Login | Register
FREE Head Start Lectures this January - book now! HSC: register here | QCE: register here | VCE: register here

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

January 26, 2020, 10:30:57 am

Author Topic: English Resources and Sample Essays  (Read 338659 times)  Share 

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

shinny

  • VN MVP 2010
  • Honorary Moderator
  • ATAR Notes Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 4329
  • Respect: +253
  • School: Melbourne High School
  • School Grad Year: 2008
English Resources and Sample Essays
« on: December 09, 2008, 08:23:36 pm »
+24
English Resources and Sample High Scoring Essays

Enjoy this collation of guides and essays from members of the AN community! 

We’d love you to add your own essays or guides - just post in the thread or PM an English mod :D

Also, keep in mind that while the following people have posted these pieces for the wider benefit of the community, they will expect that their work does not get used for the wrong purposes and will not be plagiarised under any circumstances.  ATARNotes content does show up in Google searches, and any member of the public may freely browse this forum without needing to sign up first. Unless your teacher hasn't heard of Google before, there is a very high probability you will get caught if you plagiarise an essay found on this website.

GUIDES

GENERAL GUIDES
heidiii's guide to surviving English
EvangelionZeta's English FAQs
EvangelionZeta's guide to preparing for the English exam
Nick's essential writing tips
werdna's tips for English
pi's tips for English
literally lauren's guide to EAL + Helpful links for improving expression
literally lauren's end of year study guide
literally lauren's guide to the day before the exam
spectroscopy’s ‘last resort’ to pulling up your grades
heidiii's guide to improving expression and vocab
April Fools'

TEXT RESPONSE
Links to Resources for Set Texts
DJALogical's Guide to Improving Expression
Text-specific Podcasts from ABC Radio
Prompts for Old Texts
Prompts for old texts

CONTEXT
NB: If you are doing Units 3/4 English in 2017 and beyond, you will NOT study Context.
Shinny's guide to context writing
VivaTequila's how to write a 20/20 Context Piece
literally lauren's Context External Examples and Evidence
literally lauren's guide to the Context criteria
literally lauren's breakdown of the 2015 exam prompts

LANGUAGE ANALYSIS
Costargh's language analysis study pack
Lynt.br's crash course in language analysis
dilks' Glossary of Visual Devices
literally lauren's Structuring a LA with example
DJALogical's Guide to Language Analysis
literally lauren's sample annotations for the 2015 exam
Language Analysis Resources and Guides

ESSAY TOPICS
Prompts and Sample L.A. Articles
AN’s Language Analysis Club

ORAL PRESENTATION PERFORMANCE
chansena's list of topics for 2016 + guide for planning and researching speeches
• EvangelionZeta and lexitu have kindly run an oral coaching session to prepare students for their assessed speech.  A video of the session can be viewed here. It includes performances from ATARNotes.com members kyzoo, Water and Andiio
VivaTequila's Oral Presentation Planning Guide
Oral Presentations: How to speak in Public (from the 2012 PESA Champion)

ATAR NOTES PRACTICE EXAMS
2014 Edition
2015 Edition
* 2016 Mid-year Edition

MISCELLANEOUS RESOURCES
Annotated Assessor's Report for 2014
Annotated Assessor's Report for 2015
Explanation of the New Study Design

VCAA MATERIALS AND DOCUMENTS
VCAA English Index (see especially the Assessment Handbook)
English and EAL Study Design 2008-2015
New English and EAL study design, beginning 2016 for Unit 1/2 and 2017 for Unit 3/4
VCAA's Past Exam Papers – English
VCAA’s Past Exam Papers – EAL
*note: there are bits and pieces of the Language Analysis tasks missing from the VCAA publications. If your school does not provide copies, PM user literally lauren with your email address to receive scanned copies of all materials incl. background info and visuals

OTHER
The Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.
Writing guide given to all journalists at The Economist
Student Welfare Outreach Team (SWOT) @ Melbourne Uni's volunteer English Notes
VU free English lecture notes
General links on essay writing, vocab and grammar

USER Q&As (read through for EXCELLENT tips and guides)
~~Main English Q and A~~
werdna and VivaTequila
Yang Li
vickychen667
werdna's last minute exam Q&A
literally lauren

SAMPLES

Reading and Responding (Text Response) Examples

All About Eve
Two 'All About Eve' Examples

Medea
Thaaanyan's 'Medea' Example
HLS's Medea Example 1 + Lauren's feedback for it
HLS's Medea Example 2 + Lauren's feedback for it

The War Poems
Limista's 'The War Poems' Example
EspoirTron’s ‘The War Poems’ Example
Splash-Tackle-Flail's 'The War Poems' Example

This Boy's Life
Pawnpusher's 'This Boy's Life' Analysis Notes

Will You Be Quiet, Please?
EspoirTron's 'Will You Be Quiet, Please?' Example

See also Compilation of Text Response Feedback for more essays from some current texts, of varying quality.

PIECES FROM OLD TEXTS – still very worth a read to learn about what makes a good text response!
Surgeon's '12 Angry Men' Example
heidiii's 'A Christmas Carol' Example
EvangelionZeta's 'A Farewell to Arms' Example
spaciiey's 'A Man for All Seasons' Example
brenden’s 'Batman' Example
stonecold's 'Cosi' Example
appianway's 'Hard Times' Example
literally lauren’s ‘Henry IV’ Example
The Raven's 'Henry IV' Example
discussion and sample paragraphs on Henry IV
werdna's 'Interpreter of Maladies' Example
FlorianK's 'Interpreter of Maladies' Example
Damo17's 'Look Both Ways' Example
Chavi's 'Maestro' Example
LOVEPHYSICS' 'On the Waterfront' Example
casettekid's 'On the Waterfront' Example
alondouek's 'On the Waterfront' Example
pi's 'Ransom' Example
TrueTears' 'Richard III' Example 1
TrueTears' 'Richard III' Example 2
TrueTears' 'Richard III' Example 3
TrueTears' 'Richard III' Example 4
TrueTears' 'Richard III' Example 5
EvangelionZeta's 'Richard III' Example
Aden's 'Richard III' Example
Istafa's 'Richard III' Example
Seems Madam?'s 'Richard III' Example
anthony99's 'Richard III' Example
Matt the Rat's 'The Kite Runner' Example
stonecold's 'Year of Wonders' Example
iffets12345's 'Year of Wonders' Example
tasek's 'Year of Wonders' Example

Creating and Presenting (Context) Examples
KEAEducation's generic creative example

Encountering Conflict
Damo17's expository example
Akirus' creative example 1
Akirus' creative example 2
Akirus' creative example 3
spaciiey's expository example (slight creative twist)
LOVEPHYSICS' expository example
paulsterio's expository example
Splash-Tackle-Flail's persuasive example

Identity and Belonging
Costargh's expository example
Toothpaste's expository-persuasive example
lynt.br's expository examples
dejan91's creative example
CharlieW's creative example
Furbob's creative example
Sickle's creative example
nisha's creative example
FlorianK's expository example (EAL)
Brenden’s creative example

Whose Reality?
Amnesiac's persuasive-creative example
EvangelionZeta's creative example 1
EvangelionZeta's creative example 2
kyzoo's creative example
EvangelionZeta's expository example
appianway's creative example
taiga's hybrid (newspaper article) example
Aden's expository example
daliu's creative example
pi's expository-creative hybrid example
Surgeon's expository example
Limista's expository example (slight creative twist)
Two creative (interview + speech) examples
ST0123's creative example

Imaginative Landscape
chlloe's expository examples
iffets12345's expository example
Fluttershy's creative example

Language Analysis Examples
TrueTears' Language Analysis Example 1
TrueTears' Language Analysis Example 2
EvangelionZeta's Language Analysis Example 1
alannah's Language Analysis
EvangelionZeta's Language Analysis Example 2
Aden's Language Analysis Example
literally lauren’s Three Language Analysis Examples
lepeter's 2014 VCAA Language Analysis Example
Brenden's 2012 VCAA Language Analysis Example
Splash-Tackle-Flail's Language Analysis Example 1
Splash-Tackle-Flail's Language Analysis Example 2
HLS's Language Analysis Example 1 + Lauren and vor0005's feedback

Reading through and taking notes on the feedback in Compilation of Language Analysis Feedback is also extremely beneficial.

Oral Presentation Examples
VivaTequila's Oral Presentation Example
Stick's Oral Presentation Example
Limista's Oral Presentation Example
« Last Edit: February 01, 2017, 06:31:28 pm by literally lauren »
MBBS (hons) - Monash University

YR11 '07: Biology 49
YR12 '08: Chemistry 47; Spesh 41; Methods 49; Business Management 50; English 43

ENTER: 99.70


costargh

  • Guest
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2008, 05:08:57 pm »
+6
Now that VCE is over and I feel happy with how I went with English :) I thought I'd post up the best Context essay I ever wrote. This essay draws from the source text of Witness for "Identity and Belonging".
Goodluck 2009'ers!!!  :D :D
Perhaps a mod could sticky if they thought it was worthy of not falling into the realms of threadlessness lol (whatever that means)
Quote
"Belonging strengthens identity; it does not challenge it."
“No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent.” Renowned poet John Donne’s musing clearly explicates the idea that mankind functions effectively when society works together, not as individuals. Belonging is not only a vital component of society; it essentially strengthens individuals and perceived self-identity through the medium of conformity. When individuals are alienated, they tend to lose their sense of identity because they feel as though they are ‘nothing’; to the world they do not exist. To counteract this, membership to social, political, sporting and religious groups exist to reaffirm individuals of their own identity as represented in their respective group’s social perception. Social parallels enrich our understanding of this idea, as does the film Witness, directed by Peter Weir which evidently recreates this communally rich environment that enshrines upon its members, a strong sense of self.

As individuals, we move to reaffirm our identity through our membership to various groups in society.  All individuals reflect on what they perceive to be ‘their’ identity, but as self-discovery is in essence a never ending journey, individuals seek out those in society who tend to share similar views, beliefs and attitudes. It is in these actions that individuals reaffirm their own identity through the security invested in the ideals of conformity. This idea is prolific for adolescence as it is in this stage of human development that mankind first starts to pose the toughest question of them all; who am I? Inevitably, social stereotypes spawn such as ‘jocks’, ‘intellects’ and ‘thespians’ which form to reaffirm confidence in individuals who would have otherwise chosen to keep their individual passions negated from mainstream society. As evidenced in Witness, Rachel Lapp is confronted with the choice of whether to maintain her membership to the Amish community or whether to forgo the only life she has known, in a quest for love. What is witnessed is that Rachel inevitably chooses to maintain her membership to the Amish community because it exists to reaffirm her spiritual, religious and personal beliefs. Her identity is enshrined in Amish life as exemplified in her incessant wearing of the ‘cap’ which identifies her as part of the Amish way of life. Through our membership’s, we are ultimately strengthened in our selfhood.

Furthermore, in some instances, a desire for ‘belonging’ acts as a catalyst for self discovery whereby one is aware that they do not fit in, but are unaware of where they do. It is in these instances of purgatory that individuals begin their quest for personal independence. Consider the ever-changing lifestyle of socialite Paris Hilton. Her picture of innocence several years ago has been replaced by a new-look hard rock edge that screams ‘this is me!’ Her quest for self-discovery began as soon as she realised that what the media presented her as was not who she wanted to be. In those angelic years she did not belong, or at least to the social groups that she wished to be affiliated with. Her new ‘good girl gone bad’ image expresses the individual in herself that she feels comfortable with; somewhat to the media’s pleasure. Similarly in Witness, John Book realises that he no longer wants to be associated with a corrupt police force that promotes self-interest at all costs. He refuses to be associated with “a club with [it’s] own rules”; rules which he does not wish to conform to. As an outcast and vigilante in shock from his recent expulsion from the ‘club’ which he dedicated his life to, Book exhibits a strong desire to belong. Ultimately, this leads to his somewhat limited acceptance into the Amish community; a community which chooses to shun modern day technologies and complexities. However, Book realises that some aspects of Amish life, such as romantic love which he neglects in the busy modern world , are a part of who he is and who he wants to be. Moreover, Book’s realisation is evidence that belonging strengthens and discovers aspects of individuality identity which many may not know exist.

While in some isolated instances belonging may challenge identity, it is imperative to consider the fact that identity and belonging must co-exist in society. Without belonging there can be no identity and the converse also applies. The premise is that identity is actually formulated through perceptions of individuals and that without social groups for which individuals could apply for membership; identity would be a figment of one’s imagination. In Witness, the identities of individuals in the Amish community such as Eli, Samuel and Daniel are a product of their membership to a small communal society. Their appearance, ideals and way of life which all combine to form their identity is a result of Amish society and its existence. When Eli exclaims to John Book that “it’s not our way”, in reference to Book’s physicality he intends to uses against mainstream Americans, he epitomises the idea; individual’s beliefs are inevitably a product of their collective groups. Therefore, not only does belonging strengthen identity, it actually facilities its existence.

There are a multitude of potential factors that could influence identity but social acceptance, regardless of the group, prevails as the most pertinent idea. The rhetoric of many groups which seek members; that your identity is strengthened through conformity is evidently, but to some, somewhat surprisingly true. Individuals are a product of their perceptions; social groups merely facilitate self discovery. As a famous American theologian, Claude Bristol once said, “Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage.”

 

Amnesiac

  • Victorian
  • Forum Obsessive
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
  • Respect: +26
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2009, 05:54:44 pm »
+2
Hey students of '09! Seeing as though this section of the course has always provided us with a little confusion ever since it was introduced, i thought i would post a piece a wrote last year. It is rather unordodox in content, but i really just wanted to show everyone how open 'Creating and Presenting' is to individuality. Below is the Written Explanation (to show you how i drew from the required texts) and the actual piece itself. Oh, and for the record i studied 'Whose Reality?' and this piece is written in a Persuasive form.

Prompt: Writing is an act that always involves a revision of reality.

Written Explanation:

I have chosen to write a persuasive piece in the form of a feature article that will appear in the ‘Good Weekend’, a magazine that commonly appears in the Sunday Herald Sun. I wanted to explore the ways in which songwriters can reflect on events of the past with a subjective outlook, and how this affects their audience. I will be arguing that one can never truly understand certain moments in time, whilst emphasising the fact that we live in a world where it is difficult to decipher between fact and fiction. In the novel The Shark Net, author Robert Drew essentially explores his childhood and adolescence from the perspective of an adult, who now looks on with the benefits of hindsight. This essentially means that he may have different perceptions on what occurred, because the morals that you uphold as an adult are far different than those you hold as a child. His position as the novels writer also allows him to emphasise events, such as the embarrassing moments of his seemingly normal adolescence, and omit or place less emphasis on others, such as the apparent romance between his Father and the unknown women. This selection and omission of information is required within any form of writing because it is not possible to include everything, and it is with this notion that I will attempt to explore the ways in which a writers perception is created, and the affects that it has on their audience.

Given that this will be published in an Australian magazine, I will use lyrics from Australian band The Drones, who are known for uniquely exploring events that occurred in Australia’s convict history. I will spend time gathering and sorting through information about the major issue that songwriter Garreth Liddiard explores, whilst attempting to remain purely objective. However, I will also acknowledge throughout my piece the difficulty of trying to achieve this. I will then contrast this ‘factual’ evidence with Liddiard’s interpretations and use this as a basis to develop the notion that writing is purely a subjective act. Given that it will appear in a magazine, a formal style of writing is expected, however I will provide small passages of lyrics to aid in analysing the songwriters perceptions. This will help engage my audience, who will presumably be those with an interest in the formation of subjective realities, and in particular, Australia’s early convict history. 
                   
-------------------------------------------------------

Is it possible that even the past can be regarded as fiction?    

