The Other Side: Living With Asperger Syndrome - Part Six
Chapter Twenty Nine - Fiasco
For some reason, I don't have a school photo or report from this year in school. Here's some pieces of coursework I did:
English GCSE - How does Austen present Elizabeth’s changing opinions of Darcy, and how do her responses reflect 18th century values?Show Essay
In chapter 3 we meet Darcy for the first time and we can see from the start that he is an impressive man because the entire room’s attention was drawn to him the moment he walked in. Austen describes Mr Bingley’s personality to us; saying that he is ‘pleasant’, but we only get a description of Darcy’s outer appearance and the knowledge that he earns ten thousand a year. I think this is because Austen wanted us to see Mr Darcy the way the women from the 18th century would have, they would have seen his wealth and his good looks and deemed him very agreeable and worthy of marrying. But as we read on we see that the room’s opinion changes from ‘admiration’ to ‘disgust’ because of the poor way he presents himself. Because we are told that everyone attending the ball decided against Mr Darcy, we can safely assume that Elizabeth would think the same, if not worse of him, as she is more drawn to people for who they are and not what they have.
Elizabeth is rather dismissive of Darcy at this stage despite the fact that he has insulted her in such an irrevocable way (considering that he does not know her at all). We can tell that she is wounded however, because when she talked about it to her friends she spoke with ‘great spirit’ even though she had no ‘cordial feelings’ for him. Because of this and the use of the word ‘however’ we can see that what he said about her being ‘not handsome enough’ hurt her feelings, but she did not react accordingly in public because it was not customary of her time. Although she was primarily hurt, she did think Darcy indifferent because she remained ‘lively’ and ‘playful’ whilst making him seem ‘ridiculous’ to her friends.
Before Darcy arrives in chapter 34 Elizabeth is alone and using the convenience of privacy to show her true feelings toward Darcy. She re-reads Jane’s letters in an attempt to find new material with which she can negatively relate to Darcy; therefore making her hatred stronger, despite being predisposed to think ill of him from the moment she met him. Just before Darcy enters, Elizabeth is thinking about Colonel Fitzwilliam and how he had not made any intentions clear, so we can see that even though she is very much against marrying without love, she still sees every man as a possible husband. This is because the women of the 18th century were brought up to get married, that was their purpose, so she does not ignore this fact, she just refuses to marry the first man who will have her.
Elizabeth’s first reaction to Darcy’s proposal is utter astonishment, because she has been blinded by her hatred up until this point and never thought it possible that he actually had feelings, never mind about positive ones. Austen tells us on a few occasions throughout this chapter that Elizabeth is blushing, which could either show embarrassment or anger. I think to begin with it shows embarrassment because she was so shocked and she couldn’t help but be flattered. After that, though, I definitely think it is to show the anger she is feeling toward him as a result of the degrading way he tactlessly explains his reasoning.
In the 18th century, many women in Elizabeth’s position would have graciously accepted Darcy’s proposal, regardless of their feelings toward him, because he was so wealthy. He is most likely the best offer that she would ever receive, and yet she goes against the rules of her society and declines his proposal, even before he has offended her and her family.
Even though Elizabeth had a ‘deeply-rooted dislike’ for Darcy, she does, for a few moments, feel ‘sorry for the pain’ that Darcy would imminently feel by her rejecting him. This shows that she isn’t completely consumed by her negative feelings toward him, because if she had been, she would have took delight in the fact that this new opportunity had arisen for her to cause him pain. The fact that she paused to consider his feelings, even to pity him, says to me that she had already started to think of Darcy differently; she thinks about Darcy frequently anyway, albeit for the wrong reasons, but he is still in her mind often.
After she has composed herself, Elizabeth begins to justify why she isn’t immediately saying yes. The entirety of her first response seems very unnatural, as if she felt the need to say it because she knew she was essentially breaking the rules. She says that it is ‘natural’ to want to say yes to him, whether or not the feelings are mutual and that if she ‘could feel gratitude’ she would thank him. Austen has included this to show that Elizabeth is aware of the social rules and what is expected of her, yet chooses to ignore it in some instances where she feels it would be against her morals and her feelings.
