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October 16, 2021, 07:32:21 pm

Author Topic: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece  (Read 45310 times)  Share 

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VivaTequila

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Fresh Update: 2nd September 2013

I have decided to resticky this old thread/guide which I wrote for the 2012 cohort as I think this year would also benefit. It was pretty well received, got a lot of +1s and so going on that I think it can't hurt to resticky it.

I wrote this a long time ago but I am still willing to help out with general ideas in the other sticky (2013 Exam Prep)

If you have questions, post them here or in the other thread. Sorry again for the terrible formatting, I typed it up in one sitting and never really maintained it. But there's still good stuff in here for you to extract, digest, and use in your own writing.

Cheers folks

____________________________________

Old Edit History from Original Posting Date:
Spoiler
edit: I just typed this up today (Sat 8/Sept) and I'm pooped for having done it in one sitting. There's plenty of mistakes I've now noticed having skimmed through it, but I don't have the time or patience to fix them up immediately. I'll polish this up and give it some proper formatting later when I feel like procrastinating again, but until then I'm kinda stuffed for genetics and should be revising that. Watch this space!

edit 2: link to sample essay as requested.

edit 3: there's some really sophisticated discussion on page 2 detailing the marking schematics and the genuine plausibility of writing a 20/20 piece on the exam, in addition to high tier discussion on how to write introductions to these kinds of pieces, and even generally how to go about your whole essay throughout. I highly recommend you check out page 2, let alone read all of the comments.

In recent times a few people have PM'd me asking me about my alternative approach to Section B of the English exam, and I figured that rather than typing them out all individual messages, I'd put it here for all to see. Last year in English I achieved full marks on the exam. Section B is the section which often gives students a lot of trouble, and I want to try to provide some insight on why that's the case.

In writing out this thread, I aim to:
1. Explain why it is a difficult area for so many students
2. Show why this section should not be difficult if you have good ideas, and
3. Give an example of how I came across my idea, and provide inspiration for others to go and do some research and develop their own.


So, let's hope I'm successful in this. I dunno what'll be made of this thread, but hopefully it's something that you like, benefit from, and have something to contribute to.

So, straight up, why is it such a difficult area for students?

To understand this, you need to understand the assessment. Section B is all about providing students with an opportunity to be exhibitionists. If students have ideas that can change the world, or they have a great mind for the analysis of texts and the ideas they contain (i.e. themes with morals for real-world scenarios), then they will find this section very easy.

However, many students battle with this section of the exam, because it necessarily about learning a task, mastering it, and being able to repeat it, like a lot of other styles of learning are. This is a test of the student's ability to connect themes and write a cohesive piece of writing with a solid contention; perhaps even a minor manifesto.

Basically, assessors want the students to be able to think about a theme that pertains to society in very general terms - these are embodied by the "Contexts" - Identity and Belonging, Encountering Conflict, Whose Reality?, and The Imaginative Landscape. All of these "Contexts" engender ideas and themes that are widely applicable - they're universal without a doubt. It's through these general ideas that the assessors will test your ability to understand a set text.

What is intended is for you to apply your understanding of these contexts to your novel, play, or movie, and understand how and why it's appropriate for that movie. Generally, the themes in the movie will parallel or can at least be compared to the ideas that naturally arise from the prompt.

For "Whose Reality?", for instance, some hypothetical characters in some arbitrary book might have trouble coming to terms with a life-changing event, thereby living in an alternate "reality".

For "Encountering Conflict", again any character might be expected to have to deal with some form of conflict and there would undoubtedly be consequences of that conflict, which could be discussed in this section.

So on, so forth. Basically, all I'm saying is that the ideas in the book are somehow related to the ideas aroused in your context. If you can connect the dots and say how they are related through proper analysis of the themes, you'll do brilliantly.

Why is this so hard for students to do well in?

Well, there are a variety of reasons.

The biggest and the most overlooked is that students don't understand the assessment. You are explicitly asked to write an "expository, persuasive, or creative" piece of writing, but of course, those terms aren't defined. There are no constraints here. If you don't like writing in those styles, then don't write in them. None of them are concrete and have set structures - English is flexible. It's about the communication of ideas.

