"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled by, AND that has made all the difference" The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

DREAMING IN ENGLISH. Are you dreaming in English yet?

WELCOME!!! This is a bit of a challenge for me!!! This blog is intended for all audiences. I hope you enjoy and get the most of it!!!

Here you might find resources to help you navigate the muddy waters of English. The humble aim of this blog is just to keep you in touch with different types of English and different aspects of the English culture , to increase your curiosity about English through many different fields.

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Are you dreaming in English yet? por BE se encuentra bajo una Licencia Creative Commons Atribución-NoComercial-SinDerivadas 3.0 Unported.

jueves, 19 de enero de 2017

Utopia or Dystopia? The Giver

Utopia or Dystopia, Where do we live in? 
Watch the video and share your opinions.  What are your predictions for the future?

Utopia was an essay written by Thomas Moor describing and ideal, imaginary island community. This term has been applied since the to concepts such as an ideal and perfect state or community.

According to this, what a utopian society would it be like? Include as many details as possible.

In a DYSTOPIA we have a futuristic, imagined universe, in which we have the illusion of a perfect society.  With dystopias,  writers show their concern about humanity and society. They make criticism about social norms, politics, or some trends. They are like warnings that things can go from bad to worse without anyone realizing.

How would it be a dystopian society like ?  You can consider the following: 
- CCTV and surveillance
- Technology
- Robots, machines
- Communities, refugee camps, etc
- Protests and riots
- Prison, punishments

Can you think of stories (books or films) where we have this type of dystopian society?

Now watch this prezi presentation and check if you were right in your guessings and ideas.

Resultado de imagen de george orwellHave a look at the following extract. It is from the novel 1984 by George Orwell.
What's going on? How do you feel about it?Do you see any dystopian element? Think of the characteristics mentioned above and look for some in this excerpt. 
WHAT DO YOU THINK IT MAY HAPPEN NEXT?         Continue the story with your own words.(180 words approx.)

Resultado de imagen de george orwell

 "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Winston Smith, his chin nuzzled into his breast in an effort to escape the vile wind, slipped quickly through the glass doors of Victory Mansions, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with him. The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats. At one end of it a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about forty-five, with a heavy black moustache and ruggedly handsome features. Winston made for the stairs. It was no use trying the lift. Even at the best of times it was seldom working, and at present the electric current was cut off during daylight hours. It was part of the economy drive in preparation for Hate Week. The flat was seven flights up, and Winston, who was thirty-nine and had a varicose ulcer above his right ankle, went slowly, resting several times on the way. On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran. Inside the flat a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of pig-iron. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall. Winston turned a switch and the voice sank somewhat, though the words were still distinguishable. The instrument (the telescreen, it was called) could be dimmed, but there was no way of shutting it off completely. He moved over to the window: a smallish, frail figure, the meagreness of his body merely emphasized by the blue overalls which were the uniform of the party. His hair was very fair, his face naturally sanguine, hisskin roughened by coarse soap and blunt razor blades and the cold of the winter that had just ended. Outside, even through the shut window-pane, the world looked cold. Down in the street little eddies of wind were whirling dust and tornpaper into spirals, and though the sun was shining and the sky a harsh blue, there seemed to be no colour in anything, except the posters that were plastered everywhere. The blackmoustachio'dface gazed down from every commanding corner. There was one on the house-front immediately opposite. BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption said, while the dark eyes looked deep into Winston's own. Down at streetlevelanother poster, torn at one corner, flapped fitfully in the wind, alternately covering and uncovering the single word INGSOC.In the far distance a helicopter skimmed down between the roofs, hovered for an instant like a bluebottle, and darted away again with a curving flight. It was the police patrol, snooping into people's windows. The patrols did not matter, however. Only the Thought Police mattered. Behind Winston's back the voice from the telescreen was still babbling away about pig-iron and the overfulfilmentof the Ninth Three-Year Plan. The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever theywanted to. You had to live --did live, from habit that became instinct --in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized. Winston kept his back turned to the telescreen. It was safer, though, as he well knew, even a back can be revealing. A kilometre awaythe Ministry of Truth, his place of work, towered vast and white above the grimy landscape. This, he thought with a sort of vague distaste --this was London, chief city of Airstrip One, itself the third most populous of the provinces of Oceania. He tried to squeeze out some childhood memory that should tell him whether London had always been quite like this. Werethere always these vistas of rotting nineteenth-century houses, their sides shored up with baulks of timber, their windows patched with cardboard and their roofs with corrugated iron, their crazy garden walls sagging in all directions? And the bombed sites where the plaster dust swirled in the air and the willow-herb straggled over the heaps of rubble; and the places where thebombs had cleared a larger patch and there had sprung up sordidcolonies of wooden dwellings like chicken-houses? But it was no use, he could not remember: nothing remained of his childhood except a series of bright-lit tableaux occurring against no background and mostly unintelligible. The Ministry of Truth --Minitrue, in Newspeak --was startlingly different from any other object in sight. It was an enormous pyramidal structure of glittering white concrete, soaring up, terrace after terrace, 300 metres into the air. From where Winston stood it was just possible to read, picked outonits white face in elegant lettering, the three slogans of the Party: WAR IS PEACEFREEDOM IS SLAVERY,   IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH"

