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Joseph41

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QCE English Questions Thread
« on: January 30, 2019, 03:24:29 pm »
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QCE ENGLISH Q&A THREAD

What is this thread for?
If you have general questions about the QCE English course (both Units 1&2 and 3&4) or how to improve in certain areas, this is the place to ask! 👌


Who can/will answer questions?
Everyone is welcome to contribute; even if you're unsure of yourself, providing different perspectives is incredibly valuable.

Please don't be dissuaded by the fact that you haven't finished Year 12, or didn't score as highly as others, or your advice contradicts something else you've seen on this thread, or whatever; none of this disqualifies you from helping others. And if you're worried you do have some sort of misconception, put it out there and someone else can clarify and modify your understanding! 

There'll be a whole bunch of other high-scoring students with their own wealths of wisdom to share with you, so you may even get multiple answers from different people offering their insights - very cool.


To ask a question or make a post, you will first need an ATAR Notes account. You probably already have one, but if you don't, it takes about four seconds to sign up - and completely free!
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Twisty314

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2019, 05:11:41 pm »
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Hey everyone!

First day of year 11 and I've gotten some English homework due tomorrow (yay  :().  The teacher has also given us a little preview to our assignment. It will be an essay for a public audience and it is on The Crucible. She told us that we should read it 3 times - first for fun, second to search for critical points and third for further insight. I'm used to just reading books once and I feel I need a second opinion on how to go about analysing the book. Is there any best way to fully understand everything in a book? Also, does anyone know where I can find some good resources for the book  to help understand it(summaries, contextual information, anything really)?  :)

Thank you all in advance!  :D
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owidjaja

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2019, 08:47:07 pm »
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Hey everyone!

First day of year 11 and I've gotten some English homework due tomorrow (yay  :().  The teacher has also given us a little preview to our assignment. It will be an essay for a public audience and it is on The Crucible. She told us that we should read it 3 times - first for fun, second to search for critical points and third for further insight. I'm used to just reading books once and I feel I need a second opinion on how to go about analysing the book. Is there any best way to fully understand everything in a book? Also, does anyone know where I can find some good resources for the book  to help understand it(summaries, contextual information, anything really)?  :)

Thank you all in advance!  :D
Hey there,
Personally, I feel like three times is a bit too much. I usually completely read my texts once while annotating it, just to catch some basic techniques (e.g. metaphors, similes etc.)- there are some texts I've read completely more than once because I've read it for fun prior to studying it. After I've completely read the text, I usually flip to specific pages to find quotes and read around the quotes just for some plot context. The best way to approach any prescribed text is to do some research on the text: personal, social and historical context. This can help you understand any allusions or even help you understand the authorial intent. I do like to emphasise that sometimes it takes a while for you to completely understand a text. For example, it didn't take me long to understand The Tempest, but it took me right before my HSC exams to understand Yeats' poetry.

As for finding contextual information on The Crucible, you're in luck because Arthur Miller's context and his purpose is quite easy to find! I would suggest reading the article Why I Wrote The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller himself. Not only does it give you an insight of his authorial intent, it also gives you an idea on his context, specifically the McCarthy regime. It would be a good idea to do some reading on McCarthyism and the Red Scare so you can understand The Crucible.

Hope this helps!
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Twisty314

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2019, 09:52:51 pm »
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Quote
Hey there,
Personally, I feel like three times is a bit too much. I usually completely read my texts once while annotating it, just to catch some basic techniques (e.g. metaphors, similes etc.)- there are some texts I've read completely more than once because I've read it for fun prior to studying it. After I've completely read the text, I usually flip to specific pages to find quotes and read around the quotes just for some plot context. The best way to approach any prescribed text is to do some research on the text: personal, social and historical context. This can help you understand any allusions or even help you understand the authorial intent. I do like to emphasise that sometimes it takes a while for you to completely understand a text. For example, it didn't take me long to understand The Tempest, but it took me right before my HSC exams to understand Yeats' poetry.

As for finding contextual information on The Crucible, you're in luck because Arthur Miller's context and his purpose is quite easy to find! I would suggest reading the article Why I Wrote The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller himself. Not only does it give you an insight of his authorial intent, it also gives you an idea on his context, specifically the McCarthy regime. It would be a good idea to do some reading on McCarthyism and the Red Scare so you can understand The Crucible.

Hope this helps!

Wow! Thanks owidjaja!

