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Author Topic: English Resources and Sample Essays  (Read 415130 times)  Share 

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Re: English Guides, Tips and Resources
« Reply #45 on: December 19, 2010, 12:38:17 am »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #46 on: December 26, 2010, 05:28:55 am »
 One of my earliest pieces on conflict. Not a great piece, but there's some good social parallels and examples from the book ' The Rugmaker. ' Though, bear in mind that this is the work of an ESL student, so the piece may not reflect the expectations of VCE English. Nevertheless, hope it help some of you guys in some way :) Cheers

                                          'During times of conflict, a person’s true character is revealed.’
   Conflict can be defined as situations where polar opposites exist due to individuals’ and even nations’ subjectivity relating to their needs, values and interests. It is however, during times of conflict that the true natures and characters are tested and revealed, often surprising both the individuals and those around them. During a conflict, individuals are often required to re-evaluate notions of right and wrong. As such, it is during such times that people are able to determine what it is they truly value, as well as exposing their fears, insecurities, and self-serving, greedy and corrupt natures. However, it is also during these periods of turmoil and heightened emotions, that the very best in people is exposed, their extraordinary courage, resilience, physical and psychological strength as well as that of their convictions and their self-sacrificing natures.

   From petty arguments to the outbreak of large scale confrontations, conflicts have existed since human began living in groups, and comes in various forms, such as racial, cultural, political, familial and even internal. Paradoxically, conflict and chaos can often result in positive changes for a society, directly or indirectly. Often the enormous pressure that conflict applies on governing bodies and institutions, may see them expose their fundamentally flawed and corrupt agendas. Exploitations and corruption often results when powerful figures and authorities possess superior power over others, and the clear misuse or abuse of that power may see the nation and its people suffer grave injustices in the present and as a result into the future. Notably, the fanatical Taliban strict fundamentalist interpretation of the Quran is viewed by other religious and even other Muslims as a manipulation to serve their political self-serving agendas. The brutal, oppressive means through which they impose their interpretation of religion reveals their need for absolute power and the inhumanity that allows deprivations and grave injustices to be committed on those they are supposed to serve. It is during the conflict that resulted in the Taliban gaining power and their subsequent rule that exposed their corruption and hypocrisy, as they justified oppression, torture and killing by interpreting the Quran in ways that denoted them as the only rightful rulers and everyone else as the enemies of Islam.

   Recently, the surge in refugee numbers has seen the Australian government imposing strict immigration laws and processing regulations, preventing many desperate and needy refugees from gaining citizenships and the sanctuary they risked their lives to achieve. The conflict of ideologies and policies election periods, the strength of conviction and humanity of our leaders is tested. The Rudd Government’s recognition that votes are gained through voter’s belief that the Party in power protects borders from illegal immigrants has seen it break a number of international and humanitarian laws and suspend processing of Sri Lankan and Afghani refugees. Not only are the characters of our leaders’ revealed, but also of ours that despite taking pride on ourselves for being a multicultural nation,  the reality is that many remain xenophobic and even racist.

   Conflict invariably results in the unmasking of some of the worst human facades which consequentially leads to intolerable deprivation, suffering and grave injustices for those innocent, as conflict by nature escalates destructively. During times of conflict, the prioritizing of personal gains and self-preservation by most individuals usually result in the abandoning of their principles and beliefs. In the midst of chaos and hysteria, it is often extremely difficult to put aside self interests and survival. Therefore, conflict often compels the re-evaluation of what one believes and truly values. As such it can expose those who are corrupt, ignorant and acting for personal gains, but also those whose convictions are steadfast and see them maintain a principled approach while negotiating their way through conflict irrespective of the personal consequences. Those who exploit conflict through rationalising unacceptable behaviours, or those who have masked their naturally violent and evil natures but resort to violence and cruelty when self intent is at stake are exposed. In Hillman and Mazari’s The Rugmaker, Najaf reflects on the cruelty imposed on him by the fundamentalist Taliban. Many of his neighbours gave up on the tortures and join the Taliban, whereas despite being tortured just as much, Najaf sought ways of surviving that did not compromise his principles and morality.

   Adolf Hitler’s ascent to power on 1919 brought about rapid improvements to Germany’s social, economical and military power, on a dramatic scale. Hailed and viewed as a hero en masse, Hitler’s charismatic demeanour saw him quickly approved and supported by the German people. However Hitler is unable to contain his nature for long, as his image as the perfect leader of Germany steadily deteriorates as the war reaches its climax. In his book Mein Kampf and through his speeches in the Nuremberg rallies, Hitler was unable to hide his violent and evil nature, as well as the mental instability that enabled him to justify the need for genocide. Though, conflict have also given rise to many heroes in the past, such as Oscar Schindler, who during world war two demonstrated true courage and compassion when he spent millions and risked his life to save the Jews who worked for him, eventually turning him from a successful and wealthy millionaire to that of a penniless man.

   While there are those who seek to benefit from conflict at the expense of others, which reveals the flaws of weaknesses of human nature, they are also those who reveal themselves as morally superior and principled individuals, whose extraordinary actions can be surprising not only to themselves, but also others. Seeming ordinary people reveal their integrity, courage, resilience and strength of conviction during the heat of conflict. At such, these extraordinary individuals display to us that in times of conflict, it is possible to place self-interests and the need for self-preservation aside, and adhere to one’s conscience and beliefs despite the dire consequences that may result. Najaf’s strength of conviction and perseverance, fuelled by his desire to provide for a better future for his wife and daughter, sees him successfully overcoming extraordinary length of tests and trials, shocking and surprising both himself and those around him. By maintaining his principles throughout his journey, Najaf is able to help and comfort his fellow inmates, instead of taking advantage of them. Najaf’s composed and peace loving attitude sees him endeavours to prevent further dissent between inmates in the Australian asylum centres, diametrically opposing those who attempt to exploit conflict for their own personal interests and gains.
   The enormous strain and pressure conflict places on individuals may see them rely on their core values and principles to sustain them, or see them completely abandoned, thus revealing not only their true natures, but also of their worst behaviours. Conflict serves to test, validate and even reward the rare few that persevere, or expose those that are willing to succumb to greed, power and corruption.

« Last Edit: January 31, 2011, 11:28:49 am by LOVEPHYSICS »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #47 on: December 28, 2010, 06:10:32 pm »
Text response essay on Louis Nowra's play 'Cosi'
This piece received 29/30 in a SAC.

“Working with these people has changed you.”
In what ways has Lewis changed?

Louis Nowra’s play “Cosi” depicts the story of Lewis Riley, a young naive student fresh out of university, directing a Mozart opera in a mental asylum.  Many of the challenges faced by Lewis are ultimately the cause for the profound changes which we see in his perception of the world.  Lewis’ journey allows him to develop confidence in himself, and gives him the opportunity to reflect upon his own morals.  Furthermore, he matures to value the importance of love and fidelity in relationships.   Whilst at times testing his strength and resolve, Lewis’ experience in the mental asylum can be seen as the catalyst for his transformation.

Lewis’ growth from an individual lacking in confidence to an influential mentor to many of the patients required a fundamental change in his attitude. When first given the role as director, Lewis’ unease regarding Nick’s decision to no longer “help [him]” exemplifies his overdependence on others and a lack of belief in himself. Lewis’ lack of confidence is also reflected in the lights that “start flickering” when he initially meets Roy and Doug and is confronted by their strong personalities. The lighting metaphorically represents Lewis’ initial discomfort and anxiety in this unfamiliar situation. After Doug sets fire to the theatre, nearly bringing rehearsals to a premature end, Lewis eventually comes to the realisation that in order for ‘Cosi fan tutte’ to succeed, he must be more assertive and adopt some leadership. In stark contrast to Nowra’s stage directions that reveal Lewis’ initial “[hesitation]” when interacting with the patients, Lewis develops the self-confidence to be able to assert authority over the cast. Later stage directions convey Lewis communication to the patients as “[firm]” and he begins to communicate with them in a more personal manner.  He engages himself in their concerns, evident when discussing Julie’s drug addiction with her.  Moreover, Lewis develops to the extent that he is able to instil his confidence in others, building Henry’s self-esteem so that he could actively participate in the play and also guiding Roy to overcome his “stage fright.”  Lewis’ belief in himself unlocked his one dimensional view on life, allowing him to fulfil his own personal ideals and ambitions.

There is an obvious shift in Lewis’ morals during the play, brought upon by his decision to embrace the patients in the asylum.  Lewis’ initial perception of the patients is not dissimilar to Nick’s view that they are “nuts” and “madmen”.  Furthermore, he recognises that the underlying motive to be at the asylum is his need for “the money”.  Through Lewis’ journey, however, he grows fond of the patients and becomes well aware of the harsh stereotypes placed on them by the outside world.  His interactions with the patients challenge and compel him to share Justin’s view that “they are just normal people who have done extraordinary things, thought extraordinary thoughts.” This is demonstrated when Lewis would rather injure himself than let Henry “walk out on us”. The inclusive language signifies Lewis’ changed perception of the patients.  The inclusion of himself as an equally important member of the cast accentuates that the initially present barriers between him and the patients have now been broken.  By conveying a strong connection between Lewis and the cast, Nowra invites the audience to consider the notion that all humans are created equal, and that labels imposed on people by society don’t restrict who they are as a person.  In telling Doug to “go burn a cat,” Lewis shows he is comfortable around the patients, and the joke can been seen as his way of bonding with them. The alteration of Lewis’ morals is further evident when he chooses to oppose the radical and egotistical nature embodied by Nick. This is symbolised when Lewis turns down the radio during Nick’s interview, indicative of the lessening influence Nick was having on him.  Eventually, it is clear that Nick no longer appeals to Lewis as a “mate”, and the vulgar, insensitive “funny farm” song Nick mocks the patients’ with is enough for Lewis to punch him, severing their relationship.  The stark contrast between the initial “black burnt out theatre” that is devoid of hope and the “white theatre walls” in the performance further reinforces the positive transition that Lewis has undergone.

