Self-Reflection on learning literature

In the last class of Literature, with Pato, we prepared a last post in our blogs with our own reflections on our own learning of this year.


         This year I strongly believe that I improved in making essays and understanding poems. I am really proud that at the beginning of this year I was scared of two things, my two objectives for Literature. These were to study hard, preparing properly and passing the IGCSE and to promote the subject in the last term, and finally I achieved my two aims. Therefore, I realized that if I commit to something, if I work hard and if I trust on myself, I will be able to achieve it. I liked they way we worked this year as we had one class a weak but anyway, we worked and advanced a lot with the poems and stories. Furthermore, my thoughts about this overall year are positive as I feel proud of me due to my self-improvement during this year.

The Cuban Missile Crisis

In the class of History, with Lenny, we read and watched a video about the Cuban Missile Crisis. After this, we had to answer some questions. In the first one, we should produce a mindmap including the causes of the crisis. In the second one, we should create a Venn diagram comparing how responsible Cuba, the USSR, and the USA were for the start of the crisis. In the third one, using the diagram we should answer which country is most responsible for the crisis. This is my work:




There isn’t a most responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis, as each of them took an important role. Firstly, Cuba wanted to install a communist system in her country, while the US didn’t want a Country in it continent being communist. Secondly, if the USSR had intervened in that conflict, USA would have made whatever she wanted with CUBA, the USA Is much more powerful than Cuba. Finally, USA also was responsible, as if she had led Cuba to be communist, there wouldn’t have existed tension between USSR and USA.

Essay-“The people before” by Bautista Buljevich

In class of Literature, with Pato, I made this essay based on the story “The People Before”.

Essay question: Explore the ways Maurice Shadbolt makes you sympathise with the narrator and Tom in The People Before. Support your ideas with details from the story

In the story The People Before, the author, Maurice Shadbolt made the reader sympathise with the narrator because of several events in which the author made this possible. All throughout the tale Shadbolt language

To begin with,  Maurice Shadbolt makes the reader sympathise with the narrator many different times. This character, the eldest brother, was not sturdy and he preferred the company of his father and to spend more time outside the house than his younger brother. The family dynamic was interesting as the narrator liked working with his father while Jim was the opposite and preferred to be more academic. In his father’s eyes Jim was not made out to be a farmer and in many ways gives up on Jim. This is a clear example of one situation by which the author achieve his aim, as readers realized that the narrator was very productive as he helped his father a lot.

In addition,  after the arrival of the to brothers from the Second World War, during a discussion about coping with war, the elder brother said he had no happy memories to focus on during war. Nonetheless, Jim said that for him their old farm was “Te Wahiokoahoki”, the place of happy return. Therefore, the narrator felt jealous that he could never feel that way and also because Jim didn’t think about his parents as well as his brother. Jim was being selfish at least in the narrator’s eyes. He had forgotten about all the times the narrator helped him. How his mother supported him everytimes and how in his own subtle way his father helped him. This showed that the narrator felt a great passion for his family. Therefore, I think that lots of readers sympathized with him.

Although the narrator too did not have strong feelings for the land that he helped his father to farm; when he sought for something to focus on during the war, the farm, the place of happy returns does not suggest itself, he invested a lot of labour and effort to help his father. Thus, the eldest brother  had a very positive quality. This was that he looked at things in a dispassionate way without passing judgment on either his father or his brother. Finally,  it was also noticeable that the narrator was jealous of his younger brother when Jim was able to understand the Maori tradition when the old man was left on Craggy Hill, while his father and him couldn’t. This partly expressed how sensitive he was, and that was  what many readers loved.

To conclude, Maurice Shadbolt allowed readers to sympathise with the narrator of the story by expressing specific actions he had made throughout the tale. Shadbolt also described the eldest brother as a good and logical person.

Essay- “Lionheart”

In class of Literature, with Pato, I made this essay of the story “Lionheart”

Essay Question:  This poem proudly describes Singapore. The poet cleverly uses the Merlion to symbolize the magnificence and pride of her home country. Comment closely on this.


In the poem “Lionheart”, written by Amanda Chong, Singapore is described proudly by the author. The poet uses the structure and its symbolisms of the Merlion to symbolize the magnificence of her home country.


On the one hand, the poet cleverly uses the Merion’s head symbolism to describe her pride towards singapore. To begin with, the head is a lion. This predator is the king of the jungle, and it symbolizes ferocity, courage as well as superiority. The lion was chosen to be the head of this structure to express that each citizen of Singapore get these qualities. Moreover, the body of the Merlion is a fish. This animal symbolizes agility, balance and inferior to the lions. This helpless animal was chosen to  be the body of the structure to express that also each Singapore’s citizen get these qualities. These attributes are mentioned in the poem by Chong to give self-confidence to Singapore’s people, and to help them to realize the important they are.


