jueves, 26 de abril de 2018

Realism in the High Victorian period and the intense psychological character studies from the perspectives of George Eliot and Charles Dickens.

Realism in the High Victorian period and the intense psychological character studies from the perspectives of George Eliot and Charles Dickens. 

The aim of this essay is going to focus on Realism in the High Victorian period and to explain why realist artists were especially known for their psychological character studies. First, the essay will start by introducing the Victorian period. Secondly, it will analyse how Realism influenced English literature. Finally, it will discuss the psychology of the characters from the perspectives of George Eliot and Charles Dickens. In the case of Dickens it will specially focus on the psychology of the main characters using the book of Martin Chuzzlewit (1844) and Bleak House (1853) and in the case of Eliot, it will pay attention to women’s characterisation using the book of Middlemarch (1871).

The Victorian period represents the reign of Queen Victoria of Great Britain (1837-1901), some experts anticipate the beginning of the period, characterized by important changes in cultural sensitivities and political concerns, to the enactment of the Reform Act of 1832. It is a period where many changes are produced: from rural villages with couch-and-four (a carriage pulled by four horses and driven by one driver) that circulate on their roads, to large and modern cities with complex railway systems intertwined with each other. This period is also characterised by the overcrowded houses, where larger families live. In other words, significant changes brought challenging problems and multiple ambiguities difficult to solve. (Whitla, 2014).
From the cultural point of view, Victorianism extends from late Romanticism to the Edwardian era of the twentieth century. Moreover, this period is not only found in England, but also in Scotland, Wales and Ireland and later in the century, it extends to India and other parts of the British Empire. The term Victorian was applied to art as a set of styles and fashions represented in the architecture, writing, and way of speaking proper of the period. Although it was not recognized after years later, the year of the Great Exhibition in 1851 (where the inventions of the Industrial Revolution were taking place to show the progress of the growing human industry and its unlimited imagination through machinery, manufactured products, and sculptures), was the apex of the Victorian era. In this exhibition, British people celebrated the success of the national institutions, the wealth of commerce in the British Empire, the progress that steam power was having in their industry, and the success of international trade (Whitla, 2014).
Once presented the Victorian period, I will analyse Realism as a literary movement. Mullan states that realism is often thought to be a tendency of the Victorian fiction, and it is certain that its first use in literature was to express ‘the loyal representation of the real world’. In an essay on the artist and critic John Ruskin (1819-1900) George Eliot claimed that realism was the doctrine where truth and beauty can be found by doing a humble analysis of nature. Moreover, she believed that it couldn’t be substituted by the imagination of uncertain feelings, that is to say, Naturalism, the other literary movement of this period. Eliot specially insisted on the modesty that this realism must have, she wanted to focus her attention on the ‘ordinary’. In her first novel Adam Bede (1859), she wanted to prove the truthfulness she was aiming, to the quality. To do this, she describes many Dutch paintings that ‘high-minded people’ ignored. She found sympathy in those faithful paintings of a monotonous home activity and she tried to transmit this feeling in her novel.
By using this type of comparisons and descriptions faithful to reality, she gave a special value to the accurate presentation of appearances. However, she thought that characterisation was more than a simple description, it was the key of realism. In 1856, she criticized Charles Dickens in a famous article for being considered the most representative of this style of society’s descriptions. But unable to pass from the humorous and superficial to the emotional and tragic without being as transcendent as he was before in his artistic truthfulness, George Eliot said that Dickens did a ‘frequently false psychology’, and it was more evident when he described lower class people, such as poor children, artisans or melodramatic boatmen. For her, Dickens was not a realist. Henry James, a later American author between literary realism and literary modernism, will later describe him as ‘the greatest of superficial novelists’ (Mullan, 2014).
Moreover, Dicken’s truth to reality troubled seriously the critics of his day as it has troubled readers since he wrote his novels. Dickens himself sometimes asserted the reality of his fiction, as for instance, in the third edition of Oliver Twist (1841), where he had to respond to critics saying that he presented criminals and prostitutes as the faithful reality. In this book in particular, criminals are badly treated and represented, but nevertheless, prostitutes, as Nancy, have a sympathetic representation. Another good example of this appears in Bleak House (1852-3) when Dickens turned to the body of Jo, a crossing poor sweeper, to address wealthy people of his own society.