The ongoing argument between Mr Darcy and Elizabeth throughout chapter 34 is very much concerning class. Darcy accepts that he has been rejected and continues to listen to Elizabeth as she states that nothing would ‘tempt’ her to marry the man who has ruined ‘perhaps for ever’ her sister’s happiness and that he is the last man that she could be ‘prevailed upon to marry’. She still seems to be focusing on Jane’s misfortune, rather than looking at the situation as a whole; she does not know all the facts and has whole heartedly convinced herself that he is worthy of her hatred and nothing more. Aside from the anger she so evidently shows here, she seems practically void of any emotion. Austen portrays her as a very stubborn woman who actually acts quite proud at times and she is, in every sense of the word, prejudice towards Mr Darcy. Austen has made Elizabeth and Darcy’s characters extremely similar, but I don’t think either of them see it at this point because they are so obstinate.
Austen show’s Elizabeth’s tendency to speak before considering the consequences a great deal in this chapter, showing us that Elizabeth thinks with her heart and not her head when she is enraged. Her impulsive speeches in this chapter are foolish mistakes, because she is ill informed, therefore her accusations are untrue, making her arguments weak. Her emotion here is almost wholly based on her anger for Jane’s situation, not anything that Darcy has done directly to her, and it drives her to say some extremely harsh things.
Chapter 58 contains a lot of apologizing from both parties, they have both said some appalling things thus far and Austen has changed the tone of the dialogue here to show their feelings. They both repeat a lot of things which shows they are very guilty. Elizabeth, who usually is very witty and stubborn, here admits that she is ‘selfish’ and that she is only thanking him for her own relief. Her language throughout this chapter is no longer harsh; she has begun to think things through and also started to care about Darcy’s feelings.
After forcing herself to speak because of the ‘awkwardness’ she knew Darcy would be feeling, she manages to tell him that she has changed her mind and that she does, indeed, love him. We can tell that she means it, rather than just regretting not accepting his offer for class/wealth purposes, because she is ashamed about ‘abusing’ Darcy in the past and she insists that they should not ‘quarrel’. This is because she is uncomfortable about the way she treated him then, based on half truths, after seeing the unconditional love he proved by helping Lydia for no personal gain other than to make Elizabeth see him for the man he knew he could be.
She gets increasingly uncomfortable when Darcy says that he will never forget her saying that he didn’t behave in a ‘gentlemanlike manner’. I think that she is so uneasy because she has realised that most of what she said to Darcy wasn’t supported enough to deserve the anger and hatred she spoke with, yet the things he said about her were true, he was just being honest about his situation at the time. She persistently tries to make Darcy feel better because she can see that her words wounded him a great deal. She tells him that he should only think of the ‘past as its remembrance gives you pleasure’, to try and get him to move on from her mistakes. Austen makes it very clear in this chapter that both Elizabeth and Darcy feel terrible and that they are trying to apologize without causing any more hurt, but she also emphasizes Elizabeth’s gratitude to Darcy.
Throughout all three chapters the narrative parts of text are written from Elizabeth’s point of view; I think Austen does this so that we continually feel connected to her even when she is not speaking. Her pessimism is ever present, constantly and seamlessly twisting the facts into her version of them. Austen never directly tells us anything, it has always been manipulated into the bias, negative way that Elizabeth sees it. By doing this throughout the entire book, Austen makes it easy to think that Elizabeth is the character in need of sympathy, and no such emotion should be given to Darcy. But had it been told from an unbiased perspective, the events that took place would have been seen under very different light, and we would have known Darcy’s actions to be unselfish. I think it was vital that she wrote it this way so that we could live Elizabeth’s emotions with her, and see things as she did. Elizabeth starts out very prejudice and Darcy proud, but by the end they have both changed their characteristics; Darcy became humble and Elizabeth became more considerate. "
English GCSE - Macbeth – Act 1 Scene 3 – Explore the Dramatic EffectivenessShow Essay
At the beginning of this scene we see the witches gathered on a heath in a thunderstorm. Last time the audience saw the witches they were in a storm, so immediately they can associate the bad weather with these women. A storm is capable of destroying entire villages, ruining people’s lives and holding no mercy. A storm does not care about the innocent, it will take whoever gets in its way, and the witches are the same. Later on in the play, after Macbeth has murdered the King, the weather becomes noticeably worse. So we can connect the bad weather with the recurring evil.
