5….Lights, Reading journal, song summary

‘Lights’ by Ellie Goulding is a song which describes the fear of the dark she had when she was young. It tells people what it is like to be so scared of something that you dread it and it explains the thoughts and voices which torment your mind when you are faced with that fear and cannot do anything about it, it is something that you need to be exposed to in order to survive. This song can be interpreted in many different ways.

What stood out to me about this song is how much I could relate to it. This song has got aspects of it that explain exactly what it feels like to be trapped, but not physically trapped, mentally trapped. Like you are held prisoner in your own brain. This song shows hints of a battle with depression or insomnia embedded between the lines of her way of describing her fear of the dark. “And I’m not sleeping now”, this implies insomnia, as the use of the word ‘now’ tells us she used to sleep but she now doesn’t. This could be because her anxiety or the thoughts which hang in her mind and don’t leave her alone get louder, more prominent when the house is quiet and dark. When your not doing anything you think more and often it’s in those dark hours where things get overwhelming. “The dark is too hard to beat And I’m not keeping now The strength I need to push me” These particular lyrics describe the force of the darkness, how evil it is and how much strength is needed to keep sane during those dreaded hours, when she says ‘I’m not keeping up’ it tells us that she is falling behind, her mind is being mean and nasty, and the strength she needs to fight is dwindling.

There is one specific line in the song that talks about her life as a game “But the queen has been overthrown” the queen is a significant piece in a game of chess and when it has gone you have to fight hard to return. This line is sung after “I had a way then Losing it all on my own I had a heart then” which shows that she was referring to herself as the queen and that she has been over thrown.

“Noises, I play within my own head Touch my own skin and hope that I’m still breathing” This line is particularly revealing, it shows just how powerful those thoughts and voices which scream at you, so loud that you wonder how no one else can hear them. They are so overwhelmingly strong that you don’t even know if you are still alive.

The way that the song is sung, in Ellie’s innocent voice contrasts so well with the lyrics, she sounds young and fragile so when she sings the song it is full of emotion and makes you feel sorry for her, sorry that she had to go through the pain, if what she is describing is really how she felt. Also during the first verse when, “I had a way then Losing it all on my own I had a heart then But the queen has been overthrown” is said it could be imagined that the ‘queen’ is perhaps someone who holds importance in her old life, she felt devotion for but then let her down. Once she had ‘overthrown’ this person they left behind broken pieces that she was left to pick up.

I can relate to this song through my own experiences and treatment. As I begun to develop mental health problems, I started to struggle with falling asleep. It was at these hours during the night that things got out of control. I would have nothing to do and no one to be around which meant no distractions, this lead to thoughts becoming overwhelmingly strong and I became weaker and weaker the less sleep I got. I would go for a few nights without sleeping and on the third day I would feel completely broken. The words in this song describe the feeling in a way I would never have thought to describe it, “And I’m not sleeping now The dark is too hard to beat” I always thought of it as my own mind taking advantage of the fact there was no one around to distract me or keep me busy. I thought of it as my mind trying to get me worse, preventing recovery and putting a stop to everything I try to do to get myself better.

LOTF practice essay

Describe at least one important object or symbol in the written text

explain how this object or symbol helped you to understand at least one character.

In William Golding’s book ‘The Lord Of The Flies’, a plane crashes onto a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean during a time of war. The pilot is killed and a small group of boys aged between 6 and 12 survived the crash. There are many objects in the novel which have a meaning behind them which portray certain values and laws. Probably the most talked about object is the conch, a shell first found by Ralph but identified by Piggy. “look a rock” This is the first thing that we hear about the conch, when Ralph and Piggy are lost and Ralph notices a glimpse of light under the ocean. “No, a shell” “S’right, It’s a shell! I seen one like it before. On someones back wall. He used to blow it and then his mum would come.” Piggy uses his past memories and logic to determine the truth which this object holds behind it’s innocent surface. The conch holds values such as leadership, control and rules, it is also used as a type of talking stick.

