Holier than Thou by mickymanu786


									                                 Contents Page:

Writing Note Book: Please see

Technical Analysis of Poems:

Deaths Secret by Gosta Agren (words 327)                         pg 3 - 4

Sonnet: How life too is sentimental by Gavin Ewant (words 330)   pg 5 - 7

Three Poems including Early Drafts:

List poem: Paradigm                                               pg 8

Haiku: Vision                                                     pg 9

Sonnet: Death Crash                                               pg 9

Drafts                                                           pgs 10-12

A Commentary on Poem (words 550)                                 pgs 13-14

A Short Story: Holier than thou (words 2706)                     pgs 15-25

A Commentary on: Holier than thou (words 508)                    pgs 26-27

A Commentary on another students Draft story (words 290)         pgs 28

MLA: Works cited& Bibliography                                   pgs 29-30

Appendix: Haiku image, Gothic Thriller & Short Story Draft        pg 31

                 Technical Analysis of two poems from the Anthologies

‘Death’s secret’

It is not true

that death begins after life

When life stops

death also stops

written by Gosta Agren translated from Finland Swedish by David McDuff.

Agren’s haiku Death’s Secret is written in a quatrain using the syllabic form of four,

seven, three and four. Agren deviates from the traditional Japanese haiku of three

lines. A haiku can be used to interpret the world, by capturing a moment of

experience. Agren does this by juxtaposing the elements of ‘life and death’. The

contradictory elements relate to the specific meaning of the poem. The opening ‘It is

not true’ seems like a declaration. The use of the syllabic form places the emphasis on

the abstract noun ‘true’, because ‘It’ is used as a dummy subject. Thus, the

meaningful word in this line is ‘true’ which is also preceded by negation. Therefore

the opening poses a hypothetic question about what the poet may be referring to.

        The following line is introduced with a conjuncture ‘that’, relating the clause

back to the opening that ‘death begins after life’. Thus, it is presenting two conflicting

views. Firstly by connecting the clause to the opening, it can be suggested that death

does not continue, and causes life to end, hence ending all expectation of continuity.

However, without being connected to the opening, the ‘after life’ can be seen as a

compound, thus suggesting that ‘death begins’ the ‘after life’.

         The last couplets are used to perform the turn in the poem. They are used to

unite one thought. This is shown by the observation that ‘life stops’ so therefore

‘death also stops’. Thus, showing the action of death stops the action of life. The poet

seems to have captured the visual imagery. Thus, the use of the haiku form serves to

create a dual meaning. By using observation, the poet constructs an abstract view in

the first two couplets that death may begin the after life. An observational concrete

view is created in the later couplets that death ends life. Therefore, this may explain

why the poet has used four lines instead of the typical three. The direct and indirect

meanings can serve to show the human uncertainties about the continuity of life after


              Technical Analysis of two poems from the Anthologies

Sonnet: How life Too Is Sentimental.

When our son was a few weeks old he had bronchial trouble

and picked up a cross-infection in the hospital

(salmonella typhimurium) through sluttish feeding –

but a hospital never admits it’s responsible –

and was rushed away behind glass in an isolation ward,

at the point, it might be, of death. Our daughter,

eighteen months old, was just tall enough

to look into his empty cot and say: ‘Baby gone!’

A situation, an action and a speech

so tear-jerking that Dickens might have thought of them –

and indeed, in life when we say ‘It couldn’t happen’

almost at once it happens. And the word “sentimental”

has come to mean exaggerated feeling.

It would have been hard to exaggerate our feelings then.

Written by Gavin Ewart

The Sonnet: How life too is sentimental written by Gaven Ewant conforms to the

sonnet form by the use of the first stanza of octave and second stanza of sestet lines.

However, it deviates from any other conventions of the sonnet form. The sonnet

usually displays the usage of the iambic pentameter and a rhyming scheme. The poet

has played with the form in order to create a sense of confusion, hence fashioning the

meaning to the poem. The voice in the poem is of a parent whose son is hospitalised

for a cross infection. The deliberate breach of conventions conveys the tension and

mood of the poem. The poem relates the sense of despair, confusion and anger felt by

this parent when their child was ill.