As Lewis’ confidence and moral strength begins to shine through, he develops a deeper understanding of the significance of love and fidelity in relationships. Lewis initially spouts Nick and Lucy’s views on love, regarding it as “not so important nowadays”. However, Nowra’s use of stage directions reveals Lewis’ “uncertainty” concerning the faithfulness of his girlfriend, indicating that his perception of love may not parallel Lucy’s.  The devastation that Lewis endures after discovering his girlfriend’s unfaithfulness supports the notion that he does consider love as important.  The play within a play structure adopted by Nowra is crucial to Lewis being able to express his optimistic attitude towards love.  As his love for the play grows, so does his appreciation for the theme of love and fidelity which it embodies.  Lewis’ remark of Mozart’s opera being about “important things,” is instinctively coupled with “love and fidelity,” illustrating his views on the ideal.   It is Lewis’ experiences with Julie that allows him to express a true sense of appreciation for love, affirming that love extends beyond lustful behaviour. The mutual trust inherent in Julie and her girlfriend’s relationship allows Lewis to come to the realisation that loyalty is the foundation upon which meaningful relationships are built.  He realises that remaining true requires individuals to “stick together through thick and thin.”   Nowra invites readers to, like Lewis, reject the notion of free love as embodied by Lucy.   In addition, Nowra seeks to remind readers of the significance of love and fidelity coexisting, a notion truly encapsulated by the words “without love the world wouldn’t mean much.”

Lewis’ ability to escape the cynicism of the outside world and embrace the patients was a key facet in his transformation. As a result of “working with these people,” Lewis undoubtedly becomes a more humble, caring and sensitive person.  Lewis emancipation from the ideals of others allows him to make his own contribution to the world, whilst also bettering his moral values as a being.   Nowra aims to emphasise that not only is Lewis’ changed perception on humanity central to his personal fulfilment, but also something that is vital to our own human existence.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2011, 11:30:00 pm by stonecold »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #48 on: December 28, 2010, 06:17:05 pm »
Text response piece on Geraldine Brook's 'Year of Wonders'
This received full marks in a SAC.

‘My dear friends, soon God will set us a new test,’ warns the priest.
How do the hardships of the plague bring out the best and the worst in the villagers of Eyam?

Geraldine Brook’s novel ‘Year of Wonders’ vividly recounts the story of the seventeenth century plague which cripples and transforms the English town of Eyam.  The Black Death which strikes the village not only reveals the stark contrast between the admirable and evil nature of the towns people, but it also redefines the villagers of Eyam.  The personal beliefs and social order which were once static, collapse in the face of God’s ‘test.’   When faced with adversity and desperation, certain individuals embrace the challenge and their heroism shines through, whilst others instead choose to turn their backs on the town, acting in selfish and crude ways.  Throughout the ‘Year of Wonders,’ Brooks explores the ways in which society responds to extreme hardship, and the ripple effect which peoples choices have on others within the community.

The plague seeds which settle upon the soil of Eyam bring about profound change within the village, creating ‘heroes’ who overcome the devastation and act with courage to support their neighbours and restore a sense of hope within society.  The town’s people’s acceptance of Mompellion’s request to ‘let the boundaries of [the] village become [their] whole world,’ captures the selfless and honourable nature of the community, which is in stark contrast to the Bradford’s who act only in self-interest and ‘abandon their duty.’  Mompellion’s work ethic and innate strength to push himself beyond exhaustion is the driving force behind the town.  He remains determined to uphold his promise that ‘no one will face their death alone.’  His role as rector within the town sets the precedent for others to take leadership and initiative.  Anna and Elinor wholeheartedly embrace the plague and devote themselves to healing the community.  They risk their lives in order to serve others, constantly facing dangers either in the mine or from the contagion itself.   . Unlike many other characters, Anna chooses life over vengeance, with the greatest symbolic affirmation coming in saving both Lady Bradford and her baby.  In her situation, mercy wins out, testament to her heroism.  Elinor believes that Anna is the ‘one good, perhaps, to come out of this terrible year.’  Her resolve allows her to overcome the loss of her sons Tom and Jamie, and she is able to tend for the community as a midwife, bringing the gift of life to a death ravaged community. Whilst Anna’s saint like personality is challenged as she deliberates whether or not she should consume poppy to escape reality and arrive at the ‘sweetest harmony,’ Brooks puts this forward to reveal the gravity of the situation and the bleak outlook forecast for Eyam.   Furthermore, despite Anna’s innate desire for companionship, giving rise to her deep seeded jealousy of Elinor and Michael’s relationship, she cannot be blamed for her natural yearning to experience love once again.  Through Anna, Brooks aims to remind readers that all individuals are flawed to an extent, however as the novel progresses, it is revealed that some are flawed to a much greater extent than others.  Brooks suggests that heroes are not required to be perfect.  Young Brand’s decision to initially abandon Maggie Cantwell is evidence of this.  It is his courageous choice to return and rescue her which transforms him into one of Mompellion’s heroes.  Although the gloom of the plague pervades the township, the selfless nature in which some choose to respond highlights the ideal that in times of adversity, one’s latent potential can rise to the surface.

The spread of the plague throughout Eyam consequently results in supreme displays of cowardice, driving some villagers to commit unspeakable acts to console their sense of suffering and uncertainty.  Fear was ‘working strange changes in all of [them].’ In the face of turmoil, members of the village begin to turn on their own.  The most heinous of injustices is the senseless murder of Anys Gowdie by a crazed lynch mob for alleged witchcraft.  The wicked nature of the slaying is accentuated by the fact that an honest, skilled women who had much to offer to the village was made a scapegoat.  Natural remedies and healing skills appear to be outside the orthodox and accepted ways of the town and are interpreted as forces of witchcraft or Satanism.  Anys Gowdie embodied the notion that faith and religion are not so simplistic and one dimensional, something which Anna later learns to appreciate. The evil of which Anys accuses the mobs wives of ‘lying with’ before her death is later reflected by many of the villagers.  The temptation to act in self-interest is too great for some, causing them to turn to superstition.  The Mowbray’s subject their infant child to torture, whilst others such as Aphra and Josiah Bont, seek to benefit from others sorrow.  Even in their punishment, the villagers subject them to penalties that ‘made monsters’ of them all.  This is again adopted by Brooks to demonstrate the extreme hardship and lack of normality within the village.  The initial graphic nature of George Viccar’s death sets the tone for descent of the town.  The ‘sweet smell of apples’ was gone and ‘replaced by a stench of week old fish.’  This can be interpreted as a sign for the decay of morale that is to follow.  The sheer animosity of the plague brought upon as many villains as it did heroes, however many of these cruel acts resulted from the jettison of all moral values in a time of pure anxiety.

Whilst the onset of the plague evoked wide array of admirable and chaotic responses from the villagers, the aftermath of the black death of Eyam reshaped the town in terms of its attitudes, social structure and religion.  The most prominent of changes are visible in Anna and rector Mompellion.  Anna’s steely resolve carries her through the period of gloom and lays the foundation for her emancipation from a life of disappointment.  She overcomes the stereotype of a seventeenth century woman, determined not to live in the shadow of a man.  Her strength shines through as she turns Mompellion away after discovery of his ‘most unnatural coldness.’  He ‘had been broken’ by the ordeal.  His faith in God had waned and he became of the view that the Lord was ‘untrue in one thing, untrue in everything’ and that his life was ‘based upon a lie.’  Religious order in Eyam which was once set in stone became severely frayed after the events of the Black Death.  Anna discovers that the plague was ‘simply a thing in nature’, rather than a ‘new test’ set by God or the evil work of the Devil.  Those who survived the disease are no longer subject to a stringent class hierarchy in Eyam. Whilst initially ‘men doffed their caps and women curtsied’ in the presence of the Bradford’s, upon returning, their formal garden has run wild, indicating their lack of control over natural forces.   Through this, Brooks aims to discourage the idealisation of material possessions as a means of fulfilment.  Anna’s lack of hesitation in calling Elizabeth Bradford a ‘murdering bitch’ again reiterates the collapse of social structure in Eyam.  Such a show of emotion indeed demonstrates that Anna ‘had been tempered and made strong.’  Her journey is complete when she is transformed from an illiterate housemaid to a scholar, a doctor and an independent woman.   These profound changes see her grow from dark to light, from death to life, from Anna Frith to Umm Jamie.  

Geraldine Brooks captures the sense of hope which people grasp on to when faced with adversity in ‘Year of Wonders.’  The desire to turn this hope into reality causes the villagers to respond in unconventional ways.  For some, inner strength is found and heroes emerge, leading the town through its time of darkness, whilst others stoop down to the lowest form of human behaviour in order to cope with their hardship.  This is a notion mimicked in society today.  Under the pressures of our lives, our thoughts can become corrupted and our actions callous.  By emphasising the change of society’s values as a result of the plague, Brooks was seeking to encourage readers to realise that while certain situations in life are beyond our personal control, we should attempt to not only accept but embrace these dilemmas, so that our human existence can benefit in light of adversity.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 06:19:14 pm by stonecold »
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Re: English Guides, Sample Pieces, Tips and Resources
« Reply #49 on: December 28, 2010, 06:42:27 pm »

Thanks to member 'transgression'
Original thread here

I thought it would be a good idea if we were to have a thread with accumulated essay topics for English texts and contexts.
In year 11, I was consistently frustrated as I had to dig out and find essay topics to do. So throughout 2008, I had gathered topics I had come across and they proved to be very useful towards exam period.

Feel free to PM me with your list of topics -please add if it is either context/text response and the title of the film/novel.
I will add them to the list.

Edit: Message an English/Global moderator if you would like to have your topics added to the list.

Text Reponse;
* 1984
* Look Both Ways
* The Kite Runner
* A Man For all Seasons
* Maestro
* Richard III
* Don't start talking to me - Lyrics by Paul Kelly
* Of Love and Shadows
* Inheritance
* Selected poetry - Kenneth Slessor
* Cosi

* Encountering Conflict
* Exploring Issues of Identity and Belonging
* The Imaginative Landscape
* Whose Reality?
« Last Edit: December 28, 2010, 08:31:26 pm by stonecold »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #50 on: January 06, 2011, 06:57:45 pm »
Sifting through essays for students and I found this:

It got 10/10 but it has major typos so be warned.