THE NEW WORLD OF THE DRONES IS AN INTOXICATING PLACE, LACED WITH BOTH PLEASANT and disturbing episodes of human interaction and conflict. The band broke free in the early 2000’s with their album ‘Wait Long by the River and The Bodies of Your Enemies Will Float By…’ and have now produced the follow up album ‘Gala Mill’ which continues the band’s desire to explore past episodes in history. They ventured down to Tassie to work and recorded in a deserted mill at Gala farm; a sparse area of land that is hidden within its rich countryside. The island’s history and mythology resonates throughout the album, providing listeners with the opportunity to embark on a historical journey that is laced with songwriter Garreth Liddiard’s perceptions about the incidents that occurred in the early 1800’s. ‘Words from the executioner to Alexander Pearce’ is based on the convict who escaped from Sarah Island and was subsequently executed for eating seven of his fellow inmates – Liddiard adopts the persona of the executioner within his songwriting to illustrate his interpretation of the event, which in reality will never be truly accurate. This is partially due to the fact that Liddiard is using his own personal interpretations to guide his writing, and is subsequently blurring the line between fact and fiction. Nevertheless, Liddiard’s perception of this one event provides a great deal of knowledge into the emotions that were associated with it. 

To explore these perceptions of the past one must first be informed as to what truly happened. This is often an act that proves the most challenging, as even I may be selecting and omitting information both consciously, or subconsciously. However, to swear by this belief is worthless, because it suggests that there is no factual evidence available in this world, when one knows that this is obviously not the case. I will only attempt to provide you with my understanding of the events concerning Alexander Pearce, a man who still remains prominent for his inhumane behavior. The information that I provide from here on in has been cited in many books, and although it may not be truly accurate, I have attempted to remain as objective as possible.

Alexander Pearce, the great convict of the 19th century, was the second last man to be executed in Australia, and was so at 9am on July 19 1824 in the yard of the Hobart Town jail, facing one count of murder. These raw details of his existence must be taken as fact, because without them it is impossible to discuss the more controversial aspects of his life - the eight other counts of uncharged murder that Pearce supposedly had to his name. Historians continue to explore these other murders with an educated interest because they provide a great deal of knowledge into the type of man that Pearce was. 

If we travel further back in time our predictions about Pearce become even more unreliable, but with it only being 20 months the chance is unlikely. In these months before his execution he had escaped from a prison settlement in Sarah Island with seven fellow convicts – this place was a form of secondary punishment where recalcitrant men, such as Pearce, were sent when they repeatedly broke the law. However, it was on September 20 1822, that Pearce and his fellow convicts planned their well known escape – according to my interpretations I believe that this was in response the to the years of rigid discipline that they were subject to, but this belief may have been created from my background in psychology – The men leaped into the rainforests and mountains that surrounded the harbor and set out to endure a 225 kilometer journey to freedom. It proved more difficult than planned, and once several weeks passed, and a lack of supplies became reality, men were slowly beginning to depart the group, and other men such as Pearce relied on acts of cannibalism to remain alive. [The reasons why he partook in this behaviour are not known, but it has still continued to be analysed by individuals who will never understand his motivations.]

The group quickly numbered 2, with Pearce and his now arch enemy Greenhill playing psychological games with each other to see who would be the first to cave. Pearce took no chances, and quickly killed Greenhill with an axe whilst he was sleeping. He ate the remains, although no one will ever truly understand why. When Pearce confessed these various murders to police, they simply believed that it was a cover up for a larger conspiracy, and returned him to his chains at Sarah Island. However, it wasn’t until fellow convict Thomas Cox pleaded with Pearce into escaping once more that he was charged with cannibalism and murder. He was found with human flesh in his pocket, which suggests that he had acquired a taste for it. Pearce admitted that he only killed Cox out of rage, but the reasons why he submitted himself to cannibalism still remain a mystery.

At Pearce’s trial, witnesses claim that he showed signs of repentance towards his inhumane behavior, yet how much of this can we believe? These witnesses may have been influenced by articles in the newspaper, or words on the street. Nevertheless there was still obviously some form of psychological problem within his mind, and even after his death historians and psychologists alike have attempted to discover it. Pearce’s execution on July 19 1824 ended one of the great convict stories in Australia’s rich history, and many, such as Garreth Liddiard, have gone on to explore it in their own personal writing.

In ‘Words from the executioner to Alexander Pearce’ Liddiard adopts the persona of the executioner and structures the song around the questions that he would pose to Pearce. This reveals that Liddiard holds strong feelings about the event and explores them by only focusing on their negative and brutal aspects. He introduces the convict as a man who had always been consumed by betrayal and disloyalty, and now that he has finally reached his execution Liddiard suggests that he should find it difficult to withstand. In the second verse he then continues to compare his position – as the executioner – to Pearce’s, and believes that whilst he has no choice to be the man who kills him, men like Pearce will always ‘pour in from the trees’. This juxtaposition of characters aids in fleshing out the guilty men from the innocent, who Liddiard believes were still consumed by the corruption of this era.

Liddiard’s anger slowly develops as his voice becomes clearer, as if emerging through the darkness of the events. He insinuates that killing Pearce will not reverse the acts that he as committed, because he is ultimately a man who has ‘been burning for years.’ His acts of cannibalism are then contrasted with his conviction by drawing on the actual events that occurred, such as the venomous snakebite that killed fellow escapee Matthew Travers, to develop a sense of realism. Liddiard’s question ‘how do we taste’ allows him to shape the audiences understanding of the event, but also suggests that he is now attempting to understand the motivations behind Pearce’s actions. This desire to comprehend his intentions may never be completely possible, but he still insinuates through his writing that Pearce’s only concern was focusing of the taste of human flesh, rather than committing the acts to remain alive. Liddiard’s attempt to communicate with Pearce on a personal level is colored by his belief that Pearce is a callous individual with no soul.   

The closure of the song sees Liddiard’s voice develop into a howling scream as he reveals his underlying contention that whilst all men have abandoned Pearce, his long awaited destiny was always apparent. He concludes by saying ‘your exile is reached, you’re home’ to insinuate that his acts of immorality have come to an end, and he must now face the future that has so obviously been laid out before him. Liddiard moans these lyrics until the closure of the song, as if to emulate the dying moments of Pearce’s existence – the choir then draw out the song to an end as they symbolise the afterlife.

Garreth Liddiard has once said that songwriting is not something that can be forced out. He truly believes that one can only recount an event, or a time in history, if it is closely connected to them. For him, it is his interest in Australian convict history that allows him to present such strong opinions, and attempt to educate his audience through the way in which he presents the material. Perhaps he found similarities in Pearce’s situation to that of his own, or perhaps he just believes that a man’s callousness should be known by individual’s who are ignorant, or ill-informed about the event. Nevertheless, his revision of reality remains purely subjective, and his portrayal of the events that occurred in the past cannot be taken as fact, only fiction.         
2007 | Visual Communication and Design [37] VCE VET Hospitality [39]
2008 | Media Studies [42] English [40] History Revolutions [40] Further Mathematics [39] Psychology [37]
ENTER | 91.15

2009 | Arts/Education [Secondary] - Monash Clayton.

chlloe

  • Victorian
  • Forum Obsessive
  • ***
  • Posts: 254
  • Respect: +1
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2009, 10:12:07 pm »
+2
Thought Id join in. Heres a few examples for "Imaginative Landscape"

-----------------------------------------------------

Prompt – “It is our physical environment, not ourselves, that determines who we really are”
-------------
What determines the person we become? It is our cultures, our traditions, our social networks and our emotions and morals that influence our choices, our career and our lifestyle. However, it is the physical nature of our ‘environment’ that is the basis for all these traits, we as individuals depict. Whether the physical nature of the environment acts as a positive or negative impact on our lives, isn’t nearly as important as the strengths, or weaknesses, it places upon its inhabitants. However, different people may possess a different prospective compared to another person from their environment, so it is still some of ‘our self’ that influences who we really are and who we become.
Our values, morals and culture all arise and are influenced by our physical surroundings. The physical landscape is often the basis of communities’ culture or religion, as seen in the Film Jindabyne, where we see the importance of the physical environment to the Aboriginal people. Their community ultimately believes that they were born from the land, and they will die in the land, the strong spiritual connection links the physical lands to their own beliefs and values. Of which, are completely wrapped around the legacy of the land. In Jindabyne, the pinnacle moment of such connection is seen in the ‘Smoking Ceremony’ where the interaction between their “community” and the environment is so strong that they are completely in sync and feed of each other, it’s a mutual relationship built on culture.  For other communities, the environment may not be such a religious influence, but rather a place of retreat or recreation. Farmers that become ridden with the burden of drought learn to value and treasure water, this shift simply arises as a result of an environmental pressure. These farmers may also be more environmental aware and active in sustainability projects due to this directly effecting their lifestyle and income, their harsh environment coerces them and from this the importance of their values surfaces.
An individual’s strengths are acquired in response to the pressures, both positive and negative, of their environment that they reside. The natural, or even urbanized, environment stamps an individual with traits that allow the survival or sanity to be maintained. However, some individuals rely on certain atmospheres for comfort and normality, but when placed in unfamiliar surroundings, individuals learn to adapt. In “Island”, Macleod depicts a harsh, isolated environment that poses a threat to those that endure it, the father in “In the Fall” is physically scared from his journey, his “left hand is larger then his right” as a result and the father in “The boat” is “hurled and slammed”. These men and women portray a sense of strength and endurance that allows them to survive in the harsh climate set by Cape Breton, however, they all gain a sense of belonging and a connection that is hard to break, those that leave find it hard to re-connect with another environment and pay the price of constant loss and displacement. A similarity between all the stories in Island is the proud strength the people hold in response to their endurance and challenges they succeed in. This is especially seen in both women, men and children, who take on their ‘allocated’ role in society. The women enthusiastically take to homemaking and defend their lifestyle; they despise change and are almost offended by their children moving away to lead city lives. The landscape can not only illuminate the strengths of those who inhabit it, but also show the weaknesses. In Jindabyne, the men’s fishing trip brings attention to the weaknesses of the men. They prioritize their leisure over the murder, and for this their lack of compassion, dignity and responsibility is obviously highlighted to the whole community, “The whole town in ashamed of you”. It is seen that because of their physical landscape they were enduring, the made choices that may or may not have been a true representative of their normal lives.

The physical environment may restrict or enhance the options available for work and leisure. For some, especially for those in “Island, the natural surroundings give the community little choice in work, the males either work on the water or in the mines, if they do not, they cannot provide for their families. The environment may encourage opportunities and choice, as seen in the urban landscape, but such landscape may not promote a welcoming, close community, that the communities in “Island” maintain, the son in “The Boat” leaves Cape Breton to gain an education, but is drawn back to the community, he rather than to follow “a silly shallow selfish dream”  . An isolated environment brings communities together, and they are so tightly woven that they stick together when times are tough. It can also tear communities apart, this is seen in Jindabyne between the European and Aboriginal communities are separated through the actions of Stuart and ‘the boys’. The community is small and isolated, and news spread quickly, the actions of the boys could not go unnoticed in such a compact community. The physical environment both encourages and discourages people to bind together, in times of physical harshness, it is better to stick together.

Above all, the aspects of individuals and communities are directly influenced by the nature of the physical landscape. The natural surrounding, be it isolated, rural, harsh or urban, has it positive and negative effects on people. Cultures, attitudes, beliefs and individuals attributes are all derived from the sense of the world around them. For some, the landscape offers an opportunity to bond with both the community and the land others promote a busy, unnatural place for people to reside, but not interact. The physical surroundings for individuals have different meanings and influence people in different ways, but it defiantly influences the people we are and the people we grow to become.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Prompt: “An understanding of our place in the world is not to be found within us, but around us”

Wendell Berry once said, “You can’t know who you are if you don’t know where you are”, this is true in that we discover ourselves in a journey of understanding our roles within society. Where we are, or simply our ‘home’ often dictates our values, beliefs and our perceptions of the surrounding world. Our perception of the landscape is seen through our individual lens, by which gives meaning, both in a positive and negative image to the landscape that we exist within. This view of where we are is completely individual, but can be shaped through cultural, physical and our imagination.
The place in which we are carries significant meanings that tell us a lot about ourselves. Our place of origin, be it in an remote area, a rural country town, the urban cityscape or even the beach side, often forms the basis of our values, our perceptions and our attitudes. We are often brought up in places important to our parents and even our late generations, as children we are imbedded with the morals and expectations that our parents have. It is often that our “home” bears such importance to us that we find it daunting, uncomfortable and difficult to connect to a new landscape. The means and values that are encapsulated by the landscape of home not only plays a large role in understanding our place in the world, but it also tells alot about who we are.

The cultural landscape that surrounds us provides us with a set of expectations that are valued by the community members. The cultural landscape is compromised of class, religion, gender and social expectations. Such landscape is often the starting point of our choices and is an ultimate determinant of who we are. The importance of cultural landscape is seen clearly in Rae Lawrence’s “Jindabyne”. The Aboriginal community in Jindabyne demonstrates the importance of culture in their community. This community has an intense spiritual connection with their physical landscape, and this environment plays the basis for their religion, their beliefs and their interactions with the land. The Aboriginal “Dreamtime” or the stories of their religion is completely wrapped around their environment, their landscape. Their stories tell of how the spirits of the Aboriginal people are born from the landscape and they are re-incarnated back to the environment upon their passing. Their communities are completely involved with their own land. Through this alliance with their own setting, they are able to understand who they are and comprehend their place within their community and gain a sense of belonging to their place. This concept is also seen in MacLeod’s anthology, “Island”, where each individual family’s lives are completely dictated by notions of their ancestors. The culturally accepted lifestyle in Cape Breton involves strict adherent to gender roles. Those in Cape Breton have a common aliment of accepted female and male roles within society. For males, working on the sea or in the mines is what is culturally accepted, and has been for generations. Similarly, the women of Cape Breton lead the life of a housekeeper, child bearer and cook. Our cultures are often constant across many generations, and are left unchanged. Yet, in today’s society, especially in Australia, the diversity of cultures that are found are often intertwined to become the “Australian culture”. Our multicultural and diverse societies have encouraged and accepted change to the younger generations of today.

The physical landscape we per see is merely our individual version of something that is relatively constant. Through our values and attitudes, we imagine the physical landscape to hold  the emotional, deep connections of our lives . Through our interactions with the physical surroundings we can come to understand who we are and where or place is in the world. The physical landscape plays the host to our memories, ones we may be fond of, and others that exert painful reminders of our past. Our experiences within the landscape can change out attitudes about them and how we value and use them. As a young child, I hold many fond memories of family camping trips to Echuca. These trips over the years have shaped my appreciation for nature. As I reflect on the experiences I have shared with the spacious, natural river and accompanying banks abundant in aging gum trees and the red dust that surrounds it, I have come to realise that such as landscape has indefinitely defined my perception if the wilderness as a place of family, recreation and reflection. Through my positive experiences within this landscape I have come to appreciate and nurture our family place and feel great angst towards those who carelessly exploit its natural state. My connection with such place has impacted my values and attitudes towards the outdoor landscape, in a way that allows me to want to protect something that has allowed me such enjoyment over the years. Such experiences define who I am as a person, and where I belong in this world.

If we look around us, we are surrounded by landscapes that ultimately shape who we are, giving us directions in life and memories. Our landscapes that we endure are the basis to all our perceptions, values, beliefs and our interactions. Through the understanding of the places that surround us, we can truly understand our place in the world.



-----------------------------------------------

More available, just need to type them up :)
VCE 2007 - Outdoor and Environmental Studies - 44 (40.80)

VCE 2008 - English - 41 (40.61)
                Maths Methods CAS - 30 (37.46)
                Chemistry - 33 (37.93)
                Biology - 36 (36.68)
                Health & Human Development - 46 (44.49)

ENTER: 94.15 (!)

2009: Nursing/Emergency Health (Paramedic) - Monash Peninsula

TrueTears

  • TT
  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 16369
  • Respect: +656
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2009, 04:31:53 pm »
+6
I thought I might contribute a bit :)

Language analysis essay: Issue is Binge drinking.