Yeah, I  felt like 3 times was too much as well. I will definitely try out your technique of annotating. I've heard that some classic novels often studied in schools require a lot of context so I was trying to find some contextual resources haha. Thanks so much for the link! This will help me so much when I start reading (hopefully tonight!).  ;)

Thanks so much owidjaja!  :)
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Twisty314

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2019, 09:58:13 pm »
+1
Hello again! :)

Tomorrow I have to hand in this little creative narrative that I would like some feedback on, preferably tonight or early tomorrow, but I'll be very appreciative for later responses as well! I don't know how to end it, so if you could leave a small suggestion, that would be fantastic! Any grammar issues, or suggestions would be awesome. Thanks guys!  :)


A shriek interrupts my serene exploration of a remote island. “Samuel, the boat!” shouts Oliver. Spinning around, I squint and, with acquiesce, witness a great misfortune. I start sprinting towards where the boat was, and see through the tears in my eyes, our boat continuing to drift away. Circumspectly, Oliver jitters, “Should we call the water police?”
“No reception,” I state.
“What are we going to do?”
I mutter to myself, “There’s only one thing we can do.” Oliver glares at me. “Oliver, I wouldn’t put you in that situation,” I tremble. “I’ll do it.” In satisfaction of no one’s predilections to resolve the situation, I rip off my shirt and stir my toes in the chilling water I will soon be immersed in. I hurriedly advance through the water until my waist is buried in the saltwater and start swimming. Retaining the panic and stress of possibly being left to ruins by a shark while swimming as fast as you can, is not exactly an easy task to perform simultaneously. The cloudy day invites shadows that imitate bloodthirsty sharks and moray eels, vociferously searching for living flesh. I look up and notice the boat is still the same distance away – I must swim faster! As I am looking around, I spot fins patrolling my residence in the water. Reimbursed with motivation and adrenalin, I voraciously tread the water that separates me from the boat. I feel something like soft sandpaper brush up against my feet. Pictures of bull sharks with blood-stained teeth are raised to memory, persuading me to be diligent to survive. My energy is rapidly leaving my arms, and I can barely swim fast enough to catch up to the boat. Giving up comes to mind, when suddenly, something makes up my mind. I’ve run into something hard that won’t budge.
I look up. The most glorious sight I’ve seen for hours is right before me. The boat! I lunge myself into it and lay there for ages, catching my breath. After laying here for fifteen minutes, I get up and look back at the island. The tide has gone up much higher now, and Oliver is standing on the only land available. Turning on the tinny, I look at where I was when I saw the sharks. I speed back to Oliver before there’s no more land and he hops in.


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literally lauren

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2019, 05:52:06 pm »
+6
Hi Twisty! Sorry I couldn't get this to you before it was due, but hopefully this is still helpful! :)