The conversation that the weird sisters have shows us how evil and cruel these women are, making the audience hate them, or become scared of what they might be capable of. Whilst telling us of their revenge, Shakespeare uses words like ‘killing’, ‘drain’ and ‘wrecked’ to describe how they use their power. ‘Killing’ states that they are murderers. ‘Drain’ is used to describe how the witch plans to kill the man; it suggests that she is to leave him with nothing left. Finally, ‘wrecked’ tells us how badly she ruined his life. They are all strong words which each on their own can be related to anger and hatred, but put together they show us that these witches will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who dares disobey them in any way, whether it be insignificant or not (and as we see here, the level of destruction that the witches have brought upon this man is not justified. Because of this, the audience will wonder what they could do to someone who did deserve it). The way that this conversation is carried out makes the audience have an automatic dislike for these women.
‘Sleep shall neither night nor day’ foreshadows what Macbeth will say later on in the play after he has murdered Duncan. Because the witches say it here, it will lead the audience to assume that when Macbeth says it, it is somehow connected to the witches; because at the time that Macbeth says it, it seems very random (almost as if he is not saying it of his own will) – so it would be logical to connect the two events. This could mean that there is some sort of supernatural link between Macbeth and the witches, or that the witches have power over Macbeth’s actions.
During the witches’ conversation Macbeth is not present; he does not hear of all the havoc they are capable of causing, so when he arrives perhaps the audience will feel worried for him, because he is walking into that situation blind to the truth. The audience is constantly at an advantage throughout the play, which makes them feel like they can start to predict the plot. ‘Foul and fair a day’ is among the first things that Macbeth says on entering this scene, which is a repeat of what one of the witches said at the beginning of the play. This is another example of a possible link between the witches and Macbeth; it could also suggest that the witches have psychic abilities. Because it can be read so many different ways, the audience will be very uncertain and weary about the witches’ intentions with Macbeth. At this point, Macbeth has done nothing to give the audience reason to distrust him.
When Macbeth and Banquo first meet the witches, Banquo is quick to make clear his instant disapproval of them. This shows us that he is a very cautious person but also intolerant of people who are below him (because their clothing is poor, he may assume that they are not significant – he says ‘not look like th’inhabitants o’th’earth). In Banquo’s first speech, Shakespeare uses the words ‘withered’ and ‘wild’ to describe their clothing and goes on to say that they have beards. On stage this would look very odd to the audience, the witches clearly look horrible and this represents their evil natures. Macbeth only then speaks to ask a question, showing us his curiosity. Rather than escaping from these weird sisters, like most people would when presented with the situation, he stays to gain information. This could be Macbeth just being thorough and wanting to know everything before passing judgement, but as the scene goes on he gets more and more curious, which later manifests itself as paranoia.
Macbeth is greeted as Thane of Glamis, a title which he already owns, Thane of Cawdor and King. To this he does not yet react, but Banquo yet again steps in and we can see that he is quite disappointed at the greatness of the witches’ predictions for Macbeth, where he has not had any. ‘Noble’, ‘grace’ and ‘great prediction’, are all strong words suggesting wealth in this instance, to which Banquo states ‘To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds…’ In this part we see that he is eager to know if anything hopeful lies in his future. Because he was not mentioned, this creates a divide between him and Macbeth; which coincidentally increases the link between Macbeth and the witches. They singled Macbeth out and not Banquo. Because we see Macbeth become very curious and almost obsessed with the notions put forward to him, the audience might draw a conclusion that the witches picked Macbeth because of his greedy personality and his capability of violent acts.