After the increase in the number of teenage binge drinkers, debate surfaced regarding the amount of authority that parents have over their children. In an article entitled “Kids party, parents get a hangover”, in the 10 March 2008 issue of The Age, Doctor Simon Crisp, clinical adolescent and family psychologist, contends in a cautionary yet informative tone that parents are gradually losing authority over their teenage children resulting in destructive behaviour. Likewise, the editorial, in the 12 March issue of The Age, contends in an informative and at times supportive tone that a coordinated approach, including the co-operation of everyone, will solve the problem of binge drinking. The picture supporting the editorial suggests in a satirical tone that people should not be swayed by alcohol advertisements but rather think for themselves.

The cartoon supporting Crisp’s article is dominated by a large hand holding a bottle of beer which symbolises absolute power. The relative size of the hand implies that it is powerful and strong. In contrast, the parent is much smaller and appears to be having trouble ‘hanging’ on to her teenage child. This hints that the parent is powerless and helpless. The beer bottle is depicted to be sucking the child’s head inside, this shows that the child has no control over alcohol, while the alcohol has total control over him. This also highlights the fact that parents need to have authority over their children and hence protect them from alcohol. The cartoon can also be seen as a “tug-of-war”, where if the parent has sufficient influence and power over their children, then they will gain the upper hand in the ‘battle’ against alcohol. However, if they lack concern and responsibility over their children, then ultimately their children will be ‘sucked’ into alcohol.

The title of Crisp’s article catches our attention straight away. At first glance, the title implies that while children have fun partying, it is the parents who clean up after them. However on closer inspection, we see that the title seeks to separate teenagers from parents and show that when teenagers get drunk, they hold the upper hand while the parents lack authority. As a result, parents will often take the blame and responsibility for anything that goes wrong. This is effective in inducing distress and concern into the audience, especially those who are parents. Crisp then recognizes the need “…for some serious rethinking” and this is directly targeted at politicians, community leaders and policy makers. This is immediately followed by Crisp blaming commercial operators for targeting vulnerable children; again this solidifies Crisp’s sense of authority. By comparing today’s teenagers with earlier generations, older audiences are likely to recall their childhood and compare which generation would be a better place to grown up in. Crisp also emphasizes the need to protect children. By saying “adult tools of business are now seen as essential children’s toys” implies that children could easily be put in danger. In essence, Crisp encourages the audience, especially those who are parents, to protect and look after their children. Fear is instigated in the audience through the use of connotative language “…predators targeting children on the internet”. By saying “the net result is to remove power from parents” creates a sense of distress or even perplexity among the audience. Furthermore, it is likely that Crisp wants parents to start taking action before it is too late. Crisp then start to broaden out his targeted audience to schools and the police. This hints a shift in tone, Crisp controverts in a more supportive and at times sympathetic tone towards the parents. Through strong language Crisp strengthens his argument that parents “need to not just take control at certain times, but have the power to do so.” This encourages not only parents to take action and protect their children, but also anyone who are involved in young people’s lives. By using evidence that alcohol can cause deleterious effects on health, it lends Crisp’s argument weight and also appeals to authority. Seeking to induce fear into the audience, Crisps states that “prolonged used can lead to permanent brain damage.” In a benignant tone, Crisps ends his article by urging society, especially the government, to support parents.

The title of the editorial, “Confronting the demon of under-age alcohol abuse,” seeks to promote fear and apprehension into the audience. The byline is directed at community leaders and families; it can also be seen as a call for action. The editorial begins by providing disturbing evidence and statistics such as, “one in five over-indulging once per week” from the ANCD. This seeks to shock the audience and illustrate how serious the problem is. Furthermore, by providing the evidence from a reliable source lends the argument gravitas hence making it seem incontrovertible in the eyes of the audience. The editorial then supports Kevin Rudd by saying, “The strategy has been welcomed by health and sports groups – as it is by this newspaper.” This implies that anyone who is disagrees with the strategy is against the government. The editorial then shifts its targeted audience towards parents by saying “…binge drinking has become so entrenched with young people that it defines their generation. It is something which parents have little control.” This stresses the need to protect teenage children and audiences, especially parents, would be elicit feelings of fear, concern and even anxiety. In a supportive tone, the editorial praises Rudd’s strategies, “Mr Rudd is right when he says teenage drinking is a question of personal responsibilities.” This encourages the audience to work with the government.

At first glance, one would think the picture supporting the editorial is an advertisement. However, on closer inspection, we realize that the picture is overtly satirical and seeks to mock the advertising strategies of alcohol companies. The choice of certain words such as depressing, phoney and ugly, makes the already sarcastic advertisement even more sardonic. The use of rhetorical questions such as, “Isn’t it time you had a Binge?” indicates that it is directed at the general public, it implies that people should think for themselves and not be fooled by alcohol advertisements. The advertisement not only seeks to criticise the advertisers, but also aims to criticise alcohol as a solution for escapists. By describing politicians as “screwed-up” and “self-serving” shows that it is also directed at politicians and policy makers, it can also be seen as a call for action. The exaggerated picture of a cartoon figure looking totally dazed, mesmerized and dripping saliva depicts the absurdity and fatuity of the advertisement. We also see that cartoon figure is looking at a photo of a “Binge Lager” beer bottle. The purpose of this is to show the audience that there is nothing special about alcohol and instead of being controlled and manipulated by alcohol, people should think for themselves. 

Simon Crisp’s article incorporates a combination of strong and formal language which would most certainly appeal to parents, but may also interest politicians, community leaders and even commercial operators. The editorial utilises statistics and evidence to appeal to community leaders, families and parents. The overtly satirical advertisement
uses humour and sarcasm to critisise the alcohol advertisers while appealing to the general public.
Currently studying: PhD in economics at MIT.

Interested in financial economics, econometrics, and asset pricing.

Damo17

  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 855
  • Respect: +8
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 05:21:01 pm »
+2
Here's some of my essays on Look Both Ways, Context essays on 'The Crucible' and 'The secret river' and the file attachment is some info on Look Both Ways about the characters, like key quotes/scenes descriptions, links to themes, etc. And I've also attached some of my issues analysis and other context essays and LBW essays.

NOTE: These are by no means great essays but hopefully they will help people struggling.

Context essay: Encountering Conflict


“Conflict is an inevitable part of human life that allows us to evaluate our moral character”

Conflict seems to be an inescapable force which has a direct influence on nearly everybody’s life. Whether this conflict is between two individuals or two groups of individuals is still has the same potential to wreak havoc upon lives. In the presence of conflict relationships may be destroyed, fights can be instigated, and lives may even be lost. However, the presence of conflict and its aftermath may also be used to judge one’s moral compass. If dealt with justly and morally the conflict may be resolved but if poor decisions are made based of self-interest and greed the consequences may be devastating.

The presence of conflict usually gives individuals a choice. This choice is usually between a morally good and bad decision and if poor decisions are made repeatedly it is clear that this individual has a poor moral character. These sorts of decisions usually result in horrendous acts being committed only further strengthening the conflict. If conflict stems from a poor decision then it is more likely that another poor decision will be made and the conflict between two parties may get out of hand. In Kate Grenville’s The Secret River William Thornhill makes the immoral decision to take a piece of land which he names Thornhill’s Point despite being warned by Thomas Blackwood not to go there as the Aboriginals are frequent visitors. This decision only creates more conflict between Thornhill and the Aboriginal and even creates conflict between himself and Sal as she is completely unaccustomed and unhappy with her new home. From this situation is it easy to evaluate Thornhill’s moral character as being poor, however, this moral defect is caused by an ambition to create a better life for himself and his family, which shows that he does have some sort of moral guiding but this only applies to anyone he loves.

Conflict may force an individual into a position where they must act righteous in order to stop anymore harm being done. Often this involves that individual making a sacrifice for the greater good. In this situation it becomes very easy to evaluate the moral character of individuals. If one is unwilling to sacrifice something of personal worth for the profit of others then they may be deemed as immoral with a distinct lack of care for others. In Arthur Miller’s The Crucible protagonist John Proctor finds that he must confess to his lechery with Abigail in order to disprove her claims and restore order to Salem. However, Proctor must sacrifice the honour of his name in the process which leads to a very troubling decision he is forced to make. While confessing to his lechery stage directions indicate that his voice “breaks’ and “he has to clamp his jaw to keep from weeping” which shows the immense pain this confession is causing him. Proctor made a severe sacrifice in dishonouring his name in an attempt to save the village from madness and this conflict has enabled us to evaluate how good and true his moral character is.

The clearest place where individual moral characters may be assessed is when conflict occurs between individuals. Conflict may disrupt or completely destroy a relationship and the extent of damage which is caused is heavily dependant on the individuals moral guiding and their ability to make right decisions and also forgive one another. When a dishonest decision created the conflict it becomes harder to forgive which makes it a very good test for an individual’s moral character. When an event such as having an affair on one’s husband or wife occurs, the immediate reaction of many people would be to end the relationship. However, this may be deemed as an immoral decision as any children involved would be heavily burdened by the splitting of parents and it could have a great effect on their psychological well being. In modern times the rate of divorce is becoming shockingly high and it is clear that several immoral decisions have been made in order for this relationship to end.

Conflict may stem from many sources, whether it be from a poor decision or from a decision being forced upon you. When in the presence of conflict only those who make virtuous decisions will be able to resolve the conflict with no negative consequences. Therefore, if the conflict is unresolved or if the consequences of its resolution are as damaging as the original conflict then it can be considered that somebody has acted immorally and has a poor moral character. With the population increasing at an incredible rate and further problems being created between individuals and groups of individuals it is more important than ever to begin acting righteous and having a good and true moral character.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Look Both Ways

“It doesn’t matter how life ends, it matters how it was”, Joan tells Nick.
Is this the true message of Look Both Ways?


Sarah Watt’s powerful film, Look Both Ways explicates the notion that life must be lived to its full potential if it is going to be “embraced wholeheartedly”. Through the use of Nick’s sudden cancer diagnosis and confused state of mind, Watt illustrates that in order to overcome our inner fears and anxieties we ultimately need to pursue life with a greater sense of hope and optimism. In order to illustrate the precious and even random nature of life and death, Watt contrasts those who die fast -  without any pain - such as Meryl’s father who she describes, “died while watching the cricket”, against those who suffer a slow – painful – death , such as a Nick’s father, Jim. Watts ultimate message is that we inevitably need to make the most of our life and hence, control our inner thoughts and fears so that we “...you know… can stay up… be optimistic”.

Meryl’s dark, murky and sometimes disturbing animations provide us with an insight into her inner monologue. Meryl’s constant obsession and neurotic behaviour about self-annihilation depicts the view that she is inevitably “scared to stupid to do anything” because of her sense of entrapment and belief that “death is everywhere”. Through Meryl, Watt tries to exemplify that sometimes our inner fears can be more destructive than reality itself and hence, we need to stop preoccupying our thoughts with death, but more, start making the most out of our life and focus on the positive aspects.

Nicks cancer diagnosis is a sudden event that turns his life upside down. He is left “speculating” his survival and hence, his cold and composed response to the doctors’ negative report illustrates the way in which he is left searching for causes and ultimate consequences of his past actions. He is faced with his own mortality and as a result, attempts to tackle some of life’s bigger questions – including issues surrounding spirituality and fate. His diagnosis causes him extreme psychological and emotional pain and he is left pondering on his future existence. It is not until his fiery conversation with his very own mother that he realises that “it doesn’t matter how life ends, it matters how it was”. Joan is astutely and ironically telling her very own son, whom she does not know has cancer, that we as ‘humans’ need to inevitably “look both ways” at life and focus on all our past positive experiences.

Julia suffers the hardest loss of all; yet, she is able to accept the reality of Rob’s death and attempt to pursue the future with hope and optimism. Nicks “great photo”, in which captures the moment Julia realises her partner is dead, enables Watt to explicate the extreme and horrific reactions of those who suddenly and horrifically lose a loved one. Over the course of the “scorching hot weekend” we are able to see Julia’s stunned inaction in her inability to carry out tasks such as choosing a coffin and writing a death notice. However, her discovery of Meryl’s makeshift tomb enables Julia to realise she needs not dread on the negatives but now, start ‘constructing’ and focusing on the positive aspects of her late husbands life.

Nicks cancer news not only negatively affects his own life, but it positively affects Phil’s. Phil, whom originally unable to provide meaningful support to Nick, realises that he needs to make the most of his life as a result of coming extremely close to the killer disease. He reassesses his priorities and we are able to see his complete pride and excitement at his news that “I’ve given up smoking”. Nicks cancer diagnosis enabled Phil to rediscover his own self and hence, he flourishes his wife, Miriam and children with renewed love and affection. Nick, Meryl and Phil all have come to realise that you need to make the most of your life before it inevitably comes after you. 

Anna is a clever device used by Watt in attempting to dictate the view that the tragic events in life are “meant to happen”. She is able to shake Andy out of his belief that “everyone has an agenda” by pragmatically claiming, “Things just happen”. This underlying ‘message’ attempts to alleviate and compliment with all of the characters inner thoughts and beliefs. Watt claims that even though things appear pre-determined – they are random. It is the way in which individuals cope with them that matters the most. Hence, she illustrates the notion that we need to overcome our obsession with death and start focusing on the future.

Watts’s film is a positive affirmation about life. Joan’s ideology that “it doesn’t matter how life ends” reminds us that we inevitably need to “matter how life was” and hence, focus on the optimistic and positive side of life, inevitably leaving behind all the “awful shit in the world”.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Look Both Ways shows us that in order to move forward in our lives, we must let go of the past. To what extent do you agree?

Sarah Watt’s multi strand narrative Look Both Ways is a film that presents trauma, loss and lack of control as we see the characters grapple with unexpected twists as they learn that uncertainty is an element they cannot control. The characters develop throughout the film as they are constantly challenged by life. It is when they come to the hurtling realisation that although life is best understood backwards it must be lived forwards that acts as the catalyst for change and happiness in their lives.

When Julia emerges into the light of day from the darkness and shadows of her dwelling, it reveals she is coming to terms with the loss of her husband. Julia although still in mourning is reignited with some vestige of life as the contrast of darkness and light symbolises she has seen the glimmer of ‘light’ at the end of the tunnel. While Julia has yet to let go of the past entirely, she is beginning to live forward. It is when she destroys Meryl’s memorial of her husband in frustration, and replaces it with her own that acts as a catalyst for change in her life. Her memorial represents her love for her husband and also provides closure and a chance for her to live in advance and not retrospectively.

The train driver ravaged with suffering believes he is the causation of Julia’s husband’s death. Although we do not see him verbally communicate his emotions until later in the film, his facial expressions reflect a broken and traumatised man. The death relentlessly plays at his heart and mind. This is reflected when we see him working on the mechanics of his motorcycle, he sees his sons fiery cross skull shirt that carries the connotations of “death” and despair. Death is haunting every facet of his existence as he is constantly reminded of the past event. However, towards the end of the film we see him put behind his trauma and suffering as Julia emotionally says “it’s not your fault”. It is these words that heal the train driver’s brokenness and releases his burdened soul.

When Nick is given the diagnosis of testicular cancer he is insistent that his life will be taken by the same disease that took his fathers life. When Nick asks “what are my chances?” the doctor has his back against him, a sign of the isolation he will encounter with cancer. Nick’s sudden fatalistic view on life is seen when he stares at himself in the mirror after checking for cancer in the shower. This maybe interpreted as Nick is having an honest look at himself and reflecting how to move forward in life, or on a higher level it may be perceived as a symbol of imagination and truth. The truth being cancer has not taken his life and the x-rays only reveal a scientific truth not an absolute truth where he should be “speculating” his death. Conversely, Nick imagines the cancer will triumph over his body and cause his demise. However, it is the child in the wheelchair that creates an enigmatic smile across Nick that breaks him out of his introspective world. He realises that he must not live in fear over his cancer but move forward in life and defeat the disease before it defeats him.

