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- [Mrs Compton] The first thing I would like you to do is to take a look at the image on your screen.

And just for one minute, jot down any thoughts and feelings you would have if you were in that particular situation.

So what thoughts and feelings do you have when you look at these images? Just 30 more seconds.

Just finishing up those ideas there for me.

Okay, so Kilauea volcano, I'm not sure if I'm saying that quite right, but Kilauea volcano in Hawaii is where the person that we are going to be looking at today goes.

So, Isabella Bird in the 1850s travels to Hawaii and actually gets involved in an experience that involves an active volcano.

So let's find out a little bit more about Isabella Bird.

What I would like you to do is to take your piece of paper and to make sure that we are setting it up for a note page.

And what we're going to do is to find out a little bit about Isabella Bird as a person, so that we can start to understand who goes to a volcano.

And secondly, we're actually going to find out about a contextual detail about something called a sublime, and we'll come to that in a moment, but we're also going to find out about that contextual piece of information that's going to help us understand the way that Isabella Bird is writing about this experience.

So we're going to have the title "Contexts - Isabella Bird".

And as a reminder, you're not trying to write everything down.

You're trying to capture some of the key ideas and bearing in mind this is our third individual that we are now experiencing who has gone to a dangerous location and who seems to be quite adventurous in their behaviour.

Think about some of the details about her character and about her personality that will feed into helping us understand that word perspective.

What is her perspective? What makes her do what she's doing? So if you think about those as focal points, then that will make your note-taking more focused and precise, okay? At the end of this detail, when we get to the final notes, I will give you the opportunity as usual to jot down again your consolidated ideas, picking out your top three learning points.

All right, let's make a start then and find out a little bit more about Isabella Bird.

So Isabella Bird was born in Yorkshire, which I very much like, because so was I.

She suffered with ill health as a child and in 1850 had a tumour removed from her spine.

The operation was only partially successful.

She continued to experience pain and also suffered with insomnia and depression.

And the doctor suggested that she travelled.

In 1854, her father gave her £100, a lot of money at that time, and told her she was free to travel wherever she wanted.

That's quite an interesting detail.

We know then that Isabella Bird has the facility, a certain amount of funds.

So she doesn't come from a poor family.

She's wealthy enough, middle class family, and she can travel and off she goes.

We also know that her father is quite liberated in the fact that he's quite happy for his daughter to go travelling around the world.

So those are interesting things just to have at the back of our mind.

She spent several months visiting eastern Canada and the United States.

On her return, she used the letters she had written to her sister as the basis for her first book, "The English Woman in America".

Okay, so what sort of character are you developing for this lady? Bird continued to travel and write.

A turning point, however, came on her trip to Hawaii in 1872.

In Hawaii, she learned how to ride a horse astride rather than side saddle and climbed the top of Hawaii's volcanic peaks.

She wrote about her pleasure in visiting remote regions which are known to few even of the residents, living among the natives and otherwise seeing Hawaiian life in all its phases.

So we'll just pause there for a moment and let you take some of those details in, because now we're really getting to know Isabella Bird the woman, and there's an image there of Isabella Bird on a horse, not actually in Hawaii, I believe this is in the Far East.

So she continues to ride.

And this idea of riding with your legs either side rather than sitting side saddle, riding astride was something that ladies didn't do, but Isabella Bird does, and that's what she learns to do, and it actually improves her back pain too.

So what sort of woman is this? Bird went on to travel to Japan, India, and the Middle East.

And again, another little image there of her dressed from a visit to Japan.

As well as recording her travels and becoming a respected figure in the geographical world, she contributed to the communities she visited.

In India, she established a hospital in the memory of her sister.

And after seeing atrocities against the Armenians in the Middle East, she met with the then-prime minister, William Gladstone, and spoke to a parliamentary committee on the issues.

Okay, so we've got quite a lot of information now about Isabella Bird, and you should be getting a little bit of a feel of the type of woman that she is.

Now we're going to now move on to this contextual piece of information and it's an idea called the sublime.

It is a concept and an attitude to art and literature and thinking that was dominant in Victorian times.

So we're going to read through this information together.

And then as we go through the text, you're going to see Isabella Bird herself refer to the sublime.

You're going to see the word itself used within the extract.

And I wanted you to understand what that meant to the Victorians before we got there.

So just an opportunity for you to take a few notes and maybe a little bit of a subheading now, "The Sublime".

So in aesthetics, the sublime is the quality of greatness.

That's literally what it means, it means the greatest.

This can refer to physical, moral, or intellectual aesthetic, spiritual or artistic qualities of something.

