Billenium by J.G.Ballard

In our literature class, once we had finished reading and analysisn the story billenium, we did an activity in groups about it. This one consisted of answering some questions about the story. I worked with Oliverio Llobet and Bianca Ieraci. This is our work:

1- Write a detailed synopsis of the story.

The story billenium, written by J.G. Ballard, deals with a distant future and a city that is facing the problem of overpopulation. The protagonist of the story, Ward, lives in a small cubicle as there are too many people for him to live in a bigger place. In the story, there is a moment in which the protagonist starts living with a man named Henry Rossiter. They become friends, despite of their different personalities. Once, they found a victorian wardrobe where they can have much more space than they had before. In there, they enjoyed a lot of time together, as they have never had such a “huge” space before. They invited their girlfriends to live there with them, that ended up inviting their own families. With the passing of time, they started having less space for them to live. Ward, though he could get money from it and people started paying to live in the wardrobe. He became in what he hated the most, he only cared about the money and prefered that instead of spending time alone with his friend. At the end of the story, they dismantled the victorian wardrobe as it occupied a lot of space. This shows how they ended up destroying what actually made them happy only for some money.

 

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.

 

Overpopulation is a very present and important theme in the story. We can see how, in a distant future, this affects daily life and, how things like money lose value due to the fact that there are no more spaces to be bought. It has a huge effect on the way and quality of life, to a certain extent that there is a phenomenon as it is the “pedestrian jam”. This is when the number of people living somewhere is so big that there is a “human jam” on the street that does not allow anyone to advance. It is so massive that the main character stays there for 48 hours.

 

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.

The search for living space, is something present in the people’s daily life as the overpopulation is affecting their country and limiting his living space. Finding the victorian wardrobe is a key issue in the story as it shows how not only the proganosists but also their girlfriends and family are desperate to found a bigger space to live. To have a bigger living space is the purpose of each human being. However, once Ward and Rossiter achieved this they ended up destroying it. The craving for money ended up being more important than living in better condition which lead them to dismantling  the victorian furniture and destroying the only thing that could provide them a better place to live. Moreover, the threats of the government to reduce the space allowed, contributed to the constant obsession of people to quest for more space as they are afraid of having no space to live.

 

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?

Ward and Rossiter dislike and criticize the way in which the government deals with overpopulation. They, instead of giving people more space, reduce the living space to make more cubicles for people to live. This actually ends up increasing and contributing to overpopulation instead of solving the problem. Moreover, the government also persuades people to have more children by telling them they would actually have more space if they have a minimum of three children. This is ironic as the way of solving this problem, in the eyes of this government, is to increase the population. The protagonist are criticizing this as they are living in 3 ½ square meters and the government is failing to realize this.

 

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.

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. People are told to have 3 children, however, the space wasn’t enough. When they had numerous families, some more space was provided but it wasn’t too much so it was practically the same situation as before. The government is trying to “solve” overpopulation by telling people to have several kids which is actually ironic as it won’t lead to any solution. The author is trying to show how the persuade from the government to have various kids may have lead to overpopulation.

 

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?

 

We, think we are not going to end up as the future portrayed in the story. Nowadays people are having less children everyday and for the world to end up like that, a lot of time has to go by. For it to happen, the government has to take very bad choices and population has to grow a lot in very few time which is why we think it is not much possible for it to happen. We are not close to this happening so we may think that this will never happen. However, we are not saying that is impossible. If people start having more children and the rate of mortality goes down, with the passing of years this may be our future.

 

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?

Ward, the protagonist of the story, shares the living space with Henry Rossiter. He is not as aggressive as his living partener and appreciates the time they spent together alone in the victorian wardrobe. He is more affected than Rossiter when they destroyed the furniture as he appreciated more. The wardrobe was very important for him and he ruined it by being convinced by his partner. He hates the greedy landlords and ends up becoming one of them.

 

8-What role does Rossiter play in the story?