Look Both Ways presents the issue that although life may be best understood backwards it is best lived forwards. Life must be lived in the present with the future always in mind and through the characters of Nick, Julia and the Train Driver the film demonstrates this way of life. The characters learn that you cannot change the past but you can create a better future, they learn to ‘look both ways’ at living.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

‘Nick and Meryl come together only out of their fears of loneliness and death’. Discuss.


Sarah Watts much awarded film Look Both Ways explicates the notion that when two human beings share similar views and feelings they will ultimately be synchronistically attracted. Nick and Meryl are both characters who have encountered similar personal tragedies; they both have recently lost their father and both been the ‘victim’ of life changing events – Nicks being his cancer diagnosis and Meryl’s being Robs “ghastly” death. Both are lonely and in need of love and affection; it is their very different lifestyle, yet, similar feelings and inner suffering that ultimately bring them together. It is this ‘random’ coincidence that inevitably transforms them both from being a victim of their fears, into a survivor, pursuing life with renewed hope and optimism.

Nick is a character whose ‘ordered’ and ‘systematic’ lifestyle approach has suddenly taken a halt as a result of his recent cancer diagnosis. His inner suffering and complete shock at the doctors negative report is exacerbated by the doctor’s lack of information and empathy. Nicks fast-moving inner monologue is expressed in the form of photomontages and hence, Watt depicts the old cliché that a person’s life will flash before their eyes at the point of death. Nick is somewhat of a loner, who we learn only recently came back to his home town as a result of his fathers’ death. Therefore, his sudden meeting with Meryl at the site of Rob’s death comes at a time whereby both characters are searching for self-awareness and discovery. Nick instinctively “follows” Meryl home, illustrating the opinion that he is striving for affection and comfort. Their open-style conversation, in which spreads from being about Meryl’s “fathers funeral” to her “star sign” and to her fatalistic view that “maybe the right thing happens” illustrate their close bond and tight relationship – one that appears to be on the brink of true love and long lasting romance.     

Nick and Meryl’s first real connection is not until they both share the news of “seeing death everywhere”. As he glances into one of Meryl’s ‘cathartic’ paintings, Nick quickly notes, “I’ve been seeing death everywhere this weekend” and in complete response, Meryl confesses, “I do too, I see it happening all the time”. The close similarity that they both share - simultaneously - enables both of them to share their suffering together. Their ultimate fear of death and their close relational bond acts as a clear device that draws the two together.

Meryl’s lifestyle is in complete contrast to Nicks. She lives in a converted warehouse whereby her living space is full of clothes, paintings and other obstacles. It could even be said that her untidiness is symbolic of her disjointed state of mind. However, Nick’s apartment is clean, fresh and ordered. By contrasting the couples living arrangements we are able to clearly see that their bond was merely not strengthened as a result of their appearance and personality but more, because they both have experienced similar tragic events. Nicks ability to see past Meryl’s untidiness and dull “artist poverty” lifestyle, remises his powerful strive for a close relationship with a woman he has barely met.

Moreover, their desire and psychological need to have each other in their life is clearly evident during their argument on Sunday afternoon. Nick’s inability to tell Meryl that he has cancer inevitably leaves her thinking that he is “giving her the flick”. She compassionately cries, “Why is it so shallow to want somebody to like you?” Nicks response to Meryl’s outcry leaves her with no option but to run away. However, the purifying and ‘symbolic’ rain at the films denouement acts as a soothing wake-up call for Meryl and one that alerts her that she needs Nick in her life. Their heart warming reconciliation at the end of the film illustrates their connection in pursuing life as one united couple. Despite the fact that Meryl, a lady who is so overcome by death and the fear of self-annihilation, is now very much in a relationship with a man who has just told her he has cancer is complimentary to her strong lust for affection and love.

Although the film centers on death, Watt’s film is a positive affirmation about life.  She maintains a clear message that despite all the negativity in the world, we need to reunite with our loved ones so that we can pursue our fears with renewed hope and optimism. Meryl and Nick’s connection and strong bond is a clear example of the need for connection and warmth as a result of experiencing similar tragedy and despair.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


« Last Edit: March 26, 2009, 05:22:51 pm by Damo17 »
2011: Science - ANU

TrueTears

  • TT
  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 16369
  • Respect: +656
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2009, 12:54:43 pm »
+4
Another 2 language analysis pieces.

1st issue: graffiti



After the defacing of the walls of Patrick Berger’s East Park café, debate surfaced regarding the impact of graffiti on communities. The editorial, in the 16 July issue of The Daily Tribute, contends in an emotional and didactic tone that local governments and councils should be supporting prideful citizens and adjudge graffiti as vandalism. In contrast, the letter by Michaela Whitehouse, a representative of the East Park Council, controverts in a scathing yet conciliatory tone that certain places should be dedicated for graffiti and solidly defends the council’s position by addressing several inaccuracies in the editorial.

The title of the editorial catches our attention straight away. It establishes a sense of moral values and appeals to ethos. The “good” in the title refers to the ‘self-respecting’ citizens; the “bad” refers to the graffiti artists and the “ugly” refers to graffiti itself. This serves to separate the principled and upright members of society from the graffiti artists, thereby portraying them as reckless, damaging members of the community. Readers, wanting to appear to be conforming, law-abiding citizens, are likely to distance themselves from the actions of the graffiti artists. The demoralizing effects of graffiti are strengthened by the accompanying picture. The picture is dominated by disfigured tags and a suspicious looking man riding on a bicycle. This indicates a lack of consideration for the owners of the defaced wall. The ‘artistic’ elements of the graffiti are obscure and this suggests to the reader that the graffiti artists are not interested in how people perceive their work; hence they will continue to vandalize other properties at their own consent. Readers are likely to voice their protest against these artists to allay their fears of their own property being vandalized.

The opening paragraph utilizes emotive imagery and strong language to contrast between the irresponsible graffiti artists and the hardworking owners of the café. By labeling the graffiti artists as “thugs” who “desecrated the freshly painted walls” arouses feelings of anger and enmity towards the graffiti artists. This is further enhanced and supported by comments from the locals. In contrast, sympathy is expected for the Bergers through anecdotes, “…his heavily pregnant wife spent the majority of one day…restoring the wall”. The reader also realizes that the Bergers are very earnest, “…diligently kept up with their repayments”. This serves to appeal to pathos and conjures up a sense commiseration for the Bergers. The editorial then attacks the East Park Council. Through the use of hyperbole, “…dragging its heels”, the editorial diminishes the role of the council. This is effective in illustrating the council’s lack of concern regarding its responsibilities. The council is portrayed to be carefree as it “refused to offer any support”. The piece concludes by combining an attack on the graffiti artists and the council. This leaves the reader sharing the editorial’s solid and firm point of view.

Whitehouse responds on behave of the East Park Council in a cogent and rational letter to the editor. She directly opens up her letter by dismissing the editorial assessment of the issue and candidly says that she will address some of the editorial’s “less enlightened remarks.” This straight away lends Whitehouse a sense of authority and provides her following argument with strength. She then uses a pertinent and well-grounded argument by saying “… have no legal recourse to council assistance for maintenance” and “Our budget is only just able to cover the claims of hundreds of leaseholders.” This is a direct appeal to logic and it is an effective way of grabbing the attention of leaseholders and householders. Whitehouse then uses two rhetorical questions which allow the audience to critically analysis the issue. It also implies that the answer is obvious and anyone who disagrees would be foolish. The effect of this is also strengthened by the fact that Whitehouse uses these rhetorical questions immediately after her logical argument, hence we can expect that many people would have no choice but to share the same viewpoint as her.

Whitehouse then criticizes the editorial in a scathing yet scrupulous tone. She undervalues the editorial by completely discarding their remarks about the council “dragging their heels.” Again this lends her a sense of authority and it shows to the audience that she is well-informed and cognizant of her position. She then addresses the issue of graffiti in a benevolent and sapient fashion. She uses inclusive language so that the audience is not alienated and it creates a sense of solidarity. Also by saying that “… with the aim of providing public spaces dedicated to the expression of this skill” shows that she is not against graffiti in any way. It also illustrates that she is aware of both sides of the situation and instead of completely dismissing the other side; she tries to find a mutual solution. This is effective in encouraging most of the audience to share this legitimate and sensible stance.

The editorial mainly uses strong language, emotive imagery and appeals to communal values to consolidate its point of view. This would likely appeal to an audience which does not welcome graffiti. Whitehouse’s letter presents the audience with a logical and coherent argument. As a result of her balanced and reasonable approach, she is likely to persuade and gain the support of forbearing readers and even some graffiti artists themselves.



2nd issue: Bill Henson



After the withdrawal of a number of works from the Bill Henson exhibition at the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery, debate surfaced regarding the morality of Henson’s art. In an opinion piece, ‘Bill Henson and his art pushes our limits’, in the 26 May, 2008 issue of the Herald Sun, Jill Singer contends in an unequivocal tone that the Bill Henson’s photographs pushes the boundaries of legality and moral comfort, as a result the safety of children’s well-being is put at risk. In contrast, in a letter by Alison Croggon, a Creative Australia 2020 summit representative, controverts in a forthright and earnest tone that Bill Henson’s work is in no way affiliated with the abuse of children.

The title of the opinion piece, “Bill Henson and his art pushes our limits,” immediately implies that Bill Henson’s ‘art’ is treading dangerous territory. The use of inclusive language, ‘our limits’, implies Henson’s photographs are offensive to everyone. The piece begins with a short anecdote which serves to personalize the issue. This makes it more accessible for the audience and it refocuses the issue to the audiences’ own domestic setting. A sense of authority and complexity is developed when we realize that Singer and her friend ‘know Bill Henson’. Singer seeks to raise unease and distress among the audience by using emotive and evocative imagery. “Her hands are draped in front of her genitals, her tiny breasts are bare.” This draws the audience’s attention to how exposed the girl is hence creating discomfort. Further use of anecdotes such as “I remember taking a photograph of my six-year-old daughter…but I’d never make it public” serves to undermine Henson’s ‘art’ and hints that his photographs are actually encouraging child exploitation. Parents reading this may agree with Singer’s reasonable stance. Heavy emphasize is placed on the protection of children by appealing to fear, “There are too many nut cases out there.” Audiences, especially parents, are encouraged to look after their children. In an almost mocking tone, Singer suggests Bill Henson ‘could easily maintain his particular aesthetic within the bounds of the law by finding slightly older subjects.’ This belittles his artwork and as a result, audiences are more convinced of Singer’s contention. A combination of inclusive and formal language is used as a call for action, “We have a duty to protect children from exploitation.” This implies that the people who do not protect children are irresponsible. Furthermore, not only does this create a sense of solidarity and responsibility within the audience but it also ensures that the majority of the readership is not alienated.

Conversely, the letter by Alison Croggon, solidly defends Bill Henson, by stressing that his work is not associated with pornography. In a measured tone, Croggon urges political leaders such as Kevin Rudd and NSW’s Premier to rethink their comments about Henson. By accentuating the position of Bill Henson as a respected and well-known artist, Croggon seeks to encourage the reader to change their opinion of Henson. Croggon aims to gain the support of the audience by saying “Mr Henson’s work has attracted more than 115,000 people and produced not one complaint of obscenity.” This also implies that the majority of people supports Henson rather than oppose him. As a result, readers who oppose Croggon are actually opposing the majority, hence leading them to question their own opinions about Henson’s art. Croggon indirectly disproves possible counterarguments by saying “His work has also been studied widely in schools for many years.” This suggests that Bill Henson’s art is worthy of study and implies that those against it are opposing the education system. Croggon seeks to gain respect for Henson by appealing to authority. “Mr Henson has been photographing young models for more than 15 years.” His experience further lends him credibility in the eyes of the audience; hence readers who were once against Henson might be inclined to change their perspective of him. Croggon appeals to history that “nude in art stretches back to the ancient Greeks.” This implies that readers who are against Henson’s art are actually disproving the history of art. Croggon attempts to establish a difference between pornography and Bill Henson’s art, “The intention of the art is to make the viewer consider the fragility, beauty…of the human body.” Readers are now likely to view Henson’s art with a different attitude. The issue is broadened out when Croggon says “This action will encourage a repressive climate of hysterical condemnation.” This is intended to alarm the readers, suggesting that those who approve Bill Henson being charged are the ones who are actually being hysterical.

The opinion piece by Jill Singer mainly uses emotive language and anecdotes to consolidate its point of view. It also appeals to parents, especially those who have young children. Croggon’s letter presents the audience with a solid argument mainly directed at policy makers and politicians. Her balanced approach is effective in conveying to the audience her contention.

Currently studying: PhD in economics at MIT.

Interested in financial economics, econometrics, and asset pricing.

Toothpaste

  • pseudospastic
  • Victorian
  • Part of the furniture
  • *****
  • Posts: 1649
  • Member #10
  • Respect: +26
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2009, 01:18:14 pm »
+4
I think (can't remember whether this was a SAC or not) this was an experiment on three separate texts and by no means is it the 'right' way to write.
Style: hybrid expository-persuasive ...

Context: Exploring Issues of Identity and Belonging

Prompt: Without close and supportive relationships, we can often feel isolated.

The feeling of isolation directly detaches an individual from the winsome pursuit of a stable self-esteem. The absence of support from family and friends inhibits the qualities of human compassion that a person would otherwise develop to possess. Maslow’s ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ depicts that after physiological and safety needs are satisfied, the need for belonging must be evident in order for a personal self-esteem to be acquired. Our identity constitutes of a shifting phase of learning about self belonging, but we can only successfully grasp the concepts through an ongoing supportive relationship with others. Whether these relationships are with members of our family or people who we consider friends – the helping hand they lend us through times of need assists in the shaping of our character and prevent a feeling of isolation from taking over our mentality.

The nature of isolation holds no benefits for the individual. The lack of close relationships disallows an individual to view life in a positive manner. In Peter Weir’s film “Witness”, John Book only held a close and personal relationship with his sister, Elaine, before he met Rachael. He was obsessed with his job and had let it take over his life. This is evident when Elaine tells him to get married and have children ‘instead of trying to be a father of [hers]’. Having a lack of close relations meant that he was feeling isolated but he chose to avert his attention to his job instead. When Book develops a personal bond with Rachael, he starts to appreciate himself – he was finally coming out of his isolated shell. The experiences Book salvaged from living with the Amish eventually allowed him to break free from the isolated state of mind he had been enclosed in.

Furthermore, John Book was isolated from both the police force and the Amish community due to the lack of relations he held with them both. He had lost his connection with the police force when he learnt that it was riddled with the corruption he worked to suppress. He does not fit in with the ever-so plain Amish community, due to the modern city lifestyle he was used to. His relationship with Rachael was still forming its linkages when he first stepped foot onto the Amish country. He realised that his link to both of these groups was weak, and thus felt an excluding sense of solitude. We would feel like an outsider when we have no one that we can relate to. Our sense of identity and of personal security can be strengthened by our ties to those we care for.

The impulse to belong is significantly strong for each and every person. Human company takes away the unideal sense of exclusion – and thus the removal of isolation. Bruce Dawes’s poem “Up the Wall” tells the story of an isolated housewife who feels ‘so alone’ and imprisoned. She was disconnected from sources of support and consolation due to the neighbourhood being ‘too quiet’. Her husband does not understand his wife’s feelings – showing that the communication needed to foster a sense of belonging was painfully absent. Living in a world without people to depend on would be uncomfortable for the individual involved. The lack of understanding between people in a relationship also brings about a sense of desolation.

Our sense of self and developing personalities are easily affected through self-discoveries and experiences, where we gain broader knowledge of an ever-changing world. Our lives are, of course, deeply centred on ourselves. In J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye”, Holden Caulfield finds difficulty settling in at ‘Pencey Prep’ because of his refusal to adapt to the expectations of society. He had no desire to hold affiliation with any of the “dirty little goddam cliques” in his school. This is a sign of his preference to solitude due to a lack of close relationship with people he perceives as “phonies”. The opting out of having bonds with others subsequently diminishes the dependence we need to feel in order to minimise implications.  The lack of supportive and stable companionships proves lethal for individual’s train of thought.