       The first three lines do not use punctuation, thus creating a sense of

breathlessness which builds on the imagery of the hospital. It also adds to the pace of

the poem by re-creating the chaos and confusion of this period, therefore evoking a

strong atmosphere of the hospital. The non-conformity to the sonnet rules, replicates

the feelings the parents felt at the time. This is because like the parent, the reader does

not know what to expect. The fourth line expresses the anger felt by a parent. The end

of the sentence in mid line, which states the child might be ‘of death’ emphasises the

sense of fear and raises the tension. The varied stresses capture the momentary lapse

of sense, making the feelings of confusion and anger prevail.

       The second stanza is used to reflect back on what the parent felt at the time.

The reader is unsure about the resolution, feeling like worst may have happened and

the parents may have lost their child. It is a vague imagery, but the use of flash back

serves to show the feelings of anger, which continue in the second stanza. The

moment of despair is re-lived because the voice of the parent still shows the anger felt

at the time.

                          Three Poems including early drafts:

                                  List Poem: ‘Paradigm’

Planet Earth is encompassed

in the depth of darkness,

illuminated by the raging sun.

Roaming stars lustre bright,

unfazed by the infinite expanse.

The solar family is related by space.

Adjacent Venus busily

trapping poisonous heat,

spinning against the rule.

Mercury close to the inferno and

deceptive Mars red and arctic.

King Jupiter, charms with swirls

and rages with storms.

Saturn’s rotates with its belt of ice.

Sad Neptune blue and white.

Pluto salutes from a distance,

while her foe Uranus tips on edge.

All we know is that,

we can never know it at all.

                                       Haiku: Vision

Black against Black

View to East and West

Torn by red glow

Unable to converse

                                   Sonnet: Death Crash

For a while a child, did not know sorrow,

whilst playing and laughing in the summer sky.

Unable to comprehend that she may die.

Carefree happiness dulls the senses so low.

With a sudden thud, she’s up in the air, so

high and out of control. In the cusp of the dry

air, urgently swirling back down, THUD: ly-

ing dead, but not quite ready to go.

The scene is set, a child lifeless and blue:

eyes stinking with the ultra violet, motionless

on the rough grey burning cement.

Helplessly waiting for help, due

to this searing pain, can’t fathom or even guess

what has happened in that moment.

Draft of List poem:

Planet Earth encompassed

With the depth of darkness

Illuminated by the raging sun

Roaming starts lustre bright

Unfazed by the wide expanse

The solar system: The family,

Venus close by, spinning anti-clock-wise

Mercury, small closely aligned

To the sun’s fury blowing hot and cold

Mars red, colder and smaller

King Jupiter, streaked with swirls

And amusing itself with storms

Saturn surrounded by moons

And bands of ice

Neptune blue and white

Baby Pluto abandons the sun

And Uranus tipped.

Draft of Sonnet:

For a while a child knows not sorrow

Whilst laughing and playing in the summer sky

Unable to comprehend that she may die

Happiness dulls the senses to low

The menace on the street, the metallic foe

The imbecile is impatient and high

Cares not he, that little one May lye

Dead, the brut roars and speeds to go

He sets the scene, a child lifeless and blue

And broken and sore, on the burning cement

Helplessly waiting for help, losing her breath

The villain has gone, afraid of the rue

May have ended the commencement

Of a life so dear, for will she avoid death

Drafts of Haiku:

Desire meets Virtue

Head to head

To eliminate

Aids in Africa

Desire against virtue

Back to back

Helping eliminate aids

Desire and Virtue

Contributed to the

Global fund

Raising awareness

Producing virtuous Customers

Through the desire

Of the Africans

Black on white

Focusing East and West

Unable to converse

Joined by red glow

                              A Commentary on Poems

The Paradigm is constructed in the form of a list poem, whilst trying to exhibit the

visual imagery of a list. It is called Paradigm because all matter in the universe is

related. Whilst constructing this poem, the initial drafts did not endeavour to

commentate on the personalities of the planets. However, the final draft does involve

commentaries on the planets personalities and visual imagery in order to allow a voice

to be presented. The poem is shaped visually like a list, thus helping to relate to its

meaning that the universe is endless. The problem of using a list poem has been that it

is difficult to decide where to stop. Therefore the focus has been on common

knowledge. The difficulty of using scientific facts may have meant losing the purpose

of this poem. The use of a voice helps to navigate and control the exploration of

space. The choice to use limited subjects is deliberate to show that the human mind

cannot comprehend everything.