Rossiter appears in the story as he starts living with Ward when he moves into a new cubicle. He has a very different personality than Ward as he is more aggressive than the protagonist is. persuades Ward to let their girlfriends into the spare room. This is a disastrous move as the girls bring in their families too by and by. He sacrifices the one thing that symbolizes beauty in their lives, the Victorian wardrobe, and ruin the little happiness they had achieved.

 

9-Describe the role of the female characters in the story.
The women present in this story had a very important role as they convinced Ward and Rossiter to let more people into the wardrobe. If they hadn’t been convinced, they would have been able to enjoy the big space themselves and probably, Ward wouldn’t have become a greedy landlord. The fact that they let a lot of people into the victorian furniture led to its dismantling at the end of the story which was very significant as it showed how they destroyed the one thing that they had left which actually made them happy and which they actually appreciate,

 

10- Discuss the effects that over-population 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.

In this distant future portrayed, having a family was beneficial as it provided you a bigger cubicle. However, they were still trapped in that horrible reality. Despite receiving a bigger cubicle, overpopulation was a serious problem and it wasn’t being solved. Moreover, it could happen that the huge quantity of people kept families separated as there were too much people for them to live together.

 

11- What does the secret room symbolise in the story?

 

We believe that the secret room actually symbolises freedom and a way of escaping as it provided the protagonists with the extra space they desired. When they spent time in there they actually felt free, as if there problems had been solved. The wardrobe was what made them happy for a while until they ended up destroying it themselves. This one is very important as it shows how opprosed and limited people where that they found a wardrobe as a place to escape reality and liberate.

 

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?

The protagonists of the story were unable to keep the gift of space to themselves as they weren’t use to having so much freedom. They had been taught to live in small cubicles and their mind had been accustomed to it. They were trapped in their limited minds which prohibited them from keeping the wardrobe and getting used to the “huge” space. As it was something new to them, they didn’t know what to do. They were used to living and even sharing small cubicles and they had to go from that to a whole different situation in the one they found themselves having a lot of space left.

 

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

At the end of the story, they let more people into the wardrobe and by this limiting the amount of space they could have. By inviting their girlfriends and families, they ended up having less space than they had in the cubicles. Moreover, they ended up gaining profit from it as people had to pay to enjoy the huge space provided by the secret wardrobe. By doing this, Ward ended up becoming in a greedy landlord.

 

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 tries to use different vocabulary that can express how overpopulation was affecting the people  and how reduced the space of the cubicle actually is. Some examples of these expression are: “tramp of feet”and  “pedestrian jam”. This sentences show how horrible and significant the overpopulation was and how limited the space was for people. Their were so many people that you could even get stacked in a pedestrian jam for forty eight hours. At every time of the day you could hear the noisy people around you which created a very oppressive atmosphere.

Publicado en 3AC2018, ingles, literature | Deja un comentario

The Berlin Blockade – 1948

After studying the Berlin blockade that took place in 1948, our teacher asked us to do two activities. The first one consisted in compliting a chart with information of what had happened and what were the consequences. The second activity, was to answer 7 questions about the blockade. This are my activites:

chart:

 

questions:

