Monday, October 22, 2012

For A Lamb

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Death is defined as the cessation of all vital phenomena without capability of resuscitation, either in animals or plants. Death is much used adjectively and as the first part of a compound, meaning, in general, of or pertaining to death, causing or presaging death; as, deathbed or death bed; deathblow or death blow. The poem, “For The Lamb”, is about death in general along with the circle of life.

Eberhart is using poetry to try and bring together the huge discontinuities he sees in the physical with life, and then later without life as it decomposes. He juxtaposes crude reality with spiritual concepts, and exposes how civilization is based so much on the end and finds it difficult to cope with the present. Eberhart expresses that we all become dead at some stage or another. The persona is describing a scene of a somewhat gruesome death along with a beautiful background. Eberhart is trying to make death seem almost delightful with the use of the daises and “green pillow.” The first stanza tells of a lamb lying on daisies, the scene is serene and peaceful. However, The lamb is dead and its look is compared to that of a deep sleep. The second stanza asks where the lamb is now. Its body is still there but it is not the same. The breezes still carry its plaint, its body fertilizes the daisies and sustains the crows. The tone of the poem is one of renewal despite the topic of death it portrays. The final line is especially interesting Say, theres a lamb in the daisies. This line shows that the lamb lives on in the daisies and the circle of life continues. Eberhart shocks us by his use of two unexpected words putrid lam. We expect the lamb, a creature of innocence, to be playing in the daises there rather than being propped and putrid. These two words stain the poem with emotion of disgust and repulsion.

In conclusion, the poem has aspects of life, death, and the continuity of the life circle. The entire poem is basically about death, but the author also shows something good that comes from death, the grass gets nutrients, therefore the circle of life is continued. Through the poem Eberhart shows that the world does not end after death, no matter what there will be a tomorrow for the world even if there is not a tomorrow for the living.



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Description of New England, John Smith

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Captain John Smith brought over the first group of settlers that immigrated to America from Jamestown in 1607. The Puritans then came over with William Bradford in 160 and then more followed over with John Winthrop in 160. Due to the different views and opinions of the New World, each leader painted a different picture of the land and what it had to offer them.

The first viewpoint of the New World came from John Smith. Captain Smith seemed to view the land through the eyes of a child. He saw a land of opportunity and economic wealth. If the people were dedicated and willing to work hard, they would reap the benefits of a land filled with an overabundance of food, “….as good ground, may be had and cost nothing but labor; it seems strange to me, any such should there grow poor” (56). He encouraged them to plant crops, hunt for food and fish to help them survive. It was important for Smith to emphasize the importance of owning land and working to maintain it. But in order for the people to attain land, they had to risk their lives for it.

William Bradford had different views about the New World and the opportunities it had for his people. Spiritual reasons mainly influenced their move. They wanted to live in a land that gave them the freedom to believe the way they wanted and worship without being persecuted by others. By choosing to come to the New World, they had more than just spiritual freedom they had to contend with. It was not an easy trip. They had to endure “….the vast and furious ocean” (78). Unlike Smith, Bradford writes about the lack of people “…to welcome them nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather-beaten bodies” (78). Whereas Smith talks about the abundance of food; Bradford talks about the starvation and the number of people dying. The people were “…infected with scurvy and other diseases” (85) brought on by the long journey to the New World. Smith never mentions the sickness and diseases his people encountered. All of the descriptions that he gave were positive and beautiful, unlike Bradford’s rendition.



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Course record

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Course Journal for Creative Writing

Since starting the Creative Writing Course on September rd 00, I feel my writing has improved in a number of ways. Within this course record are examples of how

1. My imagination has improved.

. My ability to scan, and seek out new material has improved.

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. My writing technique has improved.

4. My overall approach and direction to writing has improved.

In Block One Creativity and Imagination, we were given writing exercises in class, which lasted between ten and fifteen minutes. At first I struggled to put pen to paper at ‘the click of a finger’. Evidence of this is pretty hard to show, but over the last few weeks these particular exercises are now paying off. I have also been taught to carry a small notebook around with me. I tend to jot down most things from spotting an interesting looking person to an idea or line, which may come into my head. I have learnt to listen more and see more of the world that moves around me, and how to look at things in different ways and perspectives. One exercise was to sit for an hour and write down everything I noticed. I sat in a classroom and here are a few examples, taken from my notebook, of what I noticed

· Pencils being clicked in a pencil back.

· A student tapping on a desk with his finger.

· A student asking another student, “Was it good?”

· An old and dingy musky smell.

· A female student exposing her, ‘builder’s bum’ from behind.

· Zip bags being opened from all around the room.

· A group of girls cackling with muffled laughter.

· Some writing left on board from previous class.

These may seem like obvious things, when in fact I may not of noticed any of these things had I not been asked. But it is these sorts of sounds and smells that help to create atmosphere in a good story.

One of our early tasks was to write about a fictional character, mine was a security guard, and then create a dialogue with another character of my classmates choosing. I was paired with Gina, whose character was a Publisher. We communicated via email and met up to write a short story and dialogue regarding these two characters. This taught me the importance of different speech patterns and character behaviour. Through this particular exercise I have become aware of my speech patterns in writing about different characters. Here is an example

ANNE-MARIE

We have been communicating through e-mail. So, I have not actually met him. But the poetry he writes is absolutely wonderful. I’m here with a book deal.

Tell me, do you know if he is attached, or married even?

MARK

Erm.. no. No, he’s not married or anything. I believe his wife died about three years ago, and he has a little girl called Laura. She’s four.

I have highlighted some phrases that pick out a persons speech pattern. Anne-Marie will tend use phrases like, “We have”, rather then “We’ve”. Anne-Marie’s use of words, such as “Absolutely wonderful”, would not be something Mark would say.

Whereas, Mark may say, “He’s”, and not “He has”, “Little girl” rather than “Daughter”, is another example. These may seem subtle but extremely important. Observation of the smallest things can have the most significant results. ‘The Ultimate Choice’, a story I wrote, came from an idea I got from a magazine. It was a quote from Paul Merton about his wife who had just died of cancer. It made me wonder what would happen if we had more then one love in our lives who we promised to meet in heaven. Which love would we choose? Had I not been made aware of such insignificant quotes, headlines or any such other observations, then ‘The Ultimate Choice’ would not have been writing. Block One has made a huge impact on my perception of the world around me and can only be described as a success in its goal to awaken a writer’s creativity and imagination.

In Block Two Beginnings and Endings, we were taught about the construction of a story. I became a lot more aware of how a story develops and how to plot a good coarse from beginning to end. Being made aware of what seems the easiest aspect of a story, i.e. beginning, middle and end, is the foundation to any story. A good story may contain as little as 100 words or as much as 0,000, but both can have the same basic foundation. I have started to read and write a number of short stories in order to make this rule become second nature in my writing. ‘My Ordeal’ is a short story I wrote, which bears these elements in mind. A status quo, a disruption or conflict, and then a resolution, were the three things to bear in mind. The status quo of ‘My Ordeal’ was a man simple walking along a street. The conflict an argument he witnesses in front of him between two adults and a child. Within this characters own mind he has visions of being stabbed if he intervenes, that this man arguing is a vicious ex-convict.

He then decides to cross the road, in order to save himself, from a fate worse then death. The resolution his imagination has played tricks on him. The man was simply lost and asks him for directions in a very polite way. The woman and child are as safe as houses. Being made aware of this rule has made it easier for me to write with some direction. It was Aristotle who said, “Without conflict, there is no drama”. My stories in the past tended to lake conflict and direction. I shall be much more aware of it from now on.