An examiner isn't going to care if you don't produce something that falls into those three categories so long as you check all the boxes. As an omniscient rule, if:

1. You discuss the ideas contained in the prompt
2. You mention the book and how the ideas in the book parallel, mirror, or contrast the ideas in the prompt
3. Explain how it's all relevant to the context
3. Have a pervading contention
4. Write well

... then you will get full marks.

If you are going to ask me "but what other styles are there?" then you are already asking the wrong questions if you are trying to do well.

Remember this section is about showing that you understand and can discuss ideas in the context and novel/play/film. However, you also have to put them into some kind of form that makes sense. That doesn't mean it has to be a revelatory expository essay, although this is generally a pretty good format for discussing ideas and having a contention. Really, anything that discusses the ideas and acquits a proper contention will do well.

Because this is rather vague, I'll give you an example.

A "made-up" speech, for instance, between a politician and the paparazzi which could, perhaps, maybe discuss the impacts of asylum seekers on the availability of Australian jobs for Australian-born citizens might cite facets of popular culture throughout the speech. These could perhaps include recent events with physical fights between those Australian-born and Asylum Seekers, maybe some recent scandal in which an Asylum seeker was denied a job on no other grounds than an Australian with poorer qualifications became available to take the position, maybe even an issue in a recent book that deals with similar themes to do with asylum seekers or immigrants and the struggles and conflicts they face *wink wink the book/play/film that you are studying*. A combination of these would provide solid material for a speech and it would deal with all of the criteria required to succeed.

If this was written well, explored well, and there was some highish-tier ideas in there, then there's no reason for it to not get full marks.

But hang on - a speech is what I've just indicated right? Doesn't that fall under the "persuasive" genre of writing? That's conforming, which is exactly what I've been saying people get confused about and is the biggest reason why students loose marks right?

Well no. Because it could just as easily be classified as "creative/imaginative" because it's an essay style that's off from the beaten-track.

You could stretch it enough to even call it expository because it does explore an issue and themes and discuss them in terms of recent events, even if the format isn't the same.

Expository, Persuasive, and Imaginative/Creative are umbrella terms which basically constitute any essay you could possible want to write here.

Speeches, psychiatric reports on characters, official accounts of events and characters in the books, editorials,  letters to the editor, opinion pieces, stories, letters to friends, a monologue or dialogue - all of these ultimately fall under one or more of the umbrella terms. If you can think of it, it fits.

So, to end this (now monstrous) first point as to why students have trouble in Section B, it's because people frequently don't understand the assessment.

Now, a second reason why students don't excel is because they don't research their books. Sure, you can read the book, understand who the characters are and what they do, why the do it, and what the general motifs / themes / morals are. But nobody can do enough of that. Do you know about the context of the book - the author is often a fantastic starting point. Look up a biography. Read it. Learn about the author, who they were, and what they stood for. I can guarantee you that you'll find something interesting that will give you insight into the reasons that they wrote that book in that particular way. This often ends up being groundbreaking material for your essays, because you can take new angles with your writing having more knowledge to backup your arguments. But don't stop at the author, pay special attention to symbolism in the text. Understand the cultural facets of that era and setting. Where is the set text? Why would the author have picked that location? What are the implications for the book? What are the cultural facets impacting the book? Why are they significant for the book, and by expansion, why are they significant for the context? How can you use this information to write a new style of essay? How can you use this information and the ideas that you've come across to do more research into particular, interesting areas? And how can you morph all of that into an English essay which deals with the context and problems.

This section is not hard if you know lots of stuff. If you've done your research and fully understood who the author is, what has happened in their lives, what they were interested in, what other books they've written, why they've written those books, and why they've written the book in question, what influenced the content matter of the book, why they chose to deliver that book in that specific way, what did they hope to achieve after writing that book, why the characters have such personalities and characteristics, what stereotypes they serve and how it relates to the author's message, how cultural facets like religion, politics, economics, poverty, power, revolutions, and crises in the location and time of the book's setting affect the thoughts and actions of the characters and why, in addition to most importantly why this plethora of information is relevant to your mark, then you will do well.

To give you an example of how this all strings together...

Last year I wrote a 20/20 piece for Section B, which also (when unrefined) scored me 48/50 on my SAC. It was a context piece that I didn't particularly set out to conform to a specific style, although it eventuated bearing most of the aspects of the common expository essay.