Year of Wonders: Brooks has positioned the reader to empathise with the female characters and despise the male characters.

In Year of Wonders, the strength of female characters in the novel creates a stark disparity between them and the male characters, as Brooks encourages the reader’s appreciation of their triumphs against disapproval of the men’s weakness. It is the resolve of Anna Frith that the reader is expose to throughout the novel that lead them to empathise with her, as well as the endearing character descriptions of figures like Elinor and the independent Anys. However, with such narrative by Anna also comes a stark contrast of such amiable qualities against the failings of male characters. As even the respectable figurehead of Mompellion falters by the denouement of the novel, the reader is only left to admire the merits of the female characters who appear to have superseded their male counterparts.

In placing the novel from Anna’s perspective, brooks immediately induces an affinity between the reader and the personas of femininity throughout Year of Wonders. As the reader is taken on a personal journey by following Anna’s narrative, they are subject to the circumstances behind her flaws and also her triumphs, leading them to better sympathise with Anna as a female. Anna initially appears as a wayward and timid woman, unable to transcend the social restrictions placed upon her and only living her life as a “widow woman”, refusing education of “herb-lore” or the promise of love with Viccars. Yet the reader is not dissuaded by such descriptions, except sympathizing when Anna descends in “drugged serenity”, led to understand Anna’s spiritual breakdown arises from loss from her already meager life. That Anna transforms to recognize “pain far less deserved” exists and is able to transcend the crisis of the plague to become emancipated and educated incites the readers’ admiration at her strength. Anna’s change, as “the one good to come out of this terrible year” inspires the reader’s awe at her inherent determination and strengths. Furthermore, Anna’s deeply feminine work and consequent appreciation of it as “reason enough” in her life subliminally reinforces the reader’s empathy for women, as Anna is glorified by brooks there her work as a midwife, “living [her] life amongst wonders”, “from birth to birth”. Anna’s narrative hence directly connects the reader to a female character and allows them to achieve greater understanding of other women in the novel.

The reader is encouraged to distinguish sympathies between genders by the portrayal of Elinor and Michael Mompellion. As a couple, the two ostensibly symbolize a unity by Brooks, the deconstruction of which At Elinor’s death, invites comparison between the qualities of the two. Elinor, despite her ‘gravest of all sins”, is inspired by Mompellion’s support and develops a sincere determination to aid others, illustrating her ability to rise from her tragedy and cultivate her skills for altruistic means, gathering favour at her displays of morality. That Elinor’s personal tragedy was caused by a man, Charles, only furthers the reader’s sympathy for female characters while clearly making a disapproval of male values. Yet the kind endeavours of Elinor are not reciprocated by Mompellion, who is unable to transcend his grief at her death, illustrating the weakness in men. While Elinor’s faith  is increased after her pain, Mompellion’s spiritual decay leads the reader to distinguish between the female character’s resilience against the weak resolve of males like Mompellion- That Mompellion believes “all [he] has felt, has been based upon a lie” and abandons his faith compared to his previous reliance on “God’s will” compels the reader to view him as fickle and lacking the strength of Anna and Elinor, who continued to take arms against their own internal crises. As Mompellion fails to follow suit, the reader is left to attribute this to a deficiency in all men, while simultaneously laud the strength of female characters.

What begins as a simple sympathy for the female characters hence becomes fully fledged admiration for their ability  to stand independently. Such idealism is introduced by brooks through the non-conformist Anys, who had  “a kind of courage to care so little for what people whisper”, appears to rise above the villagers with her unconventional beliefs and ability to exist as her own entity. While “long habit still constrained the choices” of many, Anys surpasses this by her individual choices and indifferent attitude, a source of admiration to the modern reader who understands Anys need to rise above any male-enforced convention. That Anys remains unafraid at the mob frenzy and definitely makes use of their “ugly thoughts and evil doubts” demonstrates her strength as an independent woman, leading readers to approve of her as she emerges from the ordinary villagers’ craze and distinguishes herself as an intellectual superior. Even at Anys’ death, Anna’s continuation of such values reinforces the strength of women to our reader. As Anna decides she “is not Elinor after all, but Anna”, she exercises her free will in being able to control her identity and destiny. In refusing Michael Mompellion as she “turned away from him” and “slid away from under his hand”, Anna also demonstrates her surpassing of others, gaining reader admiration for her ability to transcend the stifling nature of a woman’s existence. Hence, Brooks not only encourages empathy, but also awe in her reader for the plights of her female characters.

As such disparity emerges between the triumphs of the women and the ordinary if not base accomplishments of the men, the reader cannot help but feel disdain for the male characters’ weaknesses. While characters like Anna and Elinor arise from their disadvantaged circumstances, the flailing nature of their men in their stable positions only invites the reader’s disgust. The constant derogatory, portrayal of men in Year of Wonders is pervasive form the beginning till end. Figures such as Josiah Bont embody the depravity in men, as he finds “profit in grave digging” incurring the outrage of the villagers and hence the reader too. A figure of absolute masculinity in his use of physical strength and the men’s tavern meeting spot, it is the abuse of Anna by Bont that paints him as a despicable character, while his masculine attributes become a marker to the reader that other males are similar. Though women appear desperate also in their attempt to curb the Plague, Gordon’s flallegancy contrasted against his wife’s unease leads the reader to blame Gordon  as a misguided extremist, further colouring their view of men. When Mompellion, the figurehead of mankind’s virtue, also fails to withstand external pressure and succumbs to a depraved nature, any glorified images of men are destroyed by Brooks as the reader is left only to see the desolation of the men’s existence and feel abhorrence of such.

The female characters certainly demonstrate more admirable qualities than the men in the novel, yet it is their ability to maintain their humanity, juxtaposed against the men’s failure to do so that marks them as superior to the reader. As the Plague becomes a means by which each individual is tested, brooks presents the growing trend of females withstanding such pressure in an attempt to garner the reader’s empathy and admiration for them. It is because the males, like Mompellion and Bont fail to equal women, like Anna in their efforts that the reader loses respect for their credibility. The dichotomy of glorified female resilience and deterioration of will in the males lends itself to a reader interpretation where women become infinitely superior to the trifles of men in Year of Wonders.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2011, 07:07:24 pm by iffets12345 »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #51 on: January 30, 2011, 01:18:05 am »
Clumsy in bits, said my english teacher, but my sac marker apparently shed a tear when she read it lol...

“Successful relationships are the key to developing a stable identity and purposeful sense of belonging”.
As the battered pink football sailed over the towering goal posts, columns of blue and white scarves and beanies rose together forming a giant blue-white bespeckled tidal wave. The accompanying smattering of applause and the roars of delight bounced off the stadium walls making close conversation impossible. Amidst the raucous fanfare, my father sat motionless in his seat, slightly hunched over. He looked at me for a second and strained a smile, but turned away swiftly avoiding any eye contact. I continued gazing at him for a while, observing the crinkles in his wrinkled pale complexion and his greying hair. For a moment I thought he was going to turn around again and look at me, but his eyes just followed the movement of the pink ball in the centre square.

Much of the journey to the football match was filled with the same tense silence syncopated by the metronomic gliding of the front and back windscreen wipers. My father’s eyes were fixed on the red and green lights above the masses of cars and his hands gripped the steering wheel with such firmness, that little patches of white could be seen in his fingernails. Meanwhile I sat slouched in the backseat directly behind him, pressing my head against the dewy car windows. My attention was mostly occupied by the stream of rain droplets meandering down the window pane as I tried to avoid looking at his face through the rear view mirror.

As we entered the city, the car sped past many shops and restaurants; their signs blazing with fluorescent colours. For the most part, the creativity of the signs impressed me, but whenever signs contained the words “family hour” or “family restaurant” I’d turn my face away from the window. It wasn’t so much the word that bothered me, but more the associated meanings. Family for me invoked the memories of my childhood, when my father used to hoist me high up on his shoulders, the breeze beating against my Sharks beanie and my scarf fluttering like stadium flags. I’d think of memories of my father throwing me up into the air and catching me like a football in his giant calloused palms, whenever his favourite player had marked the ball. The car itself was a reminder of my days when I supported my father’s beloved Sharks. In the corner of every window pane, there was a weather-beaten Sharks football sticker. Dangling off the rear view window was a blue and white Shark figurine, which my father sometimes playfully caressed. Staring out the window was the only thing I could do without catching a glimpse of a blue and white shark.

“Not long to go. Just a few more blocks.”


This was quite a typical conversation. My father and I had distanced ourselves ever since I had stopped following the Sharks. I don’t think he ever meant to be intentionally cold to me and I never meant to be so distant with him. Believe me; I still yearned for the same affectionate bear hugs he used to give me when I was younger. I’d often try to talk to him about football at the dinner table, but his replies were short and forced. I could see in the shimmer of his eyes both the grief and the disappointment of my defection.

“Are you looking forward to the game, dad? My team versus your team, should be good?”

“Yeah should be.”

“I hope it’s a close match, so we can both enjoy the game.”

“Yeah I hope so too.”

I could feel his eyes locking onto my face via the rear view mirror, and I turned my attention back to the rain droplets trickling down the window pane.

“Son….I’ve never really asked you this question. Why did you stop barracking for the Sharks?”

“I don’t know”

“Remember when you were a child, you used to sit on my shoulders and cheer for the Sharks?”

“I guess it’s just a bit different now. I’m older and stuff.”

“Our whole family are sharks supporters. Me, your mum, your grandfather, all your uncles. You used to love them as well, I don’t know what happened. Did I do something wrong?”

“I don’t know. I guess it was the whole family thing. I mean when I was younger I liked the sharks because you and mum went for them and stuff. But later on, I didn’t really like them much anymore. But you guys, I guess really forced me into supporting the Sharks, I never felt really that comfortable.”

“I’m sorry to hear that then.”

“Sorry. I don’t hate the Sharks or anything, but their not my favourite team. I just really like another team and all my friends support them.”

“I just don’t understand how you can support your friends’ team over your family’s team.”

“I’m sorry, I just don’t know. It doesn’t feel right to me, cheering for the sharks, when I sometimes end up barracking for the other team. It’s not some teenage rebellion thing, I think I just need to find out the things I like I guess. I hope you’re not too cut about it, I’m really sorry about it”.

