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June 07, 2020, 02:09:19 am

Author Topic: Common Module Essay: Texts and Human Experiences: English Advanced  (Read 2298 times)

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Hi there, this is my English Advanced essay, if you could look over it that would be amazing!

Qu. Storytelling hints at human imperfection. “Where there is perfection, there is no story to tell.” Ben Okri. Use the above statement as a starting point to consider how stories about human experiences can challenge assumptions and ignite new ideas.

Storytelling can be a valuable opportunity for responders to ignite new ideas about the way individuality influences the human experience, and thus is integral to form personal identity. In the world around us, imperfection promotes the discovery of a unique sense of self that, when we lack thereof, disables us to human emotions, individual qualities and independence. The struggle to attain imperfection is consequently explored throughout George Orwell’s 1984, a dystopian novel written in 1948 to satirize the conformist, authoritarian government system inflicted by Hitler and Stalin during World War 2. Hence, Orwell challenges the audience to consider a new perspective in relation to how achieving human perfection limits one’s ability to freely think, develop personal relationships and behave independent of society's regimes. Ultimately, for contemporary responders, these explorations of the collective and individual identities can evolve personal and social assumptions of particular lives and cultures.

Stories that forge social perfection allow responders to consider how the vigorous nature of totalitarian regimes can ruthlessly limit an individual’s freedom to think. In 1984, Orwell skilfully criticises the Party’s autocratic leadership by establishing three of the Party policies, one of which, “Ignorance is Strength,” portrays the motivation of totalitarian regimes- to limit unfavourable opinions and instill a collective mentality, enabling overarching power. Orwell portrays the Party’s relentless pursuit of power through their demand for social perfection. This is evident in Syme’s meaningful yet ironic expression “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words” whereby Orwell emphasises the complete erosion of individuality through a character who has been conformed to the idea that language should be restricted. The irony is that language can be beautiful because it allows humans to express emotion yet the Party have brainwashed it’s “comrades”, through instilling fear that words are imperfection and must be controlled to achieve absolute loyalty. The Party’s palpable desire for power and perfection, is also portrayed after leader of the Party, O’Brien, ruthlessly tortures Winston in an attempt to conform his thoughts to those of the Party. Indeed, Orwell utilises O’Brien as a tool to satirise totalitarian regimes, as employed in the anaphora ““He was the tormentor, he was the protector, he was the inquisitor, he was the friend,” whereby O’Brien’s paradoxical nature is purposefully deceptive to enforce conformity and thus enhance their power through being both an ally and an enemy. When Winston absurdly declares that “2+2= 5” Orwell symbolises the notion that Winston has been successfully brainwashed by the Party and therefore represents the abolition of Winston’s social independence and his flaws that form his personal identity. As a result, contemporary responders can become more appreciative of their democratic environment after reading about the detrimental impacts totalitarian regimes have upon an individual’s opportunity to express unique thought processes and consequently, form a unique sense of self.

Furthermore, storytelling that hints at imperfection skillfully demonstrates how individuals can grow and develop through personal relationships as a result of their free and liberated society. Contrastingly, Orwell’s 1984, effectively warns contemporary responders, living under democratic regimes, about totalitarian governments which he observed during World War Two as detrimental to personal relationships because they promote absolute loyalty to the Party over connections between individuals. In 1984, Orwell criticizes almost every aspect of an individual’s personal identity, including their memory “To begin with, he did not know with any certainty that this was the year 1984”, to emphasise feelings of disposition and disconnection under autocratic leadership. Evidently, Orwell’s employment of anaphora, explored through the repetition of the negative in “But in the future there will be no wives and no friends...There will be no loyalty, except loyalty towards the Party” highlights the Party’s intention to achieve perfection through enforcing their own social ideals and governing all relationships so that divergent perspectives are eliminated. Here, the Party’s motivation to destroy individual human connection, emphasises how totalitarian governments limit individual happiness and sense of community, enforcing political loyalty to the Party. Orwell demonstrates the development of romantic relationship between Julia and Winston in which Julia challenges to express his individuality, as seen in “....” Yet, after being tormented by rats during a key moment of tension, the pleading tone in “Do it to Julia. I don’t care what you do to her…. Not me! Julia. Not me!” establishes how the Party have reasserted its control over Winston’s human experience. Indeed, in a desperate quest for societal perfection by demanding political loyalty, the Party strip Winston’s private and personal expression of love and loyalty to Julia, to reshape his identity in their motivations. Ultimately, it is through Orwell’s subversion of futile relationships that readers can reflect upon how relationships are paramount in a liberated society to attain a unique sense of self, away from the pressures of societal perfection.