In Block Three Building blocks in writing, we looked at different viewpoints of writing. In my journal I ended the one entrant by writing, “Looking forward to next week”. That’s how interesting I felt this section was. Once we have created an imagination and are able to find stories from all sorts of sources, we then have to obviously write them. Knowing from what point of view to write a story is probably the most important yet overlooked aspect of story telling. If we are not aware of the viewpoint or that one exists, it can be extremely difficult for the reader. Choosing a viewpoint, whether first, third, limited or omniscient, may be the hardest choice of all. In ‘My Ordeal’, I chose a limited viewpoint in order to stay inside the characters head. This will enable the reader to identify and empathise more easily with the character. Here is two extracts from a class exercise showing an example of first person and third person viewpoints

First Person A man in a funny hat lifted me up onto a shelf. He said he was a Policeman. He kept smiling at me, so I knew I hadn’t been a naughty boy. I told him I was three and a half and he put his funny hat on my head. It fell over my eyes and made me laugh.

This is the same story but told from third person viewpoint.

Third Person PC Collins lifted the small child onto a shelf in the police box. He kept smiling at the little lad, a trick he had learned to stop lost children from feeling nervous and scared. He asked the lad how old he was, in order to find out if the child had been reported missing. PC Collins could see the lad’s eyes start to well up, so placed his helmet on the lad’s head. It had the desired affect, the lad started to laugh when the helmet slipped over his eyes.

You can see how important it is to get the viewpoint right. I had never really given much thought to this process until I learned it in class. Since then I have experimented a lot with this process and found it to be very useful before I actually start to write.

CONCLUSION

Like learning to drive a car, I have found this coarse to consist of a lot more then meets the eye. I have realised just how many gears there are to writing and just about where they are situated. I now have to learn how to put all these elements together in order to have a smooth and successful ride. Like driving a car, I know it takes time to become an experienced driver. At the moment my L-plates are still on, but the experience of this first semester has been eye opening to say the least. I have been frustrated, inspired, baffled and then finally content, of what I feel I have learned over the last twelve weeks. I very much look forward to the second semester and struggling more with frustration and awkward bends in order to become a competent driver.

Bibliography

The Writer’s Workbook.

The Creative Writing Handbook.

The Roald Dahl Treasury. (Short Stories)

NOW! Magazine.

More Than Meets The Eye. Graeme Burton.

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college

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Attack Upon Colonialism in Heart of Darkness



It is very easy for a reader to see Heart of Darkness as a depiction of, and an attack upon, colonialism in general, and, more specifically, the particularly brutal form colonialism took in the Belgian Congo. Consider the book from this point of view, and you will be led to those details which depict the mistreatment of the Africans, the greed of the so-called pilgrims, the broken idealism of Kurtz, and so on. You will find it important to notice, for example, that French man-of-war lobbing shells into the jungle, or the grove of death which Marlow stumbles upon, or the little note that Kurtz appends to his noble-minded essay on The Suppression of Savage Customs, or the importance of ivory to the economics of the system. As a historian, however, you might also find yourself a little frustrated by the odd fact that the book is so evasive about naming places and people and dates. We can surmise, for example, that Brussels is the city of the whited speculchre, but we might wonder why Marlow cant come right out and name it.



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One reason for the lack of names, I suppose, is that Conrad was not only interested in the particulars of the history of colonialism as it was applied to the Belgian Congo; he was also apparently interested in a more general sociological investigation of those who conquor and those who are conquored, and the complicated interplay between them. In this light, different--more sociological--questions can be raised and different answers found. The details that might be noticed in this context are, for example, Marlows invocation of the Roman conquest of Britain, or the cultural ambiquity of those Africans who have taken on some of the ways of their Europeans--Marlows helmsman, for example, or the Managers rude servant--or the ways in which the wilderness tends to strip away the civility of the Europeans and brutalize them. But certainly, unlike a sociologist, Conrad is not impartial and scientifically detached from these things, and he even has a bit of fun with such impartiality in his depiction the doctor who tells Marlow that people who go out to Africa become scientifically interesting.





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Close examination of Afterwards By Thomas Hardy

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Afterwards, by Thomas Hardy, is a poem that questions the way that people will look upon the narrator after his death. It centres around the idea of noticing things, showing the narrators precision and the ambivalence of his neighbours. Hardy gets this across by the techniques that he uses, and the detailed descriptions which show the full extent of what the narrator has noticed. The poem shows the complexity of nature, and describes the cycle of life.

The first stanza begins by personifying the Present, which is very appropriate as the poem is concerned by the aliveness of the surroundings that it is describing. The reference to the back gate suggests closure, and is a very precise way of describing the end of the narrators life. This sense of closure is also demonstrated in the structure of the poem, which is self-contained in its alternate rhyming quatrains. It has a rhyming pattern of abab, which means that the poem is soft and pleasing to hear, reflects the quietness of nature and goes along with the idea of the man being gentle and tremulous. It is also pleasing to the eye as each stanza loosely mirrors the previous one. However the number of syllables varies in each line, which means the poem is not constrained by its structure. This is fitting to the content of the poem as there are references to birds, and flying which has the connotations of freedom.

An example of this is, And the May month flaps its glad green leaves like wings. This animal imagery is totally un-restrictive, as well as painting a very bright and vibrant picture of the season that he is describing. The alliteration, combined with each line only having one syllable helps to achieve the bouncing, jolly effect. The line also shows enjambment from the first line that is a technique carried on throughout the poem, adding to the overall continuity. The month of May is also described as being delicate-filmed as new spun silk. This simile gives a very precise description of the beauty of spring, comparing it to a shiny new fabric, and giving it an almost transparent quality. There are also the connotations of value and exquisiteness.

The second stanza moves consecutively from daytime to dusk, using appropriate language to describe the time. Hardy is precise in describing the moment the hawk lands as like an eyelids soundless blink. This has the combined effect of conveying both the visual swiftness of movement, and also the quietness of the moment. He manages to create an eerie tone by using the word shades, which gives the impression that there are many shadows and it is not very easy to see. The eerie tone is continued by the wind-warped upland thorn, in which the plosive R sound adds to the feeling of rustiness. It shows that the narrator does not only appreciate the bright beauty of the day time, but the more mystical quality of the evening, therefore noticing the full complexity of what nature has to offer.The idea of the day wearing on continues in the third stanza, where the first line foregrounds the rest of the stanza by stating; If I pass during some nocturnal blackness, which clearly sets the scene for night time. This is carried on by the description of the hedgehog and the moths, which only venture out at night, which creates a mood of peace and tranquility. The idea that the hedgehog travels furtively suggests a sense of purpose, that the hedgehog has a sly, secret mission to complete, which will go unnoticed in the rest of the world. This seems symbolic for the narrator, who seems to be discretely observing everything. T

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he secretiveness would help explain the distance that seems to be between him and the rest of the human beings around him. This distance is further achieved by the fact that there are never any names mentioned, or any suggestion of family or relationships. For example one may say,which is typically impersonal.Stanza four moves from describing the animals that the narrator identifies with, and is more focussed of the narrator and his idea of the people around him. It is different from the previous stanzas in that there is no movement within it, which is appropriate because Hardy is describing the time when the narrator has been stilled at last. The focus switches from the visual nature the narrator is so utterly familiar with, to the full starred heavens that winter sees.

Therefore he is thinking about the unknown, and the life that awaits him after he dies. Again there is the use of personification for winter, as there was for spring, which is important as it signifies the end of the seasonal cycle where things wither and die.Continuing this somewhat disconsolate tone, the beginning of the last stanza seems to give up on human nature. It asks, and will any say when my bell of quittance is heard in the gloom. This brings you back to the closure suggested in the first stanza, where he describes the gate closing on his life. The image of the bell contrasts to the silence of the previous stanzas, especially the one immediately preceding it. It describes the sound dying, and then rising again as a new bells boom. The alliteration again helps the line move quickly, suggesting the speed that people rush around. The onomatopoeic word boom suggests the loud noise that people make, contrasting to the peace and tranquility of the nature and animals that he describes. The poem ends by asking if the people will say, he hears it not now but used to notice such things? This sums up the whole poem, which is expressing how people will not ask these questions.

The refrains bring in the new voice in each stanza, having the effect of uniting each one. The meaning of each of the final lines never really changes, achieving the realization that the narrator knows that he will never change the views of the people around him. Hardy is criticizing human nature for not stopping long enough to reflect on what is really meaningful in peoples lives.