For the remaining few minutes of the journey, my father remained silent and I played with the yellow and black Tiger’s scarf I was wearing. I opened my mouth a few times, to say something, but no words were uttered. I wanted to tell him how much I regretted defecting from his team, but I knew any further comment on the matter would only spark grief. We entered the stadium together, but not in the sense of together. I straggled along a few metres behind him; both of us staring at the ground like soulless men desperately in search of something missing. The buzzing chattering and the roars from the mass of supporters would spare my father and me from our distant silence.
A loud thunderous cheer erupted from the supporters around me as the pink football split the middle of the two goal posts; the siren boomed across the stadium just a few seconds later. A legion of blue and white draped supporters rose out of their seats to see the Sharks players beamed at their adoring fans. This time a more relaxed smile spread across dad’s face and he turned to me look at me. His eyes carried an eerie shimmer; a shimmer which did not reflect hurt and betrayal but something more warm and familiar. He put his arms around my black and yellow Tiger’s jersey and hugged me, while the noisy blue and white mass danced around us like lunatics.

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #52 on: January 31, 2011, 12:24:08 am »
My very first text essay. Although I didn't like it very much, I still got a decent mark on it. It is written to the requirements of ESL, but hopefully some of you guys can find it useful in some way.                   

                      “The struggle of an ordinary man with his conscience.” Is that how you read ‘On the Waterfront’?
   From the nervous chewing of gum to the confused shuffles, Elia Kazan’s ‘On the Waterfront’ captures the internal struggle of a disillusioned and conflicted young protagonist, Terry, whose entire life spent on the miserable and brutish outskirts of the waterfront left him mentally and physically scarred. Raised by the ‘hawks’ of Hoboken in New Jersey, Terry’s lack of proper education and nurturing sees him struggle in his attempts to contemplate and reflect on ‘that thing about conscience,’ as he slowly begins to question and re-evaluate his identity and discern a clear difference between right and wrong as the film progresses. The glorification of Terry’s decision to finally testify against the mob in order to get ‘his rights’ back and be at peace with his conscience ultimately sees Kazan rewards his anti-hero with a climatic moral victory.

     It is through Terry’s pragmatic philosophies on life, with its emphasis on self-preservation that viewers witness the reality of life in the terrible and oppressive conditions of the waterfront, and the corruption that arises, as well as the fear that prevents the authorities from addressing the problems. Terry grew up with an understanding of the importance of ‘standing with the right people,’ thereby depicting him as a man sorely driven by the need for survival, and if possible, gaining a ‘couple of extra potatoes’ here and there.  Increasingly disturbed, Terry’s moral awakening was initiated through the death of a morally superior young dockworker, Joey Doyle, whose plan to ‘sing to the crime commission,’ came to an abrupt end when Friendly had him murdered. Even though Terry hides the truth in the earlier stages of the film, his defensiveness suggests a guilty conscience and thus not necessarily a pathetic bum he is known as. Terry’s struggles to continue rationalising the mob’s actions and his own passivity distance himself from the Union’s brutal cynical and self serving methods. Through Brando’s mannerisms, ranging from the simple shuffles to baffled shrugs and tortured expressions, Terry is not only revealed to be an inarticulate and perplexed young soul, but also a morally ‘confused kid’ who has lost his way and struggles to find it again.

    As uneducated as he may be, Terry understands all too well the potential repercussions of testifying against Johnny and his mob, as the premature deaths of Joey and Dugan are notable examples of those who act on their conscience to ‘testify against what is right against what is wrong.’ Terry understands the importance of keeping those in power happy, but he also understands that by accepting lucrative positions on the waterfront in for continuing to be loyal to the mob, make him a part of the corruption that has led to the immoral killings of Joey and Dugan. Ill-equipped with the emotional consequences of his indirect role in the murders, Terry is unable to conquer his overwhelming guilt and is clearly frustrated, “Conscience... that stuff can drive you nuts (!). “ Struck with further inner turmoil after witnessing Dugan’s untimely murder at the cargo hold, Terry is visibly shaken. In a pivotal scene which resembles an inversion of the natural order, the exploited, innocent longshoremen are shown working tirelessly below in the hellish conditions of the cargo- hold, while the corrupt and evil Union mob tower above with their extravagant ‘suits and diamond rings’ like all powerful Gods. Father Barry, the moral voice of the film, attempts to empower the men by appealing to their moral conscience, declaring the death to be a ‘crucifixion’ and that to escape the hell they are trapped they must act on their conscience. By punching Friendly’s goon, Tullio, Terry is metaphorically defending what is right, and publicly accusing and condemning Friendly. The action appears almost involuntary, evidence of his frustration and the need to address conscience irrespective of knowing the consequences.

      As the film’s shining, yet fragile beauty, Edie’s innocence, commitment to fending her brothers’ killer and growing affection for Terry sees him re-evaluate his life and act upon his conscience and emerge the hero of the film. The film’s stark black and white moral framework, juxtaposes the world in which the two lovers come from, as Edie is clearly portrayed as an outsider to the harsh realities of the waterfront community, a position in which her father keeps reminding her of. Blonde and beautiful, Terry is fascinated by her beauty, but also the moral absolutism that leads him to declare, ‘she is the best thing that ever happened to me.’ The growing struggle with his conscience is the result of lingering guilt and the love for Edie and this in turn makes more receptive to her lectures on ‘conscience’ and moral responsibility, whereas at the outset he dismissed her humane view of the world as idealistic and naïve. As Terry’s feelings for Edie gradually develops, so does his conscience and the need to reveal the truth to her. Finally convinced by Father Barry, the weight of the guilt he carried is evidenced by the way Terry blurts it out and pleads for her forgiveness, as the deafening whistle of the steamship drowns their conversation; symbolic of Edie’s horror and attempt to block the horrifying reality by hiding her face behind her white woollen gloves, which is also symbolic of the need to distance herself from such an unconscionable truth.   

     Despite Terry’s confessions and admittances of guilt, he realises that it is only through acting to address the injustices that redemption is possible, even if it means sacrificing his safety. The death of Joey and Dugan, amplified by his love for Edie, spurred Terry onto a remarkable transformation, however, he remains uneasy about ‘squealing’ to the crime commission. Struggling to remain ‘deaf and dumb,’ Terry retreats to the rooftops, a place where he reveals he can escape the pressures below and his gentler nature by caring for the pigeons. However, it is ultimately the realisation that his brother’s conscience killed him and the mob is loyal to no one after they kill his brother that acts as the catalyst for Terry to testify against Friendly. Restless for revenge after Charley’s ‘crucifixion,’ Terry’s desire to ‘take it out of their skulls,’ sees him revert to his old and brutal ways but comes to recognise that Father Barry is right and that he should fight Johnny ‘in the courtroom tomorrow with the truth.’ When father Barry punches Terry, this serves as a moral challenge, a challenge for him to follow his conscience instead of seeking revenge which continues to align him with the mob and evil.   
   From an empty person who once lacks any sense of purpose or hope, Terry’s journey from a confused and lonely young man to one who stood up and act to free those victimised by the ruthless mob, was indeed an extraordinary growth. Ironically, it wasn’t his powerful and burley ‘ex-boxer’ physique that brought Terry his desired victory in the end, as it was his spiritual and moral identity, in which he had struggled to achieve at the outset. Stumbling across the pier bloodied and bruised, Terry’s stubborn decision to walk unaided sees him ‘lose the battle’ but ‘win the war’, as he inspires the longshoremen to follow a path of principled path which through its empowerment could lead to a more promising future.

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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #53 on: February 08, 2011, 10:29:08 pm »
Only one landscape essay on here so I thought I ought to lug one up:

“We experience our environments through our imaginations and emotion, so the same place can be experienced differently according to how we think and feel.”

Often the degree to which we embrace a landscape will depend on our emotions at the time Just as our feelings affect our interactions with humans and daily functioning, so do they interfere by how we enjoy ourselves in one place. The physical landscape itself is a static environment which changes in the eye of the beholder, and as the Imaginative landscape itself is subjective to each humans’ unique thinking process, so does its interpretation of the physical landscape vary among us. It is the human thinking tendency to think beyond the surface presentation of things that leads our imaginations to view the world from different perspectives This itself is derived from various influences such as individual experience, tradition and culture. Hence, we are able to view the landscape independently to one another based on the complex variables that define human experience itself.

As personal development affects our character and values it also results in a different appreciation of what lies before us. When we grow, we expose ourselves to different aspects of life that our youth would have us ignorant of. We are also forced to battle constant pressure and demands that are naturally imposed as we become adults and the new leaders of our generation. As a result of all this internal change, our mentality also responds and alters its imaginations of the world, leading us to view the same situation differently. A child, with limited reasoning abilities could not appreciate the atrocities of war or the significance of Anzac Day. In contrast, an adult who has seen the value of life and freedom would almost certainly empathise better with this landscape of sorrow and sacrifice. This differing view is only possible by the advancement in thinking of the adult who is capable of understanding more aspects of an environment rather than a child who is distracted easily. Similarly in Frost’s poem “Apple Picking”, the personal growth of the narrator has affected his view of the purpose in life. Once desirous of “the great harvest” and eager for the metaphoric “apples” of life experience and opportunity, his almost disdainful sense of fulfillment changes his view of the apple trees. Instead, he finds he is “tired of apple-picking” which alludes to a lack of desire to pursue his life goals and consequently, a dismissal of a landscape he was once eager to conquer. The impending mentality of retirement that pushes the narrator is what causes him to disregard the apple- orchard. It is this growth from youthful hunger to quiet contemplation that alters his emotions towards a landscape that he feels is representative of his life journey. Hence, as we age and find new perspectives on life, so do we experience landscapes differently from this altered attitude.