“We can use this to call a meeting, they’ll come when they hear us.” Piggy and Ralph spend a while deciding how on earth they are going to find the other boys and finally they come up with a grand idea that Ralph can blow into the conch, just how the boy that Piggy knew did and all the other boys who are stranded on the island will come to the sound as it is likely that they also want to know who else survived the plane crash. The plan is a success and the boys are reunited. Ralph takes this opportunity to declare that only the person who holds the conch is allowed to speak and that in order to have some form of rules or control there must be a chief of the boys. “We’ve got to have rules, and obey them. After all we’re not savages, we are English and the English are best at everything.” Ralph is elected as chief as he, is the one at the time who held the conch.

The conch helps us as readers to understand Ralph’s personality, this is because one of the first things we see Ralph do is work out a way to get the group of survivors together and find a way to get some sort of control over them. Ralph didn’t necessarily want to be the chief of them all but I think that he has a very strong sense of leadership in him,and for that to be satisfied he needed to be elected as the leader.

Although Ralph wants to use the conch as a way to show that he holds the control over all of the boys, he knows that as soon as people start misbehaving and ignoring the rules, the power which the conch holds, will be lost. Flags and crowns hold similar values as the conch, in the sense that both show superiority and power to the person which holds it. Like anything really, the power which it holds is only measurable by the meaning in which everyone who stands below the object agrees on. If the meaning and rules which the object holds start to be ignored then that object’s power starts to fade. In this case Ralph is clever and he knows that people are beginning to ignore the laws which the conch held, so he decides not to blow the conch, meaning that although the rules which were set using the conch are being broken the conch still holds the power that it did at the beginning when the rules were first made. This happens because the conch wasn’t blown, so no one had to come when they heard the noise, the conch was never ignored, yet never used. The conch still holds the same power as it did at the start of the novel due to Ralph’s smart thinking.

Ralph shows us throughout the novel using the conch that he is a skilled leader and can control things for small periods of time.


Lord Of The Flies reading summary


Civilisation-fragile…. Civil/social division… Power…. Survival


The novel suggests to us that in order to have a fully functional society there must be rules and laws which people follow. If the rules are set it is more likely to be a longer lasting situation. In the book the rules which Ralph sets are often broken and in many cases ignored, people just do what they want and don’t care about the consequences such as living on a dirty island. “All this I meant to say. Now I’ve said it. You voted me for chief, now you do what I say.” a quote by Ralph which proves just how unstable the government system on the island is.


The events and order in which they unfold

During a war a plane is shot down over the Pacific Ocean. The plane only holds a group of young English schoolboys and the pilot, no adults. The pilot is killed as the plane crashes but lots of the boys survive, they are alone on a deserted island without without any guardians. Their system of government is unstable and rules are often broken. The set leader Ralph has a rival Jack who strives to be leader, but a bad one, he wants to use the top position for a form of inhumane power such as murder. When Jack manages to get a group of the older boys on his side the island becomes a very dangerous home for everyone. Simon gets stabbed to death and Piggy gets bowled over by a boulder which Jack pushes. When Ralph is running for his life he finds a navy officer on the beach who rescues everyone on the island and puts an end to their battle ground.


Name, appearance, relationships, language, status

PIGGY- fat with glasses, has asthma, motivated by his desire to be accepted in society (the other boys), “I just take the conch to say this. I can’t see no more and I got to get my glasses back. Awful things has been done on this island. I voted for you for chief. He’s the only one who ever got anything done. So now you speak, Ralph, and tell us what.” this quote shows us that Piggy relies on other people to make the decisions for him. “life is scientific, that’s what it is. In a year or two when the world is over they’ll be traveling to Mars and back. I know there isn’t no beast—not with claws and all that I mean—but I know there isn’t no fear either.”, this quote gives us insight into Piggy’s rational and scientific brain. He is very smart but he is physically weak. Rodger pushes a boulder to crush Piggy.

RALPH- the leader of the boys, the cool kid, he is the one that holds the conch which symbolizes power and order. “All this I meant to say. Now I’ve said it. You voted me for chief. Now you do what I say.” This quote shows us a little about Ralph and his personality, it shows us that he wants order and control on the island but he wants to be the one to set the rules. A train of thought through Ralph’s head is “was vexed to find how little he thought like a grown up and sighed again, the island was getting worse and worse.” This thought shows us that although it is quite clear to us as readers that Ralph needs a bit more education to be able to control a large group of boys and keep the island with order, he cannot see this and he blames the island as getting worse and worse instead of the people living on the island.

