Billenium by J. Ballard

On literature class we had to read a story and answer some questions.

Task 1

With close reference to the text of the short story Billenium explore the following questions in detail. Remember to include quotations and page numbers for the quotations in your answers

  1. Write a detailed synopsis of the story.
  2. Discuss the theme of over-population and the effect it has on both the way of life and quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.
  3. The quest for living space has become an overriding obsession with the people of the city. Discuss this theme in detail. Include in your answer some discussion of the ways in which Ballard makes the quest for space dominate the characters’ lives.
  4. What sort of relationship does Ballard put forward between the inner world of the individual (as represented by Ward and Rossiter) and the outer world in which they live. In other words, how does Ballard conceptualise the effect of surviving daily life in a hopelessly over-crowded city on the consciousness of the individual as demonstrated by the ways in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space in the secret room they discover?
  5. In the story, Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme over-population that has beset the world. Explain his views as they are presented in the story.
  6. Do you agree with his argument? Do you think that current population growth projections indicate that we are likely to end up in the situation portrayed in the story?
  7. Describe and analyse Ward’s character in some detail. What values does he hold? Why does Ballard make use of this type of character as the main character for this story?
  8. What role does Rossiter play in the story?
  9. Describe the role of the female characters in the story.
  10. Discuss the effects that over-population and its attendant ills has had on the nature of family life in relation to Ward’s family as well as Judith and Helen’s family relationships.
  11. What does the secret room symbolise in the story?
  12. Why do you think Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves? Is Ballard making a comment on how our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live?
  13. What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?
  14. Discuss Ballard’s style and language in the story? Consider also in what ways it is appropriate to the nature of the story being told.

Task 2

Have a look at this video and compare it to the short story we have read!! (Thanks Alina Claps for sharing this video!!)

Task 3

Write an essay:

Comment closely on the main themes that appear in Billenium:  overpopulation, power and loss of privacy.


Alicia en el país de las maravillas

En la clase de lengua empezamos a leer Alicia en el país de las maravillas. Nuestra profesora nos hizo explicar quien era Alicia y aca esta mi explicación que lo hize con Chivy, Martu y Lola.

Como era Alicia?

Alicia es una niña. Ella es muy reflexiva, pero como es pequeña no conoce mucho y es ignorante. Por ejemplo dice que cuando cruza el mundo va a llegar al país de los antipáticos. También es muy curiosa. Persigue al conejo por curiosidad y toma la comida por curiosidad.


With our literature teacher, we read a story called Tyres. Here is my analisis of it:
Macrocosm (historical-social context)
– War (dark)
– Life in a french village
– Love relationship (clear)

Key moment (404)
Now, they can see the war is near!
War is really happening in front of their eyes!
Love and war get interconnected (404-405)

Specularity–>he feels reglected on the body of a young boy (son of a butcher) (405)

Climax–>point of no return
– He finally feels involved/touched

(405)-> description of the act
– Full of emotions
– The N feels alive not equal to ending (407)

Dead – alive
– He’s alive but dead inside
– Stagnation (stillness)
– He never grew out of it
– Senseless life
– Guilty
– Couldn’t move on

-A narrator telling his memories (a flashback)


-Paing for your mistakes
-Never letting go
-Loyalty to his country/the girl
-No cutting corners
-How historical context define man

Stages of rite of passage

From not knowing that war was near to experiencing it.

Object of desire: The girl, Cecil.

Trespassing, breaking the law the father figure: When he chooses the girl instead of his father.

There should be a dare: When he breaks the tyre of the Gestapo officer, he “cuts corners”

The mischief should be owned up: when he leaves the flower.

An act of atornment: He decides he’ll never be happy again.

Nazi Germany

In history, we are studying Nazi Germany. There were a series of presentations about this topic, I had to do Nazi propaganda. Martu Ibarbia, Sybilla Correa and Ignasio Maestro did it with me. We made a Facebook about Joseph Goebbles, the minister of Propaganda and Enlighment. We put pictures with descpriptions as if we were Joseph. We had to explain what was banned and what was not.