       The second poem Vision is in the form of a haiku. The aim of this was to show

the imagery of an advertisement for a mobile phone, which uses the African aids

plight to sell the product (please see Extract). It was a struggle to portray a coherent

image, whilst also trying to embed a meaning to the poem. The final haiku represents

the observation of the imagery. The difficulty in communication of the two heads

serve to show the meaning that the East and West find it difficult to agree on methods

of helping the African AIDS plight. The positive aspects of this poem are that it is

observational but like Agren’s poem serves to create a dual meaning. The initial drafts

showed the limitation of using the haiku form. The difficulty was in being able to fuse

a greater sense to the imagery. This has meant that the final draft may be visualised

without the recreation of the real image. The black against black is used to show that

the African faces are opposed to one another. Thus, their ‘views’ restrict their ability

to understand each others ideas. The deliberate use of four lines rather than the

rudimentary three has contributed towards the meaning that without debate there will

be disagreement.

       The third poem Death Crash is written in the form of a sonnet. The aim was to

show my experience of being hit by a car at the age of eleven. The initial drafts create

the visual imagery of what happened. However the final draft tries to work with the

feelings of that day. I have tried to fuse my feelings into the sonnet form, because

sonnets tend to evoke strong sentiments. The positive aspects of the poem are the

sense of confusion in the final stanza which shows how quickly the accident had

happened. However, in the second stanza, the exact impact of the accident can be

vague because it is not directly stated. The aim of this poem was to evoke a sense of

anger and confusion similarly to Ewart. I feel that I could have made improvements

by trying to maintain the initial feelings I received when memorising this event.

However, I found it difficult to capture the feelings into the rhyming frame of abba

abba cde cde.

                                  Holier than thou

       “Brrrrrr,” “brrrrr.”

Sarah dragged her arm slowly towards the receiver.

       “Yes?” she croaked.

       “Oh, Ms Allen, your car is ready.”

       “Fine, I’ll pick it up later,” she managed to say as she willed her eyes open.

Putting the receiver down, she grabbed the alarm clock.


       “Shit,” she cursed, knowing she shouldn’t have had that last tumbler of red

wine the night before. Flinging the duvet off, she ran into the bathroom.

       Sarah couldn’t remember the last time she’d had a lie in. She completed all her

ablutions like a mad woman. Back in the bedroom she jumped, hopped and dragged

herself into her one of her hundreds of formal suits. Grabbing a comb and forcing it

through her hair as she stood in front of the oak framed mirror. Sometimes Sarah

forgot what she looked like. Her reflection gave her a sultry expression like old friend

who didn’t hadn’t kept in touch, taking a few moments to re-adjust her memory.

Although it appeared like nothing had changed very much, the same jet black hair,

olive complexion and green eyes, Sarah felt old. Was she ever young and carefree?

Her eyes began to sting. Wiping the warm liquid away from her checks, she erected

her back and told herself to stop being silly. Glancing around the immaculate room

with the widescreen TV and King Size bed, she reminded herself of all the hard work

she had put in for everything she owned.

       Finally, Sarah was ready to face the world. Grabbing her keys, and slamming

the door of her semi, she left Upper Street in Richmond. Once in her Mercedes she

drove like a maniac through the hectic London traffic, racing through the incessant

pedestrian crossings. Finally, she slammed her brakes on as a traffic warden jumped

out in front of her. The traffic warden towered her arms above her body as though

preparing to salute an old dictator. An old pensioner was taking a hundred or so years

to cross four yards of tarmac. Sarah was getting impatient. Her eyes wondered around

the grimy, London blocks, finally resting on a young mum, probably a teenager, who

was battling with her toddler, ‘you ain’t getting any!’ screamed the grubby teenager to

her equally loud infant. Obviously she must be scrounging off the state. Feeling the

bile rise up in her throat, Sarah quickly looked away. How could people like that feel

no shame, and have no respect for upstanding citizens like her who worked hard for a

living? These people were the scourge of society. If Sarah ruled she would stop these

vile creatures from having any children, and would certainly give them no benefits.

She cursed “lazy bastards,” as she drove off.