Therefore in conclusion the repetition of the first line, that ends the poem sums up the whole idea that nothing has actually been resolved. It emphasizes the complexity of nature and the amount of things that goes unnoticed every day and night. Hardy employs various techniques to make the poem come alive, which is crucial in showing his appreciation of what is going on around him. He uses extensive imagery, so that it is both visual, such as by describing the colours, and the explicit detail that is in every small thing that he describes. The silence is also transmitted effectively by word choice such as soundless blink. It is also effective in identifying his affinity with animals, as opposed to human being



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Can Things Come back to Haunt You?

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There is no doubt in my mind that there are probably two hundred things that have occurred in my life that have come back to haunt me. This is great for the assignment, but the problem is that they are all way too humiliating for school purposes.

Mine all started one school morning, while chatting before the bell rang. My friends and I talked about the television programs the night before, and soon enough the topic changed to not-so-surprisingly, school. It was then that I heard those six dreaded words, “Did you study for the test?” Being the student that I am, or was, I immediately panicked. I asked every possible question about the test, but not one concerning the material it was actually over.

I arrived at class the next period and looked over the test. I again, panicked. Greek gods and goddesses, my personal favorite. I skipped over a third of the test before I realized that I knew two of the multiple-choice answers. The three-page essay was definitely one for me.

The first semester slowly rolled around until the alarming exams stuck their heads in the calendar. I had planned an entire Saturday and Thursday for the sole purpose of studying for the English exam. By the time I had finished studying, I was more than ready.

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The other exams went pretty smoothly and the time had come for the much-anticipated English exam. I was sure of everything I studied. However, that was the entire problem. I took my seat in the lunchroom and slowly opened the booklet. The first word on the entire exam, Artemis. “O, no, not this again,” I thought to myself. I skipped number one. Who ever gets the first question anyways? Number two? That was never my lucky number either. I began to see the trend. The entire first page of the exam was definitely the Greek gods and goddesses, again. As I sat in the sweaty chair, I remembered the day I had gone into my English class and not studied at all for the test covering the same material. I feel a little embarrassed and ashamed that I am probably the only freshman who never learned that Artemis was born from Zeus’ head.



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Billy as a Christ Figure

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Billy Budd, Sailor

Billy is frequently described similar to Christ in both his way and his presence; Melville illustrates him to appear like a religious figure amongst lost men and regulations. He resembles Christ as many different people in his birth he can be looked at as Moses; in his way and doings he can be looked at as Adam before the fall; and finally in his life, purpose and death, Billy resembles Jesus. All three men in which Billy is portrayed are Christ himself. However, in Billy Budd, Billy’s death, which is portrayed similar to that of Christ’s, is intended to symbolize the death of hope for faith and religion.

Moses, the prophet, was born to free the people of Israel and bring them to the Promised Land. He saved them from persecution, maltreatment and ultimately execution. However, it is his birth which is similar to Billy’s � both men were found in a basket. It is evident that Melville deliberately related Billy and Moses, although in reversed situations. In Moses’ case, he was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter and raised rich whereas only Billy’s origins are rich by the implication of silk linen on his basket. These very close resemblances � yet substantial differences � demonstrate the differentiation between a world amid the presence of Christ compared to a faithless one. Although both beginnings seem similar, it is clearly obvious to which has the support of a higher being. Although Billy’s birth is exceptionally similar to Moses’, it is also similar to Adam’s and Jesus’. All three of these religious representatives’ births are unexplained; Adam was created (or basically appeared), Moses was found in a basket and Mary conceived of Jesus simply by the power of the Lord. All three of these extremely important biblical men have no natural account of their births � along with Billy.

At first glance, Billy may look like Christ, however when examined more closely, he resembles Adam before the fall. All of Billy’s intentions are in the right place but it is his knowledge of the world � of good and evil � that is critically lacking. Billy believes in the good in man and does not quite comprehend evil doings or evil people; he is rather na├»ve and most certainly innocent. “Billy Budd was like a young horse fresh from the pasture suddenly inhaling a vile whiff from some chemical factory, and by repeated snortings tries to get it out of his nostrils and lungs.” (chapter 15, pg ) This undeniable incapacity to comprehend the significance and consequences of evil eventually takes his life. Billy is born, raised and dies as pure as Adam before his irreversible sin. Adam symbolizes the first man to fail God, whereas in this case, God � if any � fails Billy. If Billy symbolizes any form of religious figure, he has as many chances of survival on board of the Bellipontent as a seed on a dry path. His death signifies the fall of any possible purity.

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The noble sailor, despite being a common man, holds many of Jesus’ characteristics and morals. Above all else, Billy is a peacemaker and a believer in truth. He has the patience to deal with everyone in his environment and the strength to make friends. His love for those around him and his faith in someone’s word embraces the same qualities which Jesus devoted his life to preach. Billy’s ability to sincerely forgive those who have wronged him is beyond imaginable and incredibly honest. At the moment of his final hour, Billy exclaims, ‘God bless Captain Vere,’ being unmistakably similar to Jesus’, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 4)

When referred to Billy’s physical appearance, Melville exaggerates him to create a ‘larger than life’ character. The same can to seen in terms of Jesus; over time he has become a mystical figure and which makes it barely possible to consider him as a man who once walked the earth. Nonetheless, Billy’s and Jesus’ purposes are remembered, particularly the peace and harmony they offered to those they crossed. Whether aboard the Rights of Man or the Bellipotent, whether in Rome or in Jerusalem, these men brought peace and forgiveness along their way.

By the time of their last breaths, both Billy and Jesus are sacrificed by their ‘fathers,’ for the sake of those around them. Their deaths are used as a threat to the others to ensure stability. Ironically, Jesus’ death signifies hope for an eternal life where as Billy’s defeats the mere idea of hope. Christ sacrificed his son to deliver those from evil. Jesus’ death opened the gates of heaven for everyone to enter and to rejoice at the start of a new life. His death is a reminder of love, hope and faith; it is a reassurance of a fair trail on judgment day. Judas’ betrayal of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane or Claggart’s betrayal of Billy are perfect examples of acts of evil against fair men.

Billy’s death, on the other hand, is an example of the hardships of war and of the darkness man has created. The execution proves and reinforces the effects of a Godless world; it is reflected in the men and in their laws. “But let not warm hearts betray heads that should be cool.” (Chapter 1, pg 6) However, Billy’s is death was necessary for the control of the remaining men and the elimination of evil thoughts. By condemning him to death, Vere condemned the warmth of hope to an end. The reign of terror thus prevailed. Melville deliberately created a divine image of Billy on the mount before his hanging to portray the sacrifice of Christ � of sole tenderness. It generates a very dramatic affect on Billy’s death and on the situation; it is an extremely clear identification of all that is at wrong.

On board of the Bellipontent, Billy is a symbol of hope and of faith. Upon his arrival he makes friends and confronts his enemy. He brings peace and happiness amongst the men and as a consequence, the officers. Billy can either be considered as a gift or as a test. It is possible that Melville has sent Billy to the ship as a last resource of hope in a dreadfully gloomy time, to show that among the odds, hope will shine through. To the men, Billy is an true breath of fresh air. He lightens the ship and the sailor’s attitudes, succeeding at his apparent purpose. Conversely, Billy can also be seen as a test and as a proof. By his means, Melville demonstrates that mere hope or even faith has no chance of survival in such conditions. “… I am not certain to know the world and to know human nature be not two distinct branches of knowledge, which while they may coexist in the same heart, yet either may exist with little or nothing of the other.” (Chapter 11, pg 4) He shows that men and institutions have destroyed Christ and his doings, unknowingly but carelessly. By failing Billy, the crew � or more precisely the authorities � destroy their only chance at a lighter life. Billy achieves his purpose but his purpose fails him. He is as test that was never meant to pass, but one that will be remembered.

