Literature – Activity

After reading Billenium, we discussed the story in class and analysed it altogether. After doing this last class, our Literature teacher, Pat, asked us to answer in groups some questions about Billenium. I did it with Bautista Buljevich and Olivia Obligado and these are our answers:

  • 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

In the previous clases, we read about the Berlin Blockade. Lenny, our History teacher, adked us to complete a chart and answer some questions using the information gathered. This is my chart and my answers:

HISTORY QUESTIONS

  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. Extended question: Who was more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War, the Soviets or the Americans?

ANSWERS

  1. The second world war had included also civilians. Berlin, as a consequence, had been entirely destroyed. Everything had been lost, so people’s lives in the post-war era was poor and devastating, as everything had disappeared. Casualties were much more than in the first world war. Berlin people who had survived were very needy and their were shortages of all goods.
  2. The difference between the soviet and the west policies was that Stalin did not want  Berlin to recover too fast and to keep control of it. He was willing to cripple it. On the other hand, the west was recovering thanks to the US Marshal Plan, which used a new currency and loans precisely for the west recoverement. By doing this, the consequences of the world war two could be confronted and solved.
  3. The new currency was vital for capitalism because it united them against the soviet. The sharing of the same currency would allow them to achieve prosperity while the USSR didn’t. Also, it allowed USA to strengthen it’s policy of containment and stop the communist spread.
  4. The airlift was a major feat as it brought a lot of tension between the two rivals. It showed again that Stalin was desperate to expand and spread communism. On the other hand, it also showed that truman was strong enough to confront Stalin and that he would not be easily beaten. It showed that USA was also serious. Suspicion and grew from both sides thanks to this event.
  5. The USA and the USSR can be held responsible for the increasing of tension as they both, during the airlift, performed suspicious actions. ON the one hand, the USSR cut off over two million population of west berlin from receiving goods from western Germany. Canals and vital roads were closed by Stalin so that he could force USA out of Berlin. This increased tension as it threatened the USA, because if they acted it would be an act of war. On the other hand, the USA, confronted Stalin and sent supplies through the air. It showed Stalin’s defeat and Truman’s strength. It created tension and suspicion between both sides.
  6. Stalin, in the end, decided to reopen communication and transports, canals and vital roads were now available. He did this as he realised that his plan had failed. He understood that he wouldn’t be able to force USA out of Berlin and that Truman was strong and suspicious enough to give up the city.
  7. From my point of view, the soviets were more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint in the Cold War. The americans had a strong and firm reaction, but it was what it was needed. The citizens needed to recover economically and it wasn’t fair that they lost their part of Berlin, as it had been previously discussed at Yalta. Truman, although it created tension and was a suspicious act, did what it was correct, as he deserved West Berlin’s control. Stalin, on the other hand, had no right to close the roads and canals. His ambition impulsed him to keep wanting more territory that it did not belong to him. He is more to blame than the USA, as he knew his limits. However, he wanted all Berlin under communist influence.

La casa rosada – TP

El Viernes 15 de Junio, visitamos la casa rosada. Y, por ello, nuestra profesora de Formación Ética y Ciudadana, nos encomendó un trabajo práctico sobre la misma. Debíamos realizar una presentación en base a 3 de estas preguntas:

  1. Historia del edificio
  2. Patrimonio histórico de la Casa Rosada. Museo y salas históricas.
  3. Los presidentes argentinos desde 1826 a 2018, partido político, mandato, profesión.
  4. ¿Qué presidentes no pudieron terminar su mandato, cuál fue la causa y quién lo sucedió?
  5. ¿Qué presidente cumplió más de un mandato? Señale cada uno de sus mandatos.
  6. ¿Qué presidentes asumieron por golpe de Estado? ¿A quien depusieron?
  7. ¿Quién fue el primer presidente de la Nación Argentina: Bernardino Rivadavia, Justo José de Urquiza, Santiago Derqui o Bartolomé Mitre?

Nosotros elegimos las preguntas 3, 4 y 6. YO lo realicé junto con Anouk Laferrere, Juana Zufriategui y Juan Elía. Esta es nuestra presentación:

Presentación- Casa Rosada

En estos mismos grupos, realizamos un concurso de videos, luego de la visita. En este, deberíamos sacar fotos y grabar videos durante todo el recorrido, para poder armar el video. Luego, deberíamos agregarle un audio grabado con un texto informativo/historia sobre la casa rosada. Jana Zufriategui, Juan Elía, Anouk Laferrere y yo hicimos este video:

Description and poem of the Pilar Church – Matías Ripoll and Tomas Braun

Description of the Church

The church of Pillar is situated in Recoleta, Buenos Aires. It was built as a part of the Franciscan monastery in 1732 and is dedicated to our lady of the Pillar. It is the second-oldest church and its construction was begun by the Italian Andres Blanqui and finished under Juan Bautista Primoli. Despite its antiquity, this church keeps attracting people.

From distance, you can appreciate a delightful garden with two brick-made sideroads. The garden is made of a perfectly cut and greenish grass covered with white and growing flowers. Black fences surround the garden working as protection. The outside of the church has a white color and it contains rectangular windows all over the front side of it. The church has a triangular-shaped roof and on the left of it at the top, a white bell can be seen. The entrance of the Church of Pilar is white and has black gratings to forbid the access to it. As you get in, there is an area with a brick-made floor which leads to the big wooden gate, which gives access to the inside of the kirk

As you enter, you can perceive two lines of brownish benches and between them, a thin corridor is made. This one leads to the altar of the church and three chairs in which the priest and the altar boys sit. In addition a golden-made and huge sculpture which has, at the center of it, our lady of the pillar. At the sides of the church white columns with significative Christian statues can be seen. The ceiling is white, giving the inside of the church a light color.

All in all, the church of pilar has a delightful appearance in both the inside and outside of it, and it is for this reason that many tourists decide to visit it every day.

 

 

Poem – The Pilar Church

 

Built by his followers,

Lighted by his angelical advice

Even the Lord was flabbergasted

by the souls it enticed

 

The white walls illuminated their faith

The greenish grass lighted a delightful day while the Lord waited for their entrance

accepting every one of their repentance

 

And through the wooden gates, there she stands,

Delightfully seeing everyone’s face

In front of her, her dead son,

The Lord’s word being said for everyone in the place

 

She is not alone there, though,

Sunday noon fills her house with pained,

Agonising spirits,  praying for help and salvation,

A man kindly speaks “it’s okay to be afraid”

 

As big as a Roman temple,

Her greatness as big as a Church,

Standing above the Pilar,

Jesus’ utterances being said,

“It’s okay to be afraid”, they say,

“My fault, hit me with your birch”.