The Giver by Lois Lowry is a very popular book where you will see some of the aspects discussed before. We have a group of people living an ideal, utopic life. Little by little we learn that all that glitters is not gold...

In the 1-5 Chapters you have to study,  take into account the following:

Resultado de imagen de the giver book
  1. What is the value of having differences? What do you think of the concept of Sameness?
  2. Why would a community choose to eliminate differences?
  3. Talk about Jonas. How is he depicted in the opening chapters? Does he show any differences with the rest (friends, family, etc)?
  4. What do you think about the setting?
  5. Describe the community and how it works. Compare it with the world you live in. Who rules the Community? What 's an Olygarchy?
  6. Family relationships. What do we learn in the first chapters. Analyse the way they talk, how close they are, etc. What's your opinion about the mum and dad? and about Lily?
  7. Friends and social aspects. What do you think of Jonas friends? Has something called your attention?
  8. Does anyone show resilience in the book? or at least these first 5 chapters?
Resultado de imagen de the giver quotations

miércoles, 18 de enero de 2017

Love over hate, Empathy over fear

1. What 's the purpose of this video?
2. Analyze the answers of the father. What do you think of  them? What do they show about race relationships in USA?
3. Analyze the following expressions mentioned in the conversation.
-  blank canvas
- protests
- bring up kids  in the South
- give up on people
- people coming together.
- Martin Luther King.
- live out your dreams
- live with your hands unfolded

Watch these videos with some personal experiences of black people and latinos. What do you feel about what they explain?  What kind of conflict do the latinos in the second video show about race? Choose 4 people that have called your attention and write down a summary of what they say. 

domingo, 18 de diciembre de 2016


He put the glass to his lips, and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I thought, a change—he seemed to swell—his face became suddenly black and the features seemed to melt and alter—and at the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror. “O God!” I screamed, and “O God!” again and again; for there before my eyes—pale and shaken, and half fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death—there stood Henry Jekyll!
Resultado de imagen de stevenson doctor jekyll mr hyde
Robert L. Stevenson was born in 1850 in Scotland. We can say he captured the mood of change of the last decades of the 19th century society. He was in conflict with his social environment and the "respectable" Victorian world so he rebelled against all the established order and we can say he became one example of a "bohemian", rejecting the religious, social and moral aspectos of the Victorian period.
When he was a child, Charles Darwin published The Origin of Species and this had a great influence on him. This book was released at a time when many people saw science and the supernatural as being at odds with each another. There was the idea that science could be dangerous and was like  playing to be God.

