Lesson video

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I'm Miss Howell.

Welcome to today's English lesson.

All you will need is a pen and piece of paper, so take a moment to clear yourself of any distractions and make sure that you have everything you need at hand for today's learning.

Our lesson today is going to continue looking at Gothic literature, and this time we're going to focus on understanding authorial intent and how to use this to develop analysis.

Please take a moment to get down your title, pausing the lesson here to do that now.

Now please write down your key word, which is apprehension, and the definition, pausing here to do that now.

In today's lesson, we're going to look at what authorial intent is, and then apply that in our work.

You will need to make notes on the next few slides for the information that I take you through.

So remember to keep pausing the video when you need to, to allow you to do this.

Authorial intent is important to consider.

Understanding and identifying it makes a text a living, breathing thing.

The words you are reading exist because someone once had something important to say.

Instead of remaining quiet, they wanted to teach and educate others in their society.

They saw it as their duty to criticise and raise awareness of what they deemed wrong with their world.

They aimed to warn their readers, expose injustices and celebrate life's wonders.

Texts are tools which are used to build better people.

At the same time, they can be weapons, used to strikesthe heart of complex issues.

In other words, the text is the voice of a writer.

They may be using that voice to speak personally, or for those who do not have a voice.

Either way, a text is a conscious construct.

Understanding a piece of literature as a conscious construct is really important.

It helps you to think more carefully about the purpose of the text and why choices have been made by a writer.

When you analyse a text as a reader, it is your job to try and think about why writer might have made the deliberate choices they have, and the impact they may have wanted to have.

Therefore, instead of talking about characters as real people, you should consider how character has been created in order to criticise, teach, warn, reveal the importance of, and/or celebrate.

In order to truly grasp what a writer may have been influenced by or what purpose they have wanted their writing to have, it is important to know the context in which they were writing.

Often a time period and the issues, ideas, developments happening at the time a writer is producing their work will heavily influence them.

So, in order to understand authorial intent, context can be a starting point.

As we are exploring the Gothic, which was prevalent during the Victorian era, let's look at the work of Charles Dickens.

This will help us better understand authorial intent.

So we're just going to have a quick look at Charles Dickens' early life.

Despite his middle class upbringing and initially attending school, his family was constantly in debt, culminating in his father's 1824 imprisonment.

At only 12 years old, Dickens was sent to work at a factory.

For about 10 hours a day, with the exception of Sunday, Dickens was engaged in work he found both humiliating and unworthy of his academic prowess.

Since he had previously been educated, Dickens was able to experience both sides of the class divide.

Charles Dickens was one of the most important social critics.

He used fiction effectively to criticise economic, social and moral abuses in the Victorian era.

He showed compassion and empathy towards the vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of English society and contributed to several important social reforms. He began to push against the hierarchical Victorian class structure and expose the injustice and exploitation.

Dickens saw class being as a concern of society instead of the affected individual.

Your task is to write what you think Dickens was critical of in Victorian society in these stories.

Don't worry if you are not familiar with one or more of the stories.

Just have your best attempt and think about what potentially he could be criticising in Victorian society through each of these novels.

Pause here to complete that now.

Now, we will review your answers.

So using your different coloured pen, please edit or add to your responses with the answers as I go through them.

Do pause the video as and when you need to, to allow yourself to do that.

So in "Oliver Twist," Dickens was criticising child exploitation and poverty.

In "Great Expectations," he was challenging assumptions about the poor.

In "A Christmas Carol," it was the discrepancy between rich and poor and the selfishness of the rich that he was particularly critical of.

And in "Hard Times," it was the class division and injustice between capitalist factory owners and undervalued workers.

We have been looking at the uncanny, and this takes the familiar and makes it unfamiliar in an effort to elicit fear and heighten uncertainty about the reader's reality.

The Gothic genre prompts questions and reflections about what we fear and forces us to reevaluate our beliefs and experiences in the world.

It is this fear that made readers feel sympathy for characters and, by extension, real people in similar positions.

So while Charles Dickens is not considered a Gothic novelist, many scholars have shown that his texts contain many Gothic elements.

From his depictions of country graveyards to the dangerous streets of London, readers are faced with images of death and impending doom.

Dickens expertly uses the Gothic genre to express the deep divide between the suffering poor and wealthy classes in the Victorian era.

