked our help aside. Your mad. (p21)

Medea: My husband’s the vilest man alive. (p23)

Medea: Lust, yes: for power. He pants for a throne. (p24)

Medea: I’ve ben a fool. Why rant and rave/ at those who only want to help?.. Who think only of what is best for us? (p 30)

Medea: …I’m grateful for your foresight,/ All you’ve done for us. I’m a fool. (p31)

Medea: For my children’s sake/ I’d sell my soul, and what is gold to that? (p33)

Jason: I’m here to hide my sons,/ Before Kreon’s family kill them/ to avenge their mother’s crime. (p44)

Chorus: You’re sons are dead. Their mother killed them. (p45)

Jason: Die! I know you know,/
I knew you not before… You killed them – for sex! For jealousy! (p46)

Jason: … A tigress, no thing of flesh and blood,/ A hound of Hell, you outsnarl them all. (p46)

Medea: All wrong./ Tigress. Hell-hound. Name me your names,/ I have your heart! (p46)

Jason: Your pain, no less than mine. (p47)

Medea: Your pain: my comfort. (p47)

Medea: When you’re old you’ll feel it. (p48)

Jason: Love made you murder them? (p48)

Medea: That you might die of it. (p48)

Nurse: …she’s as cold as stone (p1)

Nurse: Know her, fear her, unsmiling heart (p2)

Nurse: She’ll do such things… No pliant victim here (p2)

Nurse: Pray God she hurts/ Her enemies, not those she loves! (p4)

Nurse: Your mother’s tearing herself apart… She’s wild. Hate’s in her blood (p4)

Medea: Die, children. Damned. Destroyed (p4)

Medea: Thunder split my sull./What use is my life? (p5)

Medea: Hateful life, be gone! (p5)

Chorus: Has she gone mad? (p5)

Medea: I’ll see him die, him and that girl –/ I’ll see them in pieces on the floor. (p6)

Medea: My lovely life is lost; I want to die. (p8)

Kreon: Frankly you frighten me./You can do things…. I’ve reasons for my fear:/Your cunning; malice is your trade. (p10)

Kreon: Better see you angry now/ Than stroke you gentle and later hear you snarl. (p10)

Medea: Best do what I do best… Poison. I touch, they die. (p13)

Medea: But kill I shall, and none shall do me down. (p14)

Medea: Then eveil be our good and I its queen! (p14)

Medea: Still childless after all these years? (p23) (to Aigeus)

Medea: This desire of yours, your desire for sons –/ The gods will grant it… I’ll cure your childlessness. (p24)

Medea: let the children stay… it’s not that I mean to leave them… They’re my trap… (p27)

Medea: They’ll take her my wedding gifts… soon as the pretties touch her flesh, she dies,/ And all who touch her die aswell. (p27)

Medea: I can’t say it. Do such a thing. I must./ I’ll kill the children. My children. (p27)

Medea: I’ll kill my darling sons, and run./ Vile. Vilest. Yes. I’ll do it. (p27)

Chorus: How will you dare?/ How stiffen yourself,/ Hard heart, hard hand,/ To do such things? (p29)

Chorus:  Your sons!… Look them in the eye, and murder them?… How will you dare/ To strike them down? (p29)

Medea: The pain of it! The pain/ of what I have in mind… It breaks my heart. I can’t. I must. (p31)

Medea: Am I a coward?/ Shall sentiment melt me – am I so weak?… my hand won’t falter now. (p36)

Servant: Horrible! Inhuman! Vile!… (p38)

Medea: What’s happened? (p38)

Servant: They’re dead… Your poison. Dead. (p39)

Medea: Good news! Well done!/ You’re my friend forever. (p39)

Servant: Your mad./ You plotted this, you did it –/ And now gloat? (p39)

Medea: What’s next, my friends, is clear:/ I must kill the children quickly and be gone. (P42)

Medea: Necessity’s their judge; they die./ I gave them life and now I’ll give hem death -/ My heart all dagger. Do it./ Don’t flinch. You must. (p42)

Medea: No weakness. No… memories. Flesh of your flesh!/ Forget you loved them. For one short day, forget. (P42)

Chorus: Soon, soon, she’ll lift her hands,/ red with her own sons’ blood. (p43)

Chorus: You’re stone, you’re iron -/ you began them. You ended them. (p44)


Nurse: …weeps for home,/ the country she betrayed (p2)

Tutor: Who isn’t guilty, then? It’s human;/ We all put self-interest first. (p3)

Nurse: Better a humble heart, a lowly life. Untouched by greatness let me live… Not   too little, not too much: there in safety lies. (p5)

Chorus: Who can stop grief’s avalanche/ once it starts to roll? (p7)

Medea: Don’t think ill of me…. What human being looks fairly on another?… And when you’re a foreigner: ‘Be like us’, they say. (p8)