Dead, your Majesty. Dead, my lords and gentlemen. Dead, right reverends and wrong reverends of every order. Dead, men and women, born with heavenly compassion in your hearts. And dying thus around us every day (Dickens, 1853, p. 892).
Despite Eliot’s criticism and the added difficulty involved in analysing the descriptions of Dicken’s characters, T.C. Renzi asserts that characters’ descriptions can be analysed. He says that main characters are the most important characters in Dicken’s descriptions. Therefore, their psychological and physical makeup must contain some degree of depth, in order to make them more interesting. Moreover, since main characters are the most influential during the story, their beginnings may contain prominent features that will later be clarified, developed and exploited in succeeding situations. One of these examples can be seen in Martin Chuzzlewit when Dickens introduces the character of Mr. Pecksniff, a spurious architect.
Mr. Pecksniff was a moral man... Perhaps there never was a more moral man than Mr. Pecksniff.... [H]e had a Fortunatus's purse of good sentiments on his inside... [He] was like the girl in the fairy tale, except that if they were not actual diamonds that fell from his lips, they were the very brightest paste... He was a most exemplary man: fuller of virtuous precept than a copy-book. Some people likened him to a direction-post, which is always telling the way to a place, and never goes there... His very throat was moral. You saw a good deal of it. You looked over a very low fence of white cravat (whereof no man had ever beheld the tie, for he fastened it behind), and there it lay... serene and whiskerless before you (Dickens, 1867, p. 354).
In this quote, it can be seen that Dickens uses several literary devices to describe him and make the reader think in a particular perspective about the architect. One of them is the third-person narrator in order to use sarcasm, that is to say, Dickens uses verbal irony that contrasts with what is meant to be. With the purpose of ridiculing Pecksniff 's hypocrisy: what it may sound as a compliment, such as ‘moral man’, ‘sleek’ or ‘oily’ actually implies that he is a phony person, a trait that presages his motivations in later actions (Renzi, 2010).
Besides irony, Dickens uses literary devices to describe his characters through implied comparisons to other authors’ characters. As for instance, when he describes Pecksniff as ‘fuller of virtuous precept than a copy-book’ in the quote, faintly alluding to Polonius in the book of Hamlet, who spoke with epithets without coherence. Furthermore, Dickens also makes a public display of what morality had to be while at the same time he is hiding his dark side from the others. The narrator finishes by embodying Pecksniff’s hypocrisy physically, in his way of dressing and in his appearance. After establishing this character’s basic personality, Dickens uses these central traits to recreate new situations in order to expose the psychological portrait of the character (Renzi, 2010). It is for these reasons that the complexity of the main characters’ descriptions had such importance in his works. For instance, he does not simply say that Pecksiff is a completely hypocritical snob, he tries to show the reader (thanks to his actions) how the character really is, showing at the same time one of his best skills.
Another type of characterization that realists carried out was women’s characterization. K. Hughes considers Eliot as one of the best representatives of this type of characterisation. Eliot’s attitude towards women’s rights, education and place in society, and how this attitude is expressed in the psychological portrays of the characters, were her most valuable features. One of these examples can be found in one of her books, Middlemarch. At the end of the story, the author tells us what will later happen to the heroine of the story, Dorothea Brooke. As a young woman at the beginning of the story, Dorothea compares herself to Spanish Saint Teresa of Avila, a 16th-century mystic and social reformer who wanted to make a better world. However, Dorothea was born three centuries later, in a highly materialistic century in which there was no coherent social faith or order that could teach her soul how to improve the world.
By consequence, Dorothea ends her life married and with the despair that nobody will remember her. In spite of this fact, Eliot makes us see that she was such a wonderful person that readers do not have to feel disappointed at her for being condemned to a monotonous life. It is obvious that the heroine didn’t achieve the greatness and importance she wanted to have, but the day-to-day acts she performed, such as her kindness to people, had a profound effect within her domestic style of life. Therefore, the role she played as wife, mother, and friend, was, in some circumstances, her best and most valuable feature (Hughes, 2014).

But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs” (Eliot, 1997, p.785).

In sum, this essay discussed the different types of characterisation that realist writers realised in their works and showed the importance of the psychological character studies. It also analysed two types of descriptions, in the case of Dickens, it has been the main characters’ descriptions and in the case of Eliot, it has been women’s descriptions. Last, but not least, this essay has exposed the differences between both writers, especially in the critic done by Eliot, where she accused Dickens of doing frequently false psychology.