My essay scored highly because I made sure to check all of the boxes. I:

- Discussed the ideas in the book
- Discussed the ideas of the prompt and how they are in the book
- Discussed the context
- Wrote well
- Had a contention

Because all of these elements were strong, I scored a high mark. If you check all of the boxes, you'll get a good mark. If you have strong ideas and good expression with thought-provoking contention that challenges the assessor but leaves them in no doubt that what you have to say is proven, justified, and downright unique, then you'll score a great mark.

My essay was for "Creating and Presenting", and the text I chose to write on (because I absolutely HATED Shark Net, which is rant altogether) was "A Streetcar Named Desire". I didn't much like the book because it was just so damn simple. For those of you who haven't read the book, it pretty much goes like this:

- There's a girl. Her name is Blanche.
- She came from aristocracy but ultimately ends up broke with nothing to her name except insanity
- She has a complete inability to adapt to change, which is happening all throughout the book: the poor are getting rich, the rich are getting poor, the laws and culture are changing, and it's all a little bit too much
- She lives a faux life, masquerading as an esteemed young damsel when really she's an ageing fraud who can't keep up with "reality" and what's actually happening
- She goes senile because stuff changes and a few events catalyse the process.

Sounds boring? Is boring. You pretty much guessed it. The VCAA have no idea how to pick texts, but unfortunately I had to study this. So I did.

In studying the text, I quickly learned the characters, who they were, and what they did. Pretty boring - it seemed like a play that was only written to spin some money and to capture in a snapshot the changing culture of post-WW2 50's America and how the cultural revolution took it's toll on some, like Blanche.

Boring, boring, boring.

But nonetheless, I was disciplined. I decided to do some research and see what goss I could dig up. I found a few interesting points, and it so turned out that I molded my whole approach to this section  based on what I found out.

I dunno if it appeals to you, but what really stood out to me when I was researching the author was that, he, Tennessee Williams:

1. Was gay
2. Had a sister who was lobotomised for being autistic.

With this knowledge in mind, I watched the film again, and lo-and-behold something clicked.

There's a character in the film called Allan Gray, who has a relationship with Blanche, and it transpires that he's gay and he really just trying to pretend to be a heterosexual in order to appear "normal".

Isn't it interesting that the author, too, is gay?

Coincidence? I think not. I think that Williams had major problems with the culture of heteronormativity which was omnipotent in 50's America. People who were gay were minimalised and seen as lesser beings without rights and with mental disabilities - which undoubtedly would have presented a problem for him seeing as his autistic sister suffered an incredibly inhumane fate for her mental illness.

With this in mind, I paid special attention to Allan Gray in the film, who stars for less than 10 seconds overall in a few flashback scenes.

In these scenes, he:
1. is caught kissing a guy by Blanche
2. commits suicide

Through these, it's ostensible that he:
1. is masquerading as a straight man [shows he is embarrassed about being gay, which tells you a lot about the culture he lives in, considering that his shame stretches so far as to need to pretend to be heterosexual]
2. commits suicide, which tells us a few things:
a. he was embarassed about being caught out for being gay
b. he was embarassed about being caught out for cheating on his wife
c. he was embarassed about being caught out for being gay and pretending to be straight to the point where he has married someone and lied to them fully for an indubitably long period of time, and
d. he was embarassed about being caught out for all of the above BY his wife, as opposed to any other random stranger who figured it out

It was the combination of these factors that made me decide that it was justifiable to say that the author Williams had specifically included the character of Allan Gray in his novel which was primarily about Blanche in order to posit his qualms against the heteronormative society which he lives in. If he didn't care, chances are Allan Gray wouldn't exist. But he does, and funnily enough, a lot of what we can surmise about his problems with his society are embodied by the problems Allan Gray faces in his 10-seconds-of-fame in the movie.

As such, I'd arrived at the conclusion that this is why Allan Gray had even been included in the movie.

This happened to be highly relevant to my prompt. There was a tonne of other conclusions that I reached just in general research, but this particular part of researching the Author's life led me onto something significant and profound.

Let me resummarise what I did.