In a world where men are guided by institutions, hope often holds no chance. Melville implies Billy as a Christ figure to test the outcome in a modern but stained civilization. It has become apparent that faith, or religion, is chased away by the law and regulations and reinforced by its followers. The killing of an ‘angel’ is the ultimate crime yet proof that God has no place. Corruption, evil and betrayal have outshined love, hope and faith.



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An Explication on "Hap"

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Regina R. White

British Lit II

An Explication of Thomas Hardy’s Poem, “Hap”

Thomas Hardy’s English sonnet “Hap” expresses how human destiny is ruled by chance, and how the narrator of this poem is confused by the idea of chance. The narrator uses various poetic techniques such as sound devices and figurative language. Throughout this poem, Hardy shows readers the struggle between the unexplainable and the explainable world.

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In the first stanza of the poem the narrator is struggling with something painful, all though it is not apparent what that struggle is

If but some vengeful god would call to me

From up the sky and laugh “Thou suffering thing,

Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,

That thy love’s loss is my hate’s profiting! (1-4)

The word vengeful in the first line means to seek revenge, and if god was trying to seek revenge on him, that would raise the question about who and what god is in this stanza. Hardy uses both visual and auditory images that relate to the alliteration in this poem. The narrator uses alliteration to emphasize the harsh “S” sound in words such as suffering, sorrow, and ecstasy in this first stanza. The “S” sound in these three words sound like a snake’s hiss. A snake is usually associated with something evil and something that is sneaky and creeps up on a person. This idea is almost the same as chance. Chance creeps up on you when you least expect it.

As the narrator moves into the second stanza, the reader begins to see the confusion unfolding. The narrator says, “Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die” (5). The narrator uses the word “it” to show the reader that he is still unsure of what “it” is; he is confused. However, because of the title of the poem “Hap” which translates into chance, the reader know that the “it” is chance.

In line 7, the narrator uses the word “Half-eased” showing that he would not be fully satisfied, especially since, like chance, the god’s anger would be “unmerited”(6) Unmerited means undeserved, and shows the struggle that the narrator has to understand something that is not explained. For example, the narrator is trying to understand why his fictional god would cause him so much pain.

The poet uses visual images in line 8 to show the pain that narrator feels. “The tears I shed”(8), does not tell the reader exactly what the narrator’s pains are, but it let the reader know whatever he is going through is causing him pain. “Clench myself”(5) is another visual image. The reader can see the narrator tension as he bears the pain and “dies”(5).

In the first two stanzas the narrator’s tone is compelled to some type of hope, but as the reader enters the third stanza the narrators tone changes, almost purposely. Reality hits him. After two stanzas of wishing he could point the finger at his fate, he mournfully concludes

But not so. How arrives it joy lies slain,

And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?

-Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,

And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan….

These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown

Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain. (-14)

In line the narrator personifies joy as if it were a person and were killed. Joy is a state of delight and in this line joy is like a burden and it should not be. It is showing the pain and the turmoil that narrator is going through. In line 10 the narrator uses a metaphor to compare hope as if it were a flower and could not bloom. Another word for hope is expectation. A person’s expectation should grow in a positive way, but here hope is not blooming at all. Crass Casualty in line 11 is also personified. Crass Casualty is a bodily injury or death that pure chance causes, and the narrator mentions that it “blocks the sun and rain.” These are all questions that the narrators ask and they confirm his state of confusion.

English sonnets, usually focus on the topic of love, but not this one. The poem “Hap” focuses on chance and how everything is ruled by chance. Readers can see this idea through the many poetic techniques that Thomas Hardy uses through out the poem using sound devices and figurative language, to show the narrators struggle between the explained and the unexplained.



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whaling

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Whaling

For many years whales have been victims of a powerful economic interest hunting. Contrary to worldwide opposition, hunters have managed to continue their business without much legal constraints. One of the legal guidelines that exists is the International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling. But as the title suggests, this convention only regulates, it does not ban nor prevent whaling from happening. This essay will focus on the commercial implications on whaling and will defend how whaling can be avoided.



One of the countries where this activity has taken place is Japan. For decades, it has contributed substantially to their economy through the manufacturing of soap, oil, and perfumes. In essence many of these products should be, and could be, obtained from renewable resources. The whale’s population has decreased considerably in the past years due to whaler’s abuse. Eskimos have also been attracted to this marine mammal for years. It has been part of their life and culture, while in the past they didn’t hunt in large numbers, however, today, due to technology, Eskimos are hunting much more than what they used to, since now they are exploiting it commercially.

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Whale hunters really don’t care for the environment and will keep whaling continuously if not barred from it. The international community needs to respond to these activities by setting forth stronger regulations. The ICRW only offers guidelines for the decrease of whaling but what we need is a total ban of this practice.

In my opinion, all countries that participate in this highly questionable activity should reach a compromise to control and prevent whaling as the only alternative to preserve this harmless mammal.



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The General Electric Case Study – ‘Can GE Remake Itself as a Digital Firm?’

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The General Electric Case Study � ‘Can GE Remake Itself as a Digital Firm?’

Summarise the business and technology conditions causing GE to launch its Internet initiative.

There were numerous conditions, which resulted in General Electric (GE) embarking on an Internet venture. These conditions were a combination of both business and technological motives.

By the mid 10s, the Internet had become a valuable Information System (IS). GE saw the benefits from business perspectives, which were evident in two different units, namely GE Lighting, and Polymerland (the GE Plastic’s distribution arm).

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GE Lighting introduced the Internet for purchasing in 16, and as a result the purchasing cycle was reduced from 14 to 7 days. Another achievement was having supplier prices reduced by 10 to 15 percent, resulting from open bidding on the Internet from different prospective suppliers. (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. ).

Senior management at GE saw utilising the Internet as a means to not only save money, but to expand the business. ‘Jack Welsh (GE Chairman) stated, that by Internet-enabling its business processes, GE could reduce overhead costs by half, saving as much as $10 billion in the first two years’ (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. ). Previous to this statement, Polymerland had implemented a Website. ‘This took weekly sales from $10 000 (in 17) to $6 million (in 000).’ (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. ). The objective to reduce costs would create two options GE. One would be to then sell products at a reduced price, without loss of margin and become more competitive in the marketplace. The second option would be to sell products at the existing price, which results in increased margins.

Another reason for launching an Internet initiative was to achieve an advantage over GE’s competitors. This was a characteristic that GE wanted to exploit. It was evident that the Internet was creating excellent results from GE Lighting and Polymerland, hence the decision to transform other units within the GE group.

With respect to technology, Polymerland had essentially achieved supply chain management. In 17 after the sales transactions site was developed, ‘customers were able to search for products, download product information, apply for credit, order products, track the shipment and even return merchandise’ (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. ). As previously mentioned, the impact on sales was remarkable.

GE recognized that the Internet resulted in E-commerce for suppliers and customers, and E-business for management of the corporation.

The introduction of IS was a driving force behind advancing GE technological attributes. Prior to Jack Welsh’s objective, GE had basic Information Systems in place, which were working efficiently, and effectively. This can be seen as a condition to launch the Internet initiative.

How is GE using Internet technology in its internal and external business processes?

GE is using Internet technology in its internal and external business processes by utilising Electronic Commerce (e-commerce) and Electronic Business (e-business). Essentially, e-commerce is the process of buying and selling products and services over the Internet, with computerised business transactions. (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. ) E-commerce can be divided in to more specific categories, which are used by many different GE units, as explained below

For external business processes, Polymerland implemented a Business-to-Consumer (BC) methodology. This is a process of electronically retailing products directly to the end user (Laudon & Laudon 00, p 110), and enabled Polymerland sales to increase significantly.

An aspect that GE Appliances was wary of, was disintermediation. GE Appliances could have sold directly to the consumer, thus bypassing distributors and retail outlets (Laudon & Laudon 00, p 111). This would enable the product to be sold to the consumer for a cheaper price, and enable GE Appliances to increase the gross margin of the respective product. As a result, GE kept retailing through stores to maintain consumer loyalty to a specific GE brand (Laudon & Laudon 00, p 4). GE Appliances simply introduced a basic enterprise system with the starting point being physically inside a retail outlet. The customer would enter an order in the store, and the product would be shipped directly to the consumer’s address. The store would be paid a percentage of the sale (Laudon & Laudon 00, p 4).

