Category: NI-1


The Picture of Dorian Gray

I have chosen “The Picture of Dorian Gray” written by Oscar Wilde. I read this book a long time ago in Spanish and I have wanted to read it again because it presents an important matter: the importance of image and of beauty in our lives.

Basil is a London painter obsessed with his last work: a picture of a young beautiful man called Dorian Gray. To Basil, this boy is everything in his life.

Dorian Gray seems a charming, honest man, but when he meets Lord Henry, Basil’s friend, his life changes completely.

Basil warns Dorian about his friend Lord Henry. He is a very bad influence but Dorian is interested in his ideas about life.

To Lord Henry, “to be young is the best thing in the world” and he says Dorian: “live your life now while you are still young”.

When Basil finishes his picture, Dorian realizes his own beauty for the first time and he begins to understand Lord Henry’s ideas. At the moment, Dorian wishes his portrait to grow old in his place.

Now, Dorian Gray is a different person. Dorian begins to explore his senses and to look for beauty and pleasure every day.

But a month later, Dorian falls in love with an actress called Sibyl Vane and Dorian proposes marriage quickly.

One night, after her play, Dorian argues with her and rejects Sibyl. When he returns home he notices his portrait has changed. It’s very strange and he remembers his desire. The next day, he decides to reconcile with Sibyl but Lord Henry arrives to say Sibyl has killed herself.

After that, Dorian experiences all the pleasures of life and the picture reminds him the effect of the bad things on his soul.

One night, Basil visits Dorian to ask about his lifestyle. Basil is worried about Dorian. Then, Dorian shows him the portrait and Basil discovers a horrible image. That is Dorian’s soul. Angry, Dorian blames the painter for everything and kills him.

After that, Dorian realizes he has become a monster. So, tired of devoting his life to pleasure and beauty, he regrets everything and he decides to destroy his portrait.

A cry is heard and the servants arrive where the picture is. They find an old man dead on the floor and the portrait with a handsome young Dorian.

In my opinion, this history teaches us that the most important thing in our lives is our soul, and not our appearance. Our image can change a lot of times but our soul and our moral will be the same always.

CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

This is the story of an amazing boy, Charlie Bucket. Charlie’s family is extremely poor. The house has only two rooms where seven people live, and one bed where the four grandparents have been for 20 years. Freezing cold drafts blow across the floor all winter, and everyone is always hungry. Charlie loves chocolate, but the family is only able to afford one chocolate bar a year, on his birthday.

15 years ago, Willy Wonka opened the largest chocolate factory in the world but spies stole his recipes so he closed the factory. One day Mr Wonka decided to allow five children to visit the factory and one of them will win a special prize at the end. Wonka decided to hide five golden tickets inside the wrappers of five of his candy bars and whoever finds them will get a tour of the factory and a lifetime supply of candy.

The children have to find one of the five golden tickets hidden beneath the wrapping paper of five Wonka bars. So, Augustus Gloop (a German chocoholic), Veruca Salt (a spoilt English brat), Violet Beauregarde (a junior bubblegum champion), Mike Teavee (who hates chocolate and loves TV) and Charlie Bucket (a poor child but clever and sensitive) win tickets and visit the factory. The children must go to the factory allowed to take the members of their family with them to look after them.

“Accidents” happen while on the guided tour. Here, each one of them and their companions learn one lesson. For example, the greedy Augustus falls in the chocolate lake and gets accidentally sucked up and taken away to the room where they make the most delicious chocolate coated. Violet, ignoring Wonka’s advice, tries some of his three course dinner gum and swells up like a blueberry. Veruca tries to grab a squirrel and ends up falling down the garbage chute in the direction of the rotten garbage. Mike tries to use Wonka’s chocolate teleport machine and ends up shrunk to about six inches high. Charlie wins the prize – its Willy Wonka’s factory. Grandpa Joe is moved. The three go in the Great Glass Elevator through the roof, and down the roof of Charlie’s Cottage. Willy Wonka tries to convince Charlie’s family to live in the factory; at the end, they must push them inside the Elevator to go to the Factory. From this moment, they will never be starving.

Mr Wonka feels the luckiest person in the world because he now has an inheritor and he will always be in good company with this new grateful family and the loyal-midget Oompa Loompa.

“1984″ by George Orwell

His real name was Eric Blair. He wrote this novel in 1948 after the World War II. He was warning us about the possible dangers of power in the future. It shows us that there can be no freedom unless ideas and beliefs can be questioned.