Firstly, I researched the book and found out heaps about stuff that I didn't need to know about but I still kept it all in the back of my head.
Secondly, I then learned about the Author to see if it would shed any light on the book, and there were quite a few interesting things, all of it relevant to my purpose, but what I found particularly important when re-watching the movie was the information that the author was gay, and that his sister was lobotomized for an illness
Thirdly, with all of this knowledge, and those two relevant pieces of information specifically, I watched the movie again and found that it was relevant to the character of Allan Gray
4th, I then looked at Allan Gray and analysed his role in the book and researched more on the crimes and punishments applied to gays at that point in time
5th, I then began to conclude that Allan Gray was only in the text because of the message he embodied - gays don't have rights in 50's America - which was a prized value of the Author.

It gets even more abstract from here.

I figured this actually tied into my context of "Whose Reality?" because it dealt with differing perspectives on reality - straight people probably don't spend as much time thinking about homosexual rights as homosexuals do, and thereby they aren't likely to see the world in the same way. The perceptions of the "absolute reality" that is "gays rights in the 21st century", if you like, is perceived differently by those who it's important to.

This was relevant to both the author, Williams, and the character, Gray.

I decided that it would be nice to communicate this idea in writing. I didn't think Hey, you know what? I'm going to write an EXPOSITORY/PERSUASIVE/IMAGINATIVE piece on this!. I just thought "I'm going to write about that because it's applicable and mildly interesting to me".

And that's what I did. I found my angle and my niche of comfortable writing, which ended up being an essay that discussed the different reasons why authors write books.

For me, the book was but a paragraph in the midst of many others which discussed individual books and individual authors and why the authors wrote the books the way that they did. For Williams' book (the one we studied) I simply said that his views on his reality would have been different to other peoples, so he put that character in his book to show his audience what his reality was like so that other people would pay attention to the issue that is gay rights. I used another bunch of books that you'd probably never have heard of and discussed things like why authors like Marjane Satrapi in Persepolis dismissed the misconception that all arabs are terrorists by showing what life is like in Arabia, because she herself didn't want to be judged and rationalized as a threat.

It's a pretty sophisticated idea - discussing why authors write books and how they've written them to achieve that effect.

It deals very well with all of the prompts you can be given - about how people have different realities, about how no realities are the same, about how people get lost in realities - all of it was highly applicable and adaptable to suit the prompt.

It definitely dealt with the context because it's all to do with the thought processes of authors and why they write novels/plays/films.

And I was able to communicate the ideas because for the most part I'm an effective writer.

Subsequently, I scored full marks. It was as easy as that.

The hardest part was the research. Researching the book was incredibly hard because it took at lot of time. But it pays off when maybe 2 or 3 hours of researching the context of the book manifests itself into a top-tier idea that just evolves with the more knowledge of the text you have.

So that's my story and my guidelines on how to succeed in Section B.

Key take-home points are: Don't conform to whatever essay style everyone else is writing, because that's not what the task is about. You can succeed quite easily if you do, but you're much more likely to succeed writing about something that feels natural. In my humble opinion, you will write a better essay if you research the text, find out some info, and find how it might apply to your prompt. Develop some ideas, find an angle, get a contention, and then write a piece.

The more you know, the further you'll go.

I hope this helped somebody because it took 2 hours to write :\
« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 02:33:51 pm by VivaTequila »

charmanderp

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2012, 06:14:30 pm »
0
Fantastic. Stickied until the exam.
University of Melbourne - Bachelor of Arts majoring in English, Economics and International Studies (2013 onwards)

VivaTequila

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2012, 06:15:41 pm »
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2 hours well spent then :)

I might fix it up later when I decide to procrastinate again from revising genetics haha.

Thanks for the props guys :D

pi

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 06:16:48 pm »
0
Agreed, great work, added link to English Guides, Sample Pieces, Tips and Resources

charmanderp

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 06:47:43 pm »
0
Agreed, great work, added link to English Guides, Sample Pieces, Tips and Resources
Cheers Vege, I'd put off doing that haha (it's sad because it's really not that much effort).
University of Melbourne - Bachelor of Arts majoring in English, Economics and International Studies (2013 onwards)

Lasercookie

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2012, 06:58:00 pm »
+6
I can't really think of anything decent to say or how to word it - perhaps that's slightly ironic especially since the post was about thinking of good ideas and then wording it well.

Oh well, YOLO hakuna matata, this is awesome VivaTequila.

Starlight

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2012, 07:47:16 pm »
0

I might fix it up later when I decide to procrastinate again from revising genetics haha.



