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Mostrando entradas de enero, 2012

Dickens in context

These resources will allow you to investigate the key themes of Dickens's novels alongside original source material from the British Library. Literary manuscripts, newspapers, letters, workhouse menus and many more fascinating collection items will help you open up the social, cultural and political context in which Dickens was writing. 

Surf the resources.


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The Curious case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

Soraya Suárez González 1º NA What is your interpretation of the short story “The Swimmer”?
This story is a mixture of mystery, confusion and intrigue. When I started to read it, I believed Neddy Merril and his family were spending a fantastic day together. He wanted to do something different so he would cross swimming the 12 kilometres that there were between their neighbours’ houses and his own house.
However, when the story continued it was completely different. People looked at him as if he was crazy , they complained because he had had bad luck…Even the weather had changed: it turned into a very cold day!
At the end of the day, he got home. Nevertheless it was closed. It seemed as if nobody had been there for a long time. He didn’t understand anything!
I think Neddy Merril lived in the past, in his own memories. He had had the ideal family and a perfect life, yet he had lost them. He didn’t know what had happened or he might not remember and he wasn’t helped by anybody.
Say which of the…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

Asunción Lombardía García 1º NA   The swimmer
What is your interpretation of this short story?
The book is about a swimmer who wants to be recognized in his neighbourhood. He feels he is on his own and with a bad career. Everything is bad in his life: his wife drinks and when he arrived home he thinks his daughters are going to be playing tennis, but there is nobody at home.
Say which of the two short stories we have read in this book you liked more and why.
I’ve liked more “The curious Case of Benjamin Button” because it is about something unreal that could never happen nowadays.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

THE SWIMMER Francisco E. Fernández; 1NA
What is your interpretation of this short story? Neddy Merryl wanted to go berserk when he tried to discover Lucinda’s river. It was the main goal for him in the afternoon of one midsummer Sunday. That afternoon, which seems a year since the life of American middle-class people doesn’t change, only some slight changes warn us of the passage of time into a happy and carefree life. Lucinda’s river is crossed by the swimmer, helped by John Cheever, the writer, because he wants to show us how life is into the heart of the American middle-class. Neddy swims in identical pools built in identical gardens of the identical houses. Suddenly, Lucinda’s river becomes a hard raid of gin tonics because Neddy needs to retrieve his lost social status, but he is rejected. Then Lucinda’s river becomes a nightmare of desolation and coldness, of misunderstanding and loneliness. And the writer shows us the true face of those beautiful people. The swimmer is a sad story ab…

The curious case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

Liudmyla The Swimmer
What is your interpretation of the short story “The Swimmer”?
1. In my opinion, this story is about a man whose World was crushed but he didn’t accept it and continued to live in his former glorious beautiful life. The main character simply got out of his head the past few years of his life which had been not so glorious for him.
One day he decided to swim home across his neighbors’ swimming pools, and at that point the journey of his real and unreal life began , the journey of one day’s afternoon. When he decided to take that adventure he thought that everything was ok in his ordinary life; he thought that his daughters and wife were waiting for him at home as they always did. But, when he finally came home he didn’t meet anybody there, his house was empty, dark and locked, at this moment he fount he found himself alone, frustrated and exposed when he realized that he had been deceiving himself about the past few years of his life; the truth of his failure in life …

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

MARINA VIJANDE QUINTANA THE SWIMMER What is your interpretation of this story? When I was a child, one on my worst nightmares was that I would wake up in the morning and nobody knew who I was. That though made me feel very nervous and I usually cried uncontrollably. Reading this short story had made me think about that childhood fear and I didn’t like to do it at all, especially because this short story is even more distressing: time has passed much slowlier for the main character than for the rest of the world. In conclusion, I think that everybody, sooner or later, share the same fears: being alone, not having any place to go to, nobody to remember you…
Say which of the two short stories we have read in this book you have liked more and why.             I have liked more “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” especially because I didn’t enjoy the other story at all for the reasons I’ve said before. Another reason that I consider very important is the fact that “The Curious Case…” is more …