The story happens in London.

There were three great powers in the world Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia. The three countries were always in war but no one ever won.

Winston Smith was a man about forty years old, who lived and worked in Oceania.

Big Brother was the leader of the Party. The Party and the Thought Police controlled everything and everybody, but they would control even every thought, so telescreens and hidden microphones were everywhere.

The Party had three slogans

WAR IS PEACE – FREEDOM IS SLAVERY – IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

The state had three ways to change your thoughts.

Firstly, they robbed people of their natural feelings. Family, friends or love didn’t exist in Oceania. They were all comrades. People had to change their feelings into a love of Big Brother and hate for enemies, Emmanuel Goldstein and the Brotherhood.

In the past Goldstein had been as important as Big Brother, but then he had worked against the Party, and before he could be punished, he escaped.

Secondly, they changed history. Winston’s job was to re-write history. He had to change all the old newspapers, so no one could ever discover the truth. If people never knew the truth about the past, they could never discover the lies about the present.

The third way was through the language. They invented a new language called Newspeak. If people didn’t have enough words to have thoughtcrimes, they couldn’t do it.

People were punished because of their toughtcrimes and taken to the prison. They disappeared and later they were vaporized and they had never existed.

Winston worked in the Ministry of Truth, called Minitru in Newspeak.

He didn’t believe what the Party said. He couldn’t believe that two and two made five!

Secrectly he bought a diary and wrote in it FREEDOM IS THE FREEDOM TO SAY THAT TWO AND TWO MAKE FOUR.

One day, he met Julia. She was an Inner Party Member who worked in the ministry. But she didn’t believe in the Parte too and they fell in love. Winston rent a room above Mr Charrington’s shop, so they started to meet secretly there. In the room, there were no telescreen and no micophones. But there were rats! That was the most horrible thing for Winston, he hated rats. He was very frightened of it.

Winston met O’Brien.Winston was sure he was an enemy of the Party and he went to his house with Julia. O’Brien talked to Winston about Goldstein’s book and he gave it to him.

Winston and Julia promised O’Brien to obey the orders of Brotherhood without knowing why. They promised to murder innocent people, even blind a child or kill themselves if the Brotherhood ordered them to do. They had to read the book if they wanted to be a fullmember of the Brotherhood.

One night, Winston and Julia were in the room above Mr Charrington ‘s shop and they began to read the book There have always been three kinds of people in the world the high, the middle and the low. The high wanted to stay where they were, the middle wanted to change places with the high and the low would like to live in a new world where people would be equal….. Suddenly they heard a voice behind them. At this moment, the soldiers came into the room through the windows. Mr Charrington had betrayed them. He was a member of the Thought Police.

They took Julia and Winston to the prison in the Ministry of Love, called Miniluv in the Newspeak. Julia betrayed Winston inmediately.

O’Brien was a member of the Party. He tortured Winston for days and nights. A machine was connected to Winston’s head and with a thumb hidden O’Brien was asking Winston about how many fingers he was holding up. Firstly, Winston said four, but after a few days or weeks, he changed his answer, finally he said five. Winston had passed the stage of learning, it was time to begin to understand and after that, to accept.

O’Brien told him that the Party was only interested in power and they will never let it go. He wanted Winston to understand that power belonged to a group. The real power was over human mind and they got it making suffer. O’Brien told him he wasn’t better than him because he had promised to murder innocent people and even to blind a child. So Winston understood that it was true.

One night, Winston dreamt about Julia, and he called out her name. O’Brien knew that Winston was still in love with her, so he had to turn his feelings to a love only in Big Brother. He took Winston to the room 101. There was the worst thing in the world for him. Winston was tied to a chair. A box with a tube was connected to his face. There were rats in the box. When O’Brien open the tube, Winston began to cry and he shouted Not to me! Do it to Julia! Finally, he had betrayed Julia.

Time had passed and Winston was in the Chestnut Tree Café, he was alone and he was writing on the dust of the table 2+2=5. He was thinking they had managed it, they could get inside his mind. The face of Big Brother filled the telescreen. Winston looked at it and tears ran down his face. He was happy, he had won the fight with himself. He loved Big Brother. He had passed the three stages.

The story begins in 1986 in Madras, a city of India. The main character is Dick; he works as a general manager in a multinational company. He is English and he lives in India with his family. His problems began when he discovered that Vish, the office manager of his company, took advantage of employees and of the company money. Dick quickly called Keith, the boss of the company in England, and he told him all that he knew. But his boss told Dick that he mustn’t get into that. In the following weeks, the situation with Vish and his wife Molly, who also worked at the company, every day it was more strained.