Closely linked to the Victorian´s sense of conflict between science and religion was the idea that humans have a dual nature. They saw the rational, everyday normality of family life, employment ,etc. but, on the other hand, they also saw anger, violence, fantasies, etc. In those times the crime rates were really high. The famous Jack the Ripper murders occurred around the 1888 so books like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde became very popular. The main character represented this duality above mentioned, this idea of a murderer being highly educated, high class but with an evil nature.

Reputation and morality was something basic in the late Victorian society. Mr. Jekyll, for example,  is well-respected but also bored with his obligations. He plays a double game before the other members of the community. When he is in society he presents himself as good, pious, generous, etc. However, deep inside, he feels something different, something that is stronger than him and that little by little controls him.

The importance and the presence of science in society was a key debate in the 19th century. Mary Shelley, for example, studies the side-effects of playing with science when Victor Frankenstein creates his creature. Stevenson, in his novel, also analyses this topic deeply. Dr. Jekyll, in the same way as Victor does, tries to play God and messes with the natural order and balance of things. What kind of consequences can we have after that? Any thing is possible. The debate is settled. Are scientists overreachers?
When evil and good are confronted ,which one wins? Would we choose good over evil? Steveson´s novel shows that the evil in our nature, when nourished and given attention, might grow into something uncontrollable.

Resultado de imagen de stevenson doctor jekyll mr hydeCHAPTER 9. DOCTOR LANYON´S NARRATIVE

...Twelve o’clock had scarce rung out over London, ere the knocker sounded very gently on the door. I went myself at the summons, and found a small man crouching against the pillars of the portico.
‘Are you come from Dr. Jekyll?’ I asked.
He told me ‘yes’ by a constrained gesture; and when I had bidden him enter, he did not obey me without a searching backward glance into the darkness of the square. There was a policeman not far off, advancing with his bull’s eye open; and at the sight, I thought my visitor started and made greater haste. These particulars struck me, I confess, disagreeably; and as I followed him into the bright light of the consultingroom, I kept my hand ready on my weapon. Here, at last,