Dickens, Charles, 2000. Bleak House. London: ElecBook.
Dickens, C. (1867). The life and adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit. Charles Dickens ed. Boston: Ticknor and Fields.
Eliot, George, & Carroll, D. 1997, Middlemarch, Oxford: Oxford University Press, eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost, viewed 18 March 2018.
Hughes, Kathryn, 2014. The British Library.
Available at:
[Last access: 16 May 2018].
Mullan, John, 2014. Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians. [Enlínea]
Available at: https://www.bl.uk/romantics-and-victorians/articles/realism
[Last access: 15 March 2018].
Pierce, G. A., 2013. The Dickens Dictionary. Massachusets: Courier Corporation.
Renzi, T. C. (2010, January). What a 'character': Dickens was a master at creating memorable individuals and bringing them to life. Why not put some of his techniques to work in your own fiction? The Writer, 123(1), 26. Retrieved from http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A213601179/LitRC?u=ed_itw&sid=LitRC&xid=a937d209
Shea, V, &Whitla, W (eds) 2014, Victorian Literature: An Anthology, John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated, Hoboken. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [16 March 2018].

miércoles, 11 de abril de 2018

Close reading of Christina Rossetti’s poem ‘Goblin Market’ (1859-1862)

Close reading of Christina Rossetti’s poem ‘Goblin Market’ (1859-1862)

She cried “Laura,” up the garden,                                                            
“Did you miss me?                                  465
Come and kiss me.
Never mind my bruises,
Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices                                                               
Squeezed from goblin fruits for you,
Goblin pulp and goblin dew.                     470
Eat me, drink me, love me; Laura, make much of me:
For your sake I have braved the glen
And had to do with goblin merchant men.”
Laura started from her chair,                     475
Flung her arms up in the air, Clutched her hair:
“Lizzie, Lizzie, have you tasted For my sake the fruit forbidden?
Must your light like mine be hidden,           480
Your young life like mine be wasted,
Undone in mine undoing,
And ruined in my ruin,
Thirsty, cankered, goblin-ridden?” —
She clung about her sister,                        485       
Kissed and kissed and kissed her:
Tears once again
Refreshed her shrunken eyes,
Dropping like rain
After long sultry drouth;                           490
Shaking with aguish[1] fear, and pain,
She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth.
Her lips began to scorch,
That juice was wormwood to her tongue,
She loathed the feast:                                495
Writhing as one possessed she leaped and sung,
Rent all her robe, and wrung Her hands in lamentable haste, And beat her breast.
Her locks streamed like the torch              500
Borne by a racer at full speed,
Or like the mane of horses in their flight,
Or like an eagle when she stems the light
Straight toward the sun,
Or like a caged thing freed,                       505
Or like a flying flag when armies run.
Swift fire spread through her veins, knocked at her heart,
Met the fire smouldering there
And overbore its lesser flame;
She gorged on bitterness without a name:   510
Ah! fool, to choose such part Of soul-consuming care!
Sense failed in the mortal strife:
Like the watch-tower of a town
Which an earthquake shatters down,          515
Like a lightning-stricken mast,
Like a wind-uprooted tree
Spun about,
Like a foam-topped waterspout
Cast down headlong in the sea,                  520
She fell at last;
Pleasure past and anguish past, Is it death or is it life?
Life out of death.
That night long Lizzie watched by her,        525
Counted her pulse's flagging stir,
Felt for her breath,
Held water to her lips, and cooled her face With tears and fanning leaves:
But when the first birds chirped about their eaves,   530       
And early reapers plodded to the place
Of golden sheaves,
And dew-wet grass
Bowed in the morning winds so brisk to pass,
And new buds with new day                                535
Opened of cup-like lilies on the stream,
Laura awoke as from a dream,
Laughed in the innocent old way,
Hugged Lizzie but not[2] twice or thrice;
Her gleaming locks showed not one thread of grey,  540 
Her breath was sweet as May And light danced in her eyes.
Days, weeks, months, years
Afterwards, when both were wives
With children of their own;                                    545
Their mother-hearts beset with fears,
Their lives bound up in tender lives;
Laura would call the little ones
And tell them of her early prime,
Those pleasant days long gone                              550
Of not-returning time:
Would talk about the haunted glen,
The wicked, quaint[3] fruit-merchant men,
Their fruits like honey to the throat
But poison in the blood;                                        555
(Men sell not such in any town:)
Would tell them how her sister stood In deadly peril to do her good, And win the fiery antidote:
Then joining hands to little hands                           560
Would bid them cling together,
“For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,                            565
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands.”