The term sublime refers to a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.

So that's quite a definition-based slide for you there.

It is a word that refers to a greatness beyond all possibility of calculation, measurement, or imitation.

So you can't even believe that you're going to experience, see, have this happen to you.

It's of the greatest essence.

Let's see that explained a little bit further.

Sublime experiences, whether in nature or art, invoke an emotional understanding that transcends rational thoughts.

So within this little detail, it's the bit where it says invokes an emotional understanding.

It's a moment and it's a feeling, that's why it's quite tricky to pin down as an idea and we're going to keep unravelling.

It inspires awe and admiration, but is coupled with an intensity and confusion that can lead an individual to manifest feelings of terror.

I think this is a really important slide.

So when you have a sublime experience, you are simultaneously experiencing absolute awe and admiration for what you see, for example, a magnificent waterfall.

But at that moment of seeing that amazing natural feat, you also experience almost like a little bit of fear, because you cannot fathom how that can exist and how as a human being you can ever deal with it, overcome it, experience it.

So it has that combined feeling of both being in awe of something, but also a little bit fearful at the magnitude of its power.

We can see the sublime in all walks of life, across history and in the present day.

It can be viewed most readily in nature, and that's particularly how the Victorians use this concept.

The destructive forces of crashing, ocean waves during a storm, the unwavering power and prominence of a mountain towering over nearby settlements or the potential a great fire has for bringing both life and death.

We can also see the sublime in the unnatural world, in such things as grandiose buildings, intricate machinery and feats of engineering, such as dams and bridges.

If you imagine something in a modern day context, something like the Burj Al Khalifa in Dubai, it's one of those things that you stare at in awe and wonder.

So the Victorian period is a transitional time, and the sentiment of the sublime captures man's attempt to make sense of a new world against the backdrop of the old.

Let's just have a little look at that last section.

The Victorian period is a transitional time.

Things are moving, things are changing, people are exploring, people are experiencing new things, and all of this new knowledge is both exciting and wondrous, but also makes the Victorian mind reevaluate their situation within their world, reevaluate their power, reevaluate their strength.

Now here, we've got an example from art.

So John Martin's "The Great Day of His Wrath" was painted in 1853.

And I just want you to take a moment to have a little look at this image, look at how it captures the sublime qualities of power and wonder, but also potential terror.

If you look to the bottom of the screen, look at the individuals and how man is presented in the face of nature.

So just a few minutes.

And I think having this visual symbol to sort of cue into, it's going to help us as we on.

Okay, so in terms of context then, we've learned a little bit about Isabella Bird.

So that would need to be something that I would like you to pick out as one of your top three learning points.

What is her perspective? What type of female was she? What type of family did she come from? What type of attitude does she seem to demonstrate? Now I'd also like you to think about what we've just looked at in terms of the sublime, in particular, this idea of man's relationship with nature in particular, but it could also be in terms of manmade phenomena too, but particularly nature.

When we're going to read Isabella Bird's account, it's a natural phenomenon.

So thinking about man's relationship with nature and what it means to describe something as a sublime experience.

So if you just pause, reread your notes at this stage and begin when you are ready, when you feel that you have got three refined sentences at the bottom of your page.

I'll give you that time just to think through, and I will be waiting for you when you're ready.

All welcome back.

So we're actually going to look at what Isabella Bird has written.

And it's from a text called "The Hawaiian Archipelago", archipelago meaning a chain of islands.

So she goes to Hawaii and she visits this particular volcano.

What we're going to do is to have a look, as usual, applying our strategy for reading an unseen text.

We're going to look at the extract and it's going to be split into three sections.

You will see prompt questions running along the bottom to help you activate ideas.

I'd like you to record responses on lined paper.

And as we've been moving through our learning, those initial responses are now becoming chunkier as you are able to write more and be more precise in your communication.

So be ambitious, make sure you get down the best answer you possibly can.

Once you've done that, we will then pause.

I will go through some ideas with you and you will have the opportunity to look at your own work, improve it.

And there'll be a refining moment where you can stop, have a little look at it again and add in any additional ideas, okay? Now before we begin this extract, a little bit of information.

I'm just going to give you a little bit of vocabulary.

Because it's a pre-1900 text, first published in 1875, some of the vocabulary is unfamiliar and I don't want it to be a stumbling block.

So I shall give you a moment just to take this vocabulary down.

So the following extract is taken from "The Hawaiian Archipelago", which was first published in 1875.

Here she describes a visit she made to Kilauea, an active volcano in Hawaii.

So what we're going to do is to have a look at her thoughts and feelings and just look to see what's actually happening in this first part of the extract.