Some examples of internal business processes, which use Internet technology (basically a form of e-business), include the issuing of internal newsletters and memos on-line. The installation of computer kiosks (Laudon & Laudon 00, p 40) enabled all employees to access this information.

GE Medical Systems even established iCentre, a Web-site that enables medical equipment to be controlled and monitored (Laudon & Laudon 00, p 4) � yet a further example of an external business process.

What management, organisation, and technology issues did GE have to address in its Internet initiative?

The General Electric Internet initiative required controlling issues that transpired from management, organisation and technology. GE management had numerous challenges that required strategic planning. A new venture will obviously require troubleshooting, and Jack Welsh (Chairman and CEO of GE from April 181 to November 001) recognised this. He expressed concerns that a GE weakness would become a competitor’s strength, and subsequently launched a project called ‘destroy your business’ (DYB) (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. ). A result from this was that GE needed to reduce prices and increase value to the customer. The most effective way to do this was through the Internet initiative.

Another management issue was to promote the Internet initiative. GE had forecast increased sales and decreased expenses; however this would not eventuate if the consumers were not aware of the resources available. GE had to encourage not only consumers and retailers, but also employees had to adapt to the new electronic procedures. They needed to embrace, be confident and proficient to the new systems.

Instituting information systems, results in many challenges for managers. In particular, GE would have negotiated the Strategic Business Challenge. Research would have been necessary to ensure that utilising the Internet would result in becoming more competitive and effective (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. 5). Other challenges faced would have been the information architecture challenge, and the responsibility and control challenge.

On an organisational level, issues faced were quite comprehensive. Changing many (older) transactions and communications to electronic form required a great deal of administration. It would have been essential that Executive Support Systems (ESS) implement strategic decision making.

After management of GE had predominantly determined the objectives of the Internet initiative, they faced a number of technological issues. With the issuing of all internal memos and newsletters on-line, managers and staff required extensive training (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. 4). GE Transportation (and later other GE units) established an auction site for suppliers, which was a technological achievement. Computer kiosks were installed to enable blue collar employees had Internet access (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. 4), and with the ongoing expansion of the Internet initiative, GE had to initiate equipment training for its products online.

Evaluate GE’s Internet initiative. Is it successful? Is the company transforming itself into a digital firm? Why or why not?

The General Electric Internet initiative was a massive project, in no uncertain terms. Implementing changes on such a scale will always result in challenging time constraints. One simply has to look at the GE (as a group) sales prior the initiative and compare them with the figures a small number of years later. ‘Since 1, earnings have grown more than 80 percent’ http//www.ge.com/ar00/ge_ar00_ full_book.pdf April 00. For example, Polymerland weekly sales went from $10 thousand in 17 to $6 million in 000. Customers were obviously aware of the Internet facilities GE units provided as Laudon and Laudon (00, p. 4) stated that 45% of GE Appliances sales were over the Internet.

Not only were GE revenues increased, but also respective expenses were reduced as a result of the Internet initiative. For example GE Transportation commissioned live Internet actions for suppliers to win contracts in 1.

The initiative resulted in a $1.6 billion saving over 18 months, during 1 and 000 (Laudon & Laudon 00, p. 4), a massive saving from a financial perspective.

With the above-mentioned points, it is hard to argue that the Internet initiative was unsuccessful. The $10 billion savings that Gary Reiner predicted were audacious, however, he was estimating these figures for a new market, which was some what unchartered territory for most (if not all) companies, worldwide. According to the GE website, http//www.ge.com/ar00/ge_ar00_full_book.pdf April 00, the earnings for 00 were $15.1 Billion.

As a result of the Internet initiative, General Electric is transforming in to a digital firm. Laudon and Laudon (00, p. 4) define a digital firm as an organisation where not only the significant business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers and staff managed through digital means, but corporate assets are as well.

An example is Polymerland essentially introducing supply chain management successfully and also e-business and e-commerce being implemented across many GE units. (For example GE Capital Fleet Services stating that 0% of orders came in via the Internet).

Opinions of Mark Roberti did state that the GE Internet initiative was not as triumphant as they claimed it would be, however the successful transformation cannot be denied. Key objectives of the initiative were to reduce expenses, and increase sales and efficiency. These objectives were definitely achieved. Roberti’s comments cannot conflict with the fact that GE has had a successful Internet initiative, and the fact they are transforming into a digital firm.



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Retailing

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I. Introduction/Overview

Retailing is selling products and services to consumers for personal use. It is the second largest industry in the United States both in number of establishments and number of employees. Retail is one of the fastest growing, most dynamic parts of the world economy. Careers in retail are fast-paced, people oriented, and exciting. (Encyclopedia 4) This field is worth taking a good look at, particularly if you like these sorts of things. There are several options, many including store management, buying, merchandising and central management. This paper will focus mainly on the management position.

In the United States, small, family-owned stores have been around for centuries. The first large chain store began to operate in the late 1th century. One of the aims of early chain stores was to provide staples for the pioneers of the newly settled West. Because chain store corporations were able to buy goods in large quantities and store them in warehouses, they were able to undersell private merchants. (Outline of the U.S. Economy )

The number of retail stores, especially supermarkets, began to grow during the 10s. Cheaper transportation also contributed to the growth of retail stores because goods could be shipped and sold more economically. Unlike the early family-owned stores, giant retail outlets employed large numbers of people, requiring various levels of management to oversee the business. Retail managers were hired to oversee particular

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areas within department stores. Higher-level managers were also needed to make more general decisions about a company’s goals and policies. (Outline of the U.S. Economy -) A management position is retail seems to be a powerful job.

II. Duties/Responsibilities/Activities/Requirements/Skills

Retail managers are responsible for every phase of a store’s operation. They often are one of the first employees to arrive in the morning and the last ones to leave at night. Their duties include hiring, training, and supervising other employees, maintaining the physical facilities, managing inventory, monitoring expenditures and receipts, and maintaining good public relations. (Career Discovery 71)

It seems that the most important responsibility is hiring and training qualified employees. Managers will eventually then assign duties to employees, monitor their progress, promote employees, and increase salaries when appropriate. When an employee is not performing satisfactory, a manager must find a way to improve the performance or, if necessary, fire him or her. Basically they decide who is best to work in their store.

Managers should be good at working with people. Differences of opinion and personality clashes among employees are inevitable, and the manager must be able to restore good feelings among the staff. Not being able to get along with your manager will make working conditions unbearable; I know from experience. Managers often have to deal with customer’s grievances and must attempt to restore a positive attitude toward the store when customers are dissatisfied. Needless to say, patience must be a strong

virtue. Retail managers keep accurate and up-to-date records of store inventory. When new merchandise arrives, the manager ensures items are recorded, priced, and displayed or shelved. The must know when stock is getting low and order new items in a timely

manner. Communication skills must be strong in order to keep the store running well. Diplomacy often is necessary when creating schedules for workers and in disciplinary matters. (Career Discovery 74) Managers carry a lot of weight on their backs. Without good management skills, a store is sure to fall apart.

Store managers are also responsible for advertising and merchandise promotions. The manager may confer with an advertising agency representative to determine appropriate advertising for the store. The manager also may decide what products to put in sale for advertising purposes.