                                                     [END OF PAPER]

            In this essay, I will discuss an extract of the poem ‘Goblin Market’ of Christina Rossetti. First, I will analyse the structure, genre, and theme of the poem and its relation to its historical moment. Secondly, I will do a close reading of the poem, analysing it stanza by stanza and taking into account the different rhetorical devices that appear in itself. Finally, I will give a general opinion of the poem.

    Goblin Market is a narrative poem composed in 1859 and published in 1862. It was written in the Victorian Age (1830-1901), a period of industrialization, where there was a class consciousness and where women began to be taught in other things apart from music or drawing. The main themes are numerous in this poem, one of them is women and femininity, because ‘Goblin Market’ is a woman’s world where there are no male characters and this is going to be very relevant in the development of the story. Another theme is the sexual one, which, despite being a poem dedicated for children according to the author, there is an erotic imagery, as for instance goblin’s fruits used as a metaphor for sex, and there is also a sensual language used between the two sisters. Fruits can also be seen as drugs, as one of the sisters (Laura) became addicted to them, so we can say that the theme of drugs is also presented in this poem. Finally, the last of the main themes I can mention is the theme of violence, presented in the part where Lizzie is attacked by the goblins or in eating the food if it is interpreted as the loss of virginity.

    Most of the poem is written in iambic tetrameter, but its rhyme is irregular, although there are innumerable couplets in the poem. The six stanzas we are going to analyse have an irregular amount of lines, being the first stanza shorter than the other ones. The narrator of this poem is, in general, an objective third-person narrator who is describing what the two sisters are doing, although in the extract, we see that there are some exceptions, as for instance, in lines 511 and 512, where the narrator breaks out with this and addresses to Laura directly, losing the objectivity.

The extract of the poem we are about to analyse belongs to the last part of the poem, I am going to collect the main ideas of each stanza in order to give my own opinion. On the one hand, the first stanza can be seen from a sexual point of view, in which fruits can have been used as a metaphor for sex. In the stanza, we see that Lizzie enters the house inviting Laura to lick up the goblin fruit juice off her. However, seeing the language used by Lizzie asking Laura to do it, we see that it’s pretty erotic ‘Hug me, kiss me, suck my juices’ (l.468) repeating nearly the same structure (parallelism) just a few lines later ‘Eat me, drink me, love me’ (l. 471). Lizzie was even wounded by the goblins, but with this figurative language, the meaning of being reunited changes for a great reason to be happy to a sexual one. If, on the other hand, we see this stanza as it were for children, the meaning changes and we only see the love between sisters, that is to say, Lizzie saving Laura from death, and the bravery of Lizzie for having fought against the goblins.

The second stanza of the extract is about how the reencounter is produced between both sisters and how Laura drinks the juice. As in the first stanza, we can see the second one from two points of view, in spite of the fact that the erotic one, in my view, prevails from the other. Laura is worried about Lizzie because she didn’t know if she had eaten ‘the fruit forbidden’ (l. 479) (religious reference from the story of Adam and Eve). Afterwards, there is a contrast that Laura makes comparing herself to Lizzie ‘Must your light like mine be hidden’ (l.480) and ‘Your young life like mine be wasted’ (l.481) transmitting pessimism about her situation. She continues emphasizing her bad situation and she doesn’t want to drag Lizzie down. Then we see how Laura returns to life thanks to the goblin’s juice. The word ‘kiss’ is repeated three times, making an emphasis in the sisterhood love, and we observe that Laura returns to life because she is able to cry again. In my opinion, now she is crying because of the relief of being alive, so it is a good aspect. In the final lines of the stanza I believe there is an element of greed and desire, especially it says ‘She kissed and kissed her with a hungry mouth’ (l.492), but at the same time she’s transmitting affection and gratitude to her sister that has saved her.