I've asked you to think about the use of adjectives, the emotive language and the sentence constructions that she uses within her writing as prompts.

And as I said, there's a little bit of vocabulary that I just want you to have a little look at before we begin.

So to begin with then, we have sublimities.

Coming from the word sublime, experiences that have been deeply moving and powerful.

We have the word conflagration, and that is an extensive fire that destroys a great deal of land.

We have the word metropolis, a very large city, often the most important city in an area.

And we have the word nemesis, which means an arch-enemy or the agent of someone's downfall.

So just a moment there to pause and have a look at that vocabulary: sublimities, conflagration, metropolis, nemesis, and then the usual screen where you can track through, okay? So I'm going to just go back to the beginning there, work your way through.

Remember, best response possible, trying to now form full sentences, thinking about the connection of ideas as you go.

I will be waiting for you when you are ready to review.

Welcome back.

So let's have little look at some ideas together.

Isabella Bird describes her experience as something that will live with her forever.

So I've got an overview statement at the beginning of my response.

At the start of the passage, she explains that she has no room in her thoughts for anything but volcanoes.

She's on her second visit to the location and what she has seen today has left her sore, stiff, bruised, cut, singed, grimy.

But she goes on to say, "What are cuts, bruises, fatigue, and singed eyelashes in comparison with the awful sublimities I have witnessed today?" Bird recognises that what she has experienced is profound.

She has experienced sublime moments in which she has seen the unpredictability and power of nature at close quarters and in such a way that is only experienced by a few.

This is underlined by the use of the asyndetic list of injuries being dismissed within the rhetorical question.

I'm just going to pause there for a moment.

Look at how I've tried to get that really key detail about the fact that this is all centred around the concept of the sublime.

Bird recognises that what she has experienced is profound.

She has experienced a sublime moment in which she has seen the unpredictability and power of nature at close quarters.

That's the fundamental nub of the whole extract.

That is what Bird was seeking.

That is what drives her in this extract.


She particularly details how her first encounter had left her marvelling at the beauty of the volcano, describing it as a display of fireworks.

But today's experience is contrasted with the superlative image of a conflagration of a metropolis.

Here she is trying to capture the sublime moment of her experience while her awe and admiration have transformed into terror and horror.

It's an interesting thing, 'cause it's really clear that she's been there more than once.

So the first time she goes, she sees, I suppose, eruptions and she thinks they look really quite beautiful.

But the true sublime moment is where you get the gelling of the two emotions at the same time, the absolute contrast of being both fascinating, drawn in awe of something, but also absolutely petrified.

And that is why this particular visit, this particular moment is so crucial.

At the close of the passage, she comments that she feels "As if the terrors of Kilauea would haunt me all my life and be the nemesis of weak and tired hours." By personifying the moment as an arch enemy, so she turns that incident into a nemesis that will forever be lurking in her brain, she tries to document the absolute nature of the sublime and turn the abstract into a concrete entity.

So that's quite a complex idea here.

As a writer, Bird is trying to communicate what the sublime is and it's like an arch-enemy that will be there in her brain forever.

It's something that she's seen and it's an understanding that she now has of the insignificance of human beings in the face of nature that is forever going to be in her brain.

And that's what she's trying to get by having that image.


Chance now for you to go back over your answer, perhaps even run that back.

I did write that out in full for you.

And take quite a bit of time over the phrasing and the detail and build in some language analysis too.

So please do feel free to rewind this a little bit and go through it slowly.

The sublime is a tricky concept, but once you get it, you have got it.

So it's a really important sort of section and I wanted to break it down really precisely for you.

So I hope that has helped.

So take this time now to refine your response, pause the video, as I've said, rewind if necessary and then we will move on.

Okay, so now we're ready to look at the next part.

And as we go into this next section, what I would like you to do is to think about the tone and mood, look at the details of language and what type of register is being used.

And by register, what we mean is whether the language is very formal or if it is quite colloquial and casual.

So think about the tone that's being created by the level of formality of language, and also continue to track the idea of the sublime.

Slime I nearly said.


Continue to track the ideas of the sublime.

How is that continuing within this extract? Okay, I shall stop, sort out my teeth, and I should let you have a look at the next section.

Welcome back then.

So let's have a little look at this detail.

I've picked out a few quotations here with a little bit of explanation.

So throats, nostrils, eyes were irritated to torture.

So we've got this really quite detailed description, quite emotive, and that's her style a lot of the time, but then we get a little bit of a change in tone.

80-feet-high, diameter of the two cannot be less than a fifth of a mile.

