Literature & Poetry Year 9 Activity 2

Literature & Poetry – Year 9 Activity 2 Background information: The quality and abundance of literature and poetry written in Spanish, from Federico G

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Literature & Poetry – Year 9 Activity 2 Background information: The quality and abundance of literature and poetry written in Spanish, from Federico García Lorca’s highly symbolic plays and poetry to Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez’s widely acclaimed novel Cien años de soledad and his hugely popular short stories, reveals the rich culture and history of both Spain and Latin America. The exercises that follow are based on poems and on short, adapted extracts from novels written by some of the most accomplished and well-known writers in the Spanish language. Exercise 1: Reading Read the following extract from Gabriel García Márquez’s novella Crónica de una muerte anunciada (‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’). The extract is an adapted version of the first paragraph of the story and introduces the narrative with an air of intrigue and mystery. El día que lo mataron, Santiago Nasar se levantó a las 5.30 de la mañana para esperar el barco del rey. La noche anterior soñó que cruzó un bosque en un avión de papel, y por un instante fue feliz en el sueño, pero al despertar se sintió muy triste. «Siempre soñó con árboles», me dijo Plácida Linero, su madre, acordando 27 años después de los detalles de aquel lunes trágico. Su reputación de intérprete de sueños no le ayudó a interpretar el sueño de su propio hijo la mañana en que él se murió. Exercise 2: English translation and gap-fill activity Read the English translation of the extract, below, and fill in the gaps with the correct English translation of the missing words (highlighted in bold in the Spanish extract above). On the day that they _killed_ him, Santiago Nasar __got up_ at 5.30 in the _morning__ to wait for the king’s _boat__ . The night before he dreamt that he _crossed_ a forest in a paper _aeroplane__ , and for one instant he was _happy__ in his dream, but _upon waking/when he woke up_ he felt very _sad_ . “He always dreamt about trees”, Plácida Linero, his mother, told me, remembering 27 years later the details of that _tragic _Monday_ . Her reputation as an _interpreter__ of dreams did not help her to __interpret__ her own son’s dream on the _morning__ on which he _died_ .

1 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Exercise 3: Comprehension exercise Based on the extract you have read above, answer the following questions: 1. What are we told about the content of Santiago Nasar’s dream and what does it reveal about his character? We are told that Santiago Nasar dreamt that he crossed a forest in a paper aeroplane and felt happy in his dream. The fact that he felt sad when he woke up suggests that he was unhappy in his life and that dreams are a form of escape for him. Flying suggests freedom and space, while the paper plane suggests a fantasy that is fragile and bound to shatter. 2. How many years ago did Santiago Nasar die? Santiago Nasar died 27 years ago, according to the narrator. 3. How would you describe the style, tone and language of the extract? The style is simple and straightforward, using vocabulary that is not ‘flowery’ or particularly complex. In some ways the opening line is more journalistic than literary: the information presented to us is delivered in a direct way that is quite blunt (‘On the day that they killed him…’), and yet a lot of the facts are withheld from the reader - the opening paragraph does not tell us who killed Santiago Nasar and why, only that he was killed). The tone is therefore rather mysterious and deliberately confusing. 4. How many verbs in the preterite (past) tense appear in the Spanish extract? There are 10 verbs conjugated in the preterite (past) tense in total, as follows: 1. mataron 2. se levantó 3. soñó 4. cruzó 5. fue 6. se sintió 7. soñó 8. dijo 9. ayudó 10.se murió

2 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

5. Conjugate the verb levantarse in the preterite (past) tense: Yo me levanté Tú te levantaste Él/ella se levantó Vosotros os levantasteis Nosotros nos levantamos Ellos/ellas/ustedes se levantaron 6. What information can you find out about the author of this text, Gabriel García Márquez, his life and his writing? The Wikipedia link on García Márquez contains comprehensive details of his life and writing. Students might be interested to learn that he has worked as a journalist and screen writer in the past, that he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982, and that he caused scandal by becoming friends and political allies with Fidel Castro, President of Cuba. Exercise 4: Reading and completing a poem Read the following poem about happiness and complete each sentence with the words you feel are most appropriate. For example ‘El día más bello, tu cumpleaños’ (‘the most beautiful day, your birthday’). Consejos para ser feliz (‘Advice on how to be happy’), anonymous. The original poem in its entirety: El día más bello, hoy. La cosa más fácil, equivocarse. El obstáculo más grande, el miedo. La distracción más bella, el trabajo. Los mejores maestros, los niños. La mayor felicidad, ser útil a los demás. El peor defecto, el mal humor. El regalo más bello, el perdón. La ruta más rápida, el camino correcto. El arma más eficaz, la sonrisa. El mejor remedio, el optimismo. Los seres más necesitados, los padres. Lo más hermoso de todo, el amor.