In the third stanza, we see that this juice doesn’t taste good and she acts as she is possessed when she drinks it, suffering because of it in burning her lips and it is ‘wormwood to her tongue’ (l.494). I’ve interpreted this passage of the stanza as some kind of cure or sacrilege done to a person possessed by an evil spirit that wants to take out all the evilness of his body. In the second part of the stanza, Laura is described with several similes, as for example in line 503 ‘Or like an eagle when she stems the light’, describing her liberation from the poison, from the evil spirits. She is compared to ‘a mane of horses’, ‘an eagle’, ‘a flag’ and even to the Olympic torch (in lines 500 and 501), all of them referring to her new freedom and liberation from the goblin’s poison. This new freedom of Laura made me think about all the social movements led by women in the Victorian era in order to have equal opportunities to work and to have similar salaries as men. For this reason, I consider that the author is referring to femininity and women’s liberation. Furthermore, the author can be also referring to the exclusion of women from the male-dominated artistic world during this era, like Christina Rossetti herself with her brothers as, despite the fact that they encouraged her writing, they did not allow her to become an official member of their artistic movement.
    Now the fourth stanza deals with Laura’s healing start to act with a ‘lesser flame’ (l.509). Nevertheless, the most important fact of this stanza is the narrator’s intrusion in the argument of the story, losing thereby, all the objectiveness of the narration. It seems to me that the narrator did this so as to do more emphasis on the fact that Laura made a bad decision. He talks in the first person and directly to Laura, creating at the same time a climax in the narration. Another point of view to see this part of the poem is the religious one, when God expels Eve from the Garden of Eden because she ate the forbidden fruit, in this case, the voice of the narrator would be God and Laura would be Eve. Further on, there are again several similes comparing her struggle to live to ‘watch-tower’ (l.514), a ‘mast’ (l.516) or a ‘wind-uprooted tree’ (l.517). All these things are fighting against natural forces, so personally, I think that the author is trying to emphasize the difficulty of this struggle against life because natural forces can be stopped. And suddenly, Laura loses her consciousness or ‘spun about’ (l.518) and she casts down. In the final lines of the stanza, the author makes more dramatism and suspense, we don’t know if she feels ‘pleasure’ or ‘anguish’ and with a final rhetorical question, ‘Is it death or is it life?’ we don’t even know if those were her last feelings. I believe that in this stanza Christina Rossetti wanted to make an atmosphere of suspense and it is the exact moment where the climax is produced. In relation to the style, I’ve realized that the lines becone shorter and shorter at the end of the stanza and this creates a more suspense effect.

    In the following stanza, the poet will answer the previous rhetorical question, answering ‘Life out of death’ (l.524), nonetheless in a confusing way, because if the meaning is that Laura came back to life, it can be seen as a miracle. On the contrary, if it is a figurative way, there is no miracle. Lizzie gives her water and she cries again and the atmosphere changes into a better one. Nature returns to the scene to play an important role and now it is dawning. There is an important aspect in this stanza and it’s the fact that Laura is becoming younger and returning to life, fresh as ‘lilies’ (l.536) and her hair is returning to be blonde (before it was grey). In my view, Laura is returning to life and as in the same poem it is said ‘Laura awoke as from a dream’ (l.537), in other words, as it was before, as if the whole story had been a nightmare from which she had finally woken up. All this happiness is now reflected in nature, in a spring atmosphere, ‘Her breath was sweet as May’ (l.541). If we consider as valid the religious background we mentioned before, we can see this as the resurrection of Laura and her return to a perfect life.

    In the last part of the poem, there is a flash forward ‘Days, weeks, months, years’ (l.543) and there is a contrast between past and present that I am going to explain. Firstly, we see that both sisters are now married with children, so femininity became again a main theme in the poem. In my opinion, this aspect is relevant, because men aren’t mentioned in the whole poem, but after all, we observe that there is a man’s influence in this woman’s world. We can interpret this fact as a good or bad aspect. On the one hand, if we see it in a pessimistic way, we can believe that the only man’s influence is related to marriage and their only function is to have children. On the other hand, we can see it as the fact that they also bring happiness to women, because together they are creating a family. Nonetheless, having in mind Rossetti’s personal life and how her brothers and father didn’t let her participate in the literary world at first, I would see this part of the poem in a pessimistic way. Then, Laura and Lizzie tell their children the story in a moral way, showing them how important the love between sisters is. Laura also talks about Lizzie’s heroism for having saved her. In line 556 the word ‘men’ is mentioned to say that they didn’t sell the fruit that goblins sell in any town, meaning that this fruit wasn’t normal, because as it is said in the poem, the fruit tasted like honey, but it was ‘poisoned in blood’ (l.555). Finally, the poem ends by repeating the story to the children and saying ‘there is no friend like a sister’, which is the moral of the story,