Here is the link to the facebook:

On Tuesday the 20th, Jeronimo’s father came to class, Martin Leguizamon. He studied history when he was young and went to a trip named “El Viaje Por La Vida” He told us about his experience and how shocking it was for him. He also explained new definitions like “Shoa”. It was very interesting how he did the class and the things he explained.
On Wednesday the 28th, we went to the Museo Del Holocausto. In my opinion, it was very shocking, I could not believe what I was seeing. I could not believe what some people have been through. First, we saw a video from a man who survived the Holocaust. The video explained his life during and after the World War Two. Afterwards, we saw objects from those days, like the pajamas, or newsletters. I really liked it, it made me realize how awful it was.



Lion heart by Amanda Chong

Our literature teacher made us do an assignment of the poem “Lion Heart”. We had to answer some question. Here are my answers:

2)Crest: Highest part of a hill

Ivory: pale

Squall: A sudden, violent gust of wind.

Throb: To palpitate

Raw: exposed

Vault: arched structure

Unsheathed: To plow from a sheath, sword, knife,etc

3) Amanda Chong wrote the story at the age of 14.

4) Merlion is the lion.



Amanda was only sixteen when she wrote the poem
The poem talks about the stablation of the Singapore’s city-state and also about the people of the country, who have to stay true to their origins and take pride in it
Structure: 6 stanzas of 6 lines each // irregular rythme and rhyme


You came out of the sea,
skin dappled scales of sunlight;
Riding crests, waves of fish in your fists.
Washed up, your gills snapped shut.
Water whipped the first breath of your lungs,
Your lips’ bud teased by morning mists.

Have lots of “S”
“You”: he Merlion, by extantion, it could refer to the origins of all Singaporeans
“Out of the sea“: the fact that the Merlion came out of the sea refers to how closely Singapore is tied to it for its existance and prosperity
“Riding crests“: the fact that the Merlion is riding crets is refer to its skill and maestry over its aquatic element. “Riding” could also mean travelling to a destination
“scales of sunlight // waves of fish in your fists”: This image gives a sense of the Merlion’s power
“Gills snapped shut”: It means that the Merlion is adapting himself to live a life on land, a violent process
“Water whipped“: The repetition of the “W” emphasises the verb “whipped”
“Your lips’ bud teased by morning mists” (personification & syntax): “lip’s bud” refer to the Merlion’s adaptation to life on land. The repetition of the letter “M” might be a Merlion’s exppresion of satisfaction


You conquered the shore, its ivory coast.
Your legs still rocked with the memory of waves.
Sinews of sand ran across your back-
Rising runes of your oceanic origins.
Your heart thumped- an animal skin drum
heralding the coming of a prince.

“Conquerd“: refers to de defeat, and afterwards, the domination. The Merlion was victorious and claimed ownership of the land
“Ivory coast“: refers to the purity of white leading to “virgin” territories. The Merlion formed a settlement
“Still rocked“: Although the Merlion is adapted to the land it is always adapted to the sea. “rocked” is like a shooting force
“Sniews“: imply it is ganining strength
“Rising runes“: runes means in Old Germany a mistery or a secret. However the alliteration gives the sense of an event. Perhaps that the runes suggested that the Merlion’s emergence was predestined
“Oceanic origins“: The poem refreshed us that the Merlion is tied to the sea. The alliteration of the word “O” gives a sense of wonder
“animal skin drum heralding the coming of a prince“: this represent the arrival of Prince Sri Tri Buana who founded a settlement after seeing beast upon landing on the island of Tumasik


In the jungle, amid rasping branches,
trees loosened their shadows to shroud you.
The prince beheld you then, a golden sheen.
Your eyes, two flickers; emerald blaze
You settled back on fluent haunches;
The squall of a beast. your roar, your call.