The Curious case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

The Swimmer
Jose Ramón 1NA
In my opinion I must agree with conclusion made by the Spanish editor in the brief introduction to this short story. In the end, the author J. Sheever makes a criticism about the socially accepted idea of “the American dream”. The Swimmer is a story about a well provided middle-aged man blessed with a good family and who is admired by his neighbours. Suddenly, an apparently absurd idea of crossing all the country swimming in the pools of all his neighbours seems to drive him crazy. He thinks about himself that he is spending his leisure time, but you can see that he is looking all that is worthy for him, family, currency, acceptation by others… In the end he comes to the deception of his abandoned house and ruined life. To be honest I didn’t like any of the short stories, but if I have to choose one I would prefer the Curious Case of Benjamin Button, specially the scene at the hospital when Benjamin was born. I think that it express with good sense of humour th…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

What is your interpretation of the short story “The Swimmer”?
Paloma García 1ºNA
1. I think what the swimmer's author tries to say is that the American dream is not like everyone imagines. The book starts in a beautiful sunny summer day, when he decides to go home swimming through his neighbour's pools. He starts very opimistic and full of energy but as the time is passing the weather changes to the worse, he sarts getting tired and his neighbours began to think he is a fool, even one of them tells him he had broken overnight. After a hard journey, he arrives home and found it empty and completly locked.
Say which of the two short stories we have read in this book you’ve liked more and why.
2. Without any doubt I've liked Benjamin Buttonn more. First of all because I knew this story through the film and second Because I found it a funny story some way. The situation was almost comical though it was a tragedy. I think it is a gripping tale.

The curious case of Benjamin Button and the Swimmer


1.- What is your interpretation of this short story?
In my opinion Neddy was an unhappy and unlucky man and with this story the writertries to symbolizeNeddy’s life’s journey. The account starts with a normal situation, on one summer Sunday where a man was talking to other friends, and suddenly he decided to start swimming moving from one swimming pool to another in the neighbourhood in order to come back home, which is miles away. He had some obstacles along the way and finally when he got to get home he found a devastatingand tragicstory, his house was empty and he was alone in life.
Neddy has named the chain of pools “LucindaRiver”. Lucinda was his  wife’s name, so I imagine he meant to evoke the longevity of his marriage and family. We don’t know much about their marriage, but we know about Neddy’s affair with Shirley, an affair he treated lightly and to which he attached no meaning. Treating adultery so casually implies that Neddy assumed that Lucinda would…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

The Swimmer Estefanía Díaz, 1º Nivel Avanzado
1.What is your interpretation of this story?
“The Swimmer” is a strange story. In my opinion, the writer tried to show how the American middle-class life was. Apparently, Neddy Merrill had a perfect life. However, we realize that it was not as idyllic as it seemed because the relationship between the neighbourhood was a bit hypocritical. They criticized each other even though they shared parties. In addition, we discovered ha had had a mistress in spite of his apparently perfect family. Maybe to show that the middle class didn’t want any kind of relationship with other people, Neddy Merrill got to the public swimming pool and he ran away. He was in his comfort zone and he didn’t know how other people lived. To sum up, I think this story is a metaphor of the American dream which faded in the end.
2.Say which of the two stories we have read in this book you have liked more and why.
I prefer “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” rather than “The …

The Curious case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

The swimmer Isaac Cernuda Rubio 1NA
What is your interpretation of the short story “The Swimmer”? In my opinion, Ned Merrill (the swimmer), is a man that has a lot of problems. Probably, he is an alcoholic, and because of this he has lost his home and daughters. On the other hand, I have read on the Internet that John Cheever wanted to make a critic of the “American way of life”, but, to be honest, I didn’t realize it when I read the story. Say which of the two short stories we have read in this book you’ve liked more and why. I’ve liked “The curious case of Benjamin Button” more because it’s less abstract than “The swimmer”. Although it’s a sad story, I’ve liked it because it’s about an original and interesting topic.

The Interlopers: alternative endings

Here you have the different endings the students have written.
Make your comments.

Alternative endings

They heard a noise, but they couldn’t see anything because they were surrounded by branches. Ulrich called for help. Georg called for help too. Together, they called for help again. Georg heard people running towards them. Suddenly, they saw the branches had been turned away. It was their wives. Each one had a broom in her hands. The women began to beat them with their brooms and to say: -You will not fight any more! You had been fighting since you were children. It is time to stop this. We are tired of so much struggle! Mª del Rocío Fernández Baniela
"When the two men were lying and they felt terrible pains, Ulrich still had hope, but Georg didn't. Finally Ulrich's men came because they had waited for ten minutes and Ulrich hadn't come out of the forest yet. They were friends for ever." Sonia Busto Avello
Finally Ulrich caught his rifle and he hunted a wolf, then the ot…