The duties of store managers vary according to the type of merchandise being sold, size of store, and number or employees. In small, owner operated stores, managers often are involved in accounting, data processing, marketing, research, sales, and shipping. In large retail corporations, managers may be involved in only one or two of those activities. (Occupational 505)

As far as requirements go, a minimum high school education generally is required for this position. Most retail stores prefer applicants with a college degree. Liberal arts, social sciences, and business are the most common degrees held by retail managers. To prepare for a career as a retail store manager, courses in accounting, business, marketing, English, advertising, and computer science would be helpful to take. (Occupational 507)

Many large retail stores and national chains have established formal training programs for their new employees. The training period may last for a week or as long as one year. Training for a department store manager may

include working as a salesperson in several departments in order to learn about the stores operations. (Occupational 507-508)

III. Advantages/Disadvantages

As mentioned before, a retail manager may put in very long hours. This can definitely be looked at as a disadvantage. Some managers often work six days a week and as many as 60 hours a week. Busier times of the year, such as the Christmas season, managers will usually put in more hours. Because holiday seasons are peak shopping periods, it is extremely rare that managers can take holidays off or schedule vacations around a holiday, even if the store is not open on that day.

Although managers usually can get away from the store during not-so-busy times, they must often be available if the store is open at night. This is so they can handle the store’s daily receipts and figures.

An advantage for a retail manager is opportunities in advancement. More responsibilities, in turn, leads to more money. Advancement varies according to the size of the store, location of the store, and merchandise being sold. Advancement also depends on the individual’s work experience and educational background.

A store manager who works for a large retail chain may be given responsibility for a number of stores in a given area or region or transferred to a larger store in another city. Willingness to relocate to a new city may increase an employee’s promotional

opportunities. Some managers decide to open their own stores after they have acquired enough experience in the retail industry. (Retail Industry Profile 1)

For those who only have a high school degree, it is still possible to advance in this career. This could definitely be look at as an advantage. Many store managers are promoted to their positions from jobs of less responsibility within the organization. Most jobs now-a-days you need a college education for.

IV. a href=http//go-acct.com?go=employment onmouseover=window.status = goto employment;return 1 onmouseout=window.status=Employment/a Forecast/Prediction

The retail industry created more new jobs than any other sector industry last year. According to the National Retail Federation’s Retail Industry Indicators, retail added . million new jobs between 188 and 18. Projections are for million new retail jobs by 008 for a grand total of 5.4 million jobs throughout the industry. Currently, retail encompasses more that 1.4 million U.S. establishments. One in five American workers is employed in retail. (Careers in Marketing )

Although lately retailers have reduced their management staff to cut costs and make operations more efficient, there are still good opportunities in retailing. However, competition for jobs probably will continue to increase, and computerized systems for inventory control may reduce the need for some managers. Applicants with the best educational background and work experience will have the best chances for finding jobs.

V. Compensation/Benefits/Perks/Mobility

There is a significant premium paid for people with skill and desire to work hard in retail. As of 1/000 a store manager, depending on the size of the store, responsibilities, and number of customer served, earns about $5,000 to $170,000. A

District manager will make anywhere from $40,000 to 180,000 + a bonus. A Regional manager will earn around $70,000 to 00,000 + a bonus. (Careers in Marketing 1)

In addition to the money, some stores offer their managers special bonuses, or commissions, which are typically connected to the store’s performance. This is why it is so important for a manager to “stay on top of things”. The achievements of the store reflect on the organization and productivity of the manager. Many stores also offer employee discounts on store merchandise.

VI. Impact of Chosen Career � U.S. Economy

Today, the American economy boasts a wide array of enterprises, ranging from one-person sole proprietorships to some of the worlds largest corporations. In 15, there were 16.4 million non-farm, sole proprietorships, 1.6 million partnerships, and 4.5 million corporations in the United States -- a total of .5 million independent enterprises. (Outline of the U.S. Economy 1)

Small businesses are a continuing source of drive for the American economy. They produced three-fourths of the economys new jobs between 10 and 15, an even larger contribution to a href=http//go-advertising.com?go=employment onmouseover=window.status = goto employment;return 1 onmouseout=window.status=employment/a growth than they made in the 180s. They also represent an entry point into the economy for new groups. (Bryant 166)

Although there are many small and medium-sized companies, big business units play a dominant role in the American economy. There are several reasons for this. Large companies can supply goods and services to a greater number of people, and they frequently operate more efficiently than small ones. In addition, they often can sell their products at lower prices because of the large volume and small costs per unit sold. They

have an advantage in the marketplace because many consumers are attracted to well-known brand names, which they believe guarantee a certain level of quality. (Bryant 166-167)

Large businesses are important to the overall economy because they tend to have more financial resources than small firms to conduct research and develop new goods. They generally offer more varied job opportunities and greater job stability, higher wages, and better health and retirement benefits. (Bryant 168)

In the U.S., Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and the world’s largest company with approximately $45 billion in sales annually. The store alone, also employs more that 1 million associates in the U.S. and more that 00,000 internationally. Without retail stores in the world, life would not be the same. (Retail Industry Profile )

V11. Impact of Chosen Career � Business/Marketing

When a retailing store wants to be successful, the must keep in mind the 4 P’s, product, price, place, and promotion. The 4 P’s are your marketing mix. They are your independent variables. The dependent variable is sales volume. This is where you must start and get organized in order to be successful.

For example, as for retailing, you must first decide what will be sold in the store. After that, a price must be set. As a product moves through the distribution channels, from manufacturer to distributor to dealer to customer, there are prices set along the way. The manufacturers selling price to the distributor becomes the distributors cost. Is that cost in line with competing products which the distributor might carry instead? Is the

cost low enough so that dealers will have enough margins in order to want to carry the product? Obviously, it is important to understand pricing and margins along the

distribution path (Outline of the U.S. Economy ). Ultimately, the price to the consumer or last purchaser in the chain must be such that it is competitive.

Where you decide to place the store is something that is also very important. You can then decide how you want to position yourself with respect to your competitors while at the same time keeping in mind your corporate objectives.

Last, promoting the store and products can be crucial. Promotion is that term which many people confuse with marketing. For many, the words promoter and marketer are synonymous. But, promotion is just one of the four Ps and a good marketer is not just a good promoter but also a good planner and a good listener. (Outline of the U.S. Economy 4)

Promotion can take many forms advertising in various media, events, press releases, trade shows, brochures, flyers, and internet sites to name a few. Promotion means to create awareness although awareness is just the beginning. (Retail Industry Profile 4) Good promotion compels the buyer to buy. The need for the product must be addressed.

Promotion is unlimited. There is virtually no limit on the amount of TV, radio, and newspaper advertising that one can do. For example, if you have the money, one of the smartest things you can do, if you are advertising for the retail industry, is putting in a commercial in the American Super Bowl broadcast. You could not ask for a bigger audience than that. Then it is followed up with an overwhelming amount of print

advertising as well as focused trade publications and trade shows. This is the goal of promoters.

VIII. Global Implications

The top 5 retailers control about 60% of the retail sales volume in the world and account for about 0% of spending on consumer marketing. Thats going to grow geometrically. If you look at the top 5 retailers, 16 or 17 of the top 5 are either U.S. headquartered or concentrate significant decision-making in the United States. That means that the U.S., led by Wal-Mart, is going to have a significant influence on global retail. (Outline of the U.S. Economy 5)

Now every one of these same nations has a colonial empire -- only its retailing instead of a military-industrial complex. Japan is a global exporter of retailing. France is the biggest global exporter of retailing in Europe, followed closely by the Germans, and then the English. Australia exports global retailing. The U.S. has its own colonial empire, again, led by Wal-Mart. (Outline of the U.S. Economy 5-6)

Rather than building new stores, they want to acquire chains in other countries because thats the fastest way to grow and export their global retailing. One of the things driving globalization is that in each country, particularly France and Germany, legislation has been passed that says you cant build new stores, or you cant build big-box stores. Everybody now is racing to acquire other chains in their own countries and then acquire chains that have operations internationally. (Outline of the U.S. Economy 7)

Its Wal-mart, versus the major players in Germany to see who is going to control retailing in Germany. In France its whos going to get bought next because major players in France are all exporting retailing really aggressively. In England a lot of the chains are going international. J. Sainsbury and Marks & Spencer are both looking overseas for growth. In Japan, the globalization trend is even more pronounced than in the U.K. Theres no available land, so they are all going overseas to grow. (Outline of the U.S. Economy 7-8)

IX. Future (S/R & L/R)

Several trends will affect the future of retailing. They include the slowdown in population and economic growth; greater competition and new types of retailers making it harder to improve market shares in existing markets; consumer demographics, lifestyles, and shopping patterns that are changing rapidly; quickly rising costs making more efficient operation and smarter buying essential to successful retailing; and retail technologies growing in importance as competitive tools to produce better forecasts, control inventory costs, order electronically from suppliers, communicate between stores, and sell to consumers within stores. (Careers in Marketing )

Many retailing innovations are partially explained by the wheel of retailing concept. According to this concept, new types of retailing forms challenge established retailers that have become “fat” by letting their costs and margins increase. The new retailers’ success leads them to upgrade their facilities and offer more services, increasing their costs and forcing them to raise prices. Eventually, the new retailers become like the

conventional ones they replaced, and the cycle begins again when still newer types of retail forms evolve with lower costs and prices. (Careers in Marketing -4)

The Wheel of Retailing concept seems to explain the initial success and later troubles of department stores, supermarkets, and discount stores and the recent success of

off-price retailers. To be successful, retailers of the future will have to keep on adapting to the changes in life and go from there.