3 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Exercise 5: Reading and reciting Read the following first verse from a poem by the Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca called Romance Sonámbulo, meaning ‘The Sleepwalker Ballad’. Once you have read the poem through two or three times, practise reading it aloud in order to get a sense of the rhythms and sounds of the verse. Verde que te quiero verde. Verde viento. Verdes ramas. El barco sobre la mar y el caballo en la montaña. Con la sombra en la cintura ella sueña en su baranda, verde carne, pelo verde, con ojos de fría plata. Verde que te quiero verde. Bajo la luna gitana, las cosas la están mirando y ella no puede mirarlas.

Exercise 6: Now read the English translation below and then recite it aloud . Green how I want you green. Green wind. Green branches. The ship on the sea And the horse on the mountain. With shadow round her waist She dreams on her veranda, Green flesh, hair of green And eyes of cold silver. Green how I want you green. Under the gypsy moon Things are staring at her, Things she cannot see.

4 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Exercise 7: Comprehension questions Federico García Lorca was famous for his use of symbols in his poetry, particularly colours, animals and names that were meant to be highly symbolic of abstract ideas. 1. What do you think the colour green might symbolise in this poem and why? The colour green in Lorca’s work is often said to symbolise death, decay and stagnation. The students may well come up with alternative interpretations, especially as the symbolism of the poem is difficult to determine from just one short verse. In this verse green could in fact symbolise hope, new life, freshness and innocence, although the phrase ‘green flesh’ has a definite connotation of death and decay. 2. What could the other objects described in the poem represent, including the wind, the sea, the horse, eyes of cold silver, the gypsy moon, etc.? Wind = freedom, wild abandon, escape, danger Sea = as above, as well as travel, drowning, depth and darkness Horse = escape, wildness, masculinity Eyes of cold silver = death, hatred Gypsy moon = magic, mystery, the unknowable world beyond Exercise 8: Composition Now compose your own short poem in Spanish using the colour green as the central theme. What does green symbolise to you; what shorts of images and objects come to your mind when you imagine this colour? Be creative! Your poem does not have to rhyme and can be simple and brief, but you should try to draw the attention of the reader or listener with strong imagery and symbolism if possible. Exercise 9: Presentations Once you have composed your own short poem, recite your verse to your class in Spanish. Your class mates and teacher may want to ask you questions about the subject of your poem, the kinds of images and symbols you have used and why you have used them.

5 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Online Resources: On Gabriel García Márquez and Crónica de una muerte anunciada: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Garc%C3%ADa_M%C3%A1rquez http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronicle_of_a_Death_Foretold

On Federico García Lorca: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federico_Garc%C3%ADa_Lorca http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/163

On Spanish Literature: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_literature

On Latin American Literature: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin_American_literature

6 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Student Version - Literature & Poetry Background information: The quality and abundance of literature and poetry written in Spanish, from Federico García Lorca’s highly symbolic plays and poetry to Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez’s widely acclaimed novel Cien años de soledad and his hugely popular short stories, reveals the rich culture and history of both Spain and Latin America. The exercises that follow are based on poems and on short, adapted extracts from novels written by some of the most accomplished and well-known writers in the Spanish language.

Exercise 1: Reading Read the following extract from Gabriel García Márquez’s novella Crónica de una muerte anunciada (‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’), then fill in the gaps in the English translation. El día que lo mataron, Santiago Nasar se levantó a las 5.30 de la mañana para esperar el barco del rey. La noche anterior soñó que cruzó un bosque en un avión de papel, y por un instante fue feliz en el sueño, pero al despertar se sintió muy triste. «Siempre soñó con árboles», me dijo Plácida Linero, su madre, acordando 27 años después de los detalles de aquel lunes trágico. Su reputación de intérprete de sueños no le ayudó a interpretar el sueño de su propio hijo la mañana en que él se murió.