Likewise, the relationships formed with family members primarily determine who we become. We construct a sense of ourselves through social interaction from an early age. We are exposed to their various ideas, characteristics and knowledge – allowing us to see the human qualities we ‘should’ uphold in society. They set the examples for us to follow and we subconsciously adapt to share similar lifestyles and ideals. Though there are times at which we feel the need to rebel against them; usually in the teenage years. We are taught through a family to accept roles and responsibilities while belonging in a group. Communication skills develop through social interactions and the ability to think for oneself flourishes.

The exposure to certain family values and experiences is bound to vary from one individual to the next, thus the direction someone may choose to take in shaping their identity will be unique for them. In Bruce Dawe’s poem, ‘Kid’s Stuff’, we are presented with a positive picture of his family, even though they were on the borders of poverty. He includes moments of childhood reflection to indicate how his older brother contributed to the shaping of his identity. Dawe describes his brother as “A moral god … chasing [him] for chastisement” and his admiration for his big brother is evident when he recognises that “I could never out-run [him], never!” Families ideally provide love, protection and the opportunity to find out who we are. However, not all families are stable and supportive, thus conflicts may merge out from this lack of close relations. In the case that conflict arises with people who are close to us, we tend to resort to blaming ourselves for certain flaws in our trait. Some people isolate themselves from social interactions and in turn, allow themselves to be excluded from the world around them. This has an adverse effect on the mentality and awareness of the individual – the most likely outcome would be self resentment. If fortunate, these conflicts can be resolved and the tension of the situation can be assuaged.

If rejected and excluded from a family or friendship environment, our mindset will halt – disallowing advancement of a growing self-esteem. If someone were to be starved of affection and unconditional love they would struggle to appreciate themselves and would most likely have a skewed perspective on life. Family and friends are of ultimate importance to guide us through the task of growing up since they assist us in seeking out who we are – our identity.

The relationships formed with our close family and friends allow us to feel accepted and therefore influence how we perceive ourselves. Our sense of self-worth originates from the linkages we form with people dear to us. A sense of seclusion comes from this deficiency – so to maintain stability in our mindset, we have to establish close bonds with other people.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2009, 09:59:14 pm by Toothpaste »

shinny

  • VN MVP 2010
  • Honorary Moderator
  • ATAR Notes Legend
  • *******
  • Posts: 4329
  • Respect: +253
  • School: Melbourne High School
  • School Grad Year: 2008
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #8 on: April 28, 2009, 10:44:58 am »
+2
Author: Matt the Rat (couldn't merge his post in here due to technical difficulties)

‘The Kite Runner shows that cultural values have the power to overcome the values held by the individual.’ Discuss.

Khaled Hosseini’s bildungsroman tale ‘The Kite Runner’ evidently shows the overwhelming powers which cultural values may have, and their strength to overcome the individual values held by a person. With the fictional memoir centred on Amir’s “past of unatoned sins”, ‘The Kite Runner’ demonstrates how cultural views may sway the true nature of an individual’s values. From recounting Hassan’s horrific rape and Amir’s ensuing guilt to the subsequent exile of Hassan and Ali, the vast influence of cultural values clearly shows its preferential social status to that of an individual’s values. The key patriarchal figure of the story, Baba, also illustrates how cultural values are often overwhelming in comparison to individual morals. Overall, the novel demonstrates how through its tumultuous time Afghanistan had succumbed to the evil status where cultural values overrode the importance of an individual’s beliefs.

The protagonist characters of Amir and Hassan, brothers with whom “a kinship exists that not even time could break”, allow the overall whelming power of cultural values over individual values to be seen. The defining event of ‘The Kite Runner’, Hassan’s merciless rape by Assef, gives rise to sequential scenarios in which the true power of cultural Afghan values surpasses that of an individual. The subservient attitude of those to their elders, “maybe Hassan was the price I had to pay, the lamb I had to slay, to win Baba”, clearly illustrates the damaging power of cultural values surpassing that of an individual’s. Amir’s relentless search for gratification from Baba leads him to sacrifice his childhood friend and in doing so destroy a part of his childhood. Springing forth from this conflict arises the self-imposed banishment of Ali and Hassan from Baba’s household. By adhering to the social standards of the time, both Ali and Hassan kept their servant status and protected the truth surrounding Amir’s guilt. In a society where a person’s “nang and namoos” defined them, both were able to once again allow their masters to supersede them. Just as Ali had done for all the years regarding Baba’s infidelity, Hassan also buried the truth and saved his friend. “He knew I betrayed him and yet he was rescuing me once again, maybe for the last time”. The childhood characters of Amir and Hassan both clearly illustrate the dominating power of cultural values over that of an individual.

The true father to both Amir and Hassan, Baba, also clearly illustrates the overwhelming drive of cultural values over personal morals. Baba, “a towering Pashtun specimen”, was known for his great philanthropic ways around the “not just the Wazir Akbar Khan neighbourhood, but all of Kabul” yet truly he hid away the darkest of secrets. Having been “tempted in seduction” by Sanubar and consequently fathering Hassan, Baba was forced to live the remainder of his life with a façade covering who he truly was. Despite having clearly told Amir to “piss on the beards of the self-righteous monkeys [mullahs]”, a grand defiance of Islam in a nation defined by Shari’ a law, and almost sacrificing his life to stop the rape of a travelling woman, Baba was not able to defy the highest of social standards and hence allowed the cultural values to power over his own. His altruistic actions were a mere smokescreen to hide his true motives regarding his deep lying guilt. The actions of Baba clearly show the defiant power of cultural values over that of an individual.

The actions of many characters in  ‘The Kite Runner’ personify the state of affairs present in Afghanistan throughout that era. Following the “bloodless coup”, which overthrew the King Zahir Shah monarchy, Afghanistan undertook revolutionary changes which would forever alter the path of the nation. Individuals and individuality became lost in a sea of turbulent and radical extremes which resulted in blind obedience and silenced opposition to the emerging Taliban regime. The ‘Hazara massacre in Mazar-i-Sharif” where “bullets let fly, free of guilt and remorse… knowing you are doing God’s work” showed the power the dictatorial Taliban establishment had developed, and by doing so crushed the values of individual citizens. Complete observance and adherence to Shari’a law, with the Taliban being its violent, non-flinching enforcer, stripped bare the rights and freedoms previously held under the monarch. Afghanistan evolved from a country which tolerated “drinking was fairly common in Kabul”, yet defiant of Islamic laws, to a dictatorship ruled in fear by “a word for which a good Farsi equivalent does not exist; sociopath”. The violent oppression, which coupled the cultural values of the ruling power, clearly displaced the freedom of individually held values and notions. Clear parallels also exist between the “blond, blue eyed” Assef and the tyrannical Nazi dictator Hitler. Being a clear mimic of Hitler’s ‘Final Solution’, Assef shows how oppression of the Afghan people mirrors that wrought by the fascist leader of world war two. Both led parties in which cultural and social doctrine overran that of an individual. The ‘The Kite Runner’'s description of Afghanistan clearly portrays that of a nation which has fallen to the evils where social values overpower that of an individual.

Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’ shows, through a multitude of avenues, examples of how cultural values have the power to overcome those of an individual. The major protagonists of the story; Baba, Amir and Hassan, all illustrate the relative effects of the dictating cultural values and how they acted to blur their individual values. Through his use of characters, Hosseini also showed how Afghanistan had fallen into the pitfalls of such a nation in which cultural values blindly ruled over an individual’s.
MBBS (hons) - Monash University

YR11 '07: Biology 49
YR12 '08: Chemistry 47; Spesh 41; Methods 49; Business Management 50; English 43

ENTER: 99.70


lynt.br

  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 653
  • Respect: +49
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2009, 11:50:22 pm »
+7
Just dumping out some stuff I found on my hard drive now exams are over. Both for Identity and Belonging and both in expository format.

I haven't been bothered to proofread them recently to check for stupid spelling or grammar so there may be some syntax errors beyond what spell-check picked up.

This essay achieved a 49/50 for a SAC:
Quote
Belonging is a basic need and we all need to belong in some way.

The need to belong is an intrinsic motivation in all humans to feel accepted and valued by others through sustained, meaningful connections that validate our role in society. A sense of being anchored in our community is an essential requirement to define both who we are and how we are perceived by others. In order to attain this sense of social integration, we attempt to affiliate ourselves with groups we believe share mutual values and ideologies which reaffirms our own identity and role in society in the process. Yet the desire to belong requires more than just mere participation in social circles, necessitating substantial connections with those within it to attain a sense of true acceptance. If we fail to achieve this fundamental necessity, we feel isolated from a world that we contribute and share nothing with and lose the sense of direction that defined social roles provide. Thus, it is imperative that as humans we seek out meaningful and sustainable relationships with others that transcend mere familiarity or acquaintance, for if this crucial aspect in our lives is neglected, we lose all semblance of our identity and place in society.

A sense of acceptance from our peers is a basic human requirement that reaffirms our existence. Regarded by psychologist Abraham Maslow as one of the five essential human requirements, a sense of belonging and love from our peers must be satisfied before we can reach the stage of self-actualization – where we contemplate our own purposes, capabilities and potential. According to Maslow’s renowned ‘Hierarchy of Needs’, after the requirements of survival are fulfilled, such as food, shelter and security, we must then attain a sense of acceptance from either friends, peers or colleagues in order to develop self-esteem and judge our ‘worth’ as an individual. Only when we believe we are an integral part of the society to which we belong can the other basic needs of humanity, such as determining our identity, be addressed. It is thus a crucial need that as individuals we are able to assimilate into society in a harmonious manner. This need to belong is clearly explicated in Peter Weir’s portrayal of the Amish in his acclaimed film ‘Witness’. Weir depicts the Amish as a tight-knit society where each individual is defined by their presence and purpose in the greater community. To the Amish, belonging to their society is the life-thread of an individual’s existence. So crucial is this human requirement that being ostracised from the Amish community through shunning is considered a fate worse than death, where the individual loses all ties with their family, their peers and their God. The reverence the Amish place on a sense of belonging clearly illustrates its importance as a basic human need. Failure to fulfill this necessity leaves us metaphorically ‘dead’ as without any ties to the real world, our existence becomes futile and meaningless. Therefore to avoid becoming both emotionally and spiritually barren, it is imperative that we are able to satisfy this basic need to belong through a sense of acceptance in society.

French Poet Arthur Rimbauds famous musing “I Is Another” succinctly explicates the inherent human desire to belong to a greater identity. To satiate this desire, we attempt to affiliate ourselves with groups that not only share our values and beliefs but also value and respect the contribution our presence makes to the group. This sense of acceptance can be as simple as a loving family relationship, a strong sense of belonging to a social clique or stereotype or through strong ties with ones community. The portrayal of the Amish in ‘Witness’ is one such example of how a communal society that acts as a single entity can fulfill the individual requirements for belonging through delegated social roles. The noteworthy barn raising scene clearly illustrates how each member of the Amish community plays a part in the barn’s construction; the men perform  the woodwork and heavy labour, the women prepare the food and the children nail in the covering boards. Every member of society plays a part in the completion of a common goal and thus no one is left feeling isolated or redundant. Belonging to a social group replicates this notion. When we submit ourselves to a group’s collective identity, we implicitly agree to comply with their norms and expected behaviourisms, thus defining our social identity. While this may require compromises to our personal identity, our need to belong is ultimately fulfilled through clearly defined role in society.

 It is however, important to recognise that a sense of belonging can only be achieved through meaningful connections with our social group. While there will always be discrepancies between an individual and their group’s identity, complete misalignment between the two will have the same isolating effect as social solitude.  The character of John Book as portrayed in ‘Witness’ demonstrates how assimilation into a group differs from true belonging. While Book is tenuously accepted in the Amish society, the lack of any sustainable connection between his identity and that of the Amish as symbolised in his misfitting clothing invariably leaves his desire to find a place of acceptance unfulfilled. To avoid suffering Book’s predicament, it is crucial that the connections we make are substantial, rather than superficial. Therefore, to feel as though we ‘belong’ requires more than merely being part of a social group but an actual relationship with those around us. If we cannot establish the need for meaningful connections with our peers then we are left feel isolated and alone in a society we cannot relate with.

Failure to fulfill the basic human requirement of belonging leaves us isolated, alone and spiritually disoriented. When we lack the distinct social roles that a sense of belonging provides, we feel we contribute nothing to the world and that we cannot relate with others. The adverse effects of failing to ‘belong’ were reaffirmed by studies from psychologists Gotlib and Hammen who identified a clear correlation between a lack of healthy relationships and depression, reaffirming the notion that without a sense of belonging, we enter a state of spiritual and emotional inanition. If we are unable to fulfill Maslow’s requirement for belonging, then we cannot address his defined ‘higher needs’ of esteem self actualization, meaning our ability to contemplate our own identity is stunted.  Holden Caulfield, narrator of J.D Salinger’s famous novel ‘Catcher in the Rye’, is a prime example of someone who is unable to engage with his society, leaving his mind in a state of psychological tumult. Holden’s numerous failed attempts at connecting socially cause him to erratically shift character as he moves in and out of the various identities comprised in his psyche. Without the clearly defined rules and expectations that a sense of belonging provide, Holden’s mind lacks orchestration and cohesion, leaving his identity in a fragmented state. Reality parallels Salinger’s work of fiction. When we fail to fulfill the base human requirement of belonging, we lack the rules and expectations of a defined social role which inhibits our ability to identify who we are in the world. The need to belong is therefore an essential requirement that, if left unsatisfied, renders us socially and spiritually disoriented and alone.

As human beings we each require a sense of acceptance and place in society to validate who and what we are.  Belonging is an intrinsic human requirement. It helps us define ourselves through our social roles as well as refine of our ideals and values. If we fail to attain a sense of belonging, we are left emotionally desolate and become isolated from society. Thus, to avoid feeling alone, we rely on the acceptance and recognition of our family, peers and friends to reaffirm our own identity. As the late author, professor and contemporary philosopher Leo Buscaglia once said, “We need others. We need others to love and we need to be loved by them. There is no doubt that without it, we too, like the infant left alone, would cease to grow, cease to develop, choose madness and even death.”

 
Written Explanation:
For my sustained piece, I have chosen to draw on ideas encapsulated within this context study to explore the notion that a sense of belonging is a fundamental necessity for human existence and that without a feeling of acceptance, our lives become directionless. To fully explore this concept in its complexity, I’ve attempted to address the prompt in three main parts; is a sense of belonging a ‘basic need’? What are the ways we feel we belong and what happens if we fail to integrate into society? By addressing each of these key questions throughout my piece, I suggest that belonging is an essential human requirement as it reaffirms our existence in this world. I go on to explain that to fulfill this requirement, we seek out social groups that define our place in the world, however these groups need to accurately reflect our ideals and beliefs for us to truly belong. By looking at exceptional cases, I explore the effects that isolation and a failure to belong have on individuals, such as emotional and spiritual inanition, depression, isolation and confusion surrounding one’s identity.

I have drawn many of my ideas from those expressed in Peter Weir’s film ‘Witness’ and J.D Salinger’s novel ‘The Catcher in the Rye’, with particular focus on the benefits of a cohesive society in the former and the effects of social solitude in the latter. To gives my ideas credence, I have utilized the works of renowned psychologists such as Abraham Maslow, whose ‘Hierarchy of Needs’ theory states belonging as one of the five essential requirements for human existence. I have also drawn on the works of psychologists Ian Gotlib and Constance Habben to establish the connection that weak social relationships have with feelings of depression and isolation.

I am writing primarily for an educated yet general audience. The ideas explored are applicable to most readers and while a number of references to aforementioned psychological concepts or studies are made, I’ve attempted to explain or integrate them in such a manner that reader inference is not required to deduce the intended message. To reflect my intended audience, I’ve chosen to write in an essay format in the expository form, maintaining a formal tone and authorial voice to add substantiality to my writing.