The way we experience once place depends on values we harbours at the time. Principles we adhere to are often what mould the way we see a landscape, as w try to identify where the landscape reciprocates such values or defies them. Even if we deem a landscape as neutral, one may endeavours to embed their beliefs into it and thus affect how we think of the landscape as something dominant or passive. If the environment seems to espouse our values we may feel at harmony and happier in this environment while a landscape that rejects our values is identified as negative and unpleasant. Common civilians may feel awkward and afraid in visiting prisons as a common phenomenon in that they know their values may conflict with those of the inmates. Surrounded in an environment where normal society’s dictates are not present, everyday people feel an aversion to prisons as they see the inmates as a desecration of their values and feel an inability to empathise with them. Meanwhile, volunteers may feel differently as they attempt to impose their values on the inmates. By volunteering to approach them and counsel them, the volunteers enter the landscape with a differing attitude and purpose and thus feel less animosity. For an inmate themselves, the prison is a constant environment and they feel none of the extremities of the other parties as their priorities are elsewhere in the landscape. In “Mending Wall” by Frost, we see the archaic values of the neighbour superimposed in the landscape, and he only feels at peace during the erection of the wall which represents his family tradition and constancy. Meanwhile, the narrator, who is contemplate his possible values that may oppose the symbol of the wall, evidently feels unease at the fortification of a structure he feels is unnecessary. The juxtaposition of these two attitudes towards the wall merely illustrates how different values change the way we experience occurrences in a landscape.

Sometimes it is not how we experienced out landscape but what we experience in it that leads to different interpretations of its meaning. Different events occur to different people at the same time in similar surroundings, which cause them to feel emotions unique to what is happening at that moment. If one travels overseas and gets mugged as opposed to another tourist who finds unbelievable hospitality, then their opinion of that country is influenced by how satisfied they were during their stay. Car accident trauma can lead to a phobia of driving, as the victim imagines the vehicle as the source of pain and destruction. However, for those of us unmarred by such experience the car is simply an inanimate harmless form of transport. It is what has occurred during our positioning in the car that changes our instinctive perspective of what driving leads to that alters how people react and experience sitting in the car. This is exemplified by the poem “Out-Out” where the boy’s “eager to please” attitude and excitement of “doing a man’s work” leaves him exhilarated and happy in “the sunset far into Vermont.” Yet when he saw “life…spilling” from his cut hand he becomes hysterical at the consequences of participating in the man’s timber industry. The boy’s realization that the saw effectively turned on him and caused him suffering leads him to recognize “all was spoiled” as well as an appreciation for his occupation and landscape. As his happiness dissipates, so does his sense of ease in the landscape as he ceases to exist from a natural occurrence typical of the logging environment. The experience of pain and death changes the boy from proud to fearful of his landscape, while the others who are mere bystanders “all turned to their affairs”, and have not felt this horror thus seeing the landscape differently albeit passively.

The human condition is known to be complex in its thought process and its ability to interpret its surroundings is no less intricate. Memories, desires, fears all play an integral part in how we feel and respond to our landscape. Landscape is a realm that is subject to our imaginations in order to find intrinsic structure and therefore some stability in our life. As everyone’s ideal of happiness and comfort varies, so does our belief in what the landscape offers. No two minds think alike and as such no landscape can be viewed as monotone by everyone. It can be argued that the unique admiration of human experience in each of us, and our general inherent individualism that is the foundation of humanity itself is what leads us to see the landscape independently of one another. Hence, different people view landscape to varied degrees, as it is the medium through which our own human condition is imposed.
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #54 on: August 20, 2011, 03:14:19 pm »
Encountering Conflict - The Crucible
‘Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The violent encounters of the past contain valuable lessons about resolving conflict.’

It is often said that those who cannot learn from the past, obviously will react in the same way again when presented with a similar situation in the future. Of course there is more to this saying than the literal meaning. It carries with it the message that violent encounters, or any encounter for that matter, actually carry valuable lessons and that people should analyse their mistakes and look for ways in which they can resolve the conflict so that next time the conflict comes around, they’re all set and ready to go.

Reviewing history is one of the most interesting yet arduous tasks there are, yet there are people, historians, sociologists and anthropologists who spend copious amounts of time digging up information and investigating events of the past. Many students study the World Wars and the Cold War at a Secondary School level. Certainly then, there is some benefit in studying about our past. That benefit comes from the fact that we, as humans, have made many mistakes in the past. In fact, we probably are what we are today, in part, due to the mistakes we have made. However, it is the biggest mistakes that time and time again we continue to falter with. Mankind, to this date, still falters over war, over peace and over land. These two main concepts, battle and ownership have riddled conflict all throughout history, yet not much has been done about it, have we not learnt anything from the lessons of those gone past?

Even though many of us don’t learn from conflicts of those gone past and hence continue to embroil ourselves in conflict, a playwright in the 1950s, Arthur Miller, was a person who could recognise the gains in reviewing history. Miller lived in an era known as the McCarthy era, an era where man reported man, where rumours were the evidence in trials. During the McCarthy era, many fine artists were blacklisted for “brainwashing” the American public with communist sympathising works. Blacklisted people were not allowed to work in the industry and hence were forced to remain jobless. Arthur Miller was once called to testify before HUAC, HUAC (The House of Un-American Activities Committee) was a government body set up to reduce communist sympathies in the United States by the means of extracting confessions and punishment. Led by Senator Joseph McCarthy, HUAC accused multiple innocent people of sympathising with communist or attending communist meetings. Miller, during his trial, refused to testify any names of others he knew who may be communists, and as a result, he was charged and was given a one year suspended sentence for contempt of court, which was later overturned by an appeal. In response to his experiences, Miller wrote “The Crucible” – an allegorical play crafted to implicitly compare the McCarthy era to that of the Salem witch trials, an event with many similarities, almost 300 years earlier.

Through comparison with “The Crucible”, Miller’s message was that the American people have not learnt from the lessons in Salem and were once again pursuing “witch hunts” that incriminate innocent people and seek out no truth but rather, just lies. In “The Crucible”, the crux of the conflict lies in that the court has unreliable witnesses, people testifying lies in order to avoid hangings and a biased judge who wishes to further his own reputation and theocracy rather than the good of the people. This reflects the images that were being painted during the McCarthy era. John Proctor, the fictional character who resembled Miller himself, represented the good and honest man who died as a result of the stupidities of conflict. Proctor represented a man who was morally courageous, a man who suffered as a result of an unjust world. This would have reflected what Miller was feeling at the time of his incrimination. There are many more parallels with “The Crucible” and McCarthyism. Deputy Governor Danforth, the head of the court, is very comparable to Senator McCarthy. Both men want to further their political desires with little regard for others in society. Danforth stood for a strict Puritan theocracy, McCarthy stood for blind capitalism. Both men stood dogmatically for their own political ideals and did not allow questions to be asked of their politics. As Danforth said, a man is “either with this court or against it, there be no road in between”. This reflects the attitude both men took to dealing with conflict.

Further parallels can be made between “The Crucible” and McCarthyism through Abigail and the other false witnesses. What Miller tries to represent through these characters is that in times of conflict, witnesses can’t be relied upon. This is because a large number of people out there are willing to stand up and falsely incriminate others on the basis of saving themselves. Thus, witnesses can’t always be reliable. This is important during the McCarthy era as well because often past communists would falsely accuse others in the hope of escape. Another comparable case is the McMartin Pre-School Abuse Trial, one of the most famous trials in modern day United States, which ended up costing California over five million dollars. The case was based around a number of children giving false testimonies to court over their pre-school teacher molesting and abusing them. Much medical and psychological testing were undertaken as well as searches of the school premises to show no evidence for the children’s claims, yet everyone believed that children couldn’t lie. The case went through long and arduous processes of re-judgement before the accused was found not guilty of fifty-two charges of sexual abuse.

This shows that it is not twice, but many more times that people still have not learnt the lessons of conflict gone past. Incrimination of others based on false or weak evidence is still sometimes supported in a court of law even to today. This is why it is of paramount importance that we learn from the lessons of our past. It is not only through the courts that we see how we have refused to learn. Ever since the Roman Empire, man has developed a greed for land, so much so that the Romans ended up conquering much of what is now known as Europe. However, almost two thousand years later, the British ended up making the same mistake as the Romans, they expanded an empire too large to control with a central power and they ended up losing much of the colonies they built up. In our history, many other sensitive and grotesque events have occurred as a result of our indifference to our past. Recent examples include the genocide in Rwanda, in 1994, which killed 800,000 people in a matter of months.

The reason why people probably ignore conflicts is that because they think it will go away. They think that by not noticing it, they can push it under the carpet and it can be forgotten about, however that is not what history has taught us. History has taught us that we need to look at and analyse the events of the past in order to see where we went wrong, in order to see for what reasons we have generated conflict, and from those reasons, we can get an indication of why we are still making the same mistakes. It is through that reason that we can improve and not make the same mistakes in future. By not looking at our past conflicts, we are condemning ourselves to further and more serious conflicts in the future.

Authorial Statement of Intention
This piece is an Expository piece – a simple essay that deals with the prompt directly, finding examples to discuss the prompt, presenting a balanced view on what we should do in the future in order to avoid conflict whilst at the same time addressing how we are doomed to repeat history. The expository essay mandates a formal and sensitive tone, which is what I have tried to achieve here, a tone that is formal yet readable, wording that is concise, yet flowing. I tried to make the piece enjoyable to read, so that it sounds more like a feature article or sorts rather than a pure analysis of the issue.

The language used here is quite formal; the words chosen reflect the form. Rather than trying to make this a pure analysis, I made it a discussion which prompts that the article is easier to read and somewhat enjoyable to read, reflecting a feature article in a newspaper. Throughout the piece, I did not include any of my own evidence, which I believe is appropriate for an Expository piece. The sentence structure and wording is concise and clear, yet quite complex and ordained at points, resulting in wording that I believe is suitable.
The audience for this piece would be readers of a broadsheet newspaper. This could be similar to a feature article which is found commonly on broadsheets – this signifies an audience of adults and students, especially those interested in social affairs and are looking towards social change.

The purpose of this piece is to expose, it is an expository. It is to inform the reader about the prompt, about how we have to learn from history and it is to guide the reader’s thoughts into a direction which I believe is my view on the prompt. Rather than writing a persuasive piece, I decided to write an expository because I believe there is much information I’d like to present regarding the topic. Hence, the purpose is not to persuade, but more to inform, compare and contrast.