JACK- Jack is like Ralph as he is both strong in personality and driven towards leadership. He, on the other hand is not a nice leader though, he takes all advantage of the position and turns it into a way to get to the top rank, whether its nice or not. He turns into a murderer by the end of the story. “The madness came into his eyes again. “I thought I might kill”” This quote shows us that Jacks true nature is hard to hid, he is a killer and the island is bringing the bad side of him out. “Ralph is like Piggy, he says things like Piggy therefore he is not a proper chief” This gives us insight into how Jack thinks, he believes that as Ralph uses logic and reasoning, as does Piggy, he cannot be a suitable leader.

SIMON- Simon is the nice guy, he is timid, thoughtful and he is wise, he is also very mature for his age. He helps people when they need it, he helped the littluns pick fruit and he found Piggy’s glasses after Piggy got punched in the face by Jack. Simon faints, gets bleeding noses and he is sick, yet he is not weak.    He brings the thought of christianity.



Time, place, social setting and atmosphere

Lord Of The Flies is set on a deserted and uninhabited island in the Pacific Ocean. The world is at war and the boys all aged between 6 and 12 are needing to learn new survival skills such as work out how to hunt for food and build themselves a shelter to protect from the bad weather. Everything starts off with good order as they slowly begin to understand they will need a form of government and Ralph is selected to be the leader, they have a conch, used as a talking stick. Things slowly turn to custard as Jack begins to want power above everyone else and starts to murder living things, even people.


choices made by the author



Over-arching sequence of events, including flashbacks and foreshadowing



Elements in the text that represent something greater

CONCH- It was Ralph that found the conch, yet he thought it was a stone. Piggy was the one who identified it as a shell and explained to Ralph how to make a sound out of it, it had the power to make Ralph the leader, but not Piggy even though he was the  first one to know how to use it.


Macbeth Essay


Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare includes two soliloquies from act 1, scene 5 and act 1, scene 7 which I will be comparing. These soliloquies are spoken by Lady Macbeth and Macbeth himself and they both contain ambition, not always good ambition, sometimes evil and for the wrong motives. Shakespeare explains the motives of the two characters through the use of metaphors. Macbeth, although he wants to become king is faced with the thought of murder, placed upon him and encouraged by Lady Macbeth. Using dark metaphors Shakespeare explains the thoughts of which Macbeth struggles against. He highlights the difference in the two ambitions and personalities. “Thou sure and firm set earth, Hear not my steps, which way they walk, for fear Thy very stones prate of my whereabouts, And take the present horror from the time, Which now suits with it. Whiles I threat, he lives. Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.”


In the soliloquy by Lady Macbeth, Shakespeare writes “Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly. that wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, and yet wouldst wrongly win.” to display the point that she believes Macbeth desperately wants the witches prophecy that he will become king to be true, but she thinks he lacks the evil spirit to do so. Using the metaphor “full o’ th’ milk of human kindness” it is portrayed that although Lady Macbeth is aware of Macbeth’s final goal she is also aware that he is a kindhearted fellow, who although his ambition is strong he lacks the courage required to pursue such a violent task. “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor; and shalt be What thou art promised. Yet do I fear thy nature; It is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness To catch the nearest way.” Shakespeare uses the quote inserted above to tell us that Lady Macbeth knows Macbeth has managed to fulfill the hard task of becoming Thane of Glamis and Cawdor, and just as the witches prophecy has promised he will become king. She suggests that he will need to rid himself of the milk of human kindness, meaning he needs to pick up some strength and evilness which is required if he shall become King.