A shriek interrupts my serene exploration of a remote island. “Samuel, the boat!” shouts Oliver. Spinning around, I squint and, with acquiesce, this word doesn't really work in this context - 'acquiesce' is great for describing when someone 'gives in' to another person's demands (e.g. my mother kept yelling at me to do my homework, so finally, at 1 a.m., I acquiesced! A better word in this context would be 'reluctance,' or, if you wanted to go for an even more creative metaphor, you could rewrite this part of the sentence to 'I squint to get a better view, but soon wish I hadn't'... or something equally ominous and foreshadowing! witness a great misfortune. I start sprinting towards where the boat was I really like your subtlety here! Rather than telling us what happened to the boat, just refering to where it 'was' in the past tense gives this a really eerie uncertainty that creates a lot of intrigue! :) , and see through the tears in my eyes, our boat continuing to drift away. Circumspectly, Oliver jitters, this is also just a little bit clunky, partially because the word 'jitters' is kind of colloquial and almost silly sounding (though still totally fine to use in creative pieces), but the word 'circumspectly' is so formal that it clashes with the rest of the sentence, so I'd recommend changing one of these words to something that 'fits' the overall tone of the sentence. Here, 'jitters' and 'the water police' sound fairly casual/informal, so changing 'circumspectly' would make the most sense! “Should we call the water police?”
“No reception,” I state.
“What are we going to do?”
I mutter to myself, “There’s only one thing we can do.” Oliver glares at me. “Oliver, I wouldn’t put you in that situation,” I tremble. “I’ll do it.” In satisfaction of no one’s predilections to resolve the situation again, 'predilections' is a very formal word that doesn't quite fit here, but more broadly, I think this is a good example of something that you need to SHOW instead of TELL. Basically, rather than having your character tell us 'no one was going to do anything, so I decided to step up' - try to SHOW this decision/revelation through your writing. For example, what would this look like? What kind of facial expressions might your character exhibit? How would his voice sound? What would his body language be? How could you ~reveal~ the idea of reluctantly stepping up to do something no one else will?, SHOW DON'T TELL TIPS: the best way to ensure you do this effectively is to think of the senses! Specifically: sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. In other words, what visual, auditory, or sensory descriptions could you give us that would convey your ideas? This will instantly elevate your writing from 'telling' (e.g. 'the man was furious') to 'showing' in a really literary and sophisticated way (e.g. 'he clenched his jaw until his bones almost burst through his skin, bulging with fury and malicious intent!')   I rip off my shirt and stir my toes in the chilling water I will soon be immersed in. I hurriedly advance through the water until my waist is buried just another small word choice thing - I probably wouldn't use the word 'buried' for water - 'submerged' would be a good alternative :) in the saltwater and start swimming. Retaining the panic and stress of possibly being left to ruins this expression probably isn't as suitable here either - maybe something like 'torn to shreds' or 'ripped apart,' or even 'completely devoured' by a shark while swimming as fast as you can, is not exactly an easy task to perform simultaneously. The cloudy day invites shadows that imitate bloodthirsty sharks and moray eels, vociferously searching for living flesh. I look up and notice the boat is still the same distance away – I must swim faster! I think the main issue throughout this piece is that you've used a mix of both highly formal and sophisticated language, as well as more informal thoughts and remarks. Because this is a POV (point of view) narrative, it might make more sense to stick with a consistently informal tone. Basically, the average person wouldn't use the word 'vociferously' when thinking to themselves, so using words like that can sometimes make your piece seem a bit more clunky, or make the character less believable - even though they're great vocab words for essays! As I am looking around, I spot fins patrolling my residence Again, this is a bit too formal for the context - if you were in the ocean and sharks had you surrounded, your first thought probably wouldn't be "hmm, sharks are patrolling my residence," you know? :) See if you can re-work this into something that's more ~atmospheric~ and make us feel what your character is feeling! in the water. Reimbursed with motivation and adrenalin, I voraciously same thing here; could you reword this to better convey fear or panic, rather than using words that seem a lot more measured and well thought-out (since someone being chased by sharks probs wouldn't be at the top of their game, vocab-wise ;) ) tread the water that separates me from the boat. I feel something like soft sandpaper brush up against my feet. Pictures of bull sharks with blood-stained teeth are raised to memory, persuading me to be diligent to survive more writing that's a bit too formal. My energy is rapidly leaving my arms, and I can barely swim fast enough to catch up to the boat. Giving up comes to mind, when suddenly, something makes up my mind also some repetition of phrasing here. I’ve run into something hard that won’t budge.
I look up. The most glorious sight I’ve seen for hours do you actually want to have him swim for HOURS? If so, that'd be a great thing to emphasise in the paragraph above. This is the first indication you have that a lot of time has passed, so it'd be great to capitalise on that throughout your piece and convey a sense of exhaustion and physical effort is right before me. The boat! I lunge myself into it and lay there for ages, catching my breath. After laying here for fifteen minutes, again, just in terms of time, it'd be good to properly focus on this as an element of your piece, rather than TELLING us 'fifteen minutes went by.' A good way to think about this is to approach it from the perspective of an author with a really specific intention - e.g. what overall message do you want to communicate to readers? At the moment, this is a pretty effective snapshot of a creative scene, but you seem to be missing a primary message or driving force behind the narrative, which can make things harder to write for you. Perhaps think about what kinds of feelings or thoughts you want to evoke in the person reading your work? (I know it sounds dumb, since the real 'reason' for the creative piece is usually 'because my teacher told me to,' but pretend you're a fancy author that wants to inspire people by exploring a certain theme!) I get up and look back at the island. The tide has gone up much higher now, and Oliver is standing on the only land available. Turning on the tinny, I look at where I was when I saw the sharks. I speed back to Oliver before there’s no more land and he hops in.
Some tips for the ending (building off of the comment above about coming up with a 'message' or overall intention for your piece):
 - What kind of relationship exists between Oliver and Samuel? Do you want us to view the closeness and trust that exists between them, or do you want to suggest that there is actually some tension/conflict between them. The ending would be a good place to focus on that, so maybe think about what atmosphere there is between them: relief? fear? frustration? affection? guilt? etc.
 - How does your main character feel having swum out to get the boat? We don't really get much info about his emotional state at the end, and the final lines are your prime time for SHOWING interesting emotional details. So again, think about sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste - you don't have to use all five at once, obviously, but really focusing in on one or two can add a lot of colour to your writing.
 - Perhaps hint at what could come next for these two characters. Have they learned any lessons, or have they changed at all over the course of their adventure? Are they carrying on with a renewed sense of being able to tackle anything, or are they kind of just running away feeling embarrassed about having let their boat get away? Or is there a difference between them - maybe Samuel is still shell-shocked at having had to swim through shark infested waters, while Oliver feels guilty for having made Samuel put himself in danger to get the boat back?

Hope that helps, but please let me know if you have any questions, or if you've got an updated draft that you'd like some more feedback for  ;D

Twisty314

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2019, 07:52:46 am »
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Hi Twisty! Sorry I couldn't get this to you before it was due, but hopefully this is still helpful! :) Some tips for the ending (building off of the comment above about coming up with a 'message' or overall intention for your piece):
 - What kind of relationship exists between Oliver and Samuel? Do you want us to view the closeness and trust that exists between them, or do you want to suggest that there is actually some tension/conflict between them. The ending would be a good place to focus on that, so maybe think about what atmosphere there is between them: relief? fear? frustration? affection? guilt? etc.
 - How does your main character feel having swum out to get the boat? We don't really get much info about his emotional state at the end, and the final lines are your prime time for SHOWING interesting emotional details. So again, think about sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste - you don't have to use all five at once, obviously, but really focusing in on one or two can add a lot of colour to your writing.
 - Perhaps hint at what could come next for these two characters. Have they learned any lessons, or have they changed at all over the course of their adventure? Are they carrying on with a renewed sense of being able to tackle anything, or are they kind of just running away feeling embarrassed about having let their boat get away? Or is there a difference between them - maybe Samuel is still shell-shocked at having had to swim through shark infested waters, while Oliver feels guilty for having made Samuel put himself in danger to get the boat back?

