Posted in Of Mice and Men

Introducing the QuickLits Guide to Of Mice and Men

For our international customers, we are pleased to announce the publication of our brand new study guide – QuickLits Guide to Of Mice and Men!

Of Mice and Men

Like our other study guides, this guide takes the most important quotes from Of Mice and Men and shows you exactly how to analyse them, so that you get the best possible grades in your essays and exams. Even better, it contains our trademark Cheat Sheet – a checklist of the key themes and literary devices that Steinbeck uses.

So what are you waiting for? Click here to instantly download as a PDF, or here to download for Amazon Kindle.

Posted in Macbeth, Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week: “I am settled, and bend up/ Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.”

This week’s quote of the week comes from Act I, Scene VII of Macbeth.

I am settled, and bend up

Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.”

To help us better understand this quote, let’s first put it into some context. In this scene of the play, we find Macbeth and Lay Macbeth discussing the murder of King Duncan. Specifically, Lady Macbeth is trying to reassure Macbeth that nobody will suspect them of the murder.

Now we’ve got the context, let’s look more closely at Macbeth’s words. When he talks about being “settled,” for instance, he means that he has come to a decision, like when your mind is settled on doing something particular. So we see that Macbeth has decided that he will go ahead with the murder.

As for the second part of this quote, it’s a little bit trickier because of the language used. The “corporal agent,” for example, refers to the muscles of the body. (Note: “corporal” comes from the Latin word corpus which means “body”).

And what about “terrible feat?” What could Macbeth be referring to? That’s right, he’s talking about the murder of Duncan. By using the word “terrible,” Macbeth shows us that he knows that committing murder is wrong – why else would he call it a “terrible feat?” The problem is that Macbeth is so ambitious that he cannot walk away from the chance of being king.

If we put these ideas together, Macbeth is basically saying that he has decided to kill Duncan and, more importantly, he will use every muscle in his body to ensure that the murder takes place.

This quote, therefore, not only provides strong evidence of Macbeth’s ambition but also of his determination to be king.

 

Like this post? For more Quotes of the Week, take a look here:

For more in-depth Macbeth quotes, please check out our study guide here.

 

Posted in Animal Farm

Animal Farm: Moses the Raven Character Analysis

We’re continuing with our Animal Farm character analysis and, today, we will be taking a closer look at Moses the Raven. Although Moses isn’t a major character in Animal Farm, Orwell uses him to highlight how religion was abused by Stalin.

As such, Moses represents the Russian Orthodox Church. You’ll notice that Orwell even gave Moses a Biblical name, thereby strengthening this religious connection.

 

raven

Moses the Raven in Chapter One

At the beginning of the story, Moses is introduced to the reader as having a special place on the farm because he is Mr. Jones’ pet. Jones uses Moses to keep an eye on the other animals:

“He was a spy and a talebearer but he was also a clever talker.”

In return, Moses is rewarded with beer and bread. He is, therefore, the only animal on the farm who does no physical labour. Understandably, the other animals dislike Moses for this reason, as well as for his love of telling tales.

Moses and Sugarcandy Mountain

Moses spends a lot of time talking about a place called Sugarcandy Mountain. This place, claims Moses, is situated somewhere beyond the clouds and is the place where all animals will go when they die. Moses provides a very vivid description of Sugarcandy Moutain to those who will listen:

“In Sugarcandy Mountain it was Sunday seven days a week, clover was in season all the year round, and lump sugar and linseed cake grew on the hedges.”

What we have here is a clear allusion to heaven. Just like the Christian version of heaven, Sugarcandy Mountain is a kind of utopia; a place where there is no work or suffering, only happiness and abundance.

Moses and the Rebellion

After the Rebellion, Moses leaves the farm with Mr. and Mrs. Jones. Remember that Moses is not a silly bird. He knows that nobody else would feed him for doing nothing. Moses’ exit from the farm is an allusion to what happened to the Russian Church when Stalin took over. Stalin tried to best to remove religion from daily life because he felt that it threatened his power. So Moses and his ideas about Sugarcandy Mountain disappear.

Moses and the Pigs

During World War Two, Stalin reinstated the Russian Orthodox Church. He realised that it could be useful having the Church around – and its idea of heaven – to placate the hungry and over-worked population. We see this event reflected in Chapter Nine when Moses suddenly returns to the farm, talking again about Sugarcandy Mountain. In return for coming back, the pigs reward Moses with a gill of beer a day.

What’s really interesting here is that although the pigs dislike Moses, they use him just as Mr. Jones did – proving that they are becoming the very masters that they once hated.

So, Moses might be hated on the farm but he is, perhaps, one of the smartest characters: he uses his ability to tell stories to make sure that his belly is never empty and that he stays on the right side of the pigs.

Become a pro at analysing Moses quotes by checking out our brand new Animal Farm study guide. Available to download instantly! It’s here as a PDF or here for Amazon Kindle.