The context of this piece is revolved around social issues, it incorporates The Crucible as a tool to discuss Arthur Miller in more detail and his relation and views regarding McCarthyism. From there, The Crucible itself is used in its entirety to talk about the prompt. Social issues, history and current affairs are mentioned throughout the piece to demonstrate evidence on the prompt.

Overall, my opinion is positive on my piece as I believe I have managed to craft a wieldy expository piece and managed to include evidence related very much to the prompt.


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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #55 on: November 02, 2011, 04:39:24 pm »
10/10 on a practice essay graded externally.
A surprising mark considering I rushed it and believed it was unfinished. Guess the assesor begged to differ.

How does Brooks use the landscape and environment to explore the human experience?

Geraldine Brooks, author of ‘Year of Wonders’ creates a vivid and realistic setting that mirrors the development of her novel to reveal further exploration of the human experience in times of great conflict. The plague, an act of nature, and the death that inevitably follows opens the minds of the characters to question the existence of God and the value of religious faith. From this Brooks uses elements of nature to symbolically represent how death and grief is dealt with in the novel. The realistic setting that the reader is able to be lost in due to Brook’s vivid descriptions, furthers the exploration of the isolation that occurred in small, rural farming towns during the 17th century Restoration. The landscape and environment that Brooks sets her novel in become important factors in revealing to the perceptive reader the way in which Brooks explores the nature of humans.

The modern inclination to question the existence of a higher being, God, that controls the lives of those who believe is explored primarily through the reaction of Anna to the course of the plague but is reflected in the various elements of the setting that provoke thought and contemplation in Anna and thus the reader. Through the main narration of Anna’s thoughts, the reader also begins to challenge the supposed acts of God and ‘wonder why God’s words were always so harsh.’ While this perception of faith is explored in this way, it is reinforced through various aspects of the setting. The control nature begins to have over the physical structure of the town is mirrored in the same way that the ravages of the plague begin to shift the very hierarchy and belief structure of the townspeople. Anna trips over a rock, a seemingly insignificant description of action within the novel, however, Brooks uses this interruption by nature of the main plot to provoke Anna’s contemplation of whether ‘God placed it there by His divine will” or nature simply controlled where that rock would lay. In the grand scheme of things, Anna wonders why God would care to dictate the placement of something as insignificant as a rock. Thus leading the reader to a deeper contemplation of the truth of a God so powerful and all-encompassing that no rock, no person was too insignificant for Him to control. Anna also describes her notice of ‘nature reclaiming the road’ as it is no longer well-travelled. Nature, once thought to be controlled by humans, taking control of the town’s structure reflects the way in which women of the town, once ‘shackled to their menfolk’ begin to rise in hierarchy and become the more powerful gender of the novel –a complete role reversal in regards to the context of 17th century Europe. As nature takes control of the town, Anna takes control of her own destiny, becoming a woman ‘who had faced more terrors than many warriors’ able to break free of the ‘shackle(s)’ of hierarchy and religion and choose her own faith. The ultimate break with setting as Anna moves to Oran is also metaphorically symbolic of Anna’s break with the old conventions of life and religion. Thus Brooks uses setting to provoke a deeper contemplation of her exploration through Anna’s growth by reflecting the actions of the characters in their environment.

The vivid and realistic descriptions of landscape also trap the reader in the isolated world of 17th century Eyam just as the townspeople trapped themselves in their own ‘wide green prison.’ The world of Eyam becomes so realistic to the reader that the sense of isolation and entrapment manufactured by the self-imposed quarantine, which was also previously present, is heightened and thus reinforced to the reader. That Brooks describes the prison of the quarantine that the villagers ‘elect’ to be trapped in as ‘wide’ and ‘green’ presents a paradox of environment in the readers mind. ‘Wide’ and ‘green’ suggests open rolling plains of beauty and endless freedom yet these words are used to describe a ‘prison’, something that suggests dark, grey, closed spaces with little room to move and no freedom. This image of an open, beautiful environment in which one is trapped reveals to the reader the inner conflict Brooks characters experience as they are trapped by their own decision and thus cannot enjoy the beauty of their ‘wide green’ setting. Even before the quarantine, the setting of Eyam, nestled in a mountainside, revealed to the reader the isolation of the town from the rest of the world. Anna often mentioned the ‘large matters’ that ‘lapped at the foot of their mountain and never caught any of [the villagers] in their flow.’ The grand event of the Restoration and the massive change in religion barely had any effect on the people of Eyam and thus the isolated setting of the mountainside provides a feeling of entrapment and elected imprisonment even before the quarantine. Brooks uses the setting and landscape of Eyam to trap no only her characters but also her readers, thus heightening the effects of her exploration of isolation.

Setting and environment became key elements in Brooks’ ability to manipulate the thoughts and reactions of readers. As an author she reflects her characters views and contemplations in their setting to further enhance her exploration of the human experience and the reader’s understanding of the views of humanity.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 04:41:11 pm by tasek »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #56 on: November 04, 2011, 08:30:52 am »
Context - Growing Up Asian In Australia - (btw this is a true story brah.)

‘A community’s true values are revealed through its treatment of those who don’t belong’

It was during the start of April when I left Australia where the autumn leaves had started to fall from the trees and the cherry blossoms in Hiroshima started to bloom, bursting into life. I was staying with my host family, the Kusakawa’s though the word ‘family’ had been a foreign concept to me since my parents had separated when I was young and my brother ran away from home to live with my dad. There were those nights where I would dream of the days where my family was still together walking through the local park while pushing me in my pram and having the odd combination of a barbeque with fried rice on a Sunday afternoon. I would look back on my old family photos with their slight tinge of sepia, which looked as if they were dipped in liquid gold – they were those ‘golden’ days, those happy days - those ‘family’ days that were forever sealed behind a glass frame upon my bedside desk. The things that I carried in my luggage were my clothes, camera, whiteboard and a photo of my current family – which was just a photo of my mum and I, it was all I had left.

When I first met my host sister, Maiko, at her school I instantly noticed how I was ‘Godzilla’ in terms of height comparison to the rest of her class. Despite my towering height (which is quite average here in Australia), I was rather nervous about how I would cope with speaking in Japanese considering that I could barely string basic sentences together and write a few characters here and there. I still wonder what Maiko had thought of me during the first time we greeted each other when she bowed while I was raising my arm to shake her hand, making it look as if I tried to smack her in the head, but instead we laughed it off and acted as though it never happened. Maiko took me to her mother who I had to address as “okasan” (mum) and her little sister, Megumi, while they were waiting for a taxi to take us to the local park where we would meet up with their father, Kazuya, who was hosting a barbeque with his colleagues. While Kazuya was tossing around oyster mushrooms, seafood and various strips of meat on the barbeque, he asked me what I thought of Hiroshima and all I could say was ‘it is very nice’ although what I really wanted to say was that it was a new world where the cherry blossom trees looked like large sticks of cotton candy, salary men in their suits were chasing a paper-balloon (called a kusadama) in the park and Kazuya’s workmates were constantly offering me free beer since they assumed that all “Aussies” loved their beer (though I had to explain to them that I was not over twenty years old, the legal drinking age in Japan). It was amazing to see how everyone in the park had treated me like some kind of celebrity by waving at me and saying “harro!” and even Maiko was surprised to see how one foreigner could be so noticed in a community area, it was certainly a welcoming experience. 

When we returned to the Kusakawa’s apartment, they started to swamp me with questions like “what is the meat like in Australia?” and “do you have any kangaroos in your backyard?” and it was then that I had found use for my whiteboard by “illustrating” what I wanted to say instead of simply answering with “yes it is good” or “it is very fun”. I could find enjoyment in asking for a glass of water by drawing myself in an arid desert with a thought bubble featuring a pool of water where everyone would laugh; and after the awing of my “Mr Squiggle” acts the family all slept on the floor, which I thought was hilarious as I would only do that by myself sometimes on a hot summer day, but as a family activity? It was something that I had never heard of! After sneakily taking a few photos of the sleeping family, I joined them and rested my head on the carpet and participated in their lazy afternoon nap.

For each day I spent with Maiko and her family I drew in a “picture diary” where I could tell them how my day was by drawing okasan chasing me in the morning to wash my already-clean clothes (which would be an absolute crime in Australia), overlapping Maiko and Megumi in a game of Mario Kart to watching the comedy program - “man riding bicycle across swimming pool” and the family joined in with correcting my spelling whilst finding humor in my everyday adventures with them. I had observed the many quirks of the family such as okasan’s meticulousness in finding the freshest fish on the market, Kazuya’s love for kirin-beer (a Japanese brand beer) and celebration over buying his new Honda civic, listening to Megumi’s belief that learning English is too hard and that Japanese should be the only language spoken in the world and my attempt to explain the phrase “life is like a rollercoaster” to Maiko for her English homework. Everyday my Japanese improved a bit by bit so I did not have to rely on my whiteboard as much and I was slowly starting to feel like a part of Maiko’s family as my camera was almost full of images of my time spent with them. During the night I would stare at Maiko’s ceiling plastered with posters of “ikemen” (hot boys) and feel as if I was making up for the lost time where I felt as though I did not have a “complete” family, perhaps it was the greatest gift that they could ever share with me.

During my last day with the family I showed them my own “family” photo which only brought great pain to remind me about what I could no longer embrace after leaving them and knowing that my time as a “Kusakawa” was coming to an end. At the same time my own “lack” of family had made me appreciate their family-values so much more – they had taught me what it felt like to have a mother, a father and siblings all over again and their family outings meant a lot more than just delicious food and loud noodle-slurping noises. After drawing my final diary entry and laughing at a man falling off his bike and landing into a pool one last time, I silently wept on my bed over the thought of leaving Maiko’s family, secretly wishing that I would forever be a part of it. It was a long night for me; it was a night where I dreamed of one day having a family, just like the Kusakawa’s.

While I was double checking that I had taken my entire luggage with me I received a hand towel and some sweets from okasan and everyone else was waiting outside the house for me. I felt that the tim-tams and toy koalas I gave were simply not enough to express my gratitude to the family and something more needed to be said – so while I was being driven to the airport, little did they know that there was a whiteboard sitting next to their family photo, waiting to be seen, waiting to be read, waiting to be cherished before its ink had faded away.