Hope that helps, but please let me know if you have any questions, or if you've got an updated draft that you'd like some more feedback for  ;D

Hey literally lauren! I've heard that you are a legend in the AN community haha. No need to apologise, no one ever had to reply to me in the first place ahaha. :)

Yes, so as you can see, creative writing is by far my worst area in English, probably on par with doing speeches haha!  :-[ I know what you mean about using the 'big' words in the wrong places. I was told to include a few complicated words, which I knew would not blend at all, but next time I'll try to use them more appropriately. :)

Wow! Using show rather than tell REALLY makes the story much more interesting. It is such a simple thing, but I never really used it. Thanks for the tip! :)

Aargh! The timing! This is something that I've been aware of for ages but I could never figure out how to fix it. Your comment at the end really helps with this.

Quote
if you were in the ocean and sharks had you surrounded, your first thought probably wouldn't be "hmm, sharks are patrolling my residence," you know?
This made me laugh! hahaha Good point! I'll keep this in mind.

So... I think I'm going to print the story and your comments - is that okay with you? This is just too good to leave on an old post and forget about it! I don't think I'll get around to another draft but next time I write something for English, I'll post it on AN for editing. :)

Just one question - is it ever suitable to use 'tell' rather than 'show'? Show is definitely better (in most instances at least) but I'm wondering if tell would ever be better.

Thanks so much lauren! Really appreciate you putting in your time to edit my story hahaha  ;D
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literally lauren

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2019, 05:45:42 pm »
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So... I think I'm going to print the story and your comments - is that okay with you? This is just too good to leave on an old post and forget about it! I don't think I'll get around to another draft but next time I write something for English, I'll post it on AN for editing. :)

Just one question - is it ever suitable to use 'tell' rather than 'show'? Show is definitely better (in most instances at least) but I'm wondering if tell would ever be better.
No worries at all :) And no pressure to edit or post a new version of this, especially if you just wanted a bit of practice with creative writing! Happy to look over anything else you're working on in the future!

And yes, good question... "show don't tell" is typically the golden rule for creative writing, because "good" creative writing is supposed to have subtlety and layered ideas/themes/metaphors. However, if you're writing to inform or persuade, then it wouldn't make sense to just be "showing" things to your audience in a roundabout way - you'd want to TELL them explicitly.

So for speeches, essays, and almost all other writing you do in English (and in life), TELLING and focusing on CLARITY is usually the most important thing. The "showing" element of creative writing does help make you a better communicator overall, but it is a different (and kinda weird) style to get used to!

Also, not every single sentence has to be "showing" every single element of your story (since that'd just be exhausting!) But for important ideas and revelations, it's really impressive to be able to "show" readers what your intentions are.

Another good trick (beyond focusing on the five senses) is to make the internal external, and make the external internal. What this means is:
 - Take something internal like a thought or emotion, and explain it to the audience using external descriptions (e.g. write about a character feeling nervous on their first day of school by describing how their eyes dart frantically around the room, and how they stood with their back to a wall and shuffled their feet awkwardly as though they couldn't decide which direction to move in.
 - Take something external and explain it by describing internal thoughts/feelings/beliefs. For example, rather than just saying "the weather was super hot," you could say "his mind felt like it had been stuck in a sauna for far too long, and the thin layer of grimy sweat covering his body was starting to make him think that air conditioning might be more valuable than oxygen."

The first option is usually the best, since it's totally fine to write about external things like hot weather, but typically creative pieces get 'clunky' when they try to just TELL us about all of a character's emotions and opinions. So mixing this up with some descriptive imagery can help add colour to your piece! :)

Twisty314

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2019, 07:48:35 pm »
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No worries at all :) And no pressure to edit or post a new version of this, especially if you just wanted a bit of practice with creative writing! Happy to look over anything else you're working on in the future!

And yes, good question... "show don't tell" is typically the golden rule for creative writing, because "good" creative writing is supposed to have subtlety and layered ideas/themes/metaphors. However, if you're writing to inform or persuade, then it wouldn't make sense to just be "showing" things to your audience in a roundabout way - you'd want to TELL them explicitly.

So for speeches, essays, and almost all other writing you do in English (and in life), TELLING and focusing on CLARITY is usually the most important thing. The "showing" element of creative writing does help make you a better communicator overall, but it is a different (and kinda weird) style to get used to!