       She arrived at the pristine BMW garage in Lower New Hampton. The clerk, a

young geeky kid, with greasy hair that probably took all morning to correct, came

enthusiastically running up to her.

       “Miss Al…Allen”, “Erm…your car will be out in a minute, we just need to fill

in the err app... appropriate forms,” he stammered.

Sarah was in no mood for this, she peeped at the kid’s badge, Simon Smith, it said,

followed proudly by assistant manager.

          “What do you mean? I was under the impression that it was all done and ready

to be picked up,”

          “I’m sorry,” said Simon.

          “Where is it?”

          “Just in the back,” he hesitated, “just a minute.”

          They brought the car out. It was a Mercedes Dynamic, 5.5 liter V-8 engine, 7-

speed automatic transmission, 17 inch alloy wheels, AMG-designed sculpted front air

dam, side skirts, rear apron and spoiler, hardtop design, black grille with four chrome

ribs, and chrome dual-exhaust finisher . Sarah inspected it thoroughly.

          “Give me the keys,” she ordered.

The assistant looked at her, not knowing what to do.

          “Give them to me now!” she said firmly holding him with her glare. Knowing

that he was too weak for her; after all, hadn’t she made men of steel drop to their

knees and beg for mercy?

          “Yes, erm…here you are,” Simon knew he’d get it in the neck from his boss,

but if he didn’t do what this creature ordered, he’d be turned into stone.

          Medusa was on a mission. She knew that she’d be busy but her schedule was

out of control. She owned a string of lingerie shops in the best parts of London.

Coming from the upbringing she’d had, this wasn’t easy. Her mother had worked in a

factory no less than sixteen hours a day and her imbecile father had drunk the money

like there was an endless supply. One thing Sarah knew was that she was never going

to end up like them, that’s why she hadn’t seen them in years. Sometimes her heart

yearned for her mother, but she couldn’t bring herself to associate with those sorts of


         Sarah had a PA who was useless, having to do everything herself was a strain,

but one she thrived on. She was hosting a dinner for the directors the following

evening and everything had to be prefect. She phoned her PA.

         “Ms Allen,” “I’ve got the confirmation from the directors…”

         “What, now? Why didn’t you do it last week? Have you got everything for the


         “Erm, Ms Allen, I’ve been…” paused Maurine.

         “So, you haven’t, have you?”

         “Sorry Ms Allen.”

         “Right, I’ll go to the supermarket and get the food,” Sarah said impatiently,

         “and don’t forget to pick up my old car from the Garage, I’ve left it there, and

         do the paperwork for the new one will you.”

         “Yes, Ms Allen,” said Maurine. Maurine had known Sarah all her working

life, she’d known that she’d always been focused but lately she couldn’t decide

whether Sarah was just focused or obsessed. She wanted to confront her and tell her to

get some help. But stopped herself, well she had mouths to feed and the last thing her

children needed was a mother who was unemployed.

         Sarah hated all this; if she could she’d do it all herself. She arrived at the car

park of the supermarket; and circled the car park twice, but failed to find any parking

spots. She noticed her new car impressed many, especially a group of teenagers

standing in the corner of the newsagents. They stood staring through their hoodies,

eyeing the car over again and over again.

       At times like this Sarah just wanted to run out and hit them with all with base

ball bats. She believed in fighting for was yours. She stared back at them, rolling her

window down and pushing her head out, she screamed, “Oi, nothing better to do than

to stare, try getting a job”. The kids just shrugged their shoulders, and smirked. This

incensed Sarah more, how dare they!

       Finally, Sarah found a spot to park in, but began to worry that the kids would

nick her car or at least scratch the metal paint. Oh well, if they did they’d have hell to

pay. Eying the security guard on the corner of the automatic doors, she ran in.

       She grabbed a trolley and headed for the fish and poultry section. The thought

of caviar filled her mind. Nothing but the best for her guests. The supermarket was

buzzing with housewives, the battle of the trolleys commenced. Racing through the

maze of people and isles, Sarah’s concentration was intense. From nowhere some-

idiot rammed into her and she was on her back; looking at the amber lights at the top

of the modern arc like ceiling. Sarah lay motionless waiting for someone to help her

up, busily thinking of ways to sue the supermarket for every penny they had, and the

idiot who had done this to her.

       “Oh, I’m sooo sorry,” came a shrieking voice from above her.