Please note that this sample paper on Retailing is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Retailing, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on Retailing will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

marijuana

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Alliance and Leicester Plc

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Alliance and Leicester Plc

The Alliance and Leicester is an above all a mortgage specialist and intends to remain one. The financial Group has been operating since 185 and offers a range of products and loan and insurance services throughout the UK. The Alliance and Leicester operates through 10 branches and 17,500 post offices. It has focused on so-called tradition savings, current account, credit card, consumer credit (housing and cars) and cash products. The company also provides a variety of insurance and pension services. The services offered are traditional ones, and the Alliance and Leicester has proved its effectiveness in this field.

Key Success Factors

Key success factors concern the product attributes, competencies, competitive capabilities, and market achievements with the greatest direct bearing on company profitability.

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The Company was floated on the stock market in 17 and now firmly established as a major financial services provider committed to provide customers with a wide range of mortgage, investment, insurance services, cash transmission and corporate banking facilities.

Against a background of rapid change and increased competition within financial services, the Alliance & Leicester Group has successfully met the challenges faced by the industry and they are demonstrated this by

• announcing record profits following the business flotation and creating strong shareholder value.

• developing innovative products including the first money-back credit card and the recently launched free energy mortgage.

• diversifying activities across a broad range of businesses; in 17 8% of operating profit was generated from areas other than the traditional mortgage lending and retail investments.

• ensuring Girobank maintains its market leading position in cash and cheque handling for the retail sector.

• reviewing our structures and processes, clearly focusing our operations on sales and customer service.

• establishing a clear market presence through strong branding.

• developing successful call centre operations, servicing all aspects of our personal and corporate customers’ needs.

This provides only a snapshot of their achievements and as a Group they are determined to continue with the success and growth. I believe that these achievements are attributable to the following key factors

• development of a progressive Company culture based on teamwork, staff participation and open communication.

• flexible, skilled and professional staff who can rise to a challenge.

• strong and dynamic leadership;

• active investment in new technology.

• a clear organisational structure where responsibility and accountability is allocated to the staff.

Alliance and Leicester are organised into the following business sectors.

Mortgage Lending & Investments

This business sector is responsible for the Group’s mortgage lending and retail savings operations via state of the art call centres and branch network together with related businesses such as general insurance, life assurance and unit trusts. The Alliance & Leicester General Insurance subsidiary was launched in August 17.

Personal Banking

This sector represents personal current accounts, credit and debit cards and unsecured lending activities. The unsecured loan business is a very successful part of the Group and during 17, the value of this business increased by 6%.

Commercial Banking

This involves the provision of a range of services principally to retailers, local authorities and utilities, including cash and cheque handling, bill payments, asset finance including leasing, merchant acquisition and commercial lending.

Treasury & Group

This business sector comprises the Group’s treasury subsidiary, Alliance & Leicester Group Treasury plc. This operation manages the wholesale funding and liquidity of the Group and provide a treasury service to the Group and its customers.

Core Competencies

Those functions or practices deemed by a company as central to its existence. Those activities that the company believes it does best, should focus on and that are in the company’s best interest for long-term success and growth

Alliance & Leicester remains determined to manage its mortgage business to generate shareholder value, by ensuring that it’s pricing, while competitive, is at profitable levels. They will continue to focus on improving its cost performance in this business so that profitable products can be offered.

The banking group is also structuring its administrative operations so that common processes can be delivered from efficient centres of expertise across the range of its retail banking products. This re-engineering of its business will lead to more efficient processes and improved customer service.

In addition, Alliance & Leicester is developing its channel integration strategy to enable customers to do business with Alliance & Leicester in the ways they want to, not by imposing a single solution on them.

Alliance & Leicester’s Girobank future growth is continuing to build on its core competencies in cash transmission, and by developing the range of its services for corporate customers. Alliance & Leicester Group Treasury is developing a plan, and it expects to see further controlled growth in the Tresury contribution earnings in the year ahead.

Business volumes and profits have increased in key product areas and Alliance & Leicester maintained downward pressure on cost, leading to a further significant fall in its cost income ratio.

Project CUBA improved the way that the infrastructure is managed and supported. “We have been able to reduce risk, improve service availability, reduce the time to fix problems and achieve sustainable ongoing cost-reductions,” states Peter Wheatcroft, Director of Technology Services, Alliance & Leicester.

The company introduced a company -wide training programme called Valuing Individual People, including a two-day course called Delivering Service Excellence. We talked about the company’s strategy, what it meant and practical tools in how to support customers, says Paul Wildes, head of HR service delivery. That training cost us about £4.m.

Several schemes were specifically introduced to improve customer focus. The first is Customer Service Champions, when people nominate colleagues who are constantly providing an excellent service, continues Wildes. Each quarter, four employees are sent to Disneyland Paris or Walt Disney World in Florida for a week, where they receive training in customer service skills. It gives people a different perspective and a reward, says Wildes.

The company also runs more widespread, small-scale awards called Gems - Going the Extra Mile. The award might take the form of a bottle of champagne, for example. Its about giving people recognition, says Wildes. It is low cost, but it encourages people to adopt the right behaviour, and that recognition of the manager saying thank you is very powerful.

Recently, the company has extended its bonus scheme so that it is not only linked to sales, but also to customer service as well. In order to really hammer home the concept of customer service, Alliance & Leicester asks employees to take note of how people in other organisations and professions operate.

We have given staff introduction cards to pass on to people who are excellent at service. It makes people think about what differentiates in terms of excellence. It also saves us recruitment costs and because there is a payment of up to £750 for the introducer, it gives employees extra money, says Wildes.

Key points

- Project CUBA

- Channel integration strategy

- Rolled out a £4.m training package across the whole workforce, including a programme called Delivering Service Excellence Customer Service Champions - an award and extra training for customer-focused employees

- Gems - smaller awards for employees providing good customer services

Competitive Advantage

- An advantage a business has over its competitors because of the quality or superiority of products or services which will persuade customers to buy from them rather than from competitors.

Most lenders have used technology simply to speed up the front-end decision. Alliance &Leicester’s online mortgage application system has speeded up the whole mortgage application process, providing quicker decisions, faster processing, easy tracking of cases and less paperwork. It is the best system in the market place, and intends to keep it ahead of its competitors.

A&L main competitors are;

• Abbey National

• HSBC

• Barclays

• Lloyds TSB

• Nationwide

• First Direct

• Natwest

• Halifax

Alliance & Leicester (A&L) has embraced a huge, multi-dimensional change programme intended to transform it into the most customer-focused financial services provider in the UK. The programme encompasses a rigorous simplification of A&Ls business and the deployment of a technical architecture to underpin a total customer management capability. The programme will boost A&Ls competitive advantage and enhance shareholder value.

In the aggressive UK financial services market place A&L wanted to develop and deliver a strategy for change that would exploit its core capabilities and ensure a strong independent future. The bank selected KPMG Consulting to design, develop and implement an integrated programme of change to transform all areas of the organisation.