Posted in Study Help

How to Learn Quotes For Your English Exams

Here at QuickLits, we know just how overwhelming a closed-book English Literature exam can be! Having to learn quotes by heart is no easy task but, don’t worry, we’ve been there and we’ve got you covered! Follow our step by step guide for guaranteed quote success 🙂

Step One: Get Ready

It may seem an obvious one but if you haven’t read your English Literature set texts, do it now! Whether it’s Shakespeare or Steinbeck, having a familiarity with the text you are studying will really help you when it comes to learning quotes.

Step Two: Ensure Maximum Quote Efficiency

When we talk about maximum quote efficiency, what we mean is choosing quotes that have more than one purpose. It might be a quote that provides an example of two different themes, or a quote that contains a theme and a literary device, or a quote that provides character analysis along with a theme. Whatever book you’re studying, select quotes that have multiple dimensions to them. Why? The higher your quote efficiency, the fewer quotes you need to learn!

Step Three: Select the Quotes

Now that you’ve read all of your set texts and understand the principle of quote efficiency, you can start actually choosing the quotes you want to learn. At this stage, you’re probably wondering how many quotes you should choose for each book. That’s a good question and there’s no right or wrong answer here. Some people will go for 10, others for 20. Some ambitious students might go for even more. QuickLits recommends focusing on quality, not quantity. You want to select quotes that highlight a key theme, a literary device, and maybe an important character trait.

If you’re really struggling here, don’t forget that QuickLits can help you here. Our quote-based study guides contain every important quote in a book, leaving you free to select which ones you want to learn. Take a look at our study guides page for more information.

Step Four: Write Them Down

Whether you type them on a Word document or use pen and paper isn’t important. What is important is that you write them all down. Use one document or sheet of paper per book.

Step Five: Remove the “Fluff”

When you’ve got your list of quotes, you need to remove the “fluff” from each one. What we mean here is that you don’t need to memorise lines and lines of a quote, just take the most important part. Here’s an example from Act I, Scene IV of Macbeth when King Duncan has just named his son, Malcolm as his successor. This quote is from Macbeth and links to themes of ambition and of violence (thereby maximising quote efficiency):

“The prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires.
The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.”

Do you need to memorise this whole section? No, you don’t. What you need to know is that A) Macbeth describes Malcolm as a “step” to overcome, and B) this part:

Deep desires

So by taking away the “fluff,” you reduce one quote down from six lines to two. That makes a huge difference!

Step Six: Use Flash Cards

Once you’ve removed the fluff, take some index cards or small pieces of paper. On the front, write the quote. On the back, write a brief description of why this quote is important, e.g. “it links to the theme of …”

Step Seven: Read. Cover. Write. Check.

To help memorise the quote, take one card and read it. Then, cover it up with your hand and try to copy it on another sheet of paper. Check to see how well you did. Ideally, you’ll want to practice this as much as possible. The more you work with these quotes, the more likely you are to remember them.

Step Eight: Get Tested

Give the flash cards to a friend or a family member and ask them to test you. Make a note of any quotes that you are finding particular tricky to remember so that you can dedicate some extra time to these ones.

Step Nine: Post-It Notes

To really familiarise yourself with quotes, write them on post-it notes and stick them in places where you’re most likely to see them. Think bathroom mirror, fridge, bedroom wall, back of your front door. Every time you see a quote, make a point of reading it. Close your eyes and try to repeat it from memory. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.

Step Ten: Join the QuickLits Facebook Group

Did you know that we have a revision group on Facebook? You’ll find quotes, quote analysis and past paper questions on there, so if you’re struggling with learning your quotes, come and join us! Head to our Facebook page @quicklits to join.

Step Eleven: Record Your Voice

Another way to learn your quotes is to record yourself saying them and to listen to it as much as possible. Most phones, tablets and computers have a voice recorder that you can use.

Step Twelve: Don’t Panic

No matter what book you’re studying, you’re not expected to know every single line of it, so don’t worry. The most important thing is that you demonstrate skills of analysis and understanding – not skills of memorising pages and pages of quotes.
Remember that it’s okay to paraphrase too – to put the quote into your own words – if you can’t remember every word.
We hope that you find this blog post useful in learning quotes for your exam. If you have any tips to add, please leave a comment below. We’d love to hear them!
We also have more revision/study posts here.
Posted in Animal Farm

QuickLits Guide to Animal Farm is Out Now!

QuickLits is really excited to announce of its third English literature study guide: QuickLits Guide to Animal Farm.  It contains all of the Animal Farm quotes and analysis that you’ll need to get the best grades in your essays and exams. It even comes with a Cheat Sheet – a summary of the key themes and literary devices. Perfect for exam revision.

To get your copy, click here!

Looking for free Animal Farm content? Check out our posts here.

 

Animal Farm

 

Posted in Animal Farm

Animal Farm: Napoleon Character Analysis

To celebrate the release of our third study guide, QuickLits Guide to Animal Farm, we are sharing a free series of character analyses. Who better to start with than the dastardly Napoleon?

Napoleon

 

As we’ve mentioned before, Napoleon is an allusion to Joseph Stalin, the leader of the Soviet Union from 1922 until his death in 1952.