I had a chance of clearly seeing him. I had never set eyes on him before, so much was certain. He was small, as I have said; I was struck besides with the shocking expression of his face, with his remarkable combination of great muscular activity and great apparent debility of constitution, and — last but not least — with the odd, subjective disturbance caused by his neighbourhood. This bore some resemblance to incipient rigour, and was accompanied by a marked sinking of the pulse. At the time, I set it down to some idiosyncratic, personal distaste, and merely wondered at the acuteness of
the symptoms; but I have since had reason to believe the cause to lie much deeper in the nature of man, and to turn on some nobler hinge than the principle of hatred. This person (who had thus, from the first moment of his entrance, struck in me what I can only describe as a disgustful curiosity) was dressed in a fashion that would have made an ordinary person laughable; his clothes, that is to say, although they were of rich and sober fabric, were enormously too large for him in every measurement — the trousers hanging on his legs and rolled up to keep them from the ground, the waist of the coat below his haunches, and the collar sprawling wide upon his shoulders. Strange to relate,
this ludicrous accoutrement was far from moving me to laughter. Rather, as there was something abnormal and misbegotten in the very essence of the creature that now faced me — something seizing, surprising, and revolting — this fresh disparity seemed but to fit in with and to reinforce it; so that to my interest in the man’s nature and character, there was added a curiosity as to his origin, his life, his fortune and status in the world.
These observations, though they have taken so great a space to be set down in, were yet the work of a few seconds. My visitor was, indeed, on fire with sombre excitement.
‘Have you got it?’ he cried. ‘Have you got it?’ And so lively was his impatience that he even laid his hand upon my arm and sought to shake me. I put him back, conscious at his touch of a certain icy
pang along my blood.
 ‘Come, sir,’ said I. ‘You forget that I have not yet the pleasure of your acquaintance. Be seated,
if you please.’ And I showed him an example, and sat down myself in my customary seat and with as fair an imitation of my ordinary manner to a patient, as the lateness of the hour, the nature of my pre-occupations, and the horror I had of my visitor, would suffer me to muster.
‘I beg your pardon, Dr. Lanyon,’ he replied civilly enough.
‘What you say is very well founded; and my impatience has shown its heels to my politeness. I come here at the instance of your colleague, Dr. Henry Jekyll, on a piece of business of some moment; and I understood...’
He paused and put his hand to his throat, and I could see, in spite of his collected manner, that he was
wrestling against the approaches of the hysteria — ‘I understood, a drawer..’
But here I took pity on my visitor’s suspense, and some perhaps on my own growing curiosity.
‘There it is, sir,’ said I, pointing to the drawer, where it lay on the floor behind a table and still covered with the sheet. He sprang to it, and then paused, and laid his hand upon his heart: I could hear his teeth grate with the convulsive action of his jaws; and his face was so ghastly to see that I
grew alarmed both for his life and reason.
‘Compose yourself,’ said I.
He turned a dreadful smile to me, and as if with the decision of despair, plucked away the sheet. At sight of the contents, he uttered one loud sob of such immense relief that I sat petrified. And the next moment, in a voice that was already fairly well under control, ‘Have you a graduated glass?’ he asked.
I rose from my place with something of an effort and gave him what he asked. He thanked me with a smiling nod, measured out a few minims of the red tincture and added one of the powders.
The mixture, which was at first of a reddish hue, began, in proportion as the crystals melted, to brighten in colour, to effervesce audibly, and to throw off small fumes of vapour. Suddenly and at the same moment, the ebullition ceased and the compound changed to a dark purple, which faded again more slowly to a watery green. My visitor, who had watched these metamorphoses with a keen
eye, smiled, set down the glass upon the table, and then turned and looked upon me with an air of scrutiny.
‘And now,’ said he, ‘to settle what remains. Will you be wise? will you be guided? will you suffer me to take this glass in my hand and to go forth from your house without further parley? or has the greed of curiosity too much command of you? Think before you answer, for it shall be done as you decide. As you decide, you shall be left as you were before, and neither richer nor wiser, unless the sense of
service rendered to a man in mortal distress may be counted as a kind of riches of the soul. Or, if you shall so prefer to choose, a new province of knowledge and new avenues to fame and power shall be laid open to you, here, in this room, upon the instant; and your sight shall be blasted by a prodigy to stagger the unbelief of Satan.’
‘Sir,’ said I, affecting a coolness that I was far from truly possessing,’ you speak enigmas, and you will perhaps not wonder that I hear you with no very strong impression of belief. But I have gone too far in the way of inexplicable services to pause before I see the end.’
Resultado de imagen de stevenson doctor jekyll mr hyde‘It is well,’ replied my visitor. ‘Lanyon, you remember your vows: what follows is under the seal
of our profession. And now, you who have so long been bound to the most narrow and material views, you who have denied the virtue of transcendental medicine, you who have derided your superiors — behold!’

He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp. A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at the table and held on, staring with injected eyes, gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there came, I thought, a change — he seemed to swell — his face became suddenly black and the features
seemed to melt and alter — and the next moment, I had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the wall, my arm raised to shield me from that prodigy, my mind submerged in terror.

‘O God!’ I screamed, and ‘O God!’ again and again; for there before my eyes — pale and shaken, and half-fainting, and groping before him with his hands, like a man restored from death — there stood Henry Jekyll! ....

Read this extract taken from chapter 9 and analyse the following aspects:
- What do you think about the "visitor"? Is there anything suspicious about him? Take examples from the text.
- What atmosphere do we have in the whole extract? When does the visit take place ?
- What does Lanyon feel for his visitor? Underline words, expressions where he shows his feelings of repulsion and fascination at the same time
- The description of the potion is very effective. We have words appealing to the senses of sight, hearing, smell. Identify them
- Lanyon has to make a choice in this chapter. Which one? Would you have done the same? Do you understand his choice?
- The moment of the transformation is the climax of the chapter. What do you think of it? Do you think it is disturbing? What´s Lanyon´s reaction? Do you think this is going to have an effect on the Doctor´s future life?