Medea: Our lives depend on how his lordship feels… Women’s cunning? We need all of it. (p8)

Medea: Your city; your parents, your friends are here…. I am alone… a souvenir from foreign parts. (p9)

Medea: Your not the first… This reputation: the witch, the witch!… I’m such a woman… some fear my secret ways… (p10)

Medea: What, you fear me? A man, a king –/ How could I harm you? (p10)

Kreon: Now I trust you even less./ A raging fury – woman or man -/ is easily policed. But smiles…! (p11)

Medea: No crime in generosity. (p12)

Medea: Medea, grand-daughter of the Sun (p14)

Jason: No one denies your witchery (p18)

Jason: … more than you gave, you’ve got. (p18)

Chorus: …what you do/ Is far from just: deserting her. (p19)

Medea: Protection that tastes of death! (p20)

Medea: Who calls me pliant, powerless?/ I’m of another kind. (p27)

 Medea: But I’m a woman – I have to cry. (p32)

Conversation relayed by Servant:

Glauke: Why are they here? (p39)

Jason: I love them, your husband. You must love them too. (p39)

Servant: She saw the presents. ‘No’ was ‘Yes’:/ She agreed to all he asked. (p40)

Servant descriptions of Glauke’s death: (pages 40- 41)

·       ‘shaking, falling’

·       ‘White froth on her highness’ lip’

·       ‘Eyes rolling, blood sucked from her face.’

·       ‘she began to shriek and shriek’

·       ‘it was welded there, a shackle of gold’ (the crown)

·       ‘Eyes, face, oozing.’

·       ‘Flesh pulped by poison-fangs/ Slid from her bones…’

Servant: Father and daughter, corpse on corpse./ Who’ll not weep for such a sight? (P41)

Chorus: Rage tears the soul./ Why must you kill them, why? Blood poisons the ground, kin-blood… (p43)

Chorus: D’you hear them? Their cries?/ Stone heart, cruel fate. (p43)

First Child: Mummy! No! (p43)

Second Child: Don’t kill us! (p43)

Chorus: In childbirth grief begins. (p44)

Jason: Refused me their touch,/ The right to bury them. My sons! (p49)

Chorus: Expect the unexpected./What mortals dream, gods frustrate;/ For the impossible they contrive a way. (p49)

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Help for slack Lit Students, Literature, Notes, school, School Work | 3 Comments

English Lit: Cloudstreet Chapter Analysis

Cloudstreet: Burning the Man

(page 117-120)

  • Burning the man is a chapter about Guy Fawkes Night and the burning of a doll man made of ‘wild oats and dressed in moth eaten flour bags’
  • Guy Fawkes Night (more commonly known as Bonfire NightCracker Night and sometimes Fireworks Night) is an annual celebration on the evening of the 5th of November. It celebrates the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of the 5 November 1605 in which a number of Catholic conspirators, including Guy Fawkes, attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in LondonEngland. Bonfire Night was also common in Australia until the 1980s. Celebrations took place in the form of both private and civic events. They involve fireworks displays and the building of bonfires on which “guys” are burnt. These “guys” are traditionally effigies of Guy Fawkes, the most famous of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators.

Overview of the Chapter

  • The chapter starts with Rose pickles sitting in the window of her room as she observes the Lamb girls in the yard below building the bonfire with fruit crates.
  • Mrs Lamb offers for the Pickles to join them in the festivities, but Dolly seems uncertain and doesn’t know how to accept this offer. When Mrs Lamb changes her voice to a ‘low pitched and friendly’ tone and tries to encourage her by saying “oh carm on”, Dolly looks ‘confused and embarrassed’ and only talks to Rose who takes charge, grabs her brothers and joins the Lambs.
  • The two families sit around the bonfire eating blackened potatoes and setting off fireworks as they play games and sing songs/listen to Mr Lamb play the accordion.
  • Rose doesn’t show the same disdain, disgust or hatred for the Lamb families merriment and singing as she did after the war was announced as ending. Instead Winton writes, ‘She couldn’t remember when she felt so happy before.’
  • Even the parents (including Dolly and Sam) are happy on that night – ‘[Rose] could hear he mum and dad laughing’
  • When they bring out the doll ‘Rose clapped and exclaimed’ and ‘everybody yelled and cheered’ when it was thrown on the fire. Then Fish begins to scream and cry about the burning man.
  • The rest of the short chapter describes Oriel and Quick dragging Fish up to the piano room where he eventually calms down enough to just play the piano.

Points of View Displayed

  • The burning of this doll becomes symbolically important within this small chapter as Winton describes it quite graphically from a few points of veiw – the normal narrator’s point of veiw that follows Rose and from the spiritual sense of Fish.
  • This scene is a perfect example Spiritual Fish speaking about the Physical Fish and trying to show that his behaviour is not (what is deemed to be) “retarded”, but its in fact a way of communicating to his family not to abandon their faith. This view provides a broader understanding of what is happening to the families and their members because it describes Fish in the Physical world.