One day, Dick went to Delhi for a meeting with his boss, and Dick was forced to take an early retirement. After that, Dick and his family returned to Cambridge, in England, and there began Dick’s decadence. He was plenty of free time and he didn’t know what to do. Dick started to drink and he had problems with his sons and with his wife, and finally Dick was alone.

A long time later, Dick received a letter of Ramu, one employee of Madras. In this letter he was asking Dick for help because other people were also in Dick’s state. Dick decided to return to India for find out information about these early retirements. There he discovered that everybody who were against Vish and Molly were sack, and Keith, the boss of the company, didn’t do anything. Dick continued investigating in India and he met Lakshmi, the daughter of one sacked employee. He suddenly felt something for her. But she was younger than he, so he wasn’t brave enough to tell anything to her.

After days, Dick turned to England to continue his investigation, and finally he discovered why his boss permitted the corruption in his company. It was because Molly and Keith had a baby together when they were younger but he was married, and nobody knew this. Since then, Keith was being threatened by Vish and Molly because they could say the truth and ruined his marriage.

Finally at the moment of the Dick’s revenge, he didn’t say the truth to anybody because Lakshmi begged him silence for didn’t ruin life of not guilty people. So at the end the karma fixes everything and everyone had their punishment. The good guys had good lives and bad guys had bad ends.

This is the book I’ve chosen and read. It’s about Nelson Mandela, a man who fought for black people’s rights throughouthis live. There is a short summary of the book but I’ll tell you a longer one.

Nelson was born in 1918 in a small village of South Africa, here in Qunu. His real name is Rolihlahla which means “troublemaker” in the Xhosa language.

When he went to school, his teacher gave him the English name of Nelson.

Nelson left home when his uncle arranged his marriage with a girl.

He moved to Johannesburg where he started working as a guard of a gold mine.

Here, in Johannesburg, Nelson learnt a lot about the law, the history of Africa and the living conditions of black Africans in South Africa.

He was so interested in it, that he began to study law at University. When he became a lawyer, he opened the first African law office in Johannesburg.

In Johannesburg, Nelson realized the difference between the lives of black people and the lives of white people in South Africa:

*Black people had to live in the townships which were areas outside the city with no running water or electricity.

*They couldn’t vote or be elected.

*They had to carry a pass in order to travel, to get a job or to be out late at night.

*White workers earned five times more than black workers.

*Even in prison, there were differences between black and white people. Black people had to wear the prison uniform for African prisoners which was short trousers and a shirt.

*There was a political system called ‘apartheid’ which separated white and black people in all areas of live: schools, work, hospital, sports…As you can see in the glog even in the beach and toilets.

So, he began to go to meetings of the ANC. The African National Congress wanted to change South Africa and better living conditions for black people.

Mandela worked for the ANC on different non-violent campaigns like protests, stay-at-home and meetings. In the glog you can see three images of the ANC campaigns.

During these campaigns, the police started arresting people and Mandela was arrested too with others members of the ANC.

They wanted to use trials to explain their ideas and to continue their struggle against apartheid.

Mandela wanted the government to talk about the freedom Africans wanted, but government refused to listen to him.

For 50 years the ANC had been non-violent, but now Mandela believed that violence was necessary in order to change the government ideas.

The time of non-violence was over.

He was kept in Pretoria prison, Robben Island, Pollsmore prison and Victor Verster prison.

Robben Island is a small island which was used by the apartheid government and became known because of its famous prisoners, only black prisoners. You can see in the glog where Robben Island is.

There was more and more violence in South Africa.

Meanwhile, world opinion against apartheid was growing.

Mandela told when he was in prison, that he wanted a free and equal country, where all adults were able to vote for the government. If the government changed, the ANC would stop the use of violence.

In 1989 de Klerk became President, and he wanted to change the situation of South Africa.

After more than 20 years in prison , Mandela was released in 1990. You can see this historical moment in the glog.

There were two more important dates for South Africa:

The first one in 1993 when Nelson Mandela and President de Klerk were given the Nobel Peace Prize for their work for peace in South Africa. You can see the fhoto in the glog.

The second one in 1994 , There was the first election for all people in South Africa and Mandela became the President.

To finish, we can add another important date for South Africa, 2010 when the FIFA World Cup took place there.