Exercise 2: English translation and gap-fill activity Read the English translation of the extract, below, and fill in the gaps with the correct English translation of the missing words (highlighted in bold above). On the day that they _______ him, Santiago Nasar ___________ at 5.30 in the __________ to wait for the king’s _______ . The night before he dreamt that he __________ a forest in a paper ___________ , and for one instant he was __________ in his dream, but _______ ___________ he felt very ______ . “He always dreamt about trees”, Plácida Linero, his mother, told me, remembering 27 years later the details of that _________ __________ . Her reputation as an _______________ of dreams did not help her to ___________ her own son’s dream on the __________ on which he __________ .

7 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Exercise 3: Comprehension exercise Based on the extract you have read above, answer the following questions: 1. What are we told about the content of Santiago Nasar’s dream and what does it reveal about his character? 2. How many years ago did Santiago Nasar die? 3. How would you describe the style, tone and language of the extract? 4. How many verbs in the preterite (past) tense appear in the Spanish extract? 5. Conjugate the verb levantarse in the preterite (past) tense: Yo _______________ Tú _______________ Él/ella _______________ Vosotros _______________ Nosotros _______________ Ellos/ellas/ustedes _______________ 6. What information can you find out about the author of this text, Gabriel García Márquez, his life and his writing? Exercise 4: Reading and completing a poem Read the following poem about happiness and complete each sentence with the words you feel are most appropriate. For example ‘El día más bello, tu cumpleaños’ (‘the most beautiful day, your birthday’).

8 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Consejos para ser feliz (‘Advice on how to be happy’) El día más bello, ____________. La cosa más fácil, ____________. El obstáculo más grande, ____________. La distracción más bella, ____________. Los mejores maestros, ____________. La mayor felicidad, ____________. El peor defecto, ____________. El regalo más bello, ____________. La ruta más rápida, ____________. El arma más eficaz, ____________. El mejor remedio, ____________. Los seres más necesitados, ____________. Lo más hermoso de todo, ____________.

Exercise 5: Reading and reciting Read the following first verse from a poem by the Spanish poet and playwright Federico García Lorca called Romance Sonámbulo, meaning ‘The Sleepwalker Ballad’. Once you have read the poem through two or three times, practise reading it aloud in order to get a sense of the rhythms and sounds of the verse. Verde que te quiero verde. Verde viento. Verdes ramas. El barco sobre la mar y el caballo en la montaña. Con la sombra en la cintura ella sueña en su baranda, verde carne, pelo verde, con ojos de fría plata. Verde que te quiero verde. Bajo la luna gitana, las cosas la están mirando y ella no puede mirarlas.

9 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

Exercise 6: Now read the English translation below and then recite it aloud . Green how I want you green. Green wind. Green branches. The ship on the sea And the horse on the mountain. With shadow round her waist She dreams on her veranda, Green flesh, hair of green And eyes of cold silver. Green how I want you green. Under the gypsy moon Things are staring at her, Things she cannot see. Exercise 7: Comprehension questions Federico García Lorca was famous for his use of symbols in his poetry, particularly colours, animals and names that were meant to be highly symbolic of abstract ideas. 1. What do you think the colour green might symbolise in this poem and why? 2. What could the other objects described in the poem represent, including the wind, the sea, the horse, eyes of cold silver, the gypsy moon, etc.? Exercise 8: Composition Now compose your own short poem in Spanish using the colour green as the central theme. What does green symbolise to you; what shorts of images and objects come to your mind when you imagine this colour? Be creative! Your poem does not have to rhyme and can be simple and brief, but you should try to draw the attention of the reader or listener with strong imagery and symbolism if possible.

Exercise 9: Presentations Once you have composed your own short poem, recite your verse to your class in Spanish. Your classmates and teacher may want to ask you questions about the subject of your poem, the kinds of images and symbols you have used and why you have used them.

10 Villiers Park Educational Trust, Royston Road, Foxton, CB22 6SE www.villierspark.org.uk

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