Don't worry it shouldn't be too bad, definitely not as bad as last semester.
2012-2014. BSc: Neuroscience. University of Melbourne.
2015-2018. Doctor of Optometry. University of Melbourne.

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werdna

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2012, 08:17:43 pm »
+1
You're a legend, this is epic!

I never considered looking into the author for my context book, after 2 minutes of research I just found a wealth of information about her - and I can see plenty of parallels between her and the main character. All of you should get onto this!
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 08:41:58 pm by werdna »

VivaTequila

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2012, 08:46:55 pm »
+2
You're a legend, this is epic!

I never considered looking into the author for my context book, after 2 minutes of research I just found a wealth of information about her - and I can see plenty of parallels between her and the main character. All of you should get onto this!

That's right guys, you heard it here first :D

Lasercookie

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2012, 08:56:51 pm »
+2
What if your context book is a biography? Poor Najaf, he was discriminated against by the Taliban, and now he's being discriminated against by the VCE English curriculum. :P

(nah I know, parallels between the author and the content of the book aren't the only interesting ideas out there)

edit: Though I guess there was that Robert Hillman fellow who co-wrote the book...
« Last Edit: September 08, 2012, 08:59:23 pm by laseredd »

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2012, 08:58:15 pm »
0
Good tips but can you post me your essay so I can have an example to look at?

pi

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2012, 09:03:04 pm »
+1
I never considered looking into the author for my context book, after 2 minutes of research I just found a wealth of information about her - and I can see plenty of parallels between her and the main character. All of you should get onto this!

Would recommend looking up Michael Frayn if anyone is studying Spies. Did a fair bit of research on his childhood and family last year and there are so many awesome links for his novel Spies :)

VivaTequila

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #12 on: September 08, 2012, 09:07:14 pm »
0
Good tips but can you post me your essay so I can have an example to look at?

I don't have it on me, I could try to dig out an old example but it's on a broken laptop which refuses to turn on packed deep in my closet.

I'll type one up and post it up here if anyone's interested but probably not now, or for a while.

I'll fix this thread up good and proper when I'm feeling up to it.

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2012, 09:31:44 am »
0
Good tips but can you post me your essay so I can have an example to look at?

I'll type one up and post it up here if anyone's interested but probably not now, or for a while.


That would be a great help.  :)

VivaTequila

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Re: How to write a 20/20 Section B Creating and Presenting Context Piece
« Reply #14 on: September 09, 2012, 09:58:55 am »
+11
Good tips but can you post me your essay so I can have an example to look at?

I'll type one up and post it up here if anyone's interested but probably not now, or for a while.


That would be a great help.  :)

I'll write up an impromptu one now. It won't be anything like what it was last year when I was in the zone, but hopefully it'll be decent so you can see how I've gone about writing it. Note that this hasn't been heavily revised.

Also note that for my A Streetcar Named Desire paragraph, I've been incredibly explicit and left no part of the argument undiscussed, such that readers like yourself might appreciate a fully and rigorously explained paragraph. That is why it takes up 2 paragraphs. In the exam, I would probably have written a long 300-500 word one to cover the material, not two stretching over maybe 600 words.

Basic plan:

[ Intro ] - Discuss what authors do and how it relates to Whose Reality
[ 1st Paragraph ] - Marjane Satrapi / Persepolis
[ 2nd Paragraph ] - ASND (Context-studied book)
[ 3rd Paragraph ] - The Cherry Orchard / Антон Чехов
[ Conclusion ] - Summary


Last years exam prompt:
‘Shared experience does not mean that people see things the same way.’

Authors incontrovertibly create their works in a way that reveals much on their opinions of the world around them. Whether they will or no, it often transpires that are at odds with facets of society which they wish to change, and these opinions are engendered by their works. Some write to educate, reason, and challenge; thereby informing their audience of a new opinion, perhaps something they'd not have seen normally. For instance, Marjane Satrapi in her niche graphic novel "Persepolis" depicts a view of life under Islam during the Iranian Revolution in order to disqualify the grounds on which most Western countries prototypically base their prejudice. Tennessee Williams' play 'A Streetcar Named Desire' shows his qualms as a homosexual individual with the profound culture of discrimination prevalent during the time of writing in 1950s America through his exploration of the gay character's (Allan Gray's) tribulations. The esteemed Russian poet and philosopher Антон Чехов (Anton Chekhov) in his play "The Cherry Orchard" captured the essence of the sociocultural flux in 19th Century Russia following the Emancipation of the Serfs in order to portray his views on the era. In all of these cases, the authors have had a clear manifesto which pervades the plot of their texts.