 It was a drawing of the five of us, sleeping on a floor on a lazy afternoon with the message -
                                                                                                 Thank you for teaching what it is like to have a “family” again
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 08:34:29 am by Furbob »
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #57 on: November 27, 2011, 05:42:21 pm »
A creative piece for a SAC that got perfect A+. :) It's on Whose Reality? as you might guess. Context piece is A Streetcar Named Desire. Also will post as an ATARnote.

Our experiences prevent us from seeing the truth.

Floating in the air were words. I remember, from 20 years ago...they were the eloquent, magnificent and final words of a dying man. They were the sounds of a clarity to which I'd rather remain oblivious. These words came under the pretence of casting an explosion of light on the world, but I've always found that lights that are too bright can be blinding.

As I regain consciousness, my senses again enter my vision, and I realise where I am. The crowd in front of me waits with anticipation, as I dramatically shuffle around this stage that I've built on the concrete pathways of this city. The foundations of the platform I'm standing on are decorated with the neon lights of the sign that says 'Magic Show'. The stage itself was built by me, but regrettably there is an unsteadiness and fragility about it that marks the very floor of what I'm standing on.

My eyes briefly catch the metropolitan marvel of the city's towers, and the the water of the cascading river in front of me. However, I quickly revert my concentration back to my magic tricks, less so out of necessity and more so out of a desire to maintain the quality of these illusions.

I skilfully execute a classic now-you-see-it-now-you-don't performance, to the thunderous applause of the crowd. That is, except for one child in the front who doesn't seem to believe in my acts. There is an eerie distinction between him and the rest of the crowd; by his expressions, he seems to know exactly what I'm doing, a feat considering that even I don't know how I did these tricks myself.

And then, seeing an old man in the audience merely move his eyebrow, memories begin to envelop me from all directions. The crowd and city disappears, and replacing it is an unwanted sharpness.

The hospital. This is where I was 20 years ago. The plaster white walls, which are normally painted with a calm sterility of emotion, are today covered with urgency and desperation.

"Why wasn't anyone with him!?"
"How did this happen...?"
"You told us the medication would stop his heart from going!"

Questions transformed by panic turned into statements, then more questions, then accusations, all amidst the treacherous sea of tears and foreboding grief. Whilst my family continued like this, I met eyes with my grandpa, lying o the bed with the cold tentacles of machines that were supposed to keep him alive.

Like two lone sailors on a solitary boat, I looked to him and him to me. He was barely conscious, but he was still thinking...and then he dipped his eyebrow, and then I felt trepidation. Being so close to him, I knew this eyebrow well...it was the eyebrow of deep consideration, the very same wrinkled brow that told me my dog had passed away, or that my father was going on a 6 month trip overseas.

Amid a tsunami of chaos, I thought for a moment that he could see only me and I him. He urged me closer. I could do nothing but go to him, preparing for what could be the lats thing he ever said.

Then he started speaking...with a fold in his brow and a twinkle of starlight in his eye, he said:

"My grandson...our time together is short." I couldn't help but let a solitary tear escape from my eye as he said this, my ear hovering above his face.

"But...I want you to know something." His voice fading away increasingly.

"No matter what hardships you may face...there has, and always will be, magic in the world."

And then the glitter in his eye vanished, before I even had the chance to ask him what he meant. Then, a flatline...with its sharply cruel pitch ringing out...and then, silence.

I didn't want him to die, and when he passed away I felt that the empty spaces which he left in my life turned into the darkest of voids. The only thing spared, now, are those words...they brought me to where I am today, in the eternal pursuit of magic. It was by this magic that Grandpa was never truly gone. I believe he's still somewhere, in this world, waiting.

Magic will bring him back...I'm sure it will, it must. He said there was always magic in the world, and I cling on to the fact that a miracle may happen...he may come back, with the grinning face and light in his aura that he always carried...as long as I believe in magic, I earnestly believe he'll be back. I don't want to lose him; not then, not now, not ever.

I feel an omnipresence staring at me from all around, and I realise that all this time I was still on the stage, performing in front of a crowd. Their roars urge me on as movement starts to re-enter the muscles of my body.

I perform one last trick for them; it was one of the first I learnt, and yet the most blindingly dazzling. In a flash, the chains which appear locked together in my hands are separated, then re-attached, then re-broken. The crowd gasps, but prematurely; out of the chains, I procure a white dove from out of nowhere. The trick was so well executed that I get to the point of convincing myself it was almost real.

Ten minutes of applause and a standing ovation later, the crowd departs...except for that one child, who remains. on one hand, he appears to have seen through all my illusions, but on the other hand, he has a more complex expression on his face. I can't tell if it's anticipation, fear or happiness, but with that look he shuffles his way across to me, as if wanting something.

"Hello there, young man," I say almost as if I were talking to a younger version of myself. "What can I do for you today? Did you like the show?"

He shook his head, indicating no. That's right...he saw through my illusions, or at least I thought he did.

"Is that so..." I sigh, disappointed. Then, to surprise him, I produce an Ace of Spades out of thin air and try to amaze him once more.

"How about that?" I question, now attempting to prove to him my magic out of my necessity rather than his satisfaction.

He again shakes his head. Then, I pose a question to him, somewhat in childish desperation:

"Isn't this magic good enough for you?" It was after I said it that I realise that I don't just want this magic to convince him, but to convince myself.

With a sudden nervous but enthusiastic vivacity, he materialises from his jacket pocket his own set of playing cards.

"Oh...so you want me to show me some magic," I say as if I had a minor epiphany.

Nodding energetically, he quickly shuffles the cards and asks me to pick one as he fans them out. I dutifully do so, and then he takes the card I picked and tries to execute his magic. However, as an inexperienced magician, he moves his hand much too quickly and fumbles all the cards in front of himself. They fall to the ground with majestic movement, but I am too busy laughing to tears to notice.

Then, with indignation, he fires out the first words I ever heard him say; "It's still magic!"

Then he starts smiling, then laughing with me.

After calming down after one of the jovial moments I have personally experienced in years, I contemplate what he said a bit deeper.

It's still magic...

I abruptly realise at once exactly what my grandpa meant. He wasn't talking about illusionary magic like I thought he did, but the magic of happiness that I failed to realise was around me all along. It was this magic that was supposed to guide me, not my denial of his death that for all these years I desperately believed in...he's well and truly gone now, contrary to what I previously desired to and did actually believe...but maybe, now I can accept it.

I need to pursue another magic, now.

"Thanks, kid..." I say, confounding the boy with my words. All around me, the neon lights of the city crisply come into my vision once more, and I begin to hear the melodies of the city in full colour. I step off the stage and onto solid ground. The river in front of me flows like it always has been, but now...I can finally appreciate its forever flowing nature.

Written Explanation
I wrote this piece as a first person interior monologue (with occasional dialogue) directed at a general audience. The purpose is to show that reality can be denied in order to prevent pain, but ultimately there is a possibility of a greater happiness in acceptance. The unnamed narrator is similar to Blanche in that he is almost delusional in the death of his Grandpa, both propagated by a desire to believe that what they had was not truly lost. The child is meant to almost be a confrontation of reality, with implications of seeing through his illusions somewhat in the same way that Stanley from Streetcar does, compounded by the effect of New Orleans on Blanche. However, these elements conversely impact the narrator in a healing instead of destructive way. The repeated metaphors of light/sound represent reality whereas the magic tricks represent illusion. The "unsteadiness and fragility" of the stage represents the state of the narrator's psychology. There is a large ocean metaphor to both illustrate the vastness and solitary nature of his situation. The river at the end represents change and the flow of time, and the narrator's appreciation of that river signifies the appreciation of such change.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2011, 05:44:17 pm by daliu »
2011 ATAR: 99.55 ~ English [46], Chemistry [48], Mathematical Methods (CAS) [45], Specialist Mathematics [37 scaled to 48.8], Revolutions [39], Chinese [28] (LOL hen bu hao).


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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #58 on: December 20, 2011, 02:24:35 pm »
Lost all of my pieces via self-destruction or otherwise...except this one that I had posted on some random online forum...Enjoy

'Having a sense of being different makes it difficult to belong'
Context Creative - Identity and Belonging - Growing up Asian in Australia


Every morning, when she opens her eyes, they seem to snap open, as if her eyelids are elastic. Every evening, when she runs her fingers over her skin, it feels rubbery and strange. Every day, when she brushes past people, heads turn and eyes widen.

Elise seems to be human. It’s that sentiment that made her an alien. Seeming isn’t enough.

Her childhood is a hazy, blasphemous memory, stoned to pieces by her merciless inadequacy. Sitting in the playground, alone, clutching her uneaten sandwich in her hand. Wondering what made her an undesirable companion; why the playground rituals and youthful diplomacy didn’t come easily to her like it came to others; how others could play normally, when all she could do was observe in incomprehension. Wondering and doubting so much that her efforts at replicating their ‘playing’ fell short and felt strange. When she spoke, the words felt awkward and leaden on her tongue. She felt like a thoughtless robot, constricted under the skin of humanity, inappropriately wired to the advanced software of emotion, something her insufficiency couldn’t process without glitches.   

Her parents took her to a psychiatrist, as well as a speech therapist when she turned 16. They were good people, the Guilders. They understood her. They understood her as much as plain human parents could ever understand. Enveloped in their love and nurture, she’d felt warm; warm but uncomfortable. The emotions in her seemed strange – a detached entity that dictated her thoughts but weren’t her really. She explained this to the psychiatrist, tried to practice speaking with the speech therapist. They couldn’t diagnose her, so she was told she was fine. Maybe a little depressed.

It was a phase; she’d grow out of it at her own pace. They pocketed her parent’s money and left her stranded in confusion. How could she grow out of this when she was a little less than human? She took her rubbery skin, her elastic eyelids, her strange joints, her unbreakable bones, her strange lumps, her synthetic hair to various doctors and came back diagnosed with both hypochondria and ‘being a waste of time’.