Sarah sighed, ready for battle.

       “Right!” she thought preparing for the onslaught.

A hand was offered, and she took it like a child snatching a toy.

The hand yanked her up,

Sarah brushed the dust off her shirt and looked up. The face she stared into was

familiar. Who his woman in her thirties, with home dyed hair and skin that looked

like it had been exposed to smoke since birth?

       “Sarah!” shrieked the woman.

       “Rachel,” she said begrudgingly.

       She remembered Rachel, as teenagers they’d been the best of friends, but

when Rachel got pregnant, it was all over. She’d dreaded seeing her anywhere ever

since. And here she was, in the Upper part of Richmond. How come? She’d lived in

Tower Hamlets for the last thirty odd years. Probably wanted to see how the other half

lived. Well Sarah was more than happy to fill her in.

       “How have you been?” asked Rachel.

       “Well, I’m doing quite well,” she said adopting her authoritarian voice.

       “Oh, are you?” said Rachel.

       “Yep, I own a string of retail outlets around London and I’ve managed to buy

a nice little villa on the Mediterranean coast,” she said smugly.

       “Oh, that’s so nice” said Rachel enthusiastically. She knew that Sarah had

never got over what had happened between them.

       “I was hoping that I would bump into you one day Sarah,” Rachel hesitated.

       “It’s been so long.” Rachel wanted to begin mending things; she’d always felt

       so guilty.

       “Well, I suppose so,” said Sarah with hostility because she didn’t want an

invite to her house or something. Going back to that hell-hole was the last thing she


‘God, having to pretend everything was kosher was such a nuisance’. She wished she

could tell the bitch, but Sarah didn’t want the other customers hearing about what had

happened. She didn’t want anybody’s pity.

        “Well, I’ve been very busy too” sounded Rachel, “I just wanted to say…”

Sarah had lost interest, eager to leave this disastrous scene. She didn’t want reminding

of that terrible period in her life.

        “Right, I’m sorry, Rachel, I’ve gotta go, I’ve got a dinner ball to prepare, I

don’t normally come shopping, my PA does it for me” but she’s useless.

Before she could give Rachel an opportunity to open her mouth she scurried off,

leaving Rachel dumbfounded.

        Once the shopping had been done, Sarah hurried out; intended to making sure

her car was alright. She looked at the security guard; he was old, overweight and lazy,

he didn’t look like a man who could cope with any sort of disaster. Why did they

employ him? She started to look for her car. The car park was even busier than when

she arrived. Rows of cars were circling around waiting to pounce on any available

parking spot. This further infuriated Sarah as she knew she would find it impossible to

get out. She kept looking but couldn’t find her car. Panicking she thought about the

kids that had been there before, maybe the imbecile security guard didn’t notice them.

After all, these kids were professional thieves. Finally, Sarah spotted a metallic black

Mercedes exactly in the spot it was left. Quickening her pace she started marching

towards her car, eager to flee.

        She fumbled for her keys in her purse whilst approaching her target. Grabbing

the key she pressed it to open the central locking. No response. Agitated, looking up

she closed her vision in on the car. To her disbelief there inside her car was a juvenile.

He was sitting in the driver’s seat as if he was doing nothing wrong. As she

approached she saw he was playing with her stereo system. Aero smith was vibrating

through the cold November air. Her surroundings became blank, seeing this teenager

taking the piss. She arrived and swung the driver’s door open. The stupid kid didn’t

even lock it. The kid looked at her, eyes popping out of his scull. Obviously

frightened he had been caught.

        “YOU BASTARD!” screamed Sarah.

        “What are you doing in my car?”

        Before the juvenile could respond, Sarah grabbed his hoodie and dragged him

onto the pavement. He was strong and started to pull back, the scuffle started to

interest the other customers on the car park. They wrested in and out of the car,

pulling and pushing. Nobody was making the effort to break up the fight.

Sarah kept her tight grip on the boy’s hoodie. But he kept resisting. She was hot and

bothered, and couldn’t understand why the boy wouldn’t give up, surely he must

realise it’s over. Well, Sarah wasn’t going to give up either.

