What did I do?
Read and Discussed The Meatworks in class
The Meatworks is a gruesome recount of experiences of the butchery of animals, designed to be confronting the reader, as a consumer of animal products (specifically meat) which is sourced from such vulgar cruelty as conveyed through Robert Gray’s poem.
Through villainous personification, Gray has depicted the abattoir as a place of gruesome terror; scarring for those involved and unknown to those who benefit, the readers. There is an allusion closer to the end, to both Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Pilate from the Bible as the persona “scrubs” the blood from his hands. There is a major shift in tone at this point in the poem, as the persona returns home from his work and describes the calm mountains and the beach and his wife carrying her sandals to see him. This is significantly different to the shocking imagery of the slaughterhouse, which was abrupt, continuous and purposefully unappealing to readers. Gray has created an extreme juxtaposition between his home and nature, and the vulgar and horrific activity of the abattoir.
There is, intended, a self-discovery for the reader, as they contemplate how the poem relates to their own life. Shocked into realisation of the cruelty that occurs within such walls so that they may have access to ‘neat meat’ in their supermarkets. There is also within the poem, a discovery of the wider world; of the realities of people working in such environments, of animals truly acting that fearful in the masses and of the individual who sees the disgusting nature of the process, yet must continue to work for a living that they can acquire nowhere else. It is a demonstration of ‘discovery’ being viewed from a different perspective (of values, context and culture).
Looked at tips for creative writing and practised writing descriptions
Our creative writing will be assessed on how well we understand discovery and how well we can organise ideas using language techniques and context. The five key elements that will be looked for are: Theme, Characters, Setting, Plot and Technique. Unrealistic stories, reliance on dialogue and stating the obvious within our stories should be avoided. In our stories our descriptions should show rather than tell the reader what is happening.
We practised ‘showing’ through writing descriptions of events based on given scenarios or visual stimuli without using the most obvious words recognisable to the theme. I will need to work on this as, in my writing, I lack the ability to coherently describe an object without inventing a persona to be in a circumstance where they would come into contact with, or sight, the object in question. I will need to expand my vocabulary of adjectives and my use of metaphors and similes as well as develop the way in which I convey multi-sensory imagery. Although I do appreciate my own style, I want to be able to the strengthen my areas of weakness in my writing.
Chapter 4 of Workbook*
This aided me in understanding the influence of genre in a story. My story would have to change its main elements in order to coincide with the world that it would be placed in or to fit within the plot criteria of a certain genre.
I have also, however, changed the entire concept of my short story as, because of recent events and realisations, I have come to acknowledge that I would not be able to do that story justice. (At least not at this present time.) I realised that I would cut out elements of the story that were critical for fear of putting them on paper, which is purely because of the topic and the concepts involved. Instead, my short story is about a man who relives his everyday life through the perspective that he held as a young boy. He realises the faults in his character and a personal change as he determines to rectify these flaws and does so by the end of the story. It is not a complicated concept, however, I feel that I will be able to execute it well and demonstrate skill. In the time that I would have used establishing the story, I would well and truly be immersed in the character and the complications that occur. I am hoping to include poetry within the story. I will either need to practice and develop what I have already com up with, or I will simply use it as a personal stimulus for the tone of my story.
*Workbook: McHugh A. (2015). HSC English Discovery Creative Task Workbook. Macmillan Education Australia Pty. Ltd. South Yarra, Victoria