The Curious case of Benjamin Button and the Swimmer

1.- What is your interpretation of this short story?
 This is a very strange story. In the beginning I couldn´t find any sense about it, but when I went on, it became quite interesting. Neddy Merrill, in a hot summer evening, decides to return home swimming across all the swimming pools of the county, creating a new route which he would call Lucinda. That evening, everybody is suffering from a hangover because they drunk too much the previous night. When he starts his adventure, he swims across nice pools and he meets prosperous and kind people who have good dealings with him. But when the day goes on, the pools become worse, with colder and dirtier water. The people even give him a worse treatment each time, the same as if he were mad. In the end, when he arrives home and hopes to find his wife and daughters, he can only find his empty house. I think the writer wants to show us that time when people got drunk and only thought about parties and have fun. Meanwhile, everything was wonder…

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Swimmer

THE SWIMMER Cristina de la Uz Fernández.1NA
I think this is another sad story about the human beings’ hypocrisy. In order to show that, the author uses the character of Neddy Merril, who was used to living surrounded by upper-class people, glamorous parties and all kind of comforts. However this life full of richness does not last forever because of the terrible crisis that his country is living. At that moment, Neddy, instead of accepting the reality, he avoids it and he goes on acting as usual. Then, his new aim will be to come back home swimming across the river Lucinda, an imaginary river whose course is made of all the swimming pools along the county. In his particular trip his neighbours take their masks off and disdain, revenge, hatred and mockery show their real personalities when he is not that wealthy man any more. As regards the reading, I think The Swimmer makes it a tedious reading because the whole story is a metaphor , however the author describes realistically the customs…

The Swimmer and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

These are the two short stories we have read so far this year. All along the week we'll be reading the students reviews. Read one  make a comment stating your points of view.

Amanda Pérez Riesgo 1NA

1.- What is your interpretation of this short story?
I think this story tells the memories of Neddy Merrill, a rich man who seems to have lost everything in his perfect life, above all his youth.
The story starts in the season of summer and it ends in autumn. In my opinion the summer represents his youth and the autumn represents his old age. It compares that period of his life, when he was young, rich, and happy with his family, with his actual situation of poverty and loneliness that made of him an alcoholic.
It seems that  “LucindaRiver” represents his experiences, his ambitions, the life style of the rich class he belonged to, the figure of his wife, and the way he grew old (the pools become harder to swim) and the way he finally will be left all by himself. On his adventure he goes th…

Animación a la lectura 2012

Gulliver's Travels

Click for the full version of the book and start reading

What did you expect?

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91 What did you expect?

Explore Charles Dickens on your couch

Willing to join #Dickens2012 from your home, on your comfortable couch just using one of your gadgets?
OK, then explore Dickens without even going to the library; just take a tour around The British Library and find out the most curious facts you could ever imagine about this fantastic British writer who is celebrating his 200th birthday on 7 February 2012.
 This is the handwritten draft of Nicholas Nickleby, penned by Charles Dickens around 1938. Go into the library and Learn more.

But you might be more interested in action! Would you like to know what is on in the British Library so as to celebrate this outstanding writer? Find out all about ongoing events.

The Library is also a place to enjoy visual media, such as photos or caricatures, and where you can find Dickensian videos as well.
Ooops!, But of course, you just want to read, at home, in your office, at school, wherever ... Yes, that's one of the aims of visiting a library, I know, I know.
Just surf the library catalogue, …

Celebrate Dickens' Day with us

Las preguntas sobre Tintin

Le trésor des mots

The Interlopers

I would like you to take part in the following activity.Good luck!

The Interlopers

You can read the full version of this short story by Saki.

Happy New Year

Now,we are all excited waiting for The Three Wise Men.
Fortunately, in this season, nothing changes all along the years, as Marina stated .

Marina Gavilán Miranda 2nd Intermediate.
Everyone has something to say about Christmas.
 Now, I remember when I was a child. I was the whole year waiting for Christmas time. When it was approaching, I used to feel very excited. On the 24th and 25th December, a very big family dinner used to be celebrated at home with my grand-parents, my uncles and aunts, cousins and also pets; there was no room in the house for so many people, it was really amazing, and the home was completely decorated. I really used to love those days. Later, on the 6th January, my parents, my brothers and I, used to go to the parade that took place in the centre of the town. It was really lovely, and the children used to look at the gifts wondering which one would be theirs. Then, Christmas time ended, and I was only waiting for the next year’s. Now, fifty years later, I'm watch…