Additionally, a unique sense of self can be jeopardised when behavioural freedom is lost, as, through strict political regimes with technological controls, individuals lose their capacity for independence and privacy. Orwell’s 1984 provides contemporary responders with an exploration into the authoritarian regime used by Stalin in WW2 and demonstrates the capacity for these regimes to use technology to totally restrict social activities and freedoms, as through 1984, comrades face vapourisation for disobedience. This is essentially represented through the Party’s utilisation of intensive surveillance, symbolised through the propaganda poster “BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU.” Here, Orwell satirises autocratic regimes to demonstrate that when one’s private lifestyle is constantly monitored, personal motivations cannot be publicly acted out. Thus, Winston is unable to destroy the Party, as exaggerated within his private journal through the capitalised, repeated phrase “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER.” Evidently, Orwell contrasts the Party’s ability to enforce social perfection with Winston’s limited power as, as an individual he can not withstand the power of the regime and actively create change, as ‘the last man standing.’ This level of power and control is further exemplified when comrades are indoctrinated to conform with telescreen statistics which, in particular, regularly change the chocolate rations by making the comrades commit doublethink. The chocolate motif in the telescreen announcement whereby Big Brother, after raising the chocolate ration claims “...the ration was to be REDUCED to twenty grammes a week” provokes readers to consider the unlimited ability of the Party to alter perceptions of reality. Indeed, it may shed light upon the way social media uses its algorithm to target individuals with consumerist ideologies and socialise them into sharing, commenting and liking human behaviours that legitimize the power of these corporations to control the collective. Ultimately, contemporary responders can consider the way limited behavioural freedom, inflicted under autocratic leadership, drives individuals to lose their unique human qualities and, thus, can challenge our assumptions by making us question our own individual freedom within the context of a modern technological era.
Therefore, without liberated societies our imperfection fails to flourish, which results in a story about individuals who struggle to find meaning in a society that values power over human freedoms. Indeed, governments that manipulate people through propaganda and instillation of fear will negatively jeopardise the expression of personal thoughts, creation of new meaningful relationships and unique identities amongst individual behaviours. Thus, contemporary readers can deepen and critically enhance their understanding about the ruthless nature of these regimes whilst also questioning the increasingly overt control of democratic societies that retain data about our digital footprint.


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Re: Common Module Essay: Texts and Human Experiences: English Advanced
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2019, 11:21:32 am »
Hi, this is an essay for Advanced English which I wrote for Kenneth Slessor's poetry. If someone could give feedback it would be awesome...

Question: How has your understanding of the challenges of the human experience been shaped by Kenneth Slessor’s poetry through the use of motif in relation to the abstract ideas of death, time and justice?

Challenges of the human experience come through events that are out of our own personal control. Poetry by Kenneth Slessor is an effective medium through which we can shape our understanding of the challenges of human experience highlighted in the recurring abstract ideas of death, time and justice. Beach Burial relates to the senseless inhumanity of war and appeals to the audience through the challenges experienced, Out of Time captures the subjective human experience of time passing and the paradoxical feeling of eternity and immorality, and Wild Grapes is impacting in allowing the audience to become more aware of the fragility of memory. Reading poetry makes individuals dramatically change the way they perceive certain ideas and it encourages the responder to create and understanding of experiences, visual descriptions and emotions. Ultimately through the motifs o these texts, the responder gains greater knowledge of the challenges of the human experience.

Receiving the stories of others helps to establish emotions that can perpetuate a deep understanding of the challenging experience of death. Even though the poem begins with a calm, sombre approach, Slessor hardly readies the audience for the graphic motif of death in Beach Burial. It is important that the bodies are nameless. They are referred to impersonally as “they” and “them” while the term “dead bodies” is coldly precise. An atmosphere of sad pity is created as the dead are powerless and at the mercy of ocean. The symbolism of “blue” and “purple” stirs a strong sense of loss. “Blue” represents sadness and “purple” in a Catholic church represents holiness and reverence for the dead. This us of symbolism is very pathos evoking for the responder and helps them to realise the challenging experience of death. Time is a powerful force that sweeps all towards death, which is central to the human experience, both individually and collectively. Out of Time portrays death as an inevitable moment in time and emphasises that humans have no control over death. The use of water imagery captures the erosive effects of time. “I was taken by the suck of the sea” highlights death and its uncontrollable nature. It also emphasises that time cannot be resisted or stopped. The final couplet reinforces this idea with the decay of gulls. Here, symbolic of all living things, the gulls show that death is both inevitable and remorseless. The nature of death represented in both poems is confronting to the audience and creates a new understanding of the challenging experience.

