Reading Project: City of Thieves

The book City of Thieves is based in World War 2 Russia, in the city of Leningrad where a siege is taking place. The book is about Lev and Kolya, two young men from arrested for different reasons but given the same task of finding eggs or execution. As the city is struggling for food and German soldiers just await outside the city, this is no easy feat.

Lev and Kolya come across lots of moral dilemmas on the way making choices that no one would like to make. The book is written from the point of view of Lev, A teenager to small for his age which is mildly jealous of Kolya’s good looks and his way of seducing anyone with his speech. This starts with him not liking him at the but growing more fond of him as they spent more time with each other.

I think Lev is a anti-hero because of his motives for doing some of the heroic actions that he did. He always thought that Kolya got all the credit for the things that they did and that he was just the one who was cowardly by backing down from the situations. He did at lot of his actions not usually to help the person so much but to save his own skin or pride. I think this trait is quite common with antiheroes as they are sometimes selfish but still end up doing the right actions as it benefits them as well. The example for this in the book is that they save a group of Russian girls from Nazi control as they needed somewhere to stay as the night was approaching so they infiltrated the house for them to stay in. They couldn’t of cared if they had killed the girls as they had betrayed the Russians by helping the Nazis but they chose to let them go back to the city as it was easier for them. That is what i mean by the heroic actions because of a selfish decision which makes Lev a anti-hero.

Towards the end of the book Lev starts to become more like a typical hero as he starts caring about the people around him, he starts doing actions out of selflessness and compassion which is the traits of a more typical hero. By the very end of the book he forgets the objective of delivering the eggs to the general and cares more about his friends surviving. Even though Lev has traits of both a hero and a anti-hero, for most the book his selfish motives give him quite a narcissistic character but still managing to do the right thing in the end.

Social Media Transcript

Alistair: when’s the football match
Harry Grubb: Tommoz at 6
Get there at 5:30
Alistair: what you doing tommoz
Harry Grubb: Nothing
Alistair: are you going corrams or not?
Harry Grubb: I can do
Alistair: do you want to
Harry Grubb: Yeah
Alistair: yh thats what i mean
what time
Harry Grubb: Up to u

I don’t mind
Alistair: 1
Harry Grubb: Yeah but we have r match soon after

English Assessment

Shakespeare constructs our understanding of Lady Macbeth by using emotive language in her speech and through the way she commands Macbeth to make her seem manipulative and controlling of their relationship.

One of the ways I think Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth through Shakespeare’s choice to use the superstitious language. The first example I will use is when Lady Macbeth and Macbeth meet-up after he had killed king Duncan she says “I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?”. Shakespeare using the terms “owl scream” and “crickets cry” is a use of emotive language as the ‘owl’ isn’t actually screaming nor the ‘crickets’ were actually crying. This isn’t the only connotations that this phrase had as this also was a bad omen in the Jacobean era as the screaming of an owl represents the nightwatchman who would ring the bell outside the cell of a prisoner condemned to death and the crying of crickets was the herald of death. The reasons why I think Shakespeare is using this superstitious terminology is because Lady Macbeth is possibly superstitious herself and that she actually heard these noises or she was using a metaphor for Duncan’s death. The other reason I think Shakespeare does this is to show Lady Macbeth trying to manipulate Macbeth into believing her superstition. The reason why I think that Lady Macbeth would do this is if Macbeth is superstitious then he will believe in witches and start carrying out the prophecies without being so scared.

Another way that Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth as manipulative is how she calls Macbeth cowardly and using Macbeth’s weakness of trying to prove himself to Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth says ” My hands are of your colour; but I shame to wear a heart so white” to Macbeth, this means that she also has blood on her hands but would be ashamed to have a heart so bloodless. Lady Macbeth is saying how she would be ashamed to be so weak and fragile after killing someone and implying that Macbeth should stop hyperventilating and start concentrating on the job in hand. Shakespeare uses another example of emotive language with the term “heart so white”, as the heart is commonly associated with a persons ability to empathize and love so by saying Macbeth’s heart is white Lady Macbeth is saying how he is lacking empathy and love towards her. In any relationship you need some degree of empathy and love so by saying Macbeth is lacking this quality Lady Macbeth is almost saying that Macbeth might be threatening their relationship which is a very manipulative thing to say to someone who seems to want the relationship to continue.

To conclude all of the points I have described in this assessment, I explored the way in which Shakespeare show’s the superstitious nature of the Jacobean era and how Lady Macbeth uses this to manipulate Macbeth. I also looked at the lengths that someone will go when they love another person and how Lady Macbeth takes advantage of Macbeths love for her by using it to manipulate him. I conclude that Lady Macbeth was very manipulative and only had her own self interests at heart without thinking about how it might affect Macbeth or the whole of Scotland.

book review

Over the half term I read Cherub Mad Dogs.

Cherub Mad Dogs is about a boy named James Adams who works for a secret organisation named Cherub. These are highly trained who go undercover against some of the worlds most dangerous criminals. This a turf war breaks out between to gangs and they need information fast so they send in four agents with James being one of them.

I think this Cherub book and the whole cherub series is really enjoyable for the teenage reader as in this book their is a lot of fast paced action but also the adolescent struggles that a lot of teens go through. I really liked the book and maybe the language is not the most sophisticated but it’s gripping still.