The integrated business and technology programme needed to leverage A&Ls customer relationships, deliver challenging financial targets on revenue growth, and achieve a £100 million reduction in costs over a three year period. KPMG Consulting resources have been deployed across three key areas programme management; delivery of an integrated business and IT architecture; and cost management.

Programme management

KPMG Consulting has supported A&L in setting up a robust programme governance and management structure. This structure ensures that a programme of integrated projects, currently numbering around 80, is appropriately managed across the organisation and that key stakeholders are adequately involved in decision-making processes.

The roll-out of KPMG Consultings programme and project management methodologies has helped to manage delivery risks. As part of the programme a review of A&Ls existing projects was carried out and all those deemed non-essential were cancelled.

Integrated architecture

Turning the strategy into reality has involved the design and development of an integrated, medium-term, business and IT target model. This model identified the key developments needed to deliver the new customer management-based architecture.

A&L wanted this architecture to include the development of an operational single view of the customer; the delivery of a common set of processes and logic in a sophisticated middleware solution; the integration of all channels and products with consistent information; and enhanced sales and servicing functionality.

A phased approach was developed to turn the technical and business architecture into a series of releases aligned to business priorities. The delivery of the new integrated business and technical infrastructure has brought A&L a range of business benefits, including multi-channel servicing capability and increased self-service capability.

Cost management

A major cost management exercise analysed the cost profile of non-customer-facing functions right across the A&L Group.

Through robust processes based on appropriate benchmarking comparisons, the KPMG Consulting team has helped A&L to achieve significant cost reductions in the short-term and has identified medium-term opportunities for further efficiencies.

The cost management work stream has also successfully identified savings of tens of millions of pounds.

The benefits

A&Ls ongoing change programme is fundamental to the company achieving its short-, medium- and long-term financial targets around income growth and cost reduction. It has focused the organisation on initiatives that deliver most value and make best use of scarce resources in key areas such as IT.

The change programme has allowed the organisation to enhance the A&L customer experience, improve customer retention rates, increase cross-sales and reduce costs.

Distinctive capabilities

These capabilities have been termed “distinctive competencies” and generally refer to the unique skills and activities that a firm can do better than rival firms. (Selznick, 157; Lado, Boyd and Wright, 1). Moreover, these are the distinctive capabilities that support a market position that is valuable and difficult to imitate.

The best test of the distinctiveness of a capability is whether it disproportionately facilitates the provision of superior customer value or permits the business to deliver to customers in an appreciably more cost-effective way. In this respect, a distinctive capability functions much like a key success factor.

Alliance & Leicester’ CEO argued that the power of the groups brand is an important strength on which to build future business. He added that there is clear evidence from independent market research that awareness of the Alliance & Leicester brand is higher than for number of its large competitors, as is the number of potential customer who considers Alliance & Leicester as potential provider of financial services for their own needs.

Alliance and Leicester Aims

The Alliance & Leicester Groups vision is to deliver value to our shareholders by becoming the UKs most customer focused financial services organisation - bar none.

Customers & their reputation

• A&L’s reputation as a secure, customer focused financial services institution is based upon prudent management of their assets and the provision of a range of products and services which meet customers needs and offer value for money.

• Earning and retaining the trust and confidence of customers must be a high priority for A&L as they believe this is essential for providing and sustaining long term profitable relationships with them.

• A&L aim to provide the highest standards of customer service treating each customer as an individual. Complaints will be resolved as expeditiously as possible and they will seek to learn from their mistakes.

• The information they give to customers is clear and readily understandable form.

• A&L will not risk the Groups reputation by knowingly associating with people or organisations or products or transactions which could potentially damage that reputation.

• A&L are positive about complying with legal and regulatory obligations - this protects their customers, shareholders and themselves.

Three have become one! Alliance & Leicester Business Banking, Girobank & Sovereign Finance have come together under one brand. This means that customers will have access to an experienced team of business specialists - and a complete range of business finance services.

About Alliance and Leicester

Alliance & Leicester is one of the UKs major financial services groups. It offers a broad range of financial services to personal, commercial and small business customers. Alliance & Leicester has been a member of the FTSE 100 index of leading shares since converting from its original mutual building society status in 17.

Internet Share Dealing

Their Internet Share Dealing Service, provided by Barclays Stockbrokers, is a nominee share dealing service. You can use this service to buy and sell shares during market hours, on the London Stock Exchange.

This service offers

• Low dealing fees

• Online registration

• Nominee service

• Real-time quotes

• Automatic online stock switching facility

• A safe, secure online trading system

• Settlement in business days

Telephone Share Dealing

The Alliance & Leicester Telephone Share Dealing Service is also provided by Barclays Stockbrokers. It enables you to deal directly with a stockbroker over the phone and has been specially designed to make UK share dealing easy.

• Registration by telephone and the ability to deal straight away

• Fast telephone dealing with up-to-the-minute prices

• Settlement in 10 business days

• Certificated dealing

About American Express Sharepeople

American Express Sharepeople is one of the leading online brokers in the UK. American Express Sharepeople is the umbrella marketing name for Sharepeople Limited which became one of the American Express group companies following an acquisition in January 001. The American Express group is one of the world’s leading card and travel service providers. American Express Sharepeople brings together the innovations and market expertise of the retail broking industry with one of the most respected and recognisable service brands in the world. American Express Sharepeople will utilise the strengths of its parent brand along with the experience and knowledge of the Sharepeople team to continue to offer a broad range of investment services aimed at empowering and educating the private investor.

American Express Sharepeople is committed to making our customers feel valued through the provision of exceptional service. Delivering such service can only be achieved if we have in place both the systems and the people to facilitate it. We strongly believe that we have both. A system, which takes on-line broking into a new dimension and people with years of knowledge and experience in their particular fields.

Our people are dedicated and motivated to meeting the high standards we expect from them. They are encouraged and supported to develop themselves personally and professionally at every opportunity. We do this through creating an environment where people work together, share ideas and continually improve. Everyone in the business has the opportunity to make a difference regardless of who they are or where they work.

Ivan Schouker, CEO American Express Sharepeople

Products and Services

Accounts

Sharepeople offers a Trading Account (with no annual fee) and Maxi and Mini ISA Accounts, all with access to international markets, and commissions from only £.50! Sharepeople also offers a PEP Account giving you the opportunity to transfer existing PEPs into a single provider.

Markets

Sharepeople offers access to a wide range of UK, US, and European securities, via the LSE, NYSE, NASDAQ, AMEX, Jiway and Nasdaq Europe markets in a choice of settlement currencies including Sterling, US Dollars, Euros and other European currencies.

Trading

Sharepeople customers enjoy real-time prices on over 000 LSE securities, the ability to place ‘fill or kill’ limit orders, trade in multiple currencies, receive e-mail and SMS alerts.

Funds

A wide range of unit trusts and OEICs investing in global markets, including our choice of funds identified in association with Standard & Poors.

Access

Sharepeople customers have access to their accounts 4 hours a day, 65 days a year via the Internet and Sharepeople VoiceTrader. Our friendly Customer Services Team are available during opening hours.

News and Analysis

Extensive portfolio management tools including Virtual Portfolios and measuring with RiskGrades, with access to Reuters news, Directors Dealings and broker forecasts.

Education

Enjoy 4 helpful services at the Sharepeople Education Centre. Buy books through their Investment Bookshop, train online with their range of Investment Courses, check out the latest events on the Investment Calendar, and consult our comprehensive Investment Glossary.



Please note that this sample paper on Alliance and Leicester Plc is for your review only. In order to eliminate any of the plagiarism issues, it is highly recommended that you do not use it for you own writing purposes. In case you experience difficulties with writing a well structured and accurately composed paper on Alliance and Leicester Plc, we are here to assist you. Your cheap custom college paper on Alliance and Leicester Plc will be written from scratch, so you do not have to worry about its originality.

Order your authentic assignment from and you will be amazed at how easy it is to complete a quality custom paper within the shortest time possible!