Time is viewed as a challenging experience when Slessor presents it as a motif in his texts Out of Time and Wild Grapes. He presents time in an unconventional manner – as an experience of being out of control. In Out of Time, Slessor displays time as authoritative and harsh. The personification of time “time takes, drills me, drives me” echoes its authoritative nature, creating a challenging human experience. This depicts ‘time’ as something that has control over human life. even though it is unseen. The movement “behind the daylight” alludes to time’s motion as hidden.  Furthermore, the hyperbole: “a million years” underscores the infinite expanse of time and hints at human unimportance. This ignites new ideas within the responder and cause them to see the world differently. Wild Grapes displays the destructive complexion of time. Imagery such as “Old orchard where swallows never stir,” creates a feeling of abandonment and illustrate how the ravages of time have affected the orchard and the things that lived in it. The stagnancy of the orchard is unnerving, reinforcing the potent human experience of being out of control.               

Slessor displays the unjust nature of life as a challenge to the human experience throughout his poetry. These texts provide insight into the inconsistencies and paradoxes of human behaviour which shapes an understanding of these ideas. Beach Burial displays war as unjust and the futile nature of war. Slessor uses epizeuxis to emphasise the pointless of fighting against each other as soldiers are joined in death. “Whether as enemies that fought, or fought with us, or neither; the sand joins them together.” This highlights the paradoxes of human behaviour. The futile waste of life and the inhumane treatment of people by war is represented by these crosses and the impermanence of any writing upon them. “The breath of the season has washed their inscriptions.” Thus, the personification of weather is emphasising the unjust way that human sacrifice and memories are washed away by elements of nature. Wild Grapes causes the audience to consider memory and the unjust way we are robbed of the intricate details of certain experiences. “Kissed here – or killed here – but who remembers now?” This rhetorical question, questions memory as experiences that are so different have become so blurred. This underscores the inconsistency of human experiences and the unreliability of memory. The ambiguity of the poem signifies that memory is imperfect, faulty and often unclear with the passing of time. The unjust nature of challenges of the human experience has been shaped through Kenneth Slessor’s poems Beach Burial and Wild Grapes.

Kenneth Slessor’s poetry is critical to shaping understanding of the challenges of the human experience both individually and collectively. The three abstract ideas: death, time and justice are revealed through their reoccurrence throughout his poetry. The motifs are clearly represented in the texts Out of Time, Beach Burial and Wild Grapes through Slessor’s specific choice of diction and language techniques. The variety of techniques such as personification, epizeuxis, allusion, and hyperbole are engaging to the audience and helps them to shape an understanding of the abstract ideas that Slessor has exhibited to them.


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Re: Common Module Essay: Texts and Human Experiences: English Advanced
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2019, 10:33:37 am »
Hi, could someone please read my 1984 + give feedback? - thanks!!
Essay question // Through literature, we deepen our understanding of human behaviour and motivations.
To what extent is this reflected in your prescribed text.

The complexity and duality of collective and human experiences allows readers to gain a greater understanding of the fundamental behaviours and motivations that characterise all human beings. As such, it is through a diverse representation of stories (and storytelling), that readers are immersed into our very humanity and the author’s concerns, within which both individual and collective experiences are explored. George Orwell’s dystopic novel 1984 reflecting the rise of totalitarianism in the post WW2 period, is permeated by the ramifications of unjust, controlling power. However, the author contrastingly, offers a glimmer of hope within this representation of such oppression to foreground the individuals’ unappeasable desire for freedom, beauty and a connection with the natural world.

Orwell represents humanity’s collective tendency to corrupt behaviour in order to entrench perpetual control and manipulate a society which is embodied in his attitudes towards Fascism and Communism. The author immediately situates readers in the setting’s bleak atmosphere of ‘Oceania’ with the urban decay of ‘Airstrip 1’, a parallel image of a degraded London post WW2. Orwell’s fictional dystopia is enhanced by his non-archetypal protagonist, the “smallish, frail” Winston Smith, an “individual within a tragic illustration of a world without the freedom to think” (Bossche). By implementing the invasive image of the satirical figurehead of ‘Big Brother’ who is “watching you”, the author highlights how technology has the ability to suppress individual independence. Winston Smith lives constantly under the eye of Big Brother, the ubiquitous figure, reminiscent of Stalin, who “systematically” conditions Winston’s thoughts into a perpetual moulding driven by paranoia and isolation. Likewise, Orwell cautions his readers of the “mechanisms of manipulation” that are inherent to all dictatorial regimes through the overruling forces of the ‘Party’ which seek to “narrow the range of thought” by means of destroying language (‘Newspeak’). Syme, a worker at the ironic ‘Ministry of Truth’, strengthens readers understanding of the deterioration of language, under the corruptive influence of an authoritarian government which desires to make all other modes of thought unmanageable, thus, making rebellion impossible. Furthermore, influenced by Stalin’s manipulation of propaganda to promote communism, Orwell communicates the danger of totalitarianism by depicting mind manipulation and forced conformity as a means of sustaining control. This is evident in the party slogans “war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength”, whereby Orwell adopts reoccurring paradoxes to introduce the reader to “doublethink”.Through Orwell’s novel, he establishes Newspeak to weaken the independence and strength of the individuals’ minds, forcing them to live in a constant state of propaganda-induced fear. The “beautiful thing, the destruction of words” highlights the government’s progression in regulating the will of the individual to the collective, demanding us to reassess the capabilities of totalitarian rulership. Orwell stresses the imperative of the State to sacrifice private lives of citizens (to maintain power) and urges readers to consider his fictional dystopia against their own society. Furthermore, the subjugation of individuals and the restrictions of actions of man is apparent with “every sound you made overheard, except in darkness every moment scrutinised”. The suppression of autonomy informs readers of the way technology and an authoritarian power device acts as an obstacle for any who wish to rebel and seek freedom, demanding us to reassess the capabilities of totalitarian rulership.