Macbeth thinks hard about the witches prophecy and whether or not he should pursue his dream. He thinks that should he choose to commit the crime that must take place for him to become king there will be rumors spread about the horrible deed. His doubts are strong. Shakespeare shows us as readers by saying “But in these cases we still have judgement here; that we but teach bloody instructions, which , being taught, return to plague the inventor:” this gives us insight to Macbeth’s sense of fair play and although his ambition to murder King Duncan may not coincide with what his heart is telling him to do, he puts his wife’s wishes first. He is fighting against his fears and pulling in the nasty streak which is required to pursue the violent crime. Macbeth is aware of the consequences that will spread like a wild fire once the terrible deed has been cleared. He knows that somewhere up in heaven the angels are watching him and they see whatever move he makes. He is aware of the fact that Duncan, as he goes to heaven will know that it was Macbeth who committed the crime. The unfairness of the deed plays on Macbeth’s mind. Duncan has been a fair leader and he has never done anything as vile as what Macbeth plans on doing. The unfairness of the murder hangs over Macbeth like a dark cloud that refuses to leave him alone. Using the quote “Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off;” Shakespeare tells us that Duncan has been such a fair leader and doesn’t deserve to be treated like this.


The similarities between these selected soliloquies and the things that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth say is the fact that both portray the similar type of thoughts. By saying “And that which rather thou must fear to do than wishest should be undone” Shakespeare explains to us that Lady Macbeth believes Macbeth has the goals to be the best, yet he doesn’t have the strength to continue through with such a vile task, of killing King Duncan. Macbeth thinks about the deed he would have to pursue and he is aware that the end outcome would be great for him but it would also come with consequences that he will have to consider. Shakespeare writes “So clear in his great office, that his virtues will plead like angels, trumpet tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off.” telling us that Macbeth notices that if he was to kill King Duncan then there would be terrible chain reaction that followed. Macbeth is aware that everyone will hear about the crime he has committed. The rumor will spread like a big gust of wind. Macbeth is driven mainly by the ambition of Lady Macbeth. Her ambition is strong and powerful and it is the driving force behind his actions. She has the guts and the ability to commit the worst crime known. She insinuates that as she is a lady she cannot pursue a powerful crime such as murder, it should be committed by a man. The end outcome of the deed will bring great things to her, and she doesn’t consider or care about the burden of guilt that will be laid upon Macbeth, should he choose to pursue with her plan of killing King Duncan. Macbeth becomes haunted by the thought of murder, yet he refuses to let down his wife.

Shakespeare writes this statement  which Lady Macbeth says “Thus thou must do, if thou have it.” and it makes us consider her thoughts of Macbeth and his ambition and desire. She knows he wants to be the best; the most powerful, although to get that he must cheat or be nasty. She also knows he is aware of these facts yet doesn’t have the courage to pursue these terrible tasks. “Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it. What thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win. Thou’ld’st have, great Glamis, That which cries, Thus thou must do, if thou have it,.” This quote by Lady Macbeth explains that Macbeth lacks the skills and audacity required to get to the top and be the best. He wants the witches prophecy to become true yet, he wants to do it fairly. Something that is almost impossible. It is a crime, and crimes cannot be done fairly.

By saying “I have no spurs to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’ other.” Shakespeare explains to us that Macbeth himself has come to terms with the fact that to acquire the top position he has to commit a crime, a crime that he will most likely never be forgiven for. He knows he should be the one to defend Duncan, not be the one to wipe him off the worlds face. “He’s here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself.” In this quote Shakespeare  shows us that Macbeth finally realizes that to get to the highest rung he cannot play fair, he must break King Duncan’s trust and his own dedication to his job which involves being passionate about saving and preventing injures aimed towards King Duncan.


In both of these quotes Shakespeare portrays the point that for Macbeth to become King he must do a horrible deed. Yet, in both of the quotes it is displayed that both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have come to terms that in order for Macbeth to carry out the crime he must undergo a personality change. He must be able to summon the courage required to murder. Shakespeare shows by using metaphors such as “besides, this Duncan hath bourne his faculities so meek” and “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear” that for this to happen, Macbeth will need the strength and courage which Lady Macbeth holds in her heart. Lady Macbeth knows deep down that although Macbeth himself lacks those skills at this moment, she believes that he can acquire those traits and transform his personality into something that can never be reversed. This is an evil trait but a trait that must be carried by a man.


Shakespeare uses metaphors to describe that Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to hurry home so she can persuade his kind hearted mind and let a little of her evil spirit overpower his desire for fair play. “Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear And chastise with the valor of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round.” He tells us by saying “Hie thee hither” that Lady Macbeth is desperate for Macbeth to come home and grasp the crown. The witches prophecy has inspired Lady Macbeth even more to persuade Macbeth into the  murder of King Duncan.


