the letterbox by ann marie di mambro n.
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The Letterbox by Ann Marie Di Mambro. Today we will -. See how the themes and issues in The Letterbox are explored by the writer’s craft. Revisit how to use a PEE table to gather information for critical essay notes. Utilise information within a PEE table to develop a critical essay.

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Presentation Transcript
today we will
Today we will -
  • See how the themes and issues in The Letterbox are explored by the writer’s craft.
  • Revisit how to use a PEE table to gather information for critical essay notes.
  • Utilise information within a PEE table to develop a critical essay.
  • Use listing or mindmap techniques for gathering relevant information for their essay (order).
  • Suggest topic sentences for the essay.
genre play
Genre: play

The Letterbox is a short monologue.


Domestic Violence

Female Solidarity

Child Abuse


Society Turning a Blind Eye

Society as Judgemental

the letterbox
The Letterbox

Significance of the title

It gives nothing away about the content of the play

  • This reflects the efforts of the main protagonist to give nothing away to society about her situation.
  • A letterbox connects us to the wider world through mail. We cannot see the sender. Martha is sending verbal messages to Wendy loaded with significance about the complexities of adult relations which the little girl does not fully comprehend. She cannot see the whole picture.
  • In a letter you might have to read between the lines. In Martha’s spoken words you have “read between the lines” because she is not being wholly honest and we have to guess at Wendy’s words.
the letterbox1
The Letterbox

“Jack and Jill” frame the monologue.

This devise represents wider society and contrasts with

Martha’s plight.

Jack and Jill are happy, carefree stereotypical lovers.

However, the nursery rhyme itself is quite violent,

but the violence is trivialised

by the regular rhythm.

Violence in Martha’s life is not trivial,

it is brutal, and her domestic reality does not conform to society’s expectation of the happy family.

the letterbox2
The Letterbox

The husband is sleeping like a baby.

  • Is he oblivious to the impact of his actions?
  • Does he care?
  • Does he think it is his right to treat his family like this?
  • Does Martha think he has a right to treat her this way?
  • Is the author saying that Martha is responsible for her own plight?
  • What do you think?

Do some background thinking to support your understanding of the text.

the letterbox3
The Letterbox

A good piece of literature will require you to THINK

to understand everything.

Textual analysis is vital to producing a decent critical essay.

Using a PEE table is one way of analysing texts.

It can build familiarity with the text and help youto order your thoughts.

Clear thoughts mean a logical line of argument in your essay.


the letterbox4
The Letterbox

Past Paper Question

Choose a play in which one of the main concerns is injustice or cruelty or exploitation or betrayal.

State the main concern * and go on to showhow the playwright deals with this concern in such a way as to involve your sympathies.**

*Stating the main concern (the cruelty and injustice of domestic abuse) would be part of your introduction. Remember keep referring to ** throughout the essay not just at the end.

the letterbox5
The Letterbox
  • Topic Sentences:
  • Open each paragraph with a key or topic sentence
  • Develop the point made in the topic sentence (try to either use a quotation or make close reference to the text in each paragraph)
  • Use a closing sentence that rounds off the paragraph and perhaps points the way to the next topic.
possible topic sentences and paragraph endings
Possible Topic sentences and paragraph endings.
  • Our sympathies are immediately engaged when we realise that the young lovers have cruelly ignored Martha who is bleeding and in pain…
  • The range of emotions displayed, from stoical acceptance to straightforward tearfulness, keep the audience hooked and sympathetic to Martha’s plight …
  • The elipses used to depict Wendy’s side of the conversation invites audience participation. We must create a voice for this character … Being a child (and a child whose words we are actively creating) trapped in a terrible situation is enough to evoke sympathy in the audience.
recap put up your hands
RECAPPut up your hands!
  • What are the Themes of The Letterbox?
  • What is the significance of the title?
  • Is it a dialogue or a monologue?
  • How do the elipses engage the audience?
  • What is Callum Corsie going to have for snack?