“rasping branches“: This refers to something dry, unpleasant and harmful
“trees loosened their shadows to shroud you“: even thye flora responds to the need of Merlion
“The prince a golden sheen“: conveys value on Merlion. He seems transformed in this constract, suggesting that it was waiting to reveal its trueafter seeing a beast upon landing on the island of Tumasik
“emerald blaze“: “Emerald” suggests a brilliancy and great worth in the Merlion’s gaze. “Blaze” means ferocity
“You settled back on fluent haunches“: The Merlion settled in the place that later on will be Singapore. This signifies the Merlion’s ability to respond to change or threat
“squall of a beast.“: Squall is a storm in the sea or a cry. Both things might convey an element power to the Merlion
“your roar, your call“: The repetition of “your” conflates the roar of the Merlion and the voice of Singaporeans. “roar” became a triumphant rallying


In crackling boats, seeds arrived, wind-blown,
You summoned their colours to the palm
of your hand, folded them snugly into loam,
watched saplings swaddled in green,
as they sunk roots, spawned shade,
and embraced the land that embraced them.

It is show how important the sea is, since it is their transportation
“seeds arrived, wind-blown“: the seeds seems to be destined to arrive
“summoned their colours“: This means that the Merlion commands the colours: the flags and the seeds
“ folded them snugly into loam“: “loam” is a fertile soil. Literally speaking, the Merlion wanted to plant seeds. Metaphorically speaking, the Merlion wantts to create a connection between the people and the land ir represents
“saplings swaddled“: It refers to an image of the growth of a new plant
“sunk roots, spawned shade“: links together the process of humans settling the land
“embraced the land that embraced them“: The repetition of “embraced” convey a sense of security, unity, love & affection


Centuries, by the sea’s pulmonary,
a vein throbbing humming bumboats –
your trees rise as skyscrapers.
Their ankles lost in swilling water,
as they heave themselves higher
above the mirrored surface.

“sea’s pulmonary … a vein throbbing“: The sea transports the lifeblood of Singapore, its trade
“humming bumboats“: “bumboats” is a small boat
“trees rise as skyscrapers“: It suggests the development from a rural to a urban environment
“ankles lost in swilling water“: The modern city is still sink into the water
“heave themselves higher“: “heave” is refer to a great effort to develop a city
“mirrored surface“: the city is reflected in the sea


Remember your self: your raw lion heart,
Each beat a stony echo that washes
through ribbed vaults of buildings.

Remember your keris, iron lightning
ripping through tentacles of waves,
double-edged, curved to a point-

flung high and caught unsheathed, scattering
five stars in the red tapestry of your sky.

“Remember your self“: to remember their shared history
“raw lion heart“: their past must not be forgotten by the modern life. “lion heart” gives reference to something or someone brave
“a stony echo that washes // ribbed vaults of buildings“: metaphor. The connection with the mithological origins, their culture and traditions, formed the city.
“Remember your keris“: its an asimmetrical dagger. symbol of Malayan culture
“iron lightning“: visual image. Links the shape of the keris to an elemental force
“ripping through tentacles of waves“: violent image
“caught unsheathed // five stars in the red tapestry of your sky“: act of daring

6)Yes, the peom shows love and respect towards Singapore. He wanted people to feel proud of it.

Notes in class:

Lion heart
– Symbol of Singapore –> it represented braveries
– Topic:
1. Love for Singapore/ the nation
2. Love for identity and nationality
– Stanza 1 –> “you” personification of the Merlion (powerful symbol)
– The Merlion standing out, representing all Singaporeans
– Dappled=colorful
– Crests= “fish”
– Vocabulary in connection to see –> semantic field (sea/water)
– Stanza 2
– “Ivory coat” “Shore” “Waves” “Sand” “Oceanic”
– Although the Merlion is on land, it’s always connected to the sea
– Stanza 3
– Now the setting is on land “jungle”
– Described as full of life (“eyes”) –> as Singapore
– The repetition of “your” emphasis the personification of the museum.
– Stanza 4
– “Boats” “seeds”
– The British arrived by boat
– Colonization
– Singapure grew a lot
– Disadvantages of colonization:
– Loss of identity, culture & freedom
– Stanza 5
– Power of sea –> exonomy (trade)
– Singapour economy depends on the sea
– Singapore–> from rural to urban “skyscrapers”
– Stanza 6
– Renember your origins/culture/identity/who u really are
– Lets ise the sea dor its advantagea (trade) but kets feel proud of ourselves our identity! We are singapureans
– Theme:
– nationalism/strong sense of nation
– Love for your country/nature
– Colonization
– Urbanization
– Tone:
– Reminding, inspiring, nationalistic, proud, admiration (awe)