On the other hand, the author wants Singapore’s citizens to remember their origins, which was Great Britain, as she uses the word “Lionheart” to compare them with lions, due to their similar characteristics. Besides, the poet comments in the second stanza that transformation occured and it’s continue occurring, as the jungle was becoming a city from rural to Urban. Furthermore, Singapore’s development was thanks to the British. Moreover, the Author uses the words “water” and “sea”, which are essential to Singapore’s people, as they symbolize trade. Trade was fundamental to the development of the nation, as they, as well as Great Britain, are an island.

To sum up, the poet cleverly uses the Merlion to symbolize the magnificence and pride of her home country, and to express her pride towards Singapore and its Citizens, using the structure’s symbolism to get to the heart of every citizen of that Nation, and to remember them their origins.


In class of Literature, with Pato, we answered in groups of three some questions about “Billenium”. I worked with Matias Ripoll and Olivia Obligado.

  • 1. Write a detailed synopsis of the story.

This story, called Billenium, is situated in the future. There is overpopulation and for this reason people are forced to live in small cubicles. The population density is too high, so the government limits the people’s living space. People are forced to create bonds and friendships with people living nearby, as the old friends live far away and it’s impossible to visit them. Family traditions and relations are weakened for the same reason. Money loses value as, and richness is represented by having land. Ward and rossiter were close friends who decided to live together so that they could have more than one cubicle. They discover a hidden room which allows them to have more space. They invite girls to the room, who later on invite their relatives. They end up having the same space as before. For this reason, they decide to remove the wardroom. This shows that billenium is a circular story, as they want to have more space but when they get it, they buy furniture which occupies room and invite more people.

  • 2. Discuss the theme of over-population and the effect it has on both the way of life and quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.


The term ‘overpopulation’ explains the reality of that society which lives without space, that is to say that there are more people than place where to live. It is ironic the condition of getting more place since  to obtain it, you have to marry and have three children so that finally they give you an apartment with more place. However, not only the place increases but also the people, so the department ends up being small and oppressive due to the number of inhabitants inside.


  • 3. The quest for living space has become an overriding obsession with the people of the city. Discuss this theme in detail. Include in your answer some discussion of the ways in which Ballard makes the quest for space dominate the characters’ lives.


In “Billenium”, people’s most precious and valuable thing was space. They have a quest for living space. When Ward found a lot of space to live, he reduced it by sharing it with other people, as he used to live in a very little place.

  • 4. What sort of relationship does Ballard put forward between the inner world of the individual (as represented by Ward and Rossiter) and the outer world in which they live. In other words, how does Ballard conceptualise the effect of surviving daily life in a hopelessly over-crowded city on the consciousness of the individual as demonstrated by the ways in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space in the secret room they discover?


Ballard creates similarities about the inner world of the individual and the outer one. In the outer worlds, it can be seen that people hate to live like this, as they can’t visit their relatives, go to have lunch and spent hours travelling. The government can solve over-population by imposing different measures but instead decides to solve over-population by encouraging people to have more kids. In the inner world, meaning the way in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space, something similar happens. They hate living in small cubicles but luckily they find a secret room which has lots of space. Instead of enjoying it, they overpopulate ir and invite people to occupy it. Both events show that Billenium is a circular story which will eventually lead to the same spot, overpopulation.

  • 5. In the story, Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme over-population that has beset the world. Explain his views as they are presented in the story.

Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme overpopulation that has beset the world by explaining that the resposables of it was the government as they said that if you wanted to have a more spacious place, you had to have three children. So, this made the problem of overpopulation develop, as by the time, the population increased.


  • 6. Do you agree with his argument? Do you think that current population growth projections indicate that we are likely to end up in the situation portrayed in the story?


I do not think that people in the future will live in cubicles at all. This Is because there are many people in charge of having that issue under control. Moreover, there are many measures are being carried out to prevent what happened in the story “Billenium”.

  • 7. Describe and analyse Ward’s character in some detail. What values does he hold? Why does Ballard make use of this type of character as the main character for this story?

John Ward is the protagonist of the story and works at a library. He has a friend called Henry Rossiter and they both share a living space. Ward hates the government, the authority and the landlords, as they reduce their living space, and designate the slight cubicles in which people live. However, at the end, Ward ends up being the landlord who decides who should enter the room, what should be removed and how the space should be distributed. He becomes what he hated and Ballard chooses him as the protagonist to show this contrast.


  • 8. What role does Rossiter play in the story?