The witches do reply to Banquo, but only in riddles. These riddles foreshadow events that later happen. By using this technique repeatedly, Shakespeare creates an atmosphere of confusion and of the unknown. These words are nonsensical at the time, but later on in the play, they will gradually be filled with meaning. By doing this, certain patterns emerge which the audience can pick up on; but because events could go either way at any one given time, the audience are always kept in suspense.
‘Stay you imperfect speakers. Tell me more.’ When Macbeth says this, he is ordering these strangers to feed his lust for information. He has not said a great deal in this scene so far, but when he does speak it is to gain knowledge about his future, or the future that they are predicting for him. He calls them imperfect, which isn’t an excellent choice of words. Given that these sisters clearly have some sort of power, you wouldn’t offend them, and yet he is not scared. Everything he says in this section is very abrupt; words like ‘strange’, ‘blasted’ and ‘charge’ all begin to show his dark side. He sounds as if he is becoming impatient, which could still reflect his greed/ambition as he cannot wait to learn more about his wealthy future.
After the witches have vanished, Macbeth and Banquo speak about what has been said to them and we can see the divide between them is growing. Banquo says ‘have we eaten on the insane root’, so he is trying to find reason that explains the collision of natural and supernatural. Macbeth cuts in here and states that Banquo’s children will be kings. Because he does not pose this as a question, it almost sounds bitter; both he and Banquo’s children cannot be king at the same time, which suggests that Macbeths reign is short-lived. At this point, the audience will also have that same idea and start to wonder about how Macbeth could be king and why that would not last, creating drama. Because of what the witches have said, the audience might want everything to go wrong for Macbeth as that would create a better story than if everything worked out perfectly and without trouble. We have seen a different side to him in this scene and that puts doubts in the audience’s mind about how genuine a person Macbeth really is.
When Ross and Angus enter the scene, they instantly begin telling Macbeth how he has come to gain the title of Thane of Cawdor but they don’t actually say ‘Thane of Cawdor’ until the very last moment that they possibly can. Shakespeare prolongs this part to create suspense in the audience. The audience know that the witches’ prophesised that Macbeth would become Thane of Cawdor, and so by not letting on that that is why Ross and Angus are here for such a long time, it comes as a shock when they finally announce it. As soon as it is said, the audience will be thinking various relating to the witches. They will have to now re-evaluate their opinion of Macbeth, because the witches were right about this, so why not everything else? And, in order to become King, what will Macbeth have to do? What is he capable of? Because so many questions arise from this prediction becoming a truth, Shakespeare has left his audience very unsure about everything at this place in the play.
‘Why do you dress me in borrowed robes?’ This is Macbeth’s response to the seemingly great news he has just received. He is not grateful; he is immediately suspicious and curious. It is also once again a reference to clothing (albeit metaphorical in this instance whereas before with the witches’ attire it was truth). He chooses to say ‘robes’ which suggest royalty, and he also says ‘borrowed’, which would mean that he would have to give them back. Because one thing has come true, he could be thinking forward to the possibility of King, and the fact that he is cautious to accept this title could mirror the possible doubt he has about being King, but not being King for long because of Banquo’s children. He says ‘dress’, which indicates that this is being forced upon him and he doesn’t seem willing to accept. This could be because he doesn’t trust what the witches have said. He has only just heard that he will become Thane of Cawdor, and then King, so because one has come to pass so soon, he will almost certainly believe that the other will follow.
Macbeth and Banquo discuss how one prophecy has come true. Macbeth is pushing Banquo to say whether he wants what was said about him to come true as well. This shows us that Macbeth is ever persistent to know everything, even other people’s thoughts, about any given situation. He cannot settle for just knowing the information that he is given, he needs more to satisfy him. The audience will see this, and wonder at what point he will learn too much information, and at what point his curiosity will become a danger to him. They are always questioning how Macbeth is acting, and because he is proving to be quite predictable, will be hoping that he does push it too far, and that it does become a danger to him.