        Somebody called the security guard. He came running up to see the

commotion for himself. The security guard took out his mobile phone to call for back


        “Right miss I’m gonna have to ask you to let go off this boy”

Sarah looked through her dishevelled hair, “what do you mean?” she said. Every

breath in her body had gone; she was fighting to catch some oxygen into her lungs.

        “This brat has stolen my car”

The boy started shaking his head furiously, as if fighting with himself for his voice

but it failed him.

Before the security guard could speak, “what’s going on here?” came a shocked


Sarah instantly recalled it. Rachel was standing behind her.

         “Rachel,” Sarah cried eagerly, trying to get her old friend to be her ally.

         “Why are you grabbing my son, have you done this to him?” Rachel said with

mounting anger.

         “Your son” right, thought Sarah, vindicated. All those years ago when Rachel

had become pregnant, Sarah knew that her life would end like this. Bringing a

monster into this world was all she was good for.

Sarah was eager to fill Rachel in about the nauseating act her son had just committed,

“your son has just stolen my car” she blurted out.

“What your car?” said Rachel nudging her head towards the Mercedes, “where?”

         “This, this car, this Mercedes dynamic, it’s…’

         “This isn’t your car” butted in Rachel, “this is my car.”

How could Rachel stoop so low? How was she going to pull this one off? Sarah

cringed for her friend.

         “Stephen brought it for our sixteenth anniversary.”

         “Stephen!” Sarah rolled the name on her tongue. Stephen had been Sarah’s

boyfriend in the old days. He had gone behind her back with Rachel, getting her

pregnant at the age of sixteen or maybe Rachel did it deliberately so she could

scrounge off the state, Sarah didn’t know which, but why hadn’t they broken up? How

could Stephen stay with Rachel, even though she looked like a witch? Now she was

fuming, how dare they stay together to spite her. Sarah knew Rachel was a liar and a

cheat and she had created a liar and a cheat and so the cycle goes on. The security

guard intervened.

       “Miss…’ if you want we can have this sorted by involving the police or you

both could sort it out now.” Rachel scowled at Sarah, how she dare lay a finger on her

son. It was typical of Sarah to assume the worst. Half the reason Rachel and Stephen

got together was because Sarah had always pushed him away, always making him feel

useless. Anyway she didn’t want Joe to find out about how he was conceived right


       “We’ll sort it out now; I’ve got my paperwork in the car” said Rachel “just a


Sure enough Rachel had all the paperwork just before her. “We only brought this car a

few day’s ago,” said she.

       The security guard looked at the paper, “so, you’re a barrister, Mrs Brant,” he

said raising his eyebrows, he wasn’t the only one. Sarah glanced at the boy who gave

her a smirk obviously suppressing his laughter. Sarah couldn’t blame him after all he

had just received bruises which he didn’t deserve. Sarah shuddered, looking at the

cause of her problems.

       “Sarah” Rachel said, “Where is your car?”

       “Well, I don’t know,”

       “‘Is it that one” the boy pointed towards the row once removed. Sure enough

there was Sarah’s car. Gleaming in the November sun. She felt like she wanted to

puke. How could she jump to so many conclusions? Rachel’s was eager to tell Sarah

how Stephen was getting along. He was an architect, planning many houses for the

rich and famous. Rachel must have enjoyed this; after all she had managed to

humiliate her twice in one life time. Rachel left with a final glance of pity towards

Sarah. Sarah stood for a moment, unable to urge herself to move. On lookers shook

their heads as they dispersed. Sarah closed her eyes hoping when she’d open them, the

earth would’ve devoured her. How could this happen to her? How dare she feel that

she could’ve have measured up to anybody? Her father had always told her that she

was no good, and it showed didn’t it? In the distance she could hear the laughter of


                  A Commentary on Story Story: Holier than thou

The idiom for constructing Holier than thou has been to choose a style of narrative,

language, and character that would best suit the plot. The plot has been inspired by a

number of observations, thought-showers, media stories and Aristotle’s Arc. The

original story has evolved many times to show a greater depth of awareness to the

protagonist’s state of mind. The aim was to use a character that the reader could

identify with to a certain degree. I was able to do this by making Sarah emulate the

worst traits in business people. Her sense of superiority and her paranoia were

juxtaposed in order to create an internal conflict. The level of insecurity she felt gave

her an added dimension because she is shown to be a person whose underlying desire

is to be accepted by others.

