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OJV1, Lesson 4 November 18, 2016


Activity 1 A mysterious atmosphere is the aim of Text: ‘A Haunted House’, which is the opening of a short story by Virginia Woolf, published in 1921. How does V. Woolf create this atmosphere? 2

‘A Haunted House’ Whatever hour you woke there was a door shutting. From room to room they went, hand in hand, lifting here, opening there, making sure—a ghostly couple. ‘Here we left it,’ she said. And he added, ‘Oh, but here too!’ ‘It’s upstairs,’ she murmured. ‘And in the garden,’ he whispered. ‘Quietly,’ they said, ‘or we shall wake them.’ But it wasn’t you that woke us. Oh, no. They’re looking for it; they’re drawing the curtain,’ one might say, and so read on a page or two. ‘Now they’ve found it,’ one would be certain, stopping the pencil on the margin. And then, tired of reading, one might rise and see for oneself, the house all empty, the doors standing open,only the wood pigeons bubbling with content and the hum of the threshing machine sounding from the farm. ‘What did I come in here for? What did I want to find?’ My hands were empty. ‘Perhaps it’s upstairs then?’ The apples were in the loft. And so down again, the garden still as ever, only the book had slipped into the grass.


Virginia Woolf extract A sense of mystery is created in this text partly by the fact that the reader is unsure who is in the story, and this effect results from the range of pronouns used: you, they, we, it, she, he, one, I. At the beginning, it seems that ‘you’ means ‘one’ and that ‘they’ are ‘a ghostly couple’. But then it’s uncertain who is talking in direct speech in the second paragraph; also, the second use of ‘you’ (in the final paragraph) appears to mean, not ‘one’ as before, but ‘they’ (i.e. the ghosts). Throughout the whole text, it’s unclear exactly what ‘it’ is that everyone seems to be searching for. The language makes the reader behave like the characters; it makes the act of reading an act of searching to locate the meaning.


Famous Blue Raincoat Leonard Cohen Lyrics It's four in the morning, the end of December I'm writing you now just to see if you're better New York is cold, but I like where I'm living There's music on Clinton Street all through the evening. I hear that you're building your little house deep in the desert You're living for nothing now, I hope you're keeping some kind of record. Yes, and Jane came by with a lock of your hair She said that you gave it to her That night that you planned to go clear Did you ever go clear? Ah, the last time we saw you you looked so much older Your famous blue raincoat was torn at the shoulder You'd been to the station to meet every train And you came home without Lili Marlene And you treated my woman to a flake of your life And when she came back she was nobody's wife. Well I see you there with the rose in your teeth One more thin gypsy thief Well I see Jane's awake She sends her regards. And what can I tell you my brother, my killer What can I possibly say? I guess that I miss you, I guess I forgive you I'm glad you stood in my way. If you ever come by here, for Jane or for me Well your enemy is sleeping, and his woman is free. Yes, and thanks, for the trouble you took from her eyes I thought it was there for good so I never tried. And Jane came by with a lock of your hair She said that you gave it to her That night that you planned to go clear Sincerely, L. Cohen


Activity 2 – An exercise in Intertextuality Read the lyrics to the song and turn it into a narrative (story).  You are allowed to freely interpert details and characters, and to create the plot and the point (ending) to the story.  Use quotes and/or paraphrases from the song if/when necessary. 


Read the following descriptive paragraph: 

"The city was rancid, pregnant with squalor behind its immortal veil. From his room on Kurzbauergasse, Egon looked onto the boulevards for hours on end, watching the carriages roll up and back, listening to the horses’ hooves rattling off the cobblestones and onto the gravel paths, to the piercing clicks of ladies’ clicks. He looked down on the tall hats of the landed gentry and the stubby caps of workers, learning to differentiate the confident strides of the doctors from the sedate strolling of lawyers. Clerks, valets and housekeepers would rush down the street, reach for their master’s elbow, pose a question and then scurry away with the answer. In the slice of Vienna below his window, Egon learnt to know mankind in all its colours and classes." 7

Activity 3 Write a similar description of a place of your own choice.  Focus on sound and colour in your description.  Use specific vocabulary to make the description as “visual” as possible. 


Ojv1, lesson 5 (seminar)  
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