  1. As a result of the Yalta conference, Berlin had been divided into four zones: the french, the british, the american and the soviet zone. However, the parts of the allies were then united into one big zone. This resulted in Berlin being divided into the west zone and the soviet zone. The city was a complete chaos in the post-war era. The population was going through a very harsh time and wasn’t living in the best conditions. The Berlin blockade left people with almost no resources as well as destroyed and devastated city.
  2. The two regions, the soviet and the west, had different policies towards Berlin. On the one hand, we have the soviet zone. Stalin aimed to remain the city crippled. This is why he feared the allies would make their zone prosperous which will cause his population to prosper too. He thought that a strong Germany would act as a buffer against communism, and he meant to prevent it. On the other hand, the west zone was ruled by the capitalist countries. This ones wanted the country to recover and become prosperous again.
  3. The reform of the the German currency was a key issue for both sides. On the one hand, it was a key issue for the west side as it helped their zone to become prosperous. The new currency meant union and recovery, which would help the country become strong again. This decision could improve the countries trade as well of economic situation as the previous currency had become worthless as a consequence of the high prices. A new currency provided the allies with the help they needed to help the population of the country. On the other hand, this had an impact on the soviet side too. Although it wasn’t beneficial to Stalin, the change of currency was a very important decision as it prevented him from remaining his side crippled.
  4. The airlift was a major feat as it showed the world the power the allies have and how they were not going to be stopped by any obstacle. Stalin’s plan had failed as instead of damaging USA’s and the allies image it make them stronger, and provided them with the moment to show what they were really made off. The airlift helped to improve the living conditions of most of the people in west Berlin as well as achieve the allies aim of making Germany recover and go back to it’s original stability. The allies reaction had as a consequence the reopening of the roads that had been cut by Stalin.
  5. On the one hand, the USSR can be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift as they meant to shot down the planes bringing supplies to west Berlin. This might have been interpreted as a threat or could have upset the americans leading to war. On the other hand, the USA can be responsible for further increasing tensions during the airlift as they were clearly trying to let the USSR clear the amount of power they had. They used the airlift as a method to show the soviets that they wouldn’t be stopped by any of their obstacles as they were stronger than them.
  6. Stalin eventually agree to talks over the airlift as he realized that the allies were not going to stop nor surrender. They had already proved how strong they were and the soviets understood that they would continued sending supplies no matter what. USA would do whatever it took to prove she was strong and powerful which lead to the USSR to decided to agree to talks over the airlift.

Extended question:

In my opinion, the soviets were more to blame for Berlin becoming a major flashpoint. The fact that Stalin decided to cut off the roads and deteriorate the lifestyle of the citizens at Berlin, made the allies and the rest of the countries to notice the city and what was going on in it. Because of the blockade, the living conditions decrease and the tension grew. The restrictions imput by the communists lead to the devastation of the german city and contribute to the growth of poverty, unemployment and starvation that took place in Berlin. If the blockade hadn’t been established, USA wouldn’t have been forced to intervene and the enormous tension between the superpowers hadn’t been produced.  

Publicado en 3AC2018, history, ingles | Deja un comentario

Visita a la Casa Rosada

Antes de realizar la visita a la casa rosada, nuestra profesora de formación ética y ciudadana nos asignó un trabajo grupal sobre el edificio. Este consistía en hacer una presentación, hablando de tres temas que debían ser elegidos por el grupo. Yo trabaje con Olivia Obligado, Trinidad Porretti, Sofia Mele y Francisco Aresi, y nosotros hablamos de la historia del edificio, de los presidentes que tuvieron mas de un mandato, y del primer presidente argentino. Esta es nuestra presentación:

Luego de realizar la visita, en los mismos grupos, debíamos hacer un video con fotos mostrando la visita que tenga una duración entre uno y tres minutos. Este es el video que mi grupo y yo hicimos:

Publicado en 3AC2018, castellano, ed.civica | Deja un comentario

Descriptive Writing

Descriptive Writing

Task: Choose one of the following places and write a description about it. 200 words.

Place I choose:

    In the middle of the snow-covered mountains, there’s a huge and comfortable house made of wood and covered in pink and grey painting. While the top is wood-made, the bottom part is made of stone and surrounded by fresh and pale green grass. We can distinguish a house consisting of three large levels full of clear windows. Although the house’s colours are fading, this one has a very charming design and provides a cozy atmosphere.  The residence has a very spacious garden where you can smell the fresh scent of pines. This one is located in a quiet setting which provides a break from the noisy and crowded city.

    Through the several windows we can find in the house, we can see a magnificent landscape. This one includes tall and brown mountains covered in white snow, green beautiful trees located in a windblown grass and a pale sky. The old but marvelous residence fits with the surroundings perfectly. The fact that is placed in the mountains, guarantees a lot of space for the owners to use and also enjoy the incredible scenery.

    The building, made of wood and stone, has a rustic design which is very appealing and pleasant. I believe a lot of people would want to stay at this house as it not only provides a place to go with your family but also to rest and relax.

