Discussing “The Truman Show”

Cartesius (or Descartes) was French philosopher (1596-1650). One of the ‘problems we battle with today which goes back to Cartesius is the division of body and mind. “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am).

  • Discuss what is meant by the expression ‘cartesian nightmare’ in

Have you ever wondered whether everyone talks about you behind your back? Whether they are all keeping something from you? John McGuire discusses the Cartesian nightmare that is The Truman Show (from Philosophy Now)

  • Then read the article where the quote above is taken from, and discuss how the film deals with ‘the problem of skepisism’.
  • Think about the reality shows you find on tv any day of the week. What are the ethical differences between the fiction of The Truman Show and ‘fly on the wall televison’?


The Story of an Hour – Kate Chopin

Today, Kate Chopin (1850–1904), is recognised as one of America’s essential authors. She has been credited with introducing the modern feminist literary movement. The Encyclopaeida Britannica writes  that “her concerns about the freedom of women foreshadowed later feminist literary themes”. You can read more about her as well as her short stories as KateChopin.org and at americanliterature.com.

She wrote  “The Story of an Hour”  in 1894, and although more than a century has passed the situation in the story is not unheard of in today’s world. Read (and/or listen) then consider what really happened in the story and more importantly why?


From the textbook “Core 2” by Jörgen Gustafsson, Monica Hjorth, Eric Kinrade. Published by Sanoma Utbildning. Extract at smakprov.se

Toth, Emily. (2017). “Kate Chopin ‘The Story of an Hour.’” KateChopin.org. Retrieved from https://www.katechopin.org/the-story-of-an-hour/

The Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (februari 14, 2016) “Kate Chopin” in Encyclopædia Britannica: Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. Retrieved oktober 27, 2017 from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Kate-Chopin


Text Structures

Working effectively with texts requires awareness of structures.

One way of working with awareness of text and structure is  SOAPSTone, looking at

​S: speaker – who?

O: occasion – when?

A: audience – receiver, intended langauge

P: purpose – why?

S: subject . what?

Tone – author’s attitude

Also see Text Structure Signal Words 

Poster fetched from https://www.nsbsd.org/Page/3561

The poster above is fetched from North Slope Borough School District, Alaska,  who in turn have gathered resources from  AK EED and Center on Instruction 

The Communication ProcessLangauge is communication.
When you work with language you are always, in one way or another, part of a process of communciation. That is what we use langauge for, to communicate. To the left here you have a short overview of the communication process, or watch it below.

The Celts

What do you know about the Celts?

At BBC iWonder you can take a digital trip to Celtic Britain

There are some clips from BBC programs which are available outside the UK; for example “The Celts: Blood, Iron and Sacrifice with Alice Roberts and Neil Oliver.”

Read the article “DNA study shows Celts are not a unique genetic group

Celts: Some stories and games (from BBC Wales)


The Canterville Ghost

Image in public domain. Book from Project Gutenberg: The Canterville Ghost. Fetched from Internet Archive

Oscar Wilde‘s short story The Canterville Ghost is one of my personal favourites. The humour of the clash between the modern and the traditional, the old world and the new is still fun and a good read. It is a story with elements of comedy, tradegy and great compassion.

The Canterville Ghost is available to read and listen to through ESL -Bits, which is an online resource where you can read the text and/or listen to the stories at two different speeds.

You can find out more about the author Oscar Wilde  at  Biography.com,  BBC history, and the official website for Oscar Wilde.




The Canterville Ghost – part 1








Alan Turing and “The Imitation Game”

Alan Turing‘s life and the code breaking work at Bletchely Park during WWII has been depicted in the film “The Imitation Game”. But who was the real Alan Turing?

A filmed drama is fiction no matter if it depicts people who have really lived and historical events which have taken place. Behind the story in the film there are facts and real people. Turing’s family have expressed concerns about how he is described in the film which you can read about in the article “Don’t turn my uncle’s life into a romance, says Alan Turing’s niece“.

Joan Clark is somewhat romanticised shown in the film. She was the woman who helped crack the Enigma cyphers. She is important as women’s achievements so often are overlooked or forgotten in history. Her interview in a “BBC Horizon programme, from 1992, is one of the only instances in which she spoke about her time as a cryptanalyst”

You can learn more about Alan Turing: Creator of modern computing at BBC iWonder where he is introduced with

“Alan Turing was not a well known figure during his lifetime. But today he is famous for being an eccentric yet passionate British mathematician, who conceived modern computing and played a crucial part in the Allied victory over Nazi Germany in WW2. He was also a victim of mid-20th Century attitudes to homosexuality – he was chemically castrated before dying at the age of 41”.

In 2009  The British Governmen made a public apology for how Alan Turing was treated “Gordon Brown: I’m proud to say sorry to a real war hero”. Reading “Life story: Why code-breaker Alan Turing was cast aside by postwar Britain” may give you a better understanding of the time and its prejudices.

also see

 The Enigma Machine and the Bletchley Park Code Breakers

The Curious Incident… (from page to stage)

After having read the novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and  having worked with the text in class, you may be interested in knowing somthing about how the book has been adapted for the stage. BBC Learning Zone has a series of clips to watch.

BBC the curious incident

The Curious Incident … (Lesson 1)
The Curious Incident… (Lesson 2)
The Curious Incident… (Lesson 3)
The Curious Incident… (Lesson 4)
The Curious Incident… (Lesson 5)
The Curious Incident… (Lesson 6)

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

Working with the filmed verison (2004) of Shakespeare’s play.

Before watching the film

Read the story synopsis and the plot overview 

Have a look at themes in The Merchant of Venice: from Sparksnotes

Check up historical references to find out about Venice in the 13th-14th Century, and the status of the Jewish Community in England at Shakespeare’s time.

Find some famous quotes  and expressession (5-10) from The Merchant of Venice. Make a list of these. Find out what they mean or how they are used today.

All Great Quotes: http://www.allgreatquotes.com/shakespearequotes_merchant_venice.shtml

William Shakespeare Quotes: http://www.william-shakespeare.info/quotes-quotations-play-merchant-of-venice.htm

Sparknotes: Important Quotes Explained http://www.sparknotes.com/shakespeare/merchant/quotes.html

You should then watch/listen to the film and pay attention to when and how these words/sentences are used in the story.

After watching the film

Discuss themes in The Merchant of Venice:  use themes from LitCharts


Discuss the situation of the Jewish community in the story?

Which famous quotes/expressions did you notice and in which context were they used (when and how these words/sentences were used) in the story. Do you see any difference in how these expressions are used today compared to how they are used in the film (play)?

George Orwell

George-orwell-BBCOrwell was a British journalist and author, who wrote two of the most famous novels of the 20th century ‘Animal Farm’ and ‘Nineteen Eighty-Four’, is how he is presented by BBC History.

At BBC History you can also read that Animal Farm was published in 1945. It is a “political fable set in a farmyard but based on Stalin’s betrayal of the Russian Revolution”.

Animal Farm strip cartoon


Nineteen Eighty-Four was published  in 1949. This story is set in an imaginary totalitarian future. (Although 1984 is now in our past). The “book made a deep impression, with its title and many phrases – such as ‘Big Brother is watching you’, ‘newspeak’ and ‘doublethink’ – entering popular use.”

To learn more about the author George Orwell go to george-orwell.org. Here you can read his work online including  1984 and Animal Farm. If you prefer to listen, the texts are also available as audio books; Animal Farm audio book and 1984 audio book. These hugely popular texts have also been filmed.

 Related post

George Orwell’s 1984