Contrastingly, Orwell offers a glimmer of hope/freedom within his depiction of such oppression to express an individual’s ability to seek positive meaning from their world as they negate the government’s power and ignite their own personal motivations. The author juxtaposes the oppressed totalitarian society of Airstrip 1 which “feels all too familiar” (Kakutani), with the “clear slow-moving streak” and the “willow trees” offered by the natural world. The protagonist’s frequent and recurring dreams of the ‘Golden Country’ metaphorically depict a fantasy world without monitoring, alluding to the freedom one desires in a bleak and undesirable world and showing the rare presence of freedom and new hope of political change. The lack of human connection that the Party inflicts also stimulates the need for an individual to “formulate [their] thoughts”. An individual’s ability to choose their own destiny becomes apparent as they privately seek to rebel through “writing” in a “diary” as a means of subverting the totalitarian society in which they reside. Winston’s pen “slid voluptuously over the smooth paper” as he wrote “DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” as a political act of rebellion. Orwell, furthermore, exploits Winston’s introspective nature in challenging the oppression of individuality whilst continuously understanding the importance of holding onto his humanity. Instigated through a lack of human connection, he privately rebels through “thoughtcrime” and buying “genuine antiques”; however, it isn’t until he engages in a secret affair with Julia that he finds strength and individual identity amongst a world of collectivism. The capacity and yearning for love within an oppressed society deepens our own understanding of the lengths to which one would go for happiness. Winston and Julia’s love, a hedonistic pleasure, is exposed throughout the novel whereby Julia had “thrown her clothes aside…as though Big Brother and the Party could be swept into nothingness”. The validation of hope becomes evident through this desire. Through this, Winston discovers that the Party’s elimination of ‘pure love’ and connection amongst individuals, plays into humanity’s fear of isolation. The illustration of hope within Orwell’s novel also serves as a symbol of human response to the underlying optimism even in the most devoid of worlds. The ‘proles’, whilst seen by the Party as the unimportant lower class citizens, are revealed to be the individuals who hold faith and that “if there is hope…it lies with the proles”, displaying that hope and beauty can be endured in the face of unjust power. They live in a way that is “natural to them, a sort of ancestral pattern”, proving that humankind can never be completely indoctrinated by the government’s strict regulations and happiness can be sustained amidst a state of disempowerment.

Ultimately Orwell’s text reflects the need for an individual (amidst the collective), to develop a greater understanding of their own world. It is through his text that readers gain insight into the fundamental human behaviour and emotions that are essential to the human condition. Orwell presents his views through a heavily political lens. A greater understanding of our own lives becomes apparent through the aforementioned text and its ability to express the complexity of the human experience.


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Re: Common Module Essay: Texts and Human Experiences: English Advanced
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2019, 01:49:58 pm »
Hi, this is an essay for Advanced English which I wrote for Kenneth Slessor's poetry. If someone could give feedback it would be awesome...

Hi Lydia.k!

Sorry this is so late!
I just had a quick read over your essay, because I am familiar with Slessor's texts!

All in all I think your use of techniques are pretty good and your choice of poems is excellent!

The only thing I would say would be to try and expand on your explanations, and relate it more back to the part of the question which states, "How has your understanding of the challenges of the human experience been shaped by Kenneth Slessor’s poetry"
While you have spoken about "The reader" you haven't really mentioned too much of how this is shaped your understanding, and it is critical for you to do this because part of the rubric says, "In addition, students select one related text and draw from personal experience to make connections between themselves, the world of the text and their wider world"

For example it could be as simple as saying something like, "The personification of time “time takes, drills me, drives me” echoes its authoritative nature, creating a challenging human experience, teaching us how time shapes our perspective of the world around us..."

If you expand on your explanations, you can cut back on your quotes / techniques. Three per text is usually enough, if you explain them well!

In summary, I would recommend you try and work on your explanations and relation back to the question!