    To sum up, this extract of the poem can be criticised and analysed from several points of view. However, in my view, I wouldn’t consider it as a poem for children, because of all its erotic background: related to the fruit and the sisters action, in spite of the fact that there is a moral conclusion in the last stanza. I have also found quite interesting the fact that it was a woman’s world and having into account that it was written in the Victorian era, I have realised about the possible difficulties of writing it. Religion has also been another main theme in this final extract of the poem and we can consider it as an act of social redemption of Laura for having eaten the fruit, as Eve in the Garden of Eden.


domingo, 8 de abril de 2018


This essay will discuss the different options that the different measures that a government should take to improve youth employment. According to statistics, unlike what happened years ago, the average age at which young Spanish people find their first job is now 23, either because of the unwillingness of finding a job or because of the precariousness of these jobs. It is clear that this could have a long-term impact on the country’s economy and affect the pension system. It is therefore essential that governments find ways to reverse this situation.

To begin with, young people would choose the right job, if they knew what it was about while they were studying. Most undergraduates think that they will be working in the area in which they are studying. However, this is not always as they thought and sometimes they choose a degree that later does not fit with the work they want. For this reason, the government should support employers’ visits to schools in order to explain more about the jobs they do in their own companies.

Another solution for students would be doing work-related subjects at school. By doing this, students would be able to do a better job interview and they would get a job more easily. Most of the time, the employee is prepared for the job, but at the time of the interview he or she usually gets nervous and this is when this type of subjects can be useful. Governments should promote this sort of subjects at school in order to improve these job skills.

Setting up these kinds of programmes could be expensive at first, but once the government did this, the number of prepared students would increase and the youth unemployment would decrease. However, governments might choose the less expensive programme, that is to say, the visits from employers, since it would cost them anything most times and it can be also more efficient in the long term.

jueves, 5 de abril de 2018

BREXIT: What will happen with UK higher education after Brexit?

What will happen with UK higher education after Brexit?