The tone has altered there.

Can you see that we've got quite a formal recording? Initially we have the emotive description, but as the passage closes, we can sense that Isabella Bird, the Victorian explorer and naturalist, is endeavouring to record the details as faithfully as possible for her readers.

So remember that Isabella Bird, even from her first visits where she was writing letters back to her sister, started to record.

And travel writing was a common form of expression.

Once the Victorians were travelling and going to new dominions, exploring, they wanted to read about these places and the Victorian travel writer was a thing.

And we can see that Isabella Bird realises that she has something to say, and she's trying to record in quite an objective way as well as being very open about her experience.

So we can see this additional layer of intention there from her.

To stand there was to snatch a fearful joy out of the pain and terror which were unendurable.

I regard the three hours we spent by it as containing some of the most solemn as well as most fascinating experiences of my life.

So here I picked out these two details, because the physical properties of a volcanic eruption mean that it is literally like staring into the abyss.

And I've used that language again from our studies of journeys and how somebody goes on a quest.

And I think Isabella Bird is on this quest, isn't she, too? Bird feels a profound impact at this moment.

There's an absolute image of chaos that she's describing, and it really reminded me of the John Martin's painting that we looked at, "The Great Day of Wrath".

I really can see that.

And I wanted to show you that painting and hopefully you have made that connection too, that for Isabella Bird, this is her moment as a human staring into a natural phenomenon and thinking, I have no control.

I have absolutely no control.

So just a little moment there.

The physical properties of a volcanic eruption mean that it is literally like staring into the abyss, and Bird feels the profound impact of this moment.

Some of the most solemn as well as fascinating experiences of my life.

She's never going to forget it.

Okay, opportunity again for you to refine and add to your response.

As soon as you are ready, we'll read the final part of the extract for today.

So in this section, I just want you to focus a little bit on perspectives and think about how Bird zooms in with description and then narrows her perspective before then broadening it out again to consider those big-picture ideas of man and nature.

So we're just looking at how Bird is operating as a writer in this section as a little bit of focal point, noticing that she gives us both zoomed in and then zoomed out perspectives.

Okay, so that's your focal point as we read.

Usual thing, you'll have the little reminders along the bottom of the screen, as well as words and phrases that I think are worth your while to track.

Welcome back then.

So let's have a little look at how the writing was working in this section.

Bird begins by zooming in on a description of her immediate surroundings: lurid, gory, molten, raging, sulphurous, tormented masses or matter, which she contrasts to the previous day.

We then see evidence of Isabella Bird the naturalist faithfully recording the process of the volcanic eruption to inform and educate her reader.

The greatest intensity of action was always proceeded by a dull, throbbing roar.

The adverbial sentence openings, apparently, now and then, show how Bird is systematically working through the evidence of her observations.

At the close of the passage, Bird widens her perspective as she contemplates the awful sublimity of what we did see was enhanced by the knowledge that it was only a thousandth part of what we did not see.

Here, she zooms out to consider her own insignificance in the natural order of the world.

The final image of momentary glimpses of a terror and fearfulness which otherwise could not have been born, hints that man's knowledge is limited for his own sake by a power beyond our reckoning.

I'll just give you a moment to contemplate that final part.

So the last part of the extract, I'd picked it all out in orange for you, hadn't I, where it zoomed right out.

And I think there was a really interesting idea that I got at the end, which was this idea that whoever is in charge of our destiny, whatever force we believe in, that man is deliberately limited in our knowledge, because if we knew more, we actually couldn't handle it.

I think that's a really interesting idea.

So Bird is a fascinating woman.

She's quite the explorer, the adventurer, and philosopher for me in this final section.

So, opportunity as ever for you to go back over, review what you've written, think about anything else you would like to add.

I appreciate some of the ideas today have been massively challenging, but I think we're there, aren't we? I think we've got some really nice interpretations developing and a really secure understanding of what the sublime means to Isabella Bird, because it's at the heart of everything that she's writing in this extract.

So if you need to rewind and slow that section down where I've written things up for you, please do.

Okay, soon as you've finished, then restart the video and I'll be waiting for you.

So, year 10, our final task is to just bring together all of your thinking from today's session and give you that opportunity for a little bit of a personal response.

And we're going to use our big-picture prompt as ever so that we're always remembering to read a text closely and then to stand back and think about what else it teaches us about mankind.

So what types of conflict does Isabella Bird experience and overcome in this extract? Over to you.

It's your final reflective task.

Soon as you're ready, resume the video.

All that remains for me to say is thank you for your focus, and enjoy the rest of your learning today.