Your task is to think about what elements of the Gothic does "A Christmas Carol" have? For this, you can use your own knowledge, and I have provided a couple of images on the slide, which could help you with the task.

So again, just make your best attempt at this, and we will, of course, go through the answers, so just have a go.

Pause here to complete that now.

Now, we will review your answers.

So just add in your different coloured pen the answers that are on the side.

So you could have noted the Gothic elements in "A Christmas Carol" are supernatural, death, ill omens, feelings of dread and terror, dark, eerie settings, both the darkness of London and the use of graveyards, and of course the uncanny.

So now we have looked at a bit of context and we kind of understand much better Dickens and the kinds of things that he was really critical of.

This will hopefully help us apply authorial intent to his novel, "A Christmas Carol." So in this story, Ebeneezer Scrooge, who is the protagonist, is a mean-spirited man who refuses to use his money to help those in need, not even his own family or his employee, Bob Cratchit.

As such, he is visited by four ghosts: his old business partner, Jacob Marley, the Ghost of Christmas Past, Present, and Future.

All of them teach Scrooge lessons about his own life, those in his life and the need to be more caring and compassionate, especially towards the poor.

By the end of the story, Scrooge has transformed into a kinder, more philanthropic man.

Given what you now know about Charles Dickens, write down in a paragraph what you think his authorial intent could have been when writing this story.

What was he using this story to critique in Victorian society? And your challenge is to consider why he would use Gothic elements to help him to do this.

Pause the video here to complete this task now.

Now, we will review your answer.

So using your different coloured pen, please edit, refine your work as we go through the answer.

Remember to pause the video as and when you need to, to allow you to do this.

Dickens wanted to criticise the wealthy and their selfish attitude towards the poor.

As Dickens experienced himself what it was like to work in a working class environment, he used his story to evoke compassion for the poor and to show why they were deserving of support.

Dickens utilises the Gothic to inspire in Scrooge, and his reader, that sense of terror and dread as to what would happen if they failed to change their selfish ways.

So, as we've already looked at in the synopsis, in the story, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts.

The final ghost that visits Scrooge shows him his future if he does not change his selfish ways.

The ghost shows Scrooge his death and how no one cares about him.

He also shows him the devastating consequences of his refusal to support those most in need.

So your task is going to read the text on the next couple of slides from "A Christmas Carol," and I want you to consider the following.

What Gothic elements can you find? And I'd like you, when you answer that as a challenge, to use embedded quotations in your answer, as you're doing that.

Here is the text you need to read, which is over three slides.

So remember to pause, to reread, and to think about the Gothic elements that you can find within here, remembering to try and support that with quotations where possible.

Pause here to complete that for this section of text.

For the next section of text, pause here.

And the final section of text, pause here.

Now, we will review your answers.

So using your different coloured pen, just mark your work and check that you've included all of these Gothic elements, and that you have supported each of those with a quotation.

If you need to pause the video to help you get down feedback, please do.

Well done if you able to spot some of these, and especially if you were able to support your answers with those quotations.

So hopefully you were able to spot the supernatural.

"Phantom slowly, gravely, silently approached." Darkness, "Shrouded in a deep black garment." Mystery, "Concealed its head, its face, its form," and a sense of dread and terror, "Mysterious presence filled him with a solemn dread," "vague uncertain horror." Now, you are going to reread the text again, but this time, I want you to consider why would Dickens choose to present this final ghost in this way? Think about what we've looked at this lesson and consider what is his purpose in doing this? Because it is a choice by Dickens.

So what is he doing this for? Is it to criticise, to teach, warn, reveal the importance of something, or celebrate something in particular? As a challenge, again, I'd like you to use embedded quotations in your answer and see as well if you can incorporate our word for the day, apprehension.

Pause here to complete that for this section of text.

Pause here to complete for the next section of text.

And pause here for the final section of text.

Now, we will review your answers.

Using your different coloured pen, please edit, refine your answer based on the model.

Dickens wants to teach his reader that they must change their selfish ways, just like Scrooge, and become more compassionate towards the poor.

He wanted his readers to feel the same apprehension and solemn dread and horror at the dire consequences of not changing that Scrooge feels in this moment, in order to move them to want to transform their egocentric way just as Scrooge does.

Once you have edited your response with the model answer, that brings us to the end of the lesson.

I hope you have enjoyed your learning today.

Thank you for your focus.