Also, not every single sentence has to be "showing" every single element of your story (since that'd just be exhausting!) But for important ideas and revelations, it's really impressive to be able to "show" readers what your intentions are.

Another good trick (beyond focusing on the five senses) is to make the internal external, and make the external internal. What this means is:
 - Take something internal like a thought or emotion, and explain it to the audience using external descriptions (e.g. write about a character feeling nervous on their first day of school by describing how their eyes dart frantically around the room, and how they stood with their back to a wall and shuffled their feet awkwardly as though they couldn't decide which direction to move in.
 - Take something external and explain it by describing internal thoughts/feelings/beliefs. For example, rather than just saying "the weather was super hot," you could say "his mind felt like it had been stuck in a sauna for far too long, and the thin layer of grimy sweat covering his body was starting to make him think that air conditioning might be more valuable than oxygen."

The first option is usually the best, since it's totally fine to write about external things like hot weather, but typically creative pieces get 'clunky' when they try to just TELL us about all of a character's emotions and opinions. So mixing this up with some descriptive imagery can help add colour to your piece! :)

Thanks Lauren! Just about to save your advice. One day in the future, I may write up the edited draft, but probably won't get around to doing it yet. :) I've got an essay on The Crucible coming up so I'll try to post it on this thread.

Oh, ok - unless it is a formal non-fiction sought of text, you almost always want to show instead of tell. Didn't know that! Thanks for the heads up! ;)

Awesome advice - this makes a lot of sense. Again, I wasn't aware of this technique, but I'll definitely use this next time for a creative writing piece! I actually like the idea of 'flipping' the internal and external environments in the way that it is written.

Thanks so much Lauren! Great advice as always! :)
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tfitz71

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #9 on: July 19, 2019, 11:57:43 am »
+3
Hey Everyone
I am having trouble finding any information on the poem I am using for my Unit 2 short story writing exam. The poem is Last Seen 12:10 am by Bruce Dawe, which i have inserted below. I have been trying to do research on the poem for a while now and I just can't find anything. It would be a very big help if anyone is able to give me some information on the poem because my exam is in 2 weeks?

 
What price the doggedness of one loving family
against the ravening dark?
On railway station walls, on hoardings
this mighty mother has contrived
a poster image of her daughter lately torn
from the early morning road where, at that time, the traffic passes
at a rate of ten or twelve per minute
(she has calculated that out, too).
Plagued by phone pranksters giving false locations,
advised by acquaintances to give up the quest,
warned off the roadway by police for accosting motorists
with a photograph of her daughter (dragged
into a car as into Grendel’s cave – shoes, purse
found elsewhere later),
now her broad anguished face
sinks out of sight from broadsheet and from tabloid,
sinks also from the screen that bore her sorrow
momentarily our way…
A police spokesman says, ‘At night
The city streets are full of predators.’

We know… But we know love
- and that’s implacable too.




literally lauren

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2019, 01:14:03 pm »
+7
Hey Everyone
I am having trouble finding any information on the poem I am using for my Unit 2 short story writing exam. The poem is Last Seen 12:10 am by Bruce Dawe, which i have inserted below. I have been trying to do research on the poem for a while now and I just can't find anything. It would be a very big help if anyone is able to give me some information on the poem because my exam is in 2 weeks?
Hey tfitz! You've come to the right place!

I'm not sure how much your teacher would have gone through already in class, but essentially, this poem is about a woman searching for her missing daughter. I'll go through it roughly line-by-line so you can see which quotes are most important...