       The positive aspects of this story have been to capture Sarah’s character

dimensions. This is especially portrayed because she has evolved from feeling very

superior at the beginning to feeling like ‘scum of the world’ at the end. Sarah’s temper

is contrasted with her insecurity to show that she is at the brink of a nervous

breakdown. The ending closes on a positive note because the protagonist

acknowledges her failures. This allows the reader to feel that Sarah may endeavour to

get help for her problems.

       The limitations of the story are that the other characters have not been able to

show more personality. This was mainly due to the restriction in word count and

making the choice to provide more depth to Sarah rather than concentrating on the

other minor characters. This was due to Dianne Doubtfire’s suggestion that ‘the story

should revolve around one person’s problem and a single period of time’ (39). The

minor characters have been used as foils in order to show how events escalate.

Through the omniscient narrator some minor characters like Maurine gain a slight

voice to show the extent of Sarah’s erratic behaviour.

       The improvements that could be made would be to establish the reasons why

Sarah behaves so erratically. It may have been better to show how her mind plays

with her or to suggest that she may be suffering with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

This would have enabled a greater depth of understanding as to why she has become

who she is. Subtle inferences were made to suggest that Sarah’s upbringing was

difficult which account for why she is so erratic. The omniscient narrator could have

been used also to show a greater sense of irony, and vindication of other characters.

The omniscient narrator does not judge Sarah. But it may have been useful in order to

add subtle judgement on behalf of the reader. Hence, this may have allowed the reader

to connect more strongly with the plot. However the omniscient narrator remained

non-judgemental in order to create a sense of mystery. It was difficult to decipher

whether the style of language was superior enough for Sarah’s character. The reason

colloquial language was selected was to mimic Sarah’s working class roots.

                     A Commentary on another Student’s draft.

The Gothic Thriller is a story about a group of friends who endeavour to go on a

ghost walk. The story uses a strong plot, which begins to create a sense of mystery

from the onset. The use of humour mocks the characters such as when the narrative

describes Lily who had gone from ‘unsociable miserable girl to an unsociable

miserable mouthy woman’. The choice to use an omniscient narrator helps to

establish the main characters and their personalities very efficiently which is needed

in a short story format.

       Although the use omniscient narrator is appropriate, sometimes it feels a little

distant from the views of the characters. The omniscient narrator establishes the

characters well, but it fails to capture the description of the setting. Some sentences do

not always follow on with the same theme, such as when the guide is described but

the final sentence in the paragraph is that ‘It was cold’. Although this is a relevant

observation, it may have been connected well with the reader, if a character was

described as if they were shivering. This would produce double meaning by firstly

showing the effect of the weather. Secondly it may show how the guide affected the

group’s dynamics, further demonstrating how the atmosphere changed which could

add more pace.

       Although the ending seems to have not been decided, in a gothic story, it

would be interesting to leave the reader slightly confused by not tying up all the loose

ends. The movement from the beginning to end could illustrate how events have

altered a character perception.

                                   MLA: Works Cited

Astley, Neil. (ed) Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times. Northumberland:

       Bloodaxe, 2002. pp 382 & 184

Doubtfire, Dianne. Teach yourself creative Writing. London: Hodder & Stoughton,

       1983.pp 39

                                MLA: Bibliography

Astley, Neil. (ed) Staying Alive: Real Poems for Unreal Times. Northumberland:

       Bloodaxe, 2002

Bell, Julia. & Magrs, Paul. (eds) The Creative Writing Coursebook. London:

       Mamillan, 2001

Culler, Jonathan. Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford

       University Press, 1997

Doubtfire, Dianne. Teach yourself creative Writing. London: Hodder & Stoughton,


Jones, R.T. Studying Poetry: An Introduction. New York: Martin Press, 1986

Keegan, Paul. The Penguin Book of English Verse. London: Penguin, 2000

Lennard, John. The Poetry Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996

Reeves, James. The Critical Sense. London: Heineman, 1956

Reeves, James & Seymour-Smith, Martin. Inside Poetry. London: Heineman, 1970

Rothenberg, Jerome. & Joris, Pierre. Poems for the Millennium. London: University

       of California Press, 1995


1. Image for Haiku

2. Another Students Draft Story: Gothic Thriller

3. Draft Short Story Holier than thou


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