Shakespeare displays that although Macbeth has the correct and strong ambition that is needed for such a crime to take place, he is scared about the consequences that will happen. Macbeth knows that the crime is vile and he knows that to commit such a crime will have his place as a leader more undervalued and not as many people will look up to him as highly as they would of to king Duncan. “And pity, like a naked newborn babe, Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself And falls on th’ other.” Shakespeare shows us using metaphors and similes like “like a naked newborn babe”, “That tears shall drown the wind.” and “I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent” that Macbeth has recognized the fact that should he choose to commit the deed, the news will spread like the wind, not hiding from a single soul. There will be tears shed to empathize with the unfairness and evil spirit that accompanied the ambition. Macbeth knows that ambition can be a hard thing to push against but he also knows that by following through with his ambition he could end up with a very nasty surprise at the other end.

Shakespeare uses many metaphors to show that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, although they both have the same ambition of Macbeth becoming king, they both have entirely different personalities. Macbeth thinks about the consequences of his actions whereas Lady Macbeth only thinks about the end outcome and the pride that Macbeth will hold should he become King. The pride though, of becoming King, will be overpowered by the guilt and unfairness of the murder that must take place for Macbeth to end up as king. The metaphors which Shakespeare chose to use when writing the story of Macbeth are dark but contrasting. For example when he talks about two different types of fluids, Human milk and poison. Human milk portrays the thought that for a human quality it would be kind, caring and compassionate whereas poison for a human quality would be evil, nasty and unfair. Both of these fluids can be related to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, the qualities which human milk contain is the personality of Macbeth and the poison is Lady Macbeth’s qualities. Lady Macbeth talks about filling Macbeth up with her spirits, showing us that she would like to replace some of Macbeth’s human milk qualities with some of her poisonous qualities. Lady Macbeth wants this to happen because she believes that it will ignite his ambition for king and allow his dreams to become true.


Creative writing scrapbook


Simple sentences…

The deserted street lay bare and cold.

Sun fought to be seen, losing it’s battle to the clouds.

It was a bright cold day in April. The clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith had his chin nuzzled into his breast. It was an effort to escape the vile wind. He slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions. He was not quick enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him.

Relative clauses…

The deserted street, which was dark gloomy, lay bare and cold.

The man, who was humming to himself, walked down the middle of the road.

Waves, which smashed against the rocks, were capped with white froth. Seagulls chirped cheerfully, flapping their wings in the hard cold wind. Frozen people, who cupped hot chocolate, shivered as the wind pierced their faces.

The shed, which is musty and damp, stood eerily in the corner. Garden forks, that are off with dirt, lined the walls. Empty flower pots, which cold and lonely, sit in the corner.

Subordinate clauses

All hope was lost after the Thames finally ran dry.

After the citizens ignored the warning signs the ecology of the planet collapsed.

If the Thames finally runs dry all hope will be lost.

Since all hope was lost, the Thames finally ran dry.

After the ecology of the planet collapsed all hope was lost.

After the paper blew away, she gave up altogether.


Describing a plastic bag using senses

Waxy feeling, unexpected smell, translucent, crinkly when squashed

Macbeth Soliloquy: Act 1, Scene 7

Here’s a second soliloquy, this time from Macbeth’s point of view, around the time when he and Lady Macbeth are plotting to kill King Duncan.

Perform the same analysis on this (summarise, explore the language) and then start to develop a list of the things the two have in common and the things that set them apart. Your essay will explore these differences and what this says about their differing motivations at the beginning of the play.


If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well
It were done quickly: if the assassination
Could trammel up the consequence, and catch
With his surcease success; that but this blow
Might be the be-all and the end-all here,
But here, upon this bank and shoal of time,
We’ld jump the life to come. But in these cases
We still have judgment here; that we but teach
Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return
To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice
Commends the ingredients of our poison’d chalice
To our own lips. He’s here in double trust;
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,
Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan
Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been
So clear in his great office, that his virtues
Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against
The deep damnation of his taking-off;
And pity, like a naked new-born babe,
Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed
Upon the sightless couriers of the air,
Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye,
That tears shall drown the wind. I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on the other.

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Chris Waugh