Mrs Dubose and the Camelias

This sounds like the name of a band.
It’s not (I don’t think…) it’s a reference to chapter 11 of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, in which the antaganistic, crumbly old Mrs Dubose from down the road forces poor Jem to read Ivanhoe (and such like) to her as she dribbles her way through the sticky Maycomb afternoons.

Once you get into Part 2 of the novel, when the trial of Tom Robinson begins to dominate the narrative, you’ll forget all about the funny little goings-on of Part 1. The rabid Tim Johnson, lolloping his way down the road, the summer games with Dill and adventures into the Radley territory and, indeed, Mrs. Dubose and her camelias… these will all seem like minor, insignificant happenings, in comparison with the drama of Tom Robinson’s trial.

So let’s pause before we embark on the heady adventures of Part 2, to reflect on why Part 1 is so important. Because it is, actually.

The themes that are explored in these little stories are exactly those that Harper Lee will explore in the rest of the book. The prejudice against Boo Radley that we see in Part 1 will re-emerge as the prejudice against Tom Robinson (and Mayella Ewell) in Part 2. The empathy that Atticus tells Scout is so important in Part 1 (‘You never really know a person… until you climb into his skin and walk around in it’) is the same empathy required of Jem as he learns more about the trial in Part 2. The courage of Mrs. Dubose in Part 1 is the same courage required of Atticus as he defends Tom Robinson in Part 2. It’s all very clever, you see.

Have a look at this:

Mrs Dubose - themes

It shows some of the themes prevalent in chapter 11.

Re-read chapter 11, and make notes on moments where one of the themes seems to be important.

Use your notes, and the diagram, to answer the following essay question:

How does Harper Lee use the story of Mrs Dubose in chapter 11 to explore some of the novel’s key themes?

Due: Monday 14th October


Homework for A2 English Literature: Brideshead Revisited (Section A)

Here is another one of those essay things for you to do.

“‘Brideshead Revisited’ is a novel about death: its inevitability, its finality, and, ultimately, the ways in which we seek to escape it.”

To what extent do you agree with this view of the novel?

In my inbox by 8:30 on Monday morning, please, if you want me to mark it in the bucolic pastoral idyll that is East Grinstead.

Year 11 Homework: Writing a Letter of Application

A company that runs play-schemes for children in the 3-10 age range is looking to recruit part-time staff for the school summer holidays.
You decide to apply.
Write your letter of application.

The quality of your writing is more important than its length. You should write about
one to two pages in your answer book.

This is due in on Friday (27th Jan).

Remember that you are assessed on your ability to write for a specific purpose, audience and, where appropriate, using a specific format.

In this case, the format is a letter.

The purpose is to present yourself in a favourable light. You will be using some features of persuasive writing.

The audience is a potential employer.

ClickΒ here for advice and guidance on this assignment.

It should sound something like this:

Dear Mrs. Staticfeet,

Having been forwarded details of your exciting summer playscheme by the National Youth Training Initiative, I am delighted to apply for the position of part-time Playscheme Worker. I feel that my previous experience in this field would make me an asset to both your team and the children in your care.

My work at the Highbury and Islington Children’s Centre last summer only increased my desire to work with children in the long term. There, I was responsible for…


Good luck!