Publicado en 3AC2018, ingles, writting skills | Deja un comentario

The story of an hour

In our language class,we read a story called “the story of an hour”. One of our classmates, called Francisco Aresi, did a presentation with the analysis of the story. Here is the presentation:

 

STORY OF AN HOUR

 

Publicado en 3AC2018, ingles, language | Deja un comentario

Heaven on Earth – Poem

In our language and  literature classes we have been writing our own poems. I worked with Marcos Okecki and we did a poem about the Iglesia del Pilar. Once we had finished the poem we did a video including pictures as well as the finished poem. This is our video:

Video

 

Publicado en 3AC2018, ingles, language, literature | 1 comentario

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf – Booktube

In our oral skills class, our teacher asks us to read a book and then to create a booktube. I choose, from all the options,  the topic of character description. The book I choose and work on is “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Wolf. This is my booktube:

TO THE LIGHTHOUSE BOOKTUBE

Publicado en 3AC2018, ingles, Speaking Skills | Deja un comentario

Poem and Description – Iglesia del Pilar

In our language class, with our teacher Pilar Pando we learned how to write a description of a place. After practising for some time, we wrote in pairs a description of a touristic place. I worked with Marcos Okecki and we wrote a description of the Iglesia del Pilar. Then, with our literature teacher we wrote a poem about that touristic place we have choosen. This is our work:

Description:

One of the most well-known and admired churches in Argentina, is the church called “Iglesia del Pilar”. This church is marveled at by it’s beautiful infrastructure and surroundings.This one is situated in Recoleta,Buenos Aires. Its visited not only by local people but, also by foreigners which decide they can’t leave the city without getting to know this very important touristic attraction in our country.

The church is surrounded by a park known as “Plaza Francia” which is one of the most visited in Buenos Aires. This one has pink and red roses as well as tall trees. At the entrance there is a huge black gate which leads to the snowy-white building where people can pray and build a connection with God. To the left we can find the enormous bell tower which can easily be seen in the distance.  Moreover, we can identify a red bricked roof which creates a contrast with the white colour of the “Iglesia del Pilar”.

On the inside, this one has a pure and cozy atmosphere. We can find a lot brown wooden  benches, which provide space for a lot of people, and white columns all along the aisle. Moreover, in the middle, we can see golden decorations of which the figure of jesus stands out. This one it is marveled at by many foreigners because of its charming building.  It’s comfortable atmosphere is what attracts people and makes them want to visit the church frequently.

In conclusion the “Iglesia del Pilar” is one of the most visited churches in Buenos Aires not only because of its delightful infrastructure but also for its surroundings and the atmosphere it provides to the people that visit it. I believe that if you travel to Buenos Aires, its a place that you cannot miss and that is worth visiting.

Poem:

From a huge window,

A ray of light came through

Embracing families from all around the world.

Doesn’t matter the culture or colour,

All gathered under the love of God.

 

White as heaven,

The walls of the church stand.

Red as blood,

The strength of the protecting roof.

 

Rough and brown as wood,

Benches lay along the aisle.

Pure and golden as the sun,

The decorations stand out.

 

Publicado en 3AC2018, ingles, language, literature, Poetry | Deja un comentario

El corazón delator

En la clase de lengua, realizamos una actividad en la cual había que elegir un cuento para hacer una adaptación del mismo. Una vez que la adaptación estaba echa, había que grabar un audio contando la historia. Yo elegí el cuento “El corazón Delator”, y esta es mi grabación:

Publicado en 3AC2018, castellano, lengua | Deja un comentario

Trailer – El príncipe de la niebla

En la clase de lengua, una vez que terminamos de leer el libro, realizamos un trabajo en grupos que consistía en hacer un trailer de la historia. Yo trabaje con Juana Zufriategui, Ramiro Aizpiri, Luz Esteban y Francisco Montoya. Este es nuestro trailer:

Publicado en 3AC2018, castellano, lengua | Deja un comentario