In this essay it is going to be discussed the future of the university education after Brexit. First, it is going to be done a brief introduction of the relation between Britain and the rest of Europe in higher education. Secondly, the essay will analyse how the students of both the EU and UK will be affected, especially in the Erasmus Programme, taking into account the possible consequences of leaving the programme. Thirdly, it will be discussed how Brexit will affect education in the particular case of Scotland and suggest the potential strategies to develop the education system. Finally, it is going to be used Romero’s personal experience to show the first effects of Brexit on individual students.
The UK’s vote to leave the EU has caused widespread consternation and has weakened the relations between Europe and the UK. Among other features, the higher education system is one of the main important aspects that will be affected by this situation. In the past decades, EU universities and British universities have had many exchange and cooperation programmes, one of the most popular is the Erasmus Programme. This programme has not only helped the universities to deepen academic research and improve new teaching methods, but it has also made students have more opportunities to receive better education resources. However, Brexit has changed this favourable cooperation and it is estimated to have even worse impacts in the long term.
To begin with, we are going to write about the EU and UK students’ problems in studying abroad in Europe. In demographic terms, UK universities will be affected because they have a EU undergraduate’s dependence, and leaving the EU, they will have reduced a number of excellent students from European countries. Moreover, another reason why EU students can decide not to come to UK universities is the financial one. Even though it is already known that the EU will give less financial support to EU students who go to the UK (because it will be no longer in the EU), the current concern of students is if they will be required to pay the full international student’s fee. If this occurs, the number of these students will dramatically decrease in UK universities. Furthermore, UK universities will also suffer potential consequences for the decline in revenues (Mayhew, 2017). At the same time, UK students will also have the same main issues. Nevertheless, in the case of British students it will not be so much a financial problem but a problem of having fewer opportunities when they want to pursue advanced studies.
In addition to the reduction of the number of excellent students, universities’ academic research may also be affected. In previous years, numerous cooperation programmes were established in an attempt to encourage academic research and faculty development. Such collaborations have largely improved research-oriented universities capabilities. Once lost the support from EU, UK universities may not satisfy the needs of the nation and society in the long term. Furthermore, it will be difficult for universities to hire and retain staff from EU countries. Overall, the impact on the ability of UK universities to develop will be huge. After Brexit, UK needs to deal with how to ensure adequate funding for research (Mayhew, 2017).
          Facing such negative impacts, the Scottish government has shown its objection to Brexit in terms of education. The government released the information that its universities will continue to welcome students from Europe despite the threat from Brexit. Scotland is proud of its thriving higher education and recognises the social economic and cultural benefits. International students have made a huge contribution to Scotland. The government believes in its excellence in education and the proud of its deep sense of internationalism. Although worrying signs show that Brexit is making Scotland less attractive for EU students, the reduction in the number of applicants to Scottish universities has had less impact than in England. This has also shown the damage being done by the decision to leave the EU (Anon, 2017). Overall, the Scottish government’s attitudes and response towards Brexit’s influence on the education system suggest that improvements are needed to make up for the loss of excellent students, resources and experts from the EU.
To improve the education system, UK universities should try to use strategies to develop its higher education system for the longer term. Firstly, UK universities’ administration should take the positive advantage of its program duration to attract non-European students. The negative impact of Britain's harsh study abroad policy is less than the positive attraction of having a shorter time to complete a degree. The undergraduate program is usually 3 years for international students and 1 to 2 years for post-graduate. Despite the fact that the visa threshold is strict, the shorter academic structure is still an important factor in attracting more international students’ interests. Furthermore, Brexit will also bring opportunities and encouragements to the development of the British education system under great challenges. UK universities may seek broader international cooperation without losing the opportunity to develop their overseas education industry. Although Brexit will not have much impact on the overall development of higher education in Britain, it is undeniable that Brexit has still brought about major changes in the field of scientific research in the United Kingdom. Britain should take the path of bilateral and international cooperation and innovation in the future.
From personal experience, even though if Brexit has still not happened, it has already affected me. As a current Erasmus student in the University of Edinburgh, I can say that I have had fewer opportunities to choose a university in England than other partners in previous years, with this I mean that for instance, in places such as London there was only one place to go for the Erasmus and it was for one single semester. This was not the case of Scotland, where I have had the same opportunities to choose a university than my other partners had in recent years. In the financial point of view, my scholarship has been affected, because the United Kingdom has passed from a first category destination for Erasmus students to a second one, so I received less money from the EU to go to the UK. Moreover, accommodation prices will also be more expensive in following years according to what I have been told by the university here in Scotland. Nevertheless, a good aspect about Brexit that will be good for students is that the pound has been devalued in recent years, so the exchange range between the euro and the pound will benefit us. My suggestion will be not to leave the EU, because there will be serious consequences in the Erasmus Programme, but as it seems impossible to reverse this situation, I would probably try not to change the Erasmus and reinforce it offering more opportunities to study in the UK. This reinforcement should be done to improve the European educational system and try to avoid mixing politics with education.
In conclusion, our study aimed to investigate the effects of Brexit on the UK higher education system. We have explored the negative effects of Brexit on both European students and UK universities. We then discussed the potential advantages and strategies that could be adopted to make up for the loss of the advantages of being inside the EU and development of the UK education system. In general, we can see that Brexit is having negative effects on both the EU and the UK particularly. In the future, it is estimated that UK universities will have a decline in their income of EU students, financial aid from Europe and academic research resources. And UK universities will also need to seek other alternatives, such as broader international cooperation, to improve their academic research quality in the long term.

Mayhew, Ken; UK higher education and Brexit, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Volume 33, Issue suppl_1, 1 March 2017, Pages S155–S161, https://doi-org.ezproxy.is.ed.ac.uk/10.1093/oxrep/grx012

Anon, 2017. SCOTLAND IS TOP OF ERASMUS CLASS. States News Service, States News Service, Feb 3, 2017.

In collaboration with Chushu Wu.

martes, 3 de abril de 2018

INFORMAL LETTER: Visiting Normandy

Dear Charles,

Thanks for the letter. What a coincidence that you want to go to the same place I’ve recently visited for a holiday! I’m glad you want to visit Normandy for the first time in your life and I assure you it will not disappoint you.