Rossiter is a close friend of the main character, Ward. However he is a more aggressive character as it is the one who persuades Ward to let their girlfriends into the spacious room, affecting also the girls families. Rossiter also sacrifices the Victorian wardrobe, a symbol of total beauty at that times.

  • 9. Describe the role of the female characters in the story.

There are two female characters in the story. They are called Judith and Helen. Their role in the tale was to bring their family to the cubicle that was found by their friends, Ward and Rossiter. As a consequence, the new space that was found was not beneficial to the protagonists and His friends although they had found it.


  • 10. Discuss the effects that overpopulation and its attendant ills has had on the nature of family life in relation to Ward’s family as well as Judith and Helen’s family relationships.


The effects of overpopulation caused people to have more kids, as they would have a bigger cubicle. However, by encouraging people to have kids and reproduce, you are not solving overpopulation but fomenting it’s growth. For this reason, the ills of overpopulation, cause people to have more space and have a family life to acquire more space. Despite this fact, the having of a family means the sharing of space between five, which again reduces the space and increases the population density. This again shows that Billenium is a circular story.

  • 11. What does the secret room symbolise in the story?


The secret room symbolises the urgent need of privacity. In addition it also represents the lack of freedom and therefore, of space.

  • 12. Why do you think Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves? Is Ballard making a comment on how our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live?


Ward and Rossiter were unable to keep the gift of space to themselves because they used to live in cubicles, so when they found the new “gigant” cubicle they had to share it. They couldn’t take advantage on the new place to live.

  • 13. What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?

Ward and Rossiter were willing to have more space so they moved together to a new place, where they find the secret room, which would bring them much more space. However, they invite people and people. First, some girls and then the girls’ relatives. In the end, they end up allowing the same or a worse sort of living arrangement. The large room was divided into seven people, so they ended up living in smaller cubicles. The finding of the room was non-sense and they wasted their chance of having a comfortable life, as they had adapted to a suffocating and uncomfortable sort of living arrangement.

  • 14. Discuss Ballard’s style and language in the story? Consider also in what ways it is appropriate to the nature of the story being told.

Ballard uses different writing techniques to emphasize and explain to the readers his point of view about the overpopulation. The author uses oxymoron and hyperbaton to refers and depict his feelings towards the society and the conditions in which they lived. All along the story  the word “cubicle” is named, emphasizing that that society was destined to live in an oppressive and extremely small place.

The Berlin Blockade

Why did it happen and what were the consequences?


  • USSR was against the capitalist countries, which had become a group called the Western allies.
  •  Germany was divided into four different parts. One belonged to Great Britain, another to the USA, another part to the USSR and another to France as the capitalist’s countries didn´t want USSR to have an extended territory.

Stalin´s concerns:

  • Stalin fought that the capitalist countries wanted to rebuild Germany.

Stalin´s reaction: 

  • He blocked all the routes that pass through the western allies to the parts that belonged to them from Berlin so that they couldn´t send supplies to them. However, they airlifted supplies.

Allied reaction:

  • They airlifted supplies to their parts of Berlin so that the USSR couldn´t consider as an act of war.

Consequences for USSR:

  • The USSR gave up the Berlin Blockade, as the Western Allied didn´t give up.

Consequences for the USA: 

  • They showed that they were not going to give up. Therefore, they showed that they were strong.


The Berlin Blockade, 1948-9 Cold War: Iron Curtain

  1. What was life like in Berlin in the post-war era?
  2. How did Soviet policy towards Berlin differ from that of the West?
  3. Why was reform of the German currency a key issue for both sides?
  4. Why was the airlift such a major feat?
  5. In what respect can the USSR and US be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift?
  6. Why did Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift?  
  7. Extension question:  Who was more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War, the Soviets or the Americans?



  1. Berlin was divided into four parts. One belonged to France, another to the Soviets, another to Great Britain and the other part belonged to the USA. After the second World War Berlin seemed a ghost city.
  2. The Soviet policy affected France, USA and Great Britain, as their connection to the parts of Berlin that belonged to them was hindered by the USSR as they blocked the routes of Berlin so that the other countries couldn´t pass through them to go to Berlin. Therefore, USA, Great Britain and France had to send supplies to their Berlin territory by planes.
  3. It was because the currency symbolised union. And the west side wanted to show their power.
  4. The airlift was such a major feat as France, USA and Great Britain could be connected and sent supplies to their part of Berlin by airlift. Furthermore, this showed Stalin that his opponents were not going to give up so easy, and that that wouldn’t make him to keep all Berlin, therefore, after some time, the blockade was broken down.
  5. The USSR thought that it was a capitalist attack and they were prepare to attack the planes.
  6. Stalin agreed to talk over the airlift as he realized that the allies were very strong, and that they wouldn’t give Berlin to stalin as he thought.