What price the doggedness of one loving family / against the ravening dark? This is the central premise of the poem, as Dawe is questioning the consequences of love in a "dark" world. In this case, it is a mother's "dogged" (i.e. persistent, non-stop) love for her missing daughter that keeps her fighting, even though her child has been taken away from her (and is implied to have been killed). Here, you could comment on the unusual animalistic adjective "ravening," which has connotations of hunting and prey, thereby making the "dark[ness]" seem much more sinister, and almost sentient (i.e. can think and act for itself). Ultimately, this helps us empathise with the mother, and is a means by which Dawe explores humanity's duality.
On railway station walls, on hoardings
this mighty mother has contrived
a poster image of her daughter Since, as per the title, the daughter was last seen at 12:10 a.m. the mother has since put up missing posters at train stations and sheds in an effort to find her. If you wanted to do some super close analysis, you could discuss how the assonance and empty-sounding vowels in "walls" and "hoardings" make this action seem somewhat hollow... it is as though no matter how many posters the mother puts up, there is no hope for her daughter. There's also some alliteration that associates "mother" with "might" - from this, we can conclude that Dawe isn't suggesting the mother is foolish to be making this effort; Dawe wants us to sympathise with her and understand the strength of her filial love.
lately torn / from the early morning road where, at that time, the traffic passes This is our first hint at what has happened to the daughter - "torn from the early morning road" suggests she was either hitchhiking or abducted by a passing car. In particular, the word "torn" here is quite evocative, as it conveys a sense of violence and destruction. It's also worth noting the poetic structure and enjambment here, as the full line: "a poster image of her daughter lately torn" continues on to the next, and while we'd usually associate a poster as something that can be "torn," it instead here refers to the daughter herself.
at a rate of ten or twelve per minute / (she has calculated that out, too). It might not seem like it, but the word "too" is actually really meaningful here. The speaker tells us the mother has counted the number of cars passing by the road where her daughter went missing, but the word "too" implies that this is just one of many things she has "calculated" since her daughter's disappearance. Hence, Dawe establishes a sense of desperation in the mother's plight as she attempts to use logic and reason to retrace her daughter's movements.
Plagued by phone pranksters giving false locations, It's quite common for people to give false leads or even make cruel joke phone calls to families of missing people (which is another form of dark, antipathetic human behaviour that contrasts greatly with the "mighty mother").
advised by acquaintances to give up the quest, This also serves as a contrast with the mother - she is "doggedly" determined, but others are telling her to stop trying. The fact that they are only "acquaintances" perhaps intimates that they don't know the mother well enough to understand her strength, or her relationship with her daughter. Furthermore, Dawe characterises the mother's efforts as a "quest," a word connoting epic bravery and, hopefully, a reward at the end.
warned off the roadway by police for accosting motorists \ with a photograph of her daughter (i.e. this mother has been asking drivers if they have seen her daughter, and the police are sick of her causing a fuss. This encourages us to question why the police don't seem to be helping - based on what Dawe has presented, the mother is the only one fighting to find her daughter.
(dragged \ into a car as into Grendel’s cave – shoes, purse \ found elsewhere later), Firstly, the fact that the daughter's belongings were "found elsewhere later" is a vague yet undeniable indication that she met with foul play. Secondly, the word "dragged" here is another example of implied violence towards the daughter. We don't know much about her other than that she was "dragged," "torn," and "last seen at 12:10 a.m." Thirdly, there is an intertextual allusion here to Beowulf, an old poem which features a monster called Grendel who is described as a creature of darkness that devours humanity. I won't go too much in-depth here, but if you do want to analyse this further, a good place to start would be examining the ambiguity of Grendel as a character in the original poem, as literary scholars have debated whether he is a monster, a giant, or some sort of hybrid creature - hence, he represents an unknown, amorphous evil, which Dawe calls upon in this poem to further shroud the daughter's fate in darkness. Therefore, overall, these three lines amplify our sense of fear for the daughter, whilst also rendering us pessimistic about the possibility that she may still be alive.
now her broad anguished face \ sinks out of sight from broadsheet and from tabloid, This line is about how the initial media interest in the missing person's case has sense faded, suggesting that she has been missing for quite a while. This perhaps explains why the police and the mother's acquaintances were discouraging her from continuing her efforts, as they do not share in the mother's hopefulness.
sinks also from the screen that bore her sorrow \ momentarily our way… This is the first instance of a first person pronoun (the collective possessive "our") in this poem. 'We,' the audience, are positioned as members of the public who are "momentarily" shown the daughter's sorrow in a news bulletin. Now though, she has sunk away amidst countless other stories, both uplifting and tragic, as the newspaper sheets and TV screens ebb and flow with the passage of time.
A police spokesman says, ‘At night / The city streets are full of predators.’ Again, this is obviously a very sinister intimation of the daughter's fate... but just when you think the poem is about to end on a total downer...
We know… But we know love \ - and that’s implacable too. This resounding final line lets us share in the mother's optimism. The word "implacable" refers to something that is unstoppable, uncompromising, and cannot be sated. Hence, Dawe parallels two powerfully unstoppable forces: the sinister, evil predation of someone who would abduct a young girl from the street, and the unconditional love of a mother who refuses to give up the fight.

Hope that helps you get started! If you need more unpacking of a particular theme, or help putting this into an essay, let us know!
Best of luck for your exam!!  ;D

tfitz71

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2019, 09:20:26 am »
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Hey tfitz! You've come to the right place!

I'm not sure how much your teacher would have gone through already in class, but essentially, this poem is about a woman searching for her missing daughter. I'll go through it roughly line-by-line so you can see which quotes are most important...