What you’ll also notice is that Napoleon shares his name with the eighteenth-century French general, Napoleon, who betrayed his democratic principles in order to take absolute power – just like our Napoleon.

So, we could say that Animal Farms Napoleon is representative of many tyrants from history.

Like all tyrants in history, Napoleon doesn’t start out that way. In Chapter One, for example, we are told that Napoleon has a “reputation for getting his own way” but in every other respect, he is no different from any other animal.

However, a turning point occurs in Chapter Two, just after Jones is expelled from the from. At first, it seems rather innocent when Napoleon mentions the milk:

“Never mind the milk, comrades!” cried Napoleon, placing himself in front of the buckets. “That will be attended to. The harvest is more important. Comrade Snowball will lead the way. I shall follow in a few minutes. Forward, comrades! The hay is waiting.”

However, by taking the milk for the pigs’ mash, we see just how self-interested Napoleon really is. Remember that this is just after the animals have taken control of the farm and already he’s thinking in selfish terms.

You’ll also notice that Napoleon doesn’t contribute to the formulation of the new ideology (Animalism), or to the animals’ establishment of a new society. In fact, he’s only interested in his power over the other animals and the resources of Animal Farm. Think about it, the only project he undertakes with gusto is the training of the puppies whom he takes from their mothers in Chapter Three:

“As soon as they were weaned, Napoleon took them away from their mothers, saying that he would make himself responsible for their education. He took them up into a loft which could only be reached by a ladder from the harness-room, and there kept them in such seclusion that the rest of the farm soon forgot their existence.”

Who do these puppies end up working for? That’s right, it’s Napoleon. Because he has isolated them from an early age, they are loyal to him. Just like Stalin used the NKVD, Napoleon uses these dogs as his own bodyguards to consolidate his power on the farm and to intimidate the other animals.

As the story progresses, we see a rivalry develop between Napoleon and Snowball, which comes to a head in Chapter Five when they disagree about the best way for the farm to develop. Snowball wants to build a windmill so as to unshackle the animals from work. In contrast, Napoleon believes that should increase food production immediately – just as Stalin did in the Soviet Union.

Napoleon and Snowball both develop political slogans. The two slogans are “Vote for Snowball and the three-day week” and “Vote for Napoleon and the full manger.” Just before the animals vote on the windmill, Napoleon releases his dogs and chases Snowball off the farm, therefore eliminating his political rival.

vote-for-napoleon-and-the-full-manger

Shortly after, he decrees that there shall be no more Sunday-Morning Meetings and that all decisions about the farm will be made by a committee of pigs, presided over by himself. To quash any dissent,  Napoleon keeps his dogs by his side. He is now morphing into a dictator.

By Chapter Eight, Napoleon has taken complete control of the farm and the flow of information. Through Squealer, for example, he manipulates statistics to show that food production has increased, even though it hasn’t. He also uses Squealer to help the development of his cult of personality. This cult transforms Napoleon from an ordinary animal into a sort of demi-god, as we see through this quote:

“It had become usual to give Napoleon the credit for every successful achievement and every stroke of good fortune. You would often hear one hen remark to another, ‘Under the guidance of our Leader, Comrade Napoleon, I have laid five eggs in six days’; or two cows, enjoying a drink at the pool, would exclaim, ‘Thanks to the leadership of Comrade Napoleon, how excellent this water tastes!”

The animals are giving Napoleon credit for things that he hasn’t done. This is evidence of the control he has over them and the fear he has instilled in them. His violent methods, brainwashing and propaganda techniques have resulted in his absolute control.

Animal Farm

 

Like this post? For more Napoleon analysis, check out our Quote Round Up: Napoleon and Power.

For more analysis, check out our brand new, quote-based, Animal Farm study guide here.

 

Posted in Macbeth

Introducing the New and Improved PDF: QuickLits Guide to Macbeth

We have just updated our QuickLits Guide to Macbeth. We’ve refreshed the look and made it available to download instantly as a PDF!

We’d love for you to come and check it out here.

Not sure about it? Take a look at some of our recent reviews:

A great, concise guide for many students like me, who have to memorise the quotes. These quotes have a straightforward ‘Who, What and Why’ layout which makes it easy for people to make notes on. This makes it possible to use in essays and remember them easily, with context and explain why it links to the question. It also allows you to start your paragraphs and be precise.  This study guide is different to many other guides I have used a student myself – other guides waffle on, and sometimes use flowery vocab which can confuse many GCSE students.  I would definitely recommend this to students who are stuck wondering which quotations are necessary to learn.
Amber, aged 15: QuickLits Guide to Macbeth.
A very clear, structured guide which highlights the most vital quotes to use for Macbeth. It provides information about the most important ones, as well as context and reasoning for them. Has helped my revision nicely.
Ryan, aged 16. QuickLits Guide to Macbeth.
The guide contains many many helpful quotes with detailed explanations. Honestly a really helpful guide and it has saved me from almost failing English literature. Amazing cheat sheet at the end as well. Nice and concise.
Joe, aged 16. QuickLits Guide to Macbeth.