Narrator POV (following Rose)

    • This describes the burning of the doll quite graphically:
      • ‘the head was tilting and one of his arms was gone’
      • ‘flames shot out of his collar’
    • This is the way that everyone else present saw the event and after Fish’s reaction and leaving of the group, ‘everything went quiet and strange’ and ‘the party died’.

Spiritual Fish’s POV

    • This description gives a more spiritual and symbolic look at the man being burnt.
      • ‘Man with arms out Jesus arms, stiffy and funny’
      • ‘burning the Man an now theys fire out his mouth and  eyes.’

Descriptions of the Scenes

  • Winton uses pituresque words and descriptions with use of the senses:
    • Sight: ‘rippling yellow mass making silhouettes’
    • Sound: ‘organised a mass whistling of ‘God Save The King’…[Chub]whistled like an emphysemic lung’
      ’Rose screamed and giggled… everyone gasped at the colour and noice’
    • Touch: “Yous burning the man an now theys fire out his mouth and eyes.”
    • Smell: ‘that sweet musty smell came out, Quick felt crook to his guts’

·       A personal interpretation of Cloudstreet includes the characters similar values, the narrator of the novel and the symbolic images, which make up the novel. It represents unity, familial harmony and energy.

·       In the burning of the Guy Fawks doll “Fish wants a whacko but out come the Man with arms out Jesus arms, stiffy and funny. Spiritual Fish “From the broad vaults and spaces you can see it all again because it never ceases to be” tells the readers that time is ongoing and is a never-ending cycle. The narrative is always changing, engaging the reader into the story.

·       After Fish’s accident they lose all faith in God. “The army was the nation and the nation gave her (Oriel) something to believe in”.

Religious symbolism

‘Fish wants a wacko but out comes the Man with arms out Jesus arms.’

·       It closely resembles the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

·       The reference to ‘He the Water Man’ could mean many things, but biblically, Jesus used water as a symbol of spiritual cleansing and healing (which can e seen as a symbol throughout the book). This can also be seen as reference to Jesus.


·       Middle C represents the balance of the household –> it’s an ironic reminder o the disharmony and lack of balance. The different times are contrasted by the types of music played.

o   Discontent = the louder and more obvious it is

o   Rest of the time = melodious tunes.

December 5, 2008 Posted by | Help for slack Lit Students, Literature, Notes, school, School Work | Leave a comment

English Lit: Cloudstreet Notes: Gender & Class

Cloudstreet: Issues of Class and Gender

·       Issues of class and gender explored explicitly through the text.

·       Dedicated to one social group.

·       Understanding is gained from internal workings

·       Need of employment, education and stereotypical conformity

Working Class

·       Working class defined by his occupation/assert power by means of occupation.

·       Working class value family survival through participation

·       Women work as well –> Rose is expected to have a job.

·       Female children support family by job –> but marriage changes role to domestic occupation

·       Still a notion of male bread winner and female house builder

·       Stereotype when Rose and Quick get married (expected Rose to quit work –> p327)
Quick: “You’ll be quittin, I spose.”
Rose: “Not this girl.”

·       Working class value of participation over rides stereotypes

·       Childbearing shown as female need –> (p291)

·       Women defined by their relationships with men and the children they bear


·       Narrative –> working class perspective, slang, course language.

·       Economic stratification of society has propagated a social stratification sue to education 
–> ie Toby and Rose à Rose unable to further education:

Þ    no money

Þ    has to look after family / become domestic

·       rose is marginalised in Toby’s society

·       Women are the only ones associated with learning

Þ    Rose reads in the library all the time –> ‘I love books. My room is full of them. I read the whole Geralton library from end-to-end when I was a kid.’ (p 288)

Þ    Oriel quotes Mary Gilmore and reads the newspaper –> “if the rich gamble, they do it with money filched from the wage earner. If the poor gamble, they play with their children’s bread. Where, indeed, is there a class that may gamble and rob none?” Mary Gilmore (p130)

·       Difference in attitude between men and women in education


·       Strength of family most vivid

·       Family construction doesn’t conform to the traditional patriarchal model

Þ    Weak male figures –> ie Quick, Sam, Lester, FIsh

Þ    Strong female figures –> ie Rose, Oriel, Dolly

·       Anti stereotype representation of the working class

·       Only distinguish the stereotypes by its omissions –> ie suffering of Lambs and Pickles concentrated on, but happy match between Hat and Geoffrey Birch ignored.


·       Military service

·       Males must have a job

·       Male children defined by their job  –> Quick running away  –> Lon is a plumber

·       Toby Ravens not entirely defined by job à social connections and ideas play big influence.


December 5, 2008 Posted by | Help for slack Lit Students, Literature, Notes, school, School Work | Leave a comment