To maintain a formal register in my writing, I have adhered to the conventions of standard essay writing, including clear topic paragraphs that address the prompt in a logical and sequential order. Finally, I have avoided the use of first person pronouns, instead choosing to use collective, inclusive pronouns such as ‘we’ and ‘us’  to emphasise that the ideas explored in my piece apply to humanity as a whole and not just particular individuals.



This essay was given a 9/10 by an examiner (I personally despised it and was quite surprised with the score):
Quote
‘Belonging strengthens identity, rather than challenging it.’

   As human beings, it is engrained in our psyche to seek out the acceptance of others because we are aware of its potential benefits, particularly as it allows greater level of self expression. When we are disconnected from others, we tend to view our own ideals and values unfavourably because they are ‘different’ from the rest of society. Conversely, when we feel we belong to a group that shares mutual beliefs and ideals, we feel more confident in expressing ourselves because our views appear ‘normal’. Another benefit of belonging to a group is that it helps to define the expected boundaries of our character through our assigned social role. This helps to strengthen our own sense of self because these social rules outline our liberties and limits in a social context. To gain a sense of acceptance, however, requires compromise. Because there will inevitably be conflict between the views of the individual and that of the group, we must often conceal or renounce elements of our true character that our contradictory to the group’s collective identity. This means belonging will invariably challenge our identity by forcing us to uphold our own values or to conform to the will of the group. Literature such as Salinger’s renowned ‘Catcher in the Rye’ and film such as Peter Weir’s ‘Witness’ depict how a sense of belonging can benefit or hinder our personal development. Clear from social experiments and observation is that these ideas expressed in these texts are not fictitious but instead apply almost universally in society, bar exceptional cases.

Evolution has taught us that there is strength in group membership. When the Amish community works together in Witness, they can achieve feats unattainable by individuals.  Like most teams, when the Amish work as a group, they are physically stronger, smarter and more efficient because of the collective power of a number of minds and bodies working in unison. In a similar way, working in a group strengthens us spiritually. The members of the Amish community find their spiritual commitment to God is strengthened when they operate in a tight-knit community where everyone supports one another. Their sense of empowerment reflects that of many groups which encourage expression of mutual beliefs. Like the Amish, we find a strength in conformity and unison that reduces the awkwardness of self-expression. When Amish member Daniel was mocked by a gang of youths, the presence of his community helped him to abide by his religious commitments to a life of pacifism. Daniel’s experience reflects those where individuals find their personal integrity strengthened when they have the support of a group backing them. Like in Amish society, belonging to a group of like-minded individuals helps to instil confidence from group conformity. When others reflect our personal beliefs, we feel less isolated and alone. Consequently, because of the confidence that arises out of conformity and a sense of normality, we may be more comfortable expressing ourselves. A sense of belonging therefore can strengthen our personal identity because the support of others can help us better express our own beliefs.

A sense of belonging can also help strengthen identity by assigning us defined social roles. When the Amish community raise the barn, each member of the community is delegated a specific role, from preparing food to managing the woodwork. The specific roles within the Amish community are similar to the roles assigned in any group. These roles may be implicit or explicit, yet both help to strengthen identity by outlining how others expect us to behave.  As a police officer, John Book had the explicit role of someone who upholds the law. His role, like that of others, dictates how he should act under given circumstances. Because of the expectations of his job, Book was more likely to uphold his personal belief in justice. This relationship between social role and identity is reflected in others who adopt social roles that reflect personal beliefs. We are more likely to uphold our own values if we are under some form of obligation to do so. Roles however, do not have to be explicit. In a classroom environment, there will likely only be two explicit roles – the teacher and the student – however amongst students there may be a range of implied roles such as a bully, a class clown and the teacher’s pet. The expectations of these roles are defined by society and what they expect from these types of people. While there are no specific rules or conventions for such roles, we are inclined to behave in a way that is synonymous with our designated ‘identity’ so that we meet other people’s expectations. A class clown for instance would be expected to make frequent jokes and because of their social identity and may even get away with actions that others would be condemned or criticized for. Because these social roles give us an obligation to behave in a certain way, they can be seen to strengthen identity.

In order to belong, however, our personal identity may be challenged. When John Book discovered the corruption that plagued police institution, he had to decide whether to compromise his personal beliefs to remain in the group or voice his objections and be excluded. His dilemma is shared by many who feel that belonging undermines personal identity because in order to belong, they must change ourselves to become accepted by our peers. Homogeneity is often essential to the fundamental operation of a group. Consequently most groups will have little tolerance for deviants. This may mean that in order to maintain our position in a group, the will of the group must be put in front of our own values. For instance, the US military introduced a ‘Don’t ask don’t tell’ policy that forbid homosexuals from being open about their sexuality. The decision was designed to promote uniformity amongst soldiers, as it was feared that anyone who was different from the norm would ignite unrest. Many homosexuals were consequently forced to live behind a ‘mask’ if they wished to remain in the army. Those who openly expressed their identity were excluded from the group by being decommissioned. Many people, like Holden, reject this notion that to belong requires uniformity. In Holden’s eyes, and in the eyes of many individuals, people who conform and compromise their identity to maintain a sense of belonging are ‘phonies’ who lack the fortitude to uphold their own beliefs. Many people thus perceive belonging as something that challenges identity because it forces individuals to change who they are for fear of group exclusion.

While belonging can strengthen an individual’s sense of self by promoting certain behaviour, it can also challenge a person’s core beliefs when their own views contradictory to the views of their group. Like John Book, many people are defined by their social roles, but when conflict inevitably arises due to difference of opinion, our position in the group becomes challenged. We must then decide whether belonging is more important to us than personal integrity. To some, it is better to uphold personal beliefs. Like Holden these types of people may forgo social groups to preserve individuality. Others however, will derive a considerably amount of their identity from group membership and are willing to contort their identity in order to fit in. A sense of belonging can therefore support or detract from our personal identity.

Hope this helps someone and good luck English students of 2010.

dejan91

  • Victorian
  • Forum Leader
  • ****
  • Posts: 825
  • Without risk, there is no adventure.
  • Respect: +7
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2009, 12:10:31 am »
+5
I'll join :) I started writing this one just to have some fun (obviously excluding the written explanation), but my teacher ended up liking it.

Context: Issues of identity and belonging
Prompt: There is always some impetus to start us on our personal journey


Written Explanation

I chose to write my piece in the form of a short story continuing after J.D. Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’. Upon returning home, Holden, the novel’s protagonist, has been asked to explicitly document his thoughts on a weekly basis by psychoanalysts. My piece contains two of these entries by Holden. I chose to write a short story as I felt an expository or persuasive piece wouldn’t have articulated and explored the key words “impetus” and “personal journey” in as much depth. I will be exploring issue of identity and belonging, and have drawn on key ideas presented in J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” such as phoniness. The piece is aimed at adolescence and young adults of the 1950’s. The reason for this is that I believe this audience is at a stage in their life where, just like Holden, they need an impetus to start them on their journey of self-discovery. The language also reflects the teenage colloquial speech of the time. In order to emulate Salinger’s style of writing, I have focused more on the psychological progression rather than a physical plot, and have frequently digressed from the main idea to seemingly disjointed ideas. I have also employed many of the colloquial expressions that distinguish his language use. This includes using terms such as:
- “Gonna” as a substitute for “going to”, and “helluva” instead of “hell of a”.
- Explicit words “goddamn”, “bastard”, “some crap”, “sonuvabitch”.
Moreover, I have used the following for the reasons given:
-“Guys like that only ever do things because it’s their job”. This shows that Holden cannot yet acknowledge the reality he faces. It is a reality in which the people around him – the ‘phony’ adults – must at times deny their true identity in order to be part of a functioning society.
-The fact that Holden is still “horsing around” before coming across his impetus suggest that he is still uncertain of who he truly is, and thus attempting different personas.
- “People are never th
ere when you look for them”. This is ironic in the way that Holden spent much of his time in “The Catcher in the Rye” almost crying out for help, desperately wanting someone to rescue him, and yet still the notion that he is alone remains in him.
- I considered writing “I’m crazy” following “…in such a goddamn rush”. However I felt that without “I’m crazy”, it better exemplified the change in Holden as a result of his impetus. He no longer regards himself in that way.
Prior to composing my piece, I contemplated whether or not there is always an impetus, and deduced that there is reasoning behind every action. Even in Holden’s chaotic and disconcerted mind, there is always a motive driving his actions. In my short story, Holden’s impetus comes when Jane asks him “what are you doing, now?”. At that point, Holden finally admits to himself, or is able to see, that he is living a wasted, unfulfilling life. He is determined to make an effort at belonging to a school community. Considering his dislike for ‘phony’ prep schools, Holden fittingly decides to attend a public high school. It is significant that despite everything Holden has been through, he has not as yet received the impetus he truly needs. Jane is this hidden impetus that Holden was so reluctant to contact in “The Catcher in the Rye”.



The actual piece...

Saturday, 17 October, 1951
If you really want to know the truth, I still don’t feel like telling you about everything that happened. I know it’s been a month and all since I last told you about it, but I don’t. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t write a single goddam word anymore. I swear it. Thing is, it isn’t up to me. You see, when I was leaving that crumby hospital place, they made me – the psychoanalyst guys – they made me write in a diary every week. They said it was to monitor my thought patterns or some crap, see if I’ve changed since I got there. I don’t think I’ve changed. I mean, I don’t think I’ve changed at all. But old Phoebe does. She reckons I’ve changed a lot. I don’t feel any different, that’s for sure. I think if someone changes or something happens, you’re meant to feel it. Otherwise, how would you know you’ve changed? You wouldn’t, is what I’m saying. Suppose you hit yourself on a park bench or something, and suppose it hurts – enough to leave a bruise. You know you’ve changed. You can feel it for Christ sake.  I really think Phoebe’s the one who’s changed. She’s all grown up now. I know it’s only been a month since I last saw her, but she has. She still has my hunting hat too – she loves it. She even showed me all these photos of her wearing it during the summer with her friends. Old Phoebe. She killed me.

Anyway, I couldn’t stand it in that hospital place anymore. Honest to God I couldn’t. I‘m not going to tell you everything about it now, but they had this one psychoanalyst guy, Dr. Jackson, he was the biggest phony in the whole goddam place. What he’d do, he’d come in to your room, and he’d sit on a chair next to you with this serious face on and all. Strictly professional. Then, he’d start talking to you in this serious voice, just like one you hear in the pictures. He’d start telling you about how to find the direction of your mind, and how we all need purpose in life to get anywhere. He sounded a lot like Mr. Antolini to tell you the truth, about finding the size of your heart and all. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he was a helluva nice guy, but you could tell he only did it because it was his job. I hate it when people act differently around other people because it’s their job or something. I really do. Anyway, the whole time he was talking, I wasn’t listening. Instead, all I did was nod my head like a madman and pretend to listen. I know what you’re thinking, I should have listened. Boy do I know it. Trouble was I didn’t really feel like it. You have to be in the mood to listen to psychoanalyst guys like Dr. Jackson.

Anyway, I was home alone, so I decided to finally give old Jane a buzz. You know, just to see how she’s been going. I was walking down the hall towards the phone, then all of a sudden, for no good reason, I started acting like some old sonuvabitch. What I did was I pretended my back hurt and I needed a walking cane, so I bent my back and started walking real slow. Like real slow. Grandpa slow. I kept on yelling out “Oh, I’m going to get you now, sonny boy! I’m going to get you! Just you watch it!”, and shaking my finger with the other hand that wasn’t holding on to my walking cane. Of course, I was only horsing around, and I quit it once I got to the phone. Then, I dialled Jane’s number.

 “Hello. Hi, Jane. It’s…it’s”. My voice was shaky as hell. “…it’s me. Holden Caulf -”. Then, I did something stupid.  I hung up. Right after I said half my damn name. Don’t ask me why I did it, I just did. Right after that, the phone rang.

“Holden? Holden Caulfield? Was that you a second ago?” Boy, was I nervous.

“Jane! It was me just a second ago, you’ll have to excuse my phone playing up. Anyway, how are ya? No kidding, how are ya?"
 
“I’m splendid thank you very much. How have you been? I haven’t spoken to you in years!” She wasn’t kidding either. I don’t even remember that last time I talked to her. Honest.

“Swell. Listen, I was wondering, do you feel at all like catching up on Monday? You know, just the two of us. Nothing special, lunch and a game of checkers is all. Do you? For old time’s sake? It’s just I haven’t seen you in an awfully long time and I’d really like to and–“.

“Holden, slow down! I’d love to go with you on Monday. That would be splendid. Trouble with Monday, Holden, is we both have school” I forgot. What a moron I was. It’s been so damn long since I’ve been to school - two months in fact - I forgot everyone else started last month. “How about tomorrow?” Today was Saturday.

“Tomorrow? Sunday? Sure, no problem. Sunday is good. Sunday is grand” When I’m nervous I sure as hell know how to talk fast. I’m not kidding. “Say, 1 o’clock outside Grand Central Station?”
“Splendid. See you then”.

On the count that I didn’t want to be late for my date with old Jane, I got there ten minutes before one o’clock. It was quite busy at Grand Central, and I was wondering if I could find the nuns I talked to all that time ago. They weren’t there. I wasn’t surprised. People are never there when you look for them. Finally, Jane showed up. Jane Gallagher. What a sight.

 “Holden Caulfield, it’s been so long! How have you been?” Boy, she sure was excited to see me. I like that, when someone is excited to see you or something.

“I’m marvellous, just marvellous. Listen, hey, you wanna eat something? I’m hungry, you wanna eat something?

“Sure, no problem. I’d love to eat.”

What we did, we made our way to some fancy diner and took a seat right next to the window. Naturally, I pulled up a seat for her, and naturally I waited until she sat down before I sat down. I’m a real gentleman like that, I really am.

 “Why, thank you Holden.  You’re awfully sweet” Damn straight I was. And you know what? I’ll bet you a thousand bucks that when Stradlater took old Jane out on a date, he went right on ahead and sat down before her, the bastard. He probably didn’t even pull her up a goddamn seat. What a jerk. If there’s anything I hate more than phonies, it’s jerks like Stradlater who don’t pull up a seat for their date.

 “Swell. Listen, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Which school do you go to now, B.M. or Shipley? Shipley or B.M? You didn’t say which one” I was genuinely interested too. I wasn’t just asking for the hell of it.

“Shipley. It’s a splendid little school. What school do you go to now Mr. Holden Caulfield? Still at Whooton?”

“Me? No, no school for me. I don’t really feel like it. No kidding. I really don’t”.

“Not in school you say. That’s interesting Holden. So what are you doing now? I mean, you’re obviously not in school, so what exactly are you doing? I’d love to know”. She really got me with that question. I mean, when someone asks you what you’re doing, how do you answer when you don’t know what the hell it is you’re actually doing. You can’t answer it is what I’m saying.

“Listen, hey, I have to go. No kidding. I have to go and do something important. It was swell seeing you again, it really was. We should meet up some other time, we really should. Bye. See ya”. Then I beat it on old Jane before she even said a word. I know it wasn’t the smoothest thing to do. I admit it. I don’t even know I was in such a goddamn rush. I just had this good feeling all of a sudden. It was strange. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this way before. I mean sure I’ve felt like this before, but not exactly like this. I don’t know what I mean by that, but I mean it.

Saturday, 24 October, 1951
You’re probably wondering what I did after I beat it on old Jane. I mean, if I were reading this, I would be too. So I’ll tell you. What I did, I went straight home from the diner in Grand Central. I didn’t even catch the bus or a taxi or anything. I just ran. All I was thinking about the whole time I was running was going back to school. But this time, I wasn’t going to go to any phony prep school like Whooton or Pencey or anything where they serve steak on Sundays or something. All I wanted to do was go to this one school I’d always passed by but didn’t notice much, Hunter West High School. It was nice and close to home – walking distance in fact – and I could sleep at home and see Phoebe all the time. I got excited just thinking about it. So what I did when I got home, I talked to my parents about going there. They weren’t too keen on the idea, I’ll admit it, but they ended up deciding it was better than me staying home all the time.  To tell you the truth, even if they did tell me I couldn’t go, I probably would have changed their mind. I’m very persistent you see.