Banquo does say ‘to win us to out harm, the instruments of darkness tell us truths’. He is basically saying here what everyone is thinking. He’s trying to warn Macbeth that maybe the witches told them something true to gain trust, so that they will believe the rest will happen. He is trying to save Macbeth, but as the play goes on, we realise that even at this point it is too late for that, as the greed has already begun to consume him. Shakespeare has put this in so that the audience will start to think forward to bad things that could happen if what Banquo is saying was true. If they did say something true, Macbeth might then make sure that the rest came true, which is what happens. But at this point the audience don’t know that and so this allows them to think through the possibilities. They can take what they know about Macbeth (he is inquisitive, too curious for his own good and violent in battle) and decide for themselves whether these flaws are enough to lead him astray. This would make for a good story, which is what they want.
‘Whose murder is yet but fantastical’. Here Macbeth is thinking ahead to who would have to die in order for him to become King; it’s interesting how Shakespeare chose to say ‘murder’ as opposed to the obvious choice of ‘death’. So even here, Macbeth is assuming that there will be murders if he is to get what was predicted (which is quickly turning into what he wants). ‘If chance will have me king’, he says ‘if’, which suggests that he is not fully sure at this point if he is going to make it happen. He is still willing to let it fall to chance. But because he said ‘murder’ in the previous section, it is almost like he is arguing with himself, going through all the possibilities, trying to sort it out in his mind. It ends with Banquo and Macbeth agreeing to think about what had happened and what has been said, and to speak about it at a later time. This could mean that Macbeth is saying that they should decide what it means to them personally before they speak about it again; because so far Banquo doesn’t seem as obsessed with the idea as Macbeth.
To conclude, this scene is very much where the play takes a turn and starts to open up various possibilities. We now better understand who the witches are and what they can do. We now know that Macbeth seems to be too curious about things that will affect him personally (and affect his wealth) and we can see that Banquo seems to see the situation for what it really is – while Macbeth seems to be falling for every word the witches speak. I think that Shakespeare’s use of foreshadowing and repetition of various phrases works very well; it creates lots of different possible viewpoints which leave the audience in a constant state of wonderment. "
English GCSE - Film Review - Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetShow Review
I received either an A or A* for all of my GCSE English coursework.
Some of my GCSE Art work:
This was a final piece. It was supposed to represent Asperger's - the string represents a journey; the middle of the picture is a tree to represent 'normal' and the string winds all the way around it in a really complex path, never quite arriving there; the puzzle pieces represent obsessions or difficulties that obstruct the journey and normality etc.
You can see it more clearly from this angle - the background is made up of dictionary pages, which are supposed to symbolise intelligence and other traits involving language and words; the fact that they're burnt and incomplete is to show the gaps in our knowledge about how to use language to properly and comfortably communicate.
These are just random practice pieces:
Ball point pen -
Ball point pen -
Another final piece (2 versions) - a dark (sad) and light (happy) side of my personality:
A project where we were supposed to create a sculpture of some kind which represents us - I think I was going for a Tracey Emin style...There's lots of things which represent obsessions, but also things to represent different disabilities/health conditions, and also some different textures that I like etc.:
I was getting straight A's for all of my artwork.
Here are some snaps of me outside of school -
This is from a walk I went on with my Mum; I was supposed to be at school but I was extremely anxious about it and so we went and chilled out in the forest for a bit to try and calm me down:
With my Mum on Mother's Day:
On a day out with my Asperger's group:
And then it all went downhill - here is the letter the school requested that I get from my psychiatrist:
If you have ever seen any of Tim Burton’s films before, then you will be aware that he does things…a little differently, shall we say? This film is no exception. He has taken the character of Sweeney Todd and somehow let the audience think that all his wrong doing is justified. Think about Edward Scissorhands and how Burton made Edward almost like a lost soul, well if you add anger to that, then, essentially, you have Sweeney Todd. Sleepy Hollow is another of Burton’s films; the gore in that film is of a similar level to Sweeney Todd, with an unnecessary amount of blood, making it unrealistic, but whereas in Sleepy Hollow it worked well, it doesn’t in this film. Burton has many similarities in his work, making him predictable, but at least you have some idea of what to expect. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter are two similarities; his distinctively mysterious touch and his emotional attachment to the characters are just a few more examples.