What price the doggedness of one loving family / against the ravening dark? This is the central premise of the poem, as Dawe is questioning the consequences of love in a "dark" world. In this case, it is a mother's "dogged" (i.e. persistent, non-stop) love for her missing daughter that keeps her fighting, even though her child has been taken away from her (and is implied to have been killed). Here, you could comment on the unusual animalistic adjective "ravening," which has connotations of hunting and prey, thereby making the "dark[ness]" seem much more sinister, and almost sentient (i.e. can think and act for itself). Ultimately, this helps us empathise with the mother, and is a means by which Dawe explores humanity's duality.
On railway station walls, on hoardings
this mighty mother has contrived
a poster image of her daughter Since, as per the title, the daughter was last seen at 12:10 a.m. the mother has since put up missing posters at train stations and sheds in an effort to find her. If you wanted to do some super close analysis, you could discuss how the assonance and empty-sounding vowels in "walls" and "hoardings" make this action seem somewhat hollow... it is as though no matter how many posters the mother puts up, there is no hope for her daughter. There's also some alliteration that associates "mother" with "might" - from this, we can conclude that Dawe isn't suggesting the mother is foolish to be making this effort; Dawe wants us to sympathise with her and understand the strength of her filial love.
lately torn / from the early morning road where, at that time, the traffic passes This is our first hint at what has happened to the daughter - "torn from the early morning road" suggests she was either hitchhiking or abducted by a passing car. In particular, the word "torn" here is quite evocative, as it conveys a sense of violence and destruction. It's also worth noting the poetic structure and enjambment here, as the full line: "a poster image of her daughter lately torn" continues on to the next, and while we'd usually associate a poster as something that can be "torn," it instead here refers to the daughter herself.
at a rate of ten or twelve per minute / (she has calculated that out, too). It might not seem like it, but the word "too" is actually really meaningful here. The speaker tells us the mother has counted the number of cars passing by the road where her daughter went missing, but the word "too" implies that this is just one of many things she has "calculated" since her daughter's disappearance. Hence, Dawe establishes a sense of desperation in the mother's plight as she attempts to use logic and reason to retrace her daughter's movements.
Plagued by phone pranksters giving false locations, It's quite common for people to give false leads or even make cruel joke phone calls to families of missing people (which is another form of dark, antipathetic human behaviour that contrasts greatly with the "mighty mother").
advised by acquaintances to give up the quest, This also serves as a contrast with the mother - she is "doggedly" determined, but others are telling her to stop trying. The fact that they are only "acquaintances" perhaps intimates that they don't know the mother well enough to understand her strength, or her relationship with her daughter. Furthermore, Dawe characterises the mother's efforts as a "quest," a word connoting epic bravery and, hopefully, a reward at the end.
warned off the roadway by police for accosting motorists \ with a photograph of her daughter (i.e. this mother has been asking drivers if they have seen her daughter, and the police are sick of her causing a fuss. This encourages us to question why the police don't seem to be helping - based on what Dawe has presented, the mother is the only one fighting to find her daughter.
(dragged \ into a car as into Grendel’s cave – shoes, purse \ found elsewhere later), Firstly, the fact that the daughter's belongings were "found elsewhere later" is a vague yet undeniable indication that she met with foul play. Secondly, the word "dragged" here is another example of implied violence towards the daughter. We don't know much about her other than that she was "dragged," "torn," and "last seen at 12:10 a.m." Thirdly, there is an intertextual allusion here to Beowulf, an old poem which features a monster called Grendel who is described as a creature of darkness that devours humanity. I won't go too much in-depth here, but if you do want to analyse this further, a good place to start would be examining the ambiguity of Grendel as a character in the original poem, as literary scholars have debated whether he is a monster, a giant, or some sort of hybrid creature - hence, he represents an unknown, amorphous evil, which Dawe calls upon in this poem to further shroud the daughter's fate in darkness. Therefore, overall, these three lines amplify our sense of fear for the daughter, whilst also rendering us pessimistic about the possibility that she may still be alive.
now her broad anguished face \ sinks out of sight from broadsheet and from tabloid, This line is about how the initial media interest in the missing person's case has sense faded, suggesting that she has been missing for quite a while. This perhaps explains why the police and the mother's acquaintances were discouraging her from continuing her efforts, as they do not share in the mother's hopefulness.
sinks also from the screen that bore her sorrow \ momentarily our way… This is the first instance of a first person pronoun (the collective possessive "our") in this poem. 'We,' the audience, are positioned as members of the public who are "momentarily" shown the daughter's sorrow in a news bulletin. Now though, she has sunk away amidst countless other stories, both uplifting and tragic, as the newspaper sheets and TV screens ebb and flow with the passage of time.
A police spokesman says, ‘At night / The city streets are full of predators.’ Again, this is obviously a very sinister intimation of the daughter's fate... but just when you think the poem is about to end on a total downer...
We know… But we know love \ - and that’s implacable too. This resounding final line lets us share in the mother's optimism. The word "implacable" refers to something that is unstoppable, uncompromising, and cannot be sated. Hence, Dawe parallels two powerfully unstoppable forces: the sinister, evil predation of someone who would abduct a young girl from the street, and the unconditional love of a mother who refuses to give up the fight.

Hope that helps you get started! If you need more unpacking of a particular theme, or help putting this into an essay, let us know!
Best of luck for your exam!!  ;D
Thanks Lauren, This has really helped me get a better understanding on the poem. I will update you after my exam, hopefully I get a good grade.
Thanks a lot for the great advice Lauren  :D

Mikster02

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2019, 06:08:07 pm »
+1
Hey guys,

I am in Unit 2 and am in year 11. I am struggling to find an answer to the homework that I was set a while ago. In Unit 2 General English, we are studying the novel 'The Secret River', by Kate Grenville. I am having a lot of trouble understanding the concepts of the language features used in the first part of the book, London. The question for my homework is 'How does Kate Grenville use language to keep the emotional events at a distance in the London section of this text'. If someone is able to get back to me ASAP that would be amazing.