'Persepolis' is autobiographical / graphic novel hybrid written by Marjane Satrapi whose content matter is concerned with the daily lives of those living under repressive regimes during the Iranian Revolution circa 1980. The autobiographical elements show the author's world from the perspective of a child, and it is clear throughout the text that it was a war of politics and religion - entities largely separate from the values embodied by the vast majority of citizens. The text shows how the lives of all citizens were affected; it deals with the crime, corruption, and propaganda, and Satrapi went to great lengths to show these factors reigned supreme and governed the lives of the citizens. But moreover, she importantly strove to delineate the farrago that was the regime as being attributed to a few frenzied fundamentalist individuals. Without detailing the stylistic features of her graphic novel that made this possible, it's ostensible through the metastructure that Satrapi intended to show how the citizens of Iran are normal, placid people whom hate revolution as much as any Westerner. In doing this, she hopes to allay some of the prejudice unfairly directed at the innocent migrants who detest terrorism and preach pacifism, having been subject to what was undoubtedly far worse than virtually all Westerners might have dealt with. Satrapi here has shown her opinions; she doesn't stand for the established culture of prejudice in Western countries, and in order to undermine it she's authored her text to educate her (prominently) Western audience to her side of the story.

Tennessee Williams also wanted to educate his audience, albeit in a subtle manner. What is significant about Williams' issue with society is that he was a homosexual in 50s America; a period where it was - to put it lightly - heavily frowned upon. Had he been openly gay, it would have been safe to assume that the punishments would have been heavy. For Williams, there was plenty of reason to suppress his sexuality; he might be lobotomized just as his autistic sister was under the umbrella justification that it's a "mental illness". So, for Williams, a sledgehammer polemic against the administration was out of the question. Instead, he had to subtly protest his qualms with society to those who might elicit some empathy - the educated. His text 'A Streetcar Named Desire' contains a tacit but nonetheless profound example of this. Whilst primarily concerned with the flux in sociocultural and economic trends during 50s America, and arguably the protagonist Blanche DuBois' descent into madness as a subsequence of this, it stands to reason that a particular minor character in the book distinctly serves the role of portraying the suppression of homosexuals. Allan Gray is but a blink in the eye of the play - an easy character to overlook. Whilst widely accepted as a character whose function is to catalyze Blanche's descent into insanity, he doubles as a messenger to the astute reader of the times, bearing Williams' plea for an accepting society.

In the text, he is wedded to Blanche, cheats on her with a man, is found by her, and commits suicide. The heart-wrenching scene is brief, but it sheds a lot of Williams' emotional baggage. Allan Gray in the text had to deal with the profoundly heteronormative society or face the consequences of his situation. He married to keep up the appearances of a heterosexual and avoid persecution, and committed adultery in order to maintain his sanity and experience love. When caught by Blanche, he has to face the music. In essence, elements of shame due to being gay, due to being caught having an affair, due to being caught having an affair with a man, and being caught having an affair with a man by his wife as opposed to any other individual consumes him and he commits suicide. The message is obvious - Williams must have faced similar circumstances every day, and he wanted people to know about it. Central to the problem is the fact that he's used Gray, a very minor character in a short play, to posit his problems with the society in which he lives - and in spite of that he's even concealed the message by guising the character's role in the play as being solely that of catalysing the protagonist Blanche's descent into insanity. Williams has specifically structured his text this way in order to ensure that only the most astute reader - most likely the most educated, enlightened, and unbiased - would appreciate his message. These people are more often than not those with the power to change the world, in addition to typically being free from the bias that clouds the minds of commoners who pander to societal norms. In effect, Williams' use of Allan Gray engenders his problems with the heteronormative society in which he lived. He specifically utilises Gray as a minor character in a small play with a tacit message in order to share his reality with those in the know - those educated enough to change the world without bringing his toppling down.

[third paragraph]
[conclusion]


Working on this as we go but I figured some people will benefit from seeing this unfinished product.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2012, 11:01:50 am by VivaTequila »