 It was Sunday that day, and I started on Monday. No kidding, it was that quick. They usually give you a whole goddamn book of forms to fill in before they even let you near the goddamn school. Forms about where you live, what your parents do, even why you want to go there. I hate that. When a school or something makes you fill in a whole book of forms just because they want to know everything about you. They should be the ones filling in the forms, so they can tell you who they are. Anyway, Hunter West didn’t do that; they let me in right away. I was glad they did. I didn’t really feel like filling in any goddamn stupid forms.

 I know what you’re probably thinking, how can I go to public high school like Hunter West when my dad is a hotshot lawyer? The thing is, I can. The way I see it, you can choose to go to whichever school you want, even if your dad is a hotshot lawyer or something. I really liked it there too. More than any other school I’d been to. Honest to God.  What I liked about it, everyone told you what they thought straight away. I mean, if they didn’t like the shirt you were wearing, or something you said, they’d tell you. Even better, there was no one asking you if they could borrow your Hound’s-tooth jacket because they didn’t have one and then stretching it, or cutting their nails all over your table even though you told them not to a thousand times. There’s this one kid at Hunter West, Jonathan Remus, and boy did I hate him the first time I saw him. All I kept thinking to myself was how much of a conceited bastard he must be. Then one day I forgot my lunch money - at Hunter West they have a canteen and all where you buy your lunch from everyday, and you have to bring your own lunch money - so what he did the day I forgot my lunch money, he gave me his money. I didn’t even ask him to do it, he just did. The strange thing is, everyone here is like that. Everyone here is offering you their lunch money or something. No one has to pretend to care who has the better suitcase because, in the first place, you don’t need a suitcase if you go to Hunter West. The best part of all, I haven’t met one jerk since I got here, I swear to God I haven’t. And you know what?  I think I’ll stay this time. For the first time in my crumby life, I think I’ll stay. I mean, I want to stay. I really do.  As much as I want to think it’s up to me, it’s not up to me, so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what happens.



Yes, it's very long. And no, I didn't copy plot from the book.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2009, 12:30:48 am by dejan91 »
When I get sad, I stop being sad, and be AWESOME instead. True story.

TrueTears

  • TT
  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 16369
  • Respect: +656
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #11 on: December 19, 2009, 03:05:39 pm »
+3
Thought I'd contribute a little bit.

Richard III essays.

“Richard tries to seduce his audience as well as his enemies.” Does he succeed?

“King Richard III” proved to be extremely popular in Shakespeare’s time. Its popularity among the Elizabethans was not simply because of good entertainment but it reflected the social and political unease of the time and engaged with many of the anxieties of its first audiences. The play directly addresses the sense of English nationhood that was so encouraged by the Tudors. The play reflects the often corrupt times of late Elizabethan England, personal ambition and lust for power generate hypocrisy, dishonesty and a lack of trust. The play’s preoccupation with appearance and reality, pretence and seeming, echoes the nature of drama itself. Richard knowingly plays the actor, someone who pretends. He is the arch-deceiver and his skills as actor and manipulator enable him to use false words and appearances to fool other characters. His enthusiasm for sharing these skills with an audience, while other characters are on stage and unaware of what is happening, provides much of the play’s fascination. Richard seeks to seduce the audience and many other characters through his brilliant speeches. The opening soliloquy shows us what a masterful speaker Richard is; it immediately captures the audiences’ attention. Richard continues to grasp the audiences’ awareness in Act 1 Scene 3 where he hides his true intentions as Margaret repeatedly curses him. The wooing of Anne demonstrates Richard’s brilliance as a manipulator of people. However as the play progresses Richard begins to lose his elegance in speech and fails to replicate his sagacity.

Richard’s brilliance in speech allows him to grab the audience’s attention. King Richard III is the only Shakespearean play to begin with a soliloquy spoken by the protagonist. Its effect is to plunge the audience with remarkable suddenness into Richard’s inner world. His deformed body hides a brilliant and witty mind, while his breathtaking honesty about himself and delight into his own cleverness quickly casts its spell over the audience. His love of intrigue and malicious plotting against those who stand in his way are evident in his opening soliloquy where, alienated and alone, he shares his innermost thoughts with the audience. The opening lines seem to celebrate an England readjusting from war to peace, but since they are spoken by Richard, they set the tone of mocking irony that will characterize much of the play. “Now is the winter of our discontent, made glorious summer by this son of York.” Before the end of the scene the audience learns that “this son of York” is close to death and Richard is plotting to remove all who stand in his way to England’s throne. The end of the bloody civil war is to be a very brief “summer” and present peace is to prove first fragile, then illusory. Richard caricatures the celebrations as hallow: “stern alarums” have changed to “merry meetings” and “dreadful marches” have become “delightful measures”. Richard begins to reflect on his deformity. While others delight in the “amorous looking glass” that shows their beauty, Richard’s misshapen body creates a “shadow in the sun” that alienates him from others and their pleasures. Immediately, Elizabethan audiences will realize that Richard’s psychical deformity held special significance, they viewed it as a manifestation of his inner corruption. Richard himself is brutally honest about his appearance; he admits to being imperfectly shaped and blames premature birth for his condition. His defiance against everyone is expressed in the words he chooses to describe himself, “[he] was cheated…unfinished…half made up” and “dogs bark at him” as he passes by because of his deformity. It is clear that Richard uses his deformity as a tool to gain the sympathy of the audience and thus gain our trust. Richard ironically rejects the role of a lover and declares his true intention to be a villain and to gain power. “And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover…I am determined to prove a villain.” In declaring his intention to be evil, critics find Shakespeare’s portrayal of villainy resembles the character of the Vice in medieval morality plays. The Vice was a villainous servant of the devil who trapped people into sin by charm, wit and double-dealing. The Vice often confided in the audience, encouraging them to delight in his cleverness, just as Richard now does. It is clear that Richard is able to brilliantly control the audience’s impression of him, thus enabling this manipulative protagonist to work his charms on the audience.

Richard’s ability to use a variety of language techniques allows him to attract the audience every time he is on stage. For example, in Act 1 Scene 3, Richard’s entrance immediately dispels any hope of reconciliation as typically he carries the attack to his enemies. Hypocritically playing the role of a “plain” man wounded by a corrupt and self-centered court, Richard launches a blistering attack on Elizabeth and the Woodvilles. For example, he lists his grievances: they have complained to King Edward; commoners are being ennobled beyond reason; they are the cause of Clarence’s and Hastings’ imprisonment.  Richard’s words are full of double meaning and innuendo as he accuses Elizabeth and the Woodvilles. He claims he speaks “simple truth” but people mistake his outward appearance. It is clear that Richard manages to charm the audience through the display of his calculated hypocrisy and his ability to cover up his villainy by putting the other characters on the defense heightens the audiences’ liking for him. The entrance of Margaret allows Richard to display his wonderful abilities in speech. Margaret has much in common wit the chorus in Greek tragedy, some critics have even described her as a “living ghost”, resurrected by Shakespeare to crystallize past events. Richard and Margaret use similar language as they curse and accuse each other of past horrific crimes. Margaret calls Richard a “dog”, an “elvish-marked, abortive, rooting hog.” However for a curse to be effective, the person cursed must be named, Richard’s quick-witted interruption ensures it is Margaret who is cursed. The audience is again reminded of Richard’s cleverness and his ability to quickly adapt to the situation. Richard appears to forgive Margaret after she leaves, hypocritically hiding behind the language of religion: “by God’s holy mother”, “repent” and “God pardon.” In his soliloquy he ironically quotes St Matthew’s gospel in the Bible, Richard asserts “God bids us do good for evil” and triumphantly concludes “And thus I clothe my naked villainy… And seem a saint when most I play the devil.” Elizabethan audiences would perceive Richard’s mock piety as blasphemy, a sin that would consign his soul to hell and everlasting suffering after death. But a contemporary audience would have seen Richard’s words and actions as a profound indignity that must invoke God’s wrath.

Richard is able to seduce his enemies through wordplay, wit and cunningness. The wooing of Anne demonstrates this. In Act 1 Scene 2, from lines 33-155, it begins with Richard’s sudden and violent entrance. In language that is the opposite to courtship he commands, then threatens the mourners, “Villains set down the corpse, or by Saint Paul, I’ll make a corpse of him that disobeys.” Anne’s reaction to Richard combines two of the most potent Elizabethan fears: the power of the supernatural and of eternal damnation. Anne demonizes Richard in her opening words to him. He is a “fiend”, “the devil” and a “minister of hell.” Her command to him “avaunt” was accepted as an effective way of banishing supernatural beings. Richard’s cunning mind immediately turns the situation to his moral advantage. The blameless mourner (Anne) is forced to play the accuser as she invokes first superstitious belief, then revenge, “heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead” and finally hellish possession, “his hell-governed arm.”  Shakespeare incorporates the use of stichomythia during the verbal duel between Richard and Anne. It imitates rapid exchanges, repetitions and contrasts which were often found in the plays of the first-century Roman dramatists Seneca. The effect of words being returned back and forth adds to the rhythm of the dialogue. Furthermore, this quickfire repartee, with its formal and artificial qualities, was much enjoyed by Elizabethan audiences as it was designed to show off the ingenious wit and intellectual cleverness of the actors, thus it reinforces Richard’s sharpness in this scene. Richard continues his act, in an outrageous move he proposes to “lie” with Anne in her bedchamber and in a typical reversal of roles, he daringly blames her for his actions, “Your beauty was the cause of that effect, Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep to undertake the death of all the world.” The flamboyant actor wins the day, delighting in wordplay, Richard’s lines turn Anne’s image of the eyes of a monster into his own that weep for Anne’s beauty. He kneels at Anne’s feet and “lays his breast open” twice urging Anne to stab him. She cannot and this is the turning point of the scene. Richard says, “Look how my ring encompasseth thy finger.” The ring symbolizes Richard’s triumph. Performers and critics continue to discover exciting and diverse interpretations of this powerful scene. For example, on stage, Antony Sher’s Richard was brutal. He expressed his deformity and sexuality by slipping his crutch under Anne’s skirt. Famous poet W H Auden believed that Richard’s primary satisfaction “is the exercise of power over others against their will. Richard does not really deserve Anne: what he enjoys is successfully wooing a lady whose husband and father-in-law has been killed.”

As the play progresses, Richard begins to lose his ability to charm his enemies. In Act 4 Scene 4, from lines 197-436, Richard attempts to woo young Princess Elizabeth through her mother, Richard attempts victory but Elizabeth proves a worthy adversary. The episode begins with Elizabeth anticipating Richard’s wishes and protecting her daughters who “shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens”. Feminist critics argue this powerful opening statement reveals that Elizabeth wants her daughters, not the men in the play, to have control over their bodies. Elizabeth ironically uses the vicious rumours Richard had spread about the illegitimacy of her children to save young Elizabeth, “Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed”. Richard then argues the advantages to Elizabeth as a grandmother but Elizabeth responds with a series of questions to Richard’s proposal as she mockingly asks “under what title shall I woo for thee?” What follows as Elizabeth counters Richard’s arguments is again a quickfire exchange of stichomythia, often using balanced, antithetical pairing of sentences. It mirrors a similar exchange with Anne. In this back and forth exchange, Elizabeth accuses Richard of disregarding three basic principles that govern a stable society, “God, law, honour”. Richard’s final argument to Elizabeth is the strongest – the state will collapse without this marriage alliance, “Death, desolation, ruin and decay.” Elizabeth agrees to Richard that she will talk to her daughter into marrying him however most interpretations show her as fooling Richard. Critics identify parallels with his wooing of Anne. Both episodes are expressed in formal, often stylized language that uses repetition and antithesis and both episodes form part of the larger structure of the play. The successful wooing of Anne balances the attempted wooing of young Elizabeth. Richard’s earlier success with Anne reflected his mesmerizing power and growing success at that point in the play; however his endeavour to convince Elizabeth signals those powers weakening.

Ultimately, Richard is able to succeed in seducing his enemies and the audience in the earlier parts of the play. He is able to use his brilliant wordplay, language techniques, cunningness and wit to charm the audience and deceive the enemy. However as the play progresses we see Richard’s ‘powers’ slowly weakening, as depicted in his verbal duel with Elizabeth, he is unable to produce the elegance in his speech and he loses his astuteness. Hence Richard loses his ability to seduce his enemies as the play comes to an end.  



Damn word length, can't put all the essays in one post :(
« Last Edit: December 19, 2009, 03:09:50 pm by TrueTears »
Currently studying: PhD in economics at MIT.

Interested in financial economics, econometrics, and asset pricing.

TrueTears

  • TT
  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 16369
  • Respect: +656
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #12 on: December 19, 2009, 03:06:06 pm »
+3
“When Richard becomes King, he loses control of himself as well as of England.” Discuss

Shakespeare’s “Richard III” reflects the often corrupt times of the Pre-Tudor England, personal ambition and lust for power generate hypocrisy, dishonesty and a lack of trust. Famous critic A C Bradley views the play as a tragedy that has a special application. He sees tragedy as a process where, paradoxically, after catastrophe, order and unity are restored. Although there is conflict and waste, evil is eventually overcome. This idea of suffering which must be endured under evil Richard before peace is restored by Richmond was a critical approach that has remained popular. It is clear that in “Richard III” the theme of rising and falling from power is explored through Richard. In the first three acts a charismatic Richard successfully removes anyone who stands in his way to kingship; playing a variety of roles with malicious enjoyment. However when he is finally offered the crown, his greatest triumph heralds his downturn in fortune. Thus not only does Richard ultimately lose control over himself but he also loses his authority over England.

Richard’s ability to manipulate and deceive other characters allows him to gain power. In Act 1 Scene 1, Richard declares his true intention to be a villain and gain power, “And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover…I am determined to prove a villain.” In declaring his intention to be evil, critics find Shakespeare’s portrayal of villainy resembles the character of the Vice in medieval morality plays. The Vice was a villainous servant of the devil who trapped people into sin by charm, wit and double-dealing. The Vice often confided in the audience, encouraging them to delight in his cleverness, just as Richard now does, explaining his plot against Clarence. He tells the audience that he has arranged for King Edward to find his brother Clarence a threat and imprison him in the Tower of London. The success of Richard’s plot becomes immediately evident as Clarence enters, being escorted to the Tower of London. Richard swiftly adopts the role of a concerned brother, but almost all he says to Clarence is ironic. Richard does not want Clarence to have a “good” day and knows all the answers to his questions better than his brother. His comment that Clarence should be “new christened in the Tower” ominously forebodes what happens later in the play. Richard’s “brother farewell” and his promise that Clarence’s imprisonment “shall not be long” also holds sinister meanings: Clarence’s imminent death. In a powerfully dramatic moment illustrating the consequences of political instability and court intrigue, Clarence is escorted to the Tower as Hastings is released from it; here Shakespeare is contrasting the idea of imprisonment and freedom. Hastings’ imagery shows that he, like Clarence, is blind to Richard’s plotting: “More pity that the eagles should be mewed while kites and buzzards play at liberty.” This is also dramatically ironic because “Kites and buzzards” refer to the Woodvilles, who are inferior to the “eagles” (Clarence and Hastings) yet it is the superior birds that have been imprisoned. Hastings fails to see that in speaking to Richard he is addressing the real bird of prey. In his soliloquy that ends the scene, Richard reveals his brutal and evil plans with characteristic energy and humour. Imagining the future, the death of his two brothers will leave “the world for me to bustle in!” It is evident that through acting and deceiving Richard is able to gain authority and power.