Thanks guys.

literally lauren

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2019, 07:07:37 pm »
+6
Hey guys,

I am in Unit 2 and am in year 11. I am struggling to find an answer to the homework that I was set a while ago. In Unit 2 General English, we are studying the novel 'The Secret River', by Kate Grenville. I am having a lot of trouble understanding the concepts of the language features used in the first part of the book, London. The question for my homework is 'How does Kate Grenville use language to keep the emotional events at a distance in the London section of this text'. If someone is able to get back to me ASAP that would be amazing.

Thanks guys.
Hi Mikster!

I'm just going to list a couple of dot points that you might want to delve into further (idk how much detail you need for your homework, but hopefully this either helps you get started or gives you a bunch of stuff to choose from!). The specific language features Grenville uses are in bold.

 • William's function as an unreliable narrator: since we're seeing things through William's perspective (albeit from a third person point of view), Grenville is able to convey a sense of emotional distance between William and his environment given that he is merely a child and thus not able to fully comprehend everything. In particular, you could look at the part where he gains a "sudden dizzying understanding" about how the world is structured with kings and God "at the top" and people like his family "at the bottom." Hence, the 'emotional events' of the novel are filtered through the lens of this protagonist who, from the start of the text, is struggling to comprehend the big picture truths about how the world works.
 • Symbolism of names: on a similar note, William's revelations about how his name is not unique to him (i.e. there are and have been many other 'William Thornhills' in his family) makes him have a mini existential crisis since he is forced to acknowledge his small role in the grand scale of history and society.
 • Obfuscation: there are many things in Part 1 that William admits he doesn't fully understand (e.g. what happens at the factory where his dad works), and there are elements of his circumstances that are implied to the reader, but not explicitly acknowledged by William. This also serves to make him more sympathetic (i.e. Grenville focuses on the formative years of William, rather than the brutal realities of his family's poverty, to create a backdrop for his journey in the novel).
 • Implications: it's subtle, but since we want to treat everything the author does as deliberate, we can even read into Grenville's decision to portray William's need to get a job at the age of 5 only reinforces our impression of the extent of the Thornhill's poverty.
 • Clothing symbolism: William's mother and sister sew clothes that can be said to symbolism warmth and comfort even amidst their difficult circumstances. Hence, though the family isn't outwardly very loving and their presence in William's life is short-lived, Grenville effectively conveys their impact on William through these subtle symbols.
 • The Other: later, with Mr. Middleton, we see William begin to form a sense of "otherness" when contemplating the lives of the rich people on the river. There's also some juxtaposition/contrast with the "othering" that occurs between the colonisers and the Aboriginal Australians in subsequent chapters. ("Othering" is a literary term that basically refers to defining a person or culture as being different from one's self, and often devaluing them in the process.)
 • Character contrasts: where William is quite contemplative about his crimes, and towards the end of his time in London, conscious of his status in society, Sal enjoys stealing and is somewhat deluded into thinking her poverty is just a ~phase~ (lol); hence we see the disparity between William's more detached observations about the events in this stage of his life and Sal's lack of understanding.
 • Motif of language: this is a really important recurring thing in Grenville's novels, and in this chapter, we see it in the court scene (in William acknowledging the importance of Sal's testimony; in his illiteracy being recorded by the court scribe; in Knapp's attempt to defend him by suggesting that Lucas couldn't have recognised his voice; in William being lost for words, etc.).

I think the main thing that question is implying is:
Grenville uses language (i.e. quotes, techniques, word choices)
to convey the emotional reality of William's life (i.e. he's poor, bad stuff happens, things suck)
but in a 'distant' way (i.e. this book isn't about why poverty sucks, so that's why it's 'kept at a distance')
to focus more so on William's trajectory (i.e. set the scene of the life he leaves behind in London)

But this is a super specific question, and the London part of the novel is quite long, so I may have misinterpreted what the question wants, so if you had an alternative idea you wanted to run by me, please let me know! Hope this is of some help :)

AJatar

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Re: QCE English Questions Thread
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2019, 10:42:08 pm »
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Hey everyone!

First day of year 11 and I've gotten some English homework due tomorrow (yay  :().  The teacher has also given us a little preview to our assignment. It will be an essay for a public audience and it is on The Crucible. She told us that we should read it 3 times - first for fun, second to search for critical points and third for further insight. I'm used to just reading books once and I feel I need a second opinion on how to go about analysing the book. Is there any best way to fully understand everything in a book? Also, does anyone know where I can find some good resources for the book  to help understand it(summaries, contextual information, anything really)?  :)

Thank you all in advance!  :D