Normandy is a very fascinating place and it’s considered one of the most beautiful regions of France. I’ve been to Normandy three times in my life so I know the place quite well. One of its most interesting places is “le Mont Saint-Michel”, a small rocky island situated in the estuary of Couesnon River. It’s the second most visited place in France (after the Eiffel Tower) and the main characteristics of this place are its seascapes and its medieval castle from the 15th century. I encourage you to take some nice pictures of this wonderful place and climb up to the top of the castle to enjoy its views. The second place I recommend that you visit is the coast of Normandy, where you can find tourist cities, like Étretat, and historic beaches, like the Omaha Beach.

However, the place you must especially go before leaving Normandy is Rouen. Rouen is a city on the River Seine in the north of France and it’s the capital of Normandy. I do not only encourage you to go because it’s the capital, but because of its beauty and its huge history. Some interesting facts about this place are for example that Rouen was the place where Joan of Arc was burnt or where Monet lived and painted for a long time of his life. 

Nevertheless, I don’t recommend that you go during certain periods of the year where there are more tourists because you it can be very stressful, like for instance, the months of July or August if you want to go to “le Mont Saint-Michel” or Giverny, (where the famous gardens that the impressionist painter Claude Monet used to paint can be found). Another fact to take into account is the weather, because it usually rains, although it is not usually very cold and you can enjoy the region most of the time.

In spite of these little inconveniences, I hope you’ll enjoy the trip and I hope to be hearing from you soon.

All the best


jueves, 1 de marzo de 2018



            “Life Is Beautiful” is a wonderful film of 1997 directed and starred by Roberto Benigni. Benigni plays Guido Orefice, an Italian Jew who works in a library and who has to use his imagination in order to protect his young child from the horrors of a Nazi concentration camp. This film is partially based on the real experience of Rubino Romero Salmoni, one of the few Jews who survived the Nazi Holocaust.

The film can be considered therefore as a tragicomedy, on the one hand there is the tragedy of the historical event and on the other hand, the funny way that Guido uses his imagination to distract and protect his child from the situation.   In my view, it’s understandable the “Life is beautiful” may generate controversy. After all, the nightmare of a Nazi concentration camp is difficult to portray through comedy. But Benigni exceeding all expectations, crafts a genuine film difficult to get over. The characters of Guido Orefice and his child, Giosuè Orefice, are the most successful and important, because they show us how the innocence of a child can change our point of view in dramatic moments of the film. Another very interesting point is how Guido divides his time between getting into troubles with the Fascists and attempting to court teacher Dora (Benigni’s real-life wife).

            In my opinion, this film is worth watching more that than once, because is a masterpiece of the cinema. It’s a film to make you cry and laugh at the same time and it has an historical background. I highly recommend it to watch with whoever you want.

miércoles, 28 de febrero de 2018

Example of report: Television and internet advertising.

Sample Report
The aim of this report is to outline the positive and negative features of two different forms of advertising in Spain, television advertising and Internet advertising. It will also consider the effectiveness of these methods and make recommendations for improvements.

Television advertising
This traditional type of adverting is still one of the most used forms of advertising by publicists in Spain. Furthermore, it usually fills gaps between television programmes and, especially in the case of private televisions, advertising aids networks to be financed.
Unfortunately, TV networks usually put these advertisements in the middle of a film, breaking the plot of itself. Moreover, these advertisements are often very long (around seven minutes), numerous and repetitive, which can sometimes be a little irritating for the viewer.

Internet advertising
As advertising on television, Internet advertising is also one of the most preferred ways of advertising by publicists, which, unlike television a, is increasing more and more. Besides, its advertisements cost less to be produced and they are shorter than on TV, as for instance, the advertisements on YouTube which can be sometimes omitted.
However, this type of advertising also has problems. One of its main issues is the competitive market. It usually depends on the product or the video, but sometimes they can be incredibly expensive. Another important issue is that having such a huge variety of advertisements, it may mean that sometimes they do not reach to their target audience.

To discourage these types of problems, I would recommend reducing the amount of advertisements on TV and making them more different and innovative to attire again the attention of the viewers. Additionally, on the Internet I would suggest controlling the type of video they want use in advertising and, in this way, regulate the competition between the publicists.