Beautiful and smart - it didn’t take long for her to attract attention; all of which turned negative when her peers realised that they couldn’t speak with her without feeling an overwhelming sense of wrongness that reflected her own sense of oddity. She dreaded school, hated herself, cried her wearied self to sleep every night over daily heartbreak. The emotions took hold of her and ruined her emotionally and physically. She couldn’t grasp how something so alien to her affected her so profoundly, wasting her away until she was taken back to the psychiatrist and diagnosed with anorexia.

When she fell in love, aged 25, her world became a maelstrom of chaos. She wrote in her journal, in a rare burst of emotional inspiration: ‘Love, unending torture, pain and suffering, punctuated with fierce, brief moments of fleeting joy. I have yet to comprehend hate, but I believe it is similar.’ They were together for one long, confusing year. When she was with him, enveloped in his arms, so similar to her parent’s warmth, she felt safe. Safe but uncomfortable. Safe but she still didn’t belong.

He became dissatisfied and frustrated. ‘Why must you harp on about not being the same with everyone else? You might be weird, but you’re pretty normal compared to most.’ But it was this offensive, faux normality that was the problem, she told him. It was the way that she had to stop herself from feeling like she was playing life like a machine. ‘Stop trying so hard to be cool and unique. Do you think it’ll make you mysterious and rebellious, like movie heroines or something? You belong fine. You need to stop pretending to be so different.’

‘Insensitive!’ she screamed, even though she was just as frustrated and confused over her own feelings. Then they were over forever, and she was an outcast again, standing outside the strange, complex social world, looking in.   

She successfully assimilated herself into the distant but friendly circle of fellow doctors as she sank into her work. They went out in a group and were casual but kind to each other.  She didn’t realise until later on that she was the oblivious outcast within a group that tactfully hid their close-knit relationships and esoteric traditions to maintain their remote, but comfortable harmony.  She’d numbed herself to the pain by then.

Over the years, she had waded through endless streams of faceless patients, dutifully identifying the paranoid individuals as hypochondriacs, wondering ever so slightly if they could have been her kindred spirits, even as she watched their hunched backs disappear out her door.   

Elise sighs. She extends a gnarled, but rubbery claw at the ceiling, grasping at the intangible, infinite trickle of passing time.

Sixty years of fumbling through life. Sixty years, yet no progress made into the complexity of being normal. Her body has deteriorated, but her spirit is long dead.

She turns as there is a sudden whine, a high keening wail, and a flash, as a white-gold light appears in her room.

“Her time is up.” says the white-gold light.

She shoots up and squints, but there is nothing visibly animated or life-like about the light.

“Elise Guilders, experiment 1024 D1. Span, 64 years and 5 months. We are here to retrieve you.”

 “Who are you?”

“Curious conscious minds.” says another voice, as monotonous as the first. “The study was a success. You are our creation – a perfect and not unusual human being, one of our minds imbued with the additional traits of mortality and emotion.”

Disbelief and realisation descends on her slowly, buoyed by the crescendo of her mounting wrath. “You made me like this?” She screams, her voice a hoarse screech, “Sixty years of never belonging and never understanding myself? Despicable bastards! Just look at me!” She slams her wrinkled hand against the bedpost and it cracks. “Your experiment was a failure!”

 “Even now, we are shown evidence of our success. Your anger is a sign of how deeply emotion has infiltrated the formerly pure mind of one of our kind. You have become human, and you now fit in seamlessly among humans.”

“What are you talking about?!” she snaps in incredulity, “I have never belonged at all. I am always alone, always different, always irrevocably strange! Your observation skills are sub-par, if that is what you have concluded!”

It’s a deliberate taunt, but the voices seem to be unaffected. “You let the small inkling of your otherworldly identity overwhelm you. Even as you recognised it, you rejected it instead of embracing it. You let one tiny difference become a towering wall of separation. It is a human flaw. As a result of this, you are depressed like at least 25% of women on earth. You are triumphantly ordinary. The experiment is now over; the human vessel you inhabit is failing just as it should. We will be reclaiming you now.”

There is a flash of light, she tastes a brief, bittersweet tang of regret, and then she is free. Free and emotionless – her former body limp upon its cot. The white light swells for a second, and disappears.

Time taken: 80 minutes (woops)
Score from english teacher: 8/10
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2011: English [50]
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Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #59 on: December 26, 2011, 03:07:29 pm »
I wrote a very similar piece to this for my Streetcar SAC (A+) and for the 2011 VCAA exam. This is part of a document I have for submission as an ATAR note too (along with three other A+ pieces). The form is expository-creative hybrid. Enjoy and good-luck!

“Every reality is open to interpretation”

The Age • Sunday Life • Lifestyle
Seeing Things Differently

Most of us live through our lives with little or any thought devoted to alternative interpretations, however, for actor Lucy Reid, creating these is part of her daily job. In an interview with entertainment analyst Brandon Lawrence, Lucy explores interpretations of her debut role.    

When Lucy Reid decided to take on the role of Tennesse William’s Blanche DuBois in her debut film,  Michael Gutenberg’s critical reply to William’s famous play A Streetcar Named Desire, she never thought that she would be the subject of world-wide headlines. The film, titled “DuBois or DuBad?”, created international outrage after it was heavily edited, including a weeklong re-enactment of a scene, prior to its screening in Dubai. In an exclusive interview with lead-actor and Oscar nominee Lucy Reid, we revisit this controversial interpretation of the film.

Brandon Lawrence: Welcome Ms Reid. Why, of all the professions in the world, did you choose the path of acting?

Lucy Reid: The interpretations. I think that as a professional, as an actor, we try to the best of our ability to fool our audience, to take them places where they have never been before. We have a duty to cast a veil over them, so that they see me as not the actor Lucy Reid, but the character that I am portraying. In the case of Michael’s [Gutenberg] film, I was Blanche. In the film, she is portrayed as someone who is severely emotionally scarred and a sufferer of post-natal depression following the miscarriage of the child who she claimed as Stanley’s. And to make matters worse, nobody in New Orleans or Laurel believe her. The beauty of acting is, that regardless of however Michael wanted to portray Blanche, it was my challenge to engage my audience in such a way that my role was left to their own interpretation. And I think that is the most difficult aspect of truly playing a role. As Blanche would say, “I get ten points for trying”.

B: (chuckles) You were very convincing Lucy, a well-earned Oscar nomination. As we all know, the film was drastically changed prior to its release in Dubai. Were any reasons given?

L: Well, the film touches on issues of rape, domestic violence, delusionalism and depression, all of which are, unfortunately, topics of taboo in many areas of the Middle East. I feel most for the audience, as I believe that this blatant censorship by their government will impede on their individual understanding and interpretation of the film.

B: So you disagree with the decision?

L: Very much so. This decision is similar to the one made by Joseph Breen when Tennesse’s original A Streetcar Named Desire was first brought to America’s big screens in 1951. When the original Broadway production was converted to a motion-length film, there was a similar outcry in the streets of New York to the one we now see in Dubai. In 1951, like Dubai, issues of rape and domestic violence were not encouraged on film. So much so that Breen, the head of the Production Code Administration, and Elia Kazan, the director of the film, had major discussions and disagreements. However, in the end, Breen won and the movie was censored. And for what? Nowadays the film can be seen in its entirety. I think that situation is very similar to that of Dubai.

B: Why do you think interpretations are so important in a case like this?

L: Interpretations drive the film industry Brandon. You of all people will know that that is the reason we have hundreds of film critics, picking apart what they thought a film was about. If films became censored, I would not be fulfilling my duty as an actor. We are supposed to surprise, frighten, entertain and transport our audiences according to their interpretations of our role. Censoring removes the individual interpretation and replaces it with that of some production code administrator. That’s like watching a movie from another person’s eyes. How could we want our audience to suffer and miss out like that? That is why I really do feel for those in Dubai who watched the censored version, they are missing out on the whole crux of movie-watching, the interpretation. It is really, very sad. 

B: The main reason for the film’s editing was that your character was too provocative, especially in the scene where Blanche shows Stanley her miscarriage child in the hospital wing. However, Dubai was not alone in this interpretation. Many critics from around the world shared the same opinion. Do you believe that your role could be offensive to some?

L: I think that Blanche could cause some offence to some areas of the community. However, and I’m sure Tennesse and Kazan would agree with me when I say this, that Blanche was supposed to be that way. She was a troubled woman who, in Michael’s film, really exhibits how serious her condition has become. I agree, that possibly the scene you referred to may cause some to feel a level of discomfort, but I don’t think that is any reason to edit the film in the way that was done in Dubai. In editing, they removed this whole section and replaced it with a series of abstract visual metaphors. If I were in an audience watching such a censored film, I would feel cheated for the experience, cheated for interpretation. 

B: Thank-you for your time and opinions Lucy. We wish you the best with your budding career.

L: Brandon, it’s been my pleasure.

Brandon Lawrence

Written Explanation
In exploration of the context ‘Whose Reality?’, I have written an expository-creative hybrid piece, one that could be published in the The Age ‘Sunday Life magazine’ under the sub-topic of ‘Lifestyle’, for a general adult cohort of readers. The piece focuses on Lucy Reid, an actor who portrays Blanche in a sequel film to Tennesse William’s A Streetcar Named Desire, in her discussion regarding the recent editing of the film prior to a screening in Dubai.

Lucy explores the theme of interpretation: what it means for her audience and why different interpretations are necessary, whilst the interviewer poses questions about the interpretation from those who have edited the film. In accordance with the prompt: “Every reality is open to interpretation”, the primary focus of the piece is the notion of interpretation regarding the reality, which in this case, is the film.

The use of fictional ‘entertainment analyst’ Brandon Lawrence allowed me to not only adapt the colloquial and conversational style of language in accordance with the Sunday Life magazine, but also allowed me to ask for the interpretations from the view of the actor, adding a different perspective to my response. Drawing on the real censorship of A Streetcar Named Desire in 1951, I was able to add credibility and plausibility to my piece. With Lucy explaining her interpretation as a professional actor, and Brandon Lawrence exploring the notion of interpretations from the view of the censors, I hope to show that “Every reality is open to interpretation”.


« Last Edit: December 26, 2011, 03:22:31 pm by Rohitpi »