In all Burton’s films, there is always a character that has ‘lonely’ personality, someone who is slightly peculiar and eccentric. In Beetlejuice, Winona Ryder plays a sensitive, misunderstood gothic teenager, Edward Scissorhands was lonely and gothic, even Willy Wonka was portrayed as a lonely, unusual man, trapped in his childhood. Burton tends to create a story, a background, for all his characters, which is then reflected in the way the characters act.
Johnny Depp and Tim Burton have worked together on 5 other films, so it was really no surprise that the role of Sweeney Todd fell to Depp. You just know to expect something unusual when it comes to Burton and Depp. You only have to look at their take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or the Corpse Bride, to realise that! What was unexpected however, was the decision to keep Sweeney Todd, a musical, and even more unexpected: Depp can sing. I wouldn’t go offering him a record deal anytime soon, but his voice is very fitting to the film. Making it a musical, or rather, keeping it as a musical was something that Burton had slightly touched on with Charlie and the Chocolate factory, but something that Depp was unfamiliar with. You can’t tell though, from seeing the film.
The storyline throughout the film is not as strong as it could have been, there are parts that get, almost too unrealistic, too strange, and it makes it so over the top that it seems…for want of a better word, cheesy. Yes, I did just use ‘cheesy’ to describe a gory horror film! The score to the film is the original from Stephen Sondheim’s stage production, but any changes to it were rewritten by Sondheim himself. There is more singing than dialogue, so technically, it is a musical. If you cannot sit through a musical, then don’t watch this, the horror is not enough to numb the musical side of things. On the other hand, if you love musicals, don’t by any means, expect this to be all song and dance, song and slash however…maybe. The characters take us through an emotional rollercoaster, filled with their thoughts and feelings, via song, and without it, you would not be able to get as attached to them. Even though Depp’s character is pure evil, you will find that by the end of the film, you won’t blame him for any of his killings, you may even feel sorry for him.
Stephen Sondheim worked closely with the crew for the making of this film, so for those of you who think that Burton ruined it and that Sondheim would hate it, you’re all sadly mistaken. Nothing was done, if Sondheim did not like it. In fact, (and this is for those of you who think Bonham Carter was wrongly cast) Sondheim hand picked Helena for the role of Mrs Lovett, out of many actresses who were trained singers. He said: ‘’I think she is far and away the best, not voice-wise, because there were some really skilled singers, but voice and personality and look and everything combined, she was Mrs Lovett’’
Helena Bonham Carter was a risky addition to the cast because her voice isn’t as strong as some of the cast members, such as Sacha Baron Cohen, Ed Saunders and even to an extent, Depp. Depp’s voice is very moody and gravelly, which suits his character perfectly. Bonham Carter’s voice is slightly neurotic, which mirrors the way she has chosen to play Mrs Lovett, so it works, and actually compliments Depp’s voice. If anything, Jayne Wisener (who plays Johanna) sounds odd, because her voice is so perfect that it almost doesn’t suit the quirky, sinister atmosphere of the film. It does reflect the innocence of her character though, so we’ll let them off with that one!
Overall, the film isn’t as fantastic as it could be, but, the fact that the cast are so brilliant, the music is deeply touching and just because it’s Burton, Depp and Bonham Carter, makes the few low points, easily forgivable. I think that it would be a mistake to go and see this film on the spur of the moment. You have to either be a fan of Burton or Depp, because if you don’t like them, you won’t like this film at all, because it is such a typical Burton/Depp collaboration; dark, mystifying and just plain weird! "