Richard’s ability to play different roles is another aspect that he utilizes in his quest for domination. For example in Act 3 Scene 7, Richard appears on the balcony between two bishops, reading a book of prayer. It is one of the great comic and dramatic moments of the play. Richard delights in his role of mock piety, but many in the Elizabethan audience would be horrified by the sacrilegious image; ridiculing religion and divine law, Richard has set himself against God in his quest for the crown. As Buckingham appeals to Richard’s patriotism Richard continues his deceitful acting. Richard uses formal language that claims to be a struggle to conceal his true thoughts. He debates whether to be silent or to speak. His silence might be interpreted as acceptance of the crown; if he speaks it may seem like a reprimand to good friends. But even in his false humility Richard makes the distinction between his high “degree” and the lower “condition” of the citizens. Richard argues he is not fit to be monarch. He compares himself to a ship unfit to endure a great ocean, arguing he would rather avoid kingship than desire it and be overwhelmed by such an awesome responsibility. But “ripe revenue”, “due of birth” and the repetition of “me” and “my” reveals he is claiming the throne even as he appears to reject it. When Buckingham says “The royal tree hath left us royal fruit… will well become the seat of majesty and make (no doubt) us happy by his reign”, it marks the third occasion when the Lord Mayor and citizens have listened to slanderous rumour. This deeply ironic scene is often interpreted in many ways. For example, on film, Olivier veered dangerously out of control as Richard played up to Buckingham’s description of his virtues, “tenderness…gentle…kind” and dropped his prayer book in horror when Buckingham stated, “But we will plant some other in the throne.” Some productions make a long pause after Buckingham’s exit so Richard is genuinely afraid they will not return. His “call them again” has a note of genuine panic that often creates audience laughter. Richard accepts the crown in a hypocritical speech of great cunning. He shifts responsibility away from himself and onto those who imposed kingship on him. “Since you will buckle fortune on my back…I must have patience to endure the load.”  Repetition of the pronouns “I”, “you”, “your” and words meaning “burden” and “fault” reinforces his appearance of grudging acceptance. In Olivier’s film, Richard’s final action was to force Buckingham to kneel and kiss his hand in an act of submission. The end of this scene represents the beginning of Richard’s reign, however audiences may remember the inevitable cycle of revenge that will only end in Richard’s death.

As the play progresses we begin to see Richard’s power weakening and as a result he begins to slowly lose control of England. At the end of Act 4 Scene 4, three short sequences expose Richard’s deteriorating position and growing insecurity: he gives confused orders to Catesby and Ratcliffe; shows distrust of Stanley; and reacts illogically to the messengers’ reports. Ratcliffe brings news of Richmond’s threatened invasion and of unreliable allies, “hollow-hearted friends”. Richard’s orders are confused. He instructs Catesby to “fly to the duke” but forgets to give him the message. Within moments of commanding Ratcliffe to precede him to the city of Salisbury, Richard can not remember the reason for his order, and reverses it. Stanley reports that Richmond is about to invade, Richard’s response “is the chair empty?” can be a great dramatic moment. On film, Olivier screamed the line as he rushed to the throne to be reassured of his ownership. In this final episode, Shakespeare condenses two years of history. Shakespeare’s compression increases the dramatic effect. It conveys Richard’s rapidly weakening position and shows his impulsive reactions to the contradictory reports: confused orders, changes of mind, striking a messenger, hasting decisions taken without advice. All suggest a character under great stress, but even still his final words seem full of determination, “Away towards Salisbury! While we reason here a royal battle might be won and lost.” In Act 5 Scene 2, the alternating episodes from Richard’s camp to Richmond’s camp enable the audience to make direct comparisons and contrasts between the opposing sides. Richmond represents all that is opposite to Richard, he believes that God will support his just cause thus he puts his fate in God’s hands. This can be seen when Richmond interprets the promise of a fair weather, “a goodly day tomorrow” as an optimistic omen for the next day’s battle, suggesting that the sky will shine on him but frown on Richard. He is courteous to those under his command calling Blunt “good…sweet”. All of his attributes portray him to be the “all conquering hero” who will end Richard’s evil reign. The weakening of Richard’s mind and body is illustrated in his nightmare. Richard’s bloody deeds are compressed into a succession of brief nightmarish appearances that force him, through his dreams, to realize the enormity of his crimes. Richard knows he is a sinner, yet he can not repent. “Despair” is the ultimate Christian sin, it implies that Richard has put himself beyond the reach of God’s forgiveness and his soul will be forever damned. The ghosts’ formal language of repetition, balance and contrast reflects the language of the pageant or morality play. The stylized presentation, with its roots in early religious drama, implies that Richard’s opponent is God, not Richmond, implying that he has no chance of winning. The climax of Richard’s descent from power is highlighted when he says “A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!” In his moment of greatest need, the last king in Shakespeare’s great history cycle is reduced to wanting only a horse. Richard’s death gives the director unlimited opportunities to stage not only a thrilling climax, but also a personal interpretation of the play. In one production, a ghost entered when Richard was about to kill Richmond, saying “despair and die” and drained Richard of his power. In another Royal Shakespeare Company production, Margaret appeared and her presence enable Richmond to administer the deathblow. However one thing is clear: no matter what the interpretation is, it is clear that Richard ultimately fails to maintain his authority and control over his kingdom and thus led to his death.

As evidenced, Richard is able to succeed in gaining absolute power and domination through his ability to play different roles and through his brilliant speeches. Furthermore he deceives his enemies through language techniques, cunningness and wit. However we see that Richard is unable to sustain his power and thus he loses control of not only himself but also his country. As a famous critic, E M W Tillyard once said, “As long as good exists, peace will be restored.”
Currently studying: PhD in economics at MIT.

Interested in financial economics, econometrics, and asset pricing.

TrueTears

  • TT
  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 16369
  • Respect: +656
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #13 on: December 19, 2009, 03:07:54 pm »
+3
“Shakespeare’s Richard is a master of role play.” Discuss

Shakespeare’s “Richard III” is a play about acting, it reflects the often corrupt times of the Pre-Tudor England where courtiers have to hide their true allegiances and feelings in order to survive. Richard knowingly plays the actor, someone who pretends. He is the arch-deceiver and his skills as actor and manipulator enable him to use false words and appearances to fool other characters. His enthusiasm for sharing these skills with an audience, while other characters are on stage and unaware of what is happening, provides much of the play’s fascination. Richard takes on the role of a consummate actor as he plots to seize the crown. In the earlier sections of the play Richard plays many roles: devoted brother to Clarence and the one who shows mock amiability followed by mock fury with Hastings at the council meeting. Richard is even more audacious in his role-play as Buckingham joins him in their melodramatic pretence to fool the Lord Mayor that they are under attack. However not all the characters are taken in by his deceptions. Elizabeth recognizes the dangers that Richard poses from the very start. Margaret sees Richard for what he is and throughout the play she warns all who will listen of his evil nature.

Richard’s ability to adopt different roles allows him to manipulate and deceive others. In Act 1 Scene 1, Richard declares his true intention to be a villain and gain power, “And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover…I am determined to prove a villain.” He tells the audience that he has arranged for King Edward to find his brother Clarence a threat and imprison him in the Tower of London. The success of Richard’s plot becomes immediately evident as Clarence enters, being escorted to the Tower of London. Richard swiftly adopts the role of a concerned brother, but almost all he says to Clarence is ironic. Richard does not want Clarence to have a “good” day and knows all the answers to his questions better than his brother. His comment that Clarence should be “new christened in the Tower” ominously forebodes what happens later in the play. Richard’s “brother farewell” and his promise that Clarence’s imprisonment “shall not be long” also holds sinister meanings: Clarence’s imminent death. In Act 3 Scene 4, Richard adopts the role of a fake ‘friend’. Buckingham argues that he knows Richard’s outward appearance but not his inward thoughts, “We know each other’s faces…he knows no more of mine than I of yours”. This is sharply contrasted with Hastings claiming a closer relationship Richard, “I know he loves me well”. This highlights the fact that Hastings is a foolish and over-confident character. Survival in these dangerous times lies in the ability to correctly judge a person’s real nature and not to be misled by external signs. Hastings will not survive because he demonstrates a fatal inability to distinguish between Richard’s “face” and “heart”. He also fails to grasp the wider perspective: he is playing the role of a foolish and trusting courtier assigned to him by two practiced deceivers. Too late he will realize the foolish of believing, “for by his face straight shall you know his heart.” Not only does this show that Richard is a mater of role play but he is also able to conceal his intentions leaving other characters clueless.

An important factor that allows Richard to be a master of role play is his ability to seduce his enemies with brilliant wordplay. In Act 3 Scene 5, Shakespeare draws upon his theatrical experience to portray how Richard and Buckingham feign fear and terror in a brilliantly stage-managed scene to convince the Lord Mayor that Hastings had plotted against them and deserved execution without trial. Appearing in old and rusty armour, “rotten armour, marvelous ill-favoured” they rush around the stage frantically warding off imaginary enemies. This can be seen as a parody of contemporary Elizabethan tragedy which artfully simulates danger. Richard’s subtle invocation of Christian ethics, “That breathed upon the earth a Christian” manages to persuade the Mayor. Critics note that Richard ironically adopts the role previously played by Hastings: an uncomplicated man who has foolishly failed to distinguish Hastings’ harmless face from his false heart. Thus the Lord Mayor becomes another of Richard’s victims as he fails to distinguish the cruel reality behind the honest appearance. Furthermore, in Act 3 Scene 7, Richard appears on the balcony between two bishops, reading a book of prayer. It is one of the great comic and dramatic moments of the play. Richard delights in his role of mock piety, but many in the Elizabethan audience would be horrified by the sacrilegious image; ridiculing religion and divine law, Richard has set himself against God in his quest for the crown. He compares himself to a ship unfit to endure a great ocean, arguing he would rather avoid kingship than desire it and be overwhelmed by such an awesome responsibility. But “ripe revenue”, “due of birth” and the repetition of “me” and “my” reveals he is claiming the throne even as he appears to reject it. This deeply ironic scene is often interpreted in many ways. For example, on film, Olivier veered dangerously out of control as Richard played up to Buckingham’s description of his virtues, “tenderness…gentle…kind” and dropped his prayer book in horror when Buckingham stated, “But we will plant some other in the throne.” Some productions make a long pause after Buckingham’s exit so Richard is genuinely afraid they will not return, thus depicting the brilliance of Richard’s role play. Richard accepts the crown in a hypocritical speech of great cunning. He shifts responsibility away from himself and onto those who imposed kingship on him. “Since you will buckle fortune on my back…I must have patience to endure the load.”  Repetition of the pronouns “I”, “you”, “your” and words meaning “burden” and “fault” reinforces his appearance of grudging acceptance.

Whilst Richard is able to fool most characters with his amazing acting abilities there exist characters that see through him. For example in Act 4 Scene 4 from lines 197 – 436, the episode begins with Elizabeth anticipating Richard’s wishes and protecting her daughters who “shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens”. Feminist critics argue this powerful opening statement reveals that Elizabeth wants her daughters, not the men in the play, to have control over them, thus exposing Richard’s ability to adopt different roles. Elizabeth ironically uses the vicious rumours Richard had spread about the illegitimacy of her children to save young Elizabeth, “Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed”. Richard then argues the advantages to Elizabeth as a grandmother but Elizabeth responds with a series of questions to Richard’s proposal as she mockingly asks “under what title shall I woo for thee?” What follows as Elizabeth counters Richard’s arguments is a quickfire exchange of stichomythia, often using balanced, antithetical pairing of sentences. It mirrors a similar exchange with Anne. In this back and forth exchange, we clearly see Elizabeth attacking Richard and this shows that she is aware of Richard’s evil plans. Richard’s final argument to Elizabeth is the strongest – the state will collapse without this marriage alliance, “Death, desolation, ruin and decay.” Elizabeth agrees to Richard that she will talk to her daughter into marrying him however most interpretations show her as fooling Richard. It is clear to the audience that Elizabeth is able to see through Richard’s acting and clearly has no intention of handing over young Elizabeth. Furthermore in Act 1 Scene 3, Margaret curses Richard knowing that he is deceiving everyone. Margaret’s dramatic function is to remind the characters of their past evil acts of treachery, deceit and murder. She has much in common with the chorus in Greek tragedy, commenting on the action and expressing her viewpoint in asides to the audience which highlights the ‘real’ Richard compared to how Richard presents himself. Richard’s accusations against Elizabeth are punctuated by Margaret’s choric asides which clearly indicate that she is not fooled by Richard and sees through his manipulation.

Ultimately, Richard is portrayed as a master role player through the entire play. He is able to deceive others through his brilliant wordplay, cunningness and wit. Furthermore, he adapts to situations quickly as depicted in the scene with Clarence. However characters such as Elizabeth and Margaret are able to see through his acting thus implying that even the most astucious character can have flaws.
Currently studying: PhD in economics at MIT.

Interested in financial economics, econometrics, and asset pricing.

TrueTears

  • TT
  • Honorary Moderator
  • Great Wonder of ATAR Notes
  • *******
  • Posts: 16369
  • Respect: +656
Re: English Work Examples Directory
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2009, 03:08:20 pm »
+3
“Richard’s success relies on the weakness of others.” Do you agree?

“King Richard III” proved to be extremely popular in Shakespeare’s time. Its popularity among the Elizabethans was not simply because of good entertainment but it reflected the social and political unease of the time and engaged with many of the anxieties of its first audiences. The play directly addresses the sense of English nationhood that was so encouraged by the Tudors. The play reflects the often corrupt times of late Elizabethan England, personal ambition and lust for power generate hypocrisy, dishonesty and a lack of trust. The play’s preoccupation with appearance and reality, pretence and seeming, echoes the nature of drama itself. Richard knowingly plays the actor, someone who pretends. He is the arch-deceiver and his skills as actor and manipulator enable him to use false words and appearances to fool other characters. Richard is able to exploit other characters’ weakness by taking up different roles as depicted in his conversation with Clarence. The wooing of Anne demonstrates Richard’s brilliance as a manipulator of people through his wonderful speeches. However, Richard is only able to exploit other people’s weakness to a certain extent; when he becomes King, he feels he has no need to play any other roles, thus he loses control over himself and is ultimately stripped from his position of power.

Richard’s ability to manipulate and deceive other characters leads him to his success. In Act 1 Scene 1, Richard declares his true intention to be a villain and gain power, “And therefore, since I cannot prove a lover…I am determined to prove a villain.” In declaring his intention to be evil, critics find Shakespeare’s portrayal of villainy resembles the character of the Vice in medieval morality plays. The Vice was a villainous servant of the devil who trapped people into sin by charm, wit and double-dealing. The Vice often confided in the audience, encouraging them to delight in his cleverness, just as Richard now does, explaining his plot against Clarence. He tells the audience that he has arranged for King Edward to find his brother Clarence a threat and imprison him in the Tower of London. The success of Richard’s plot becomes immediately evident as Clarence enters, being escorted to the Tower of London. Richard swiftly adopts the role of a concerned brother, but almost all he says to Clarence is ironic. Richard does not want Clarence to have a “good” day and knows all the answers to his questions better than his brother. His comment that Clarence should be “new christened in the Tower” ominously forebodes what happens later in the play. Richard’s “brother farewell” and his promise that Clarence’s imprisonment “shall not be long” also holds sinister meanings: Clarence’s imminent death. In a powerfully dramatic moment illustrating the consequences of political instability and court intrigue, Clarence is escorted to the Tower as Hastings is released from it; here Shakespeare is contrasting the idea of imprisonment and freedom. Hastings’ imagery shows that he, like Clarence, is blind to Richard’s plotting: “More pity that the eagles should be mewed while kites and buzzards play at liberty.” This is also dramatically ironic because “Kites and buzzards” refer to the Woodvilles, who are inferior to the “eagles” (Clarence and Hastings) yet it is the superior birds that have been imprisoned. Hastings fails to see that in speaking to Richard he is addressing the real bird of prey. In his soliloquy that ends the scene, Richard reveals his brutal and evil plans with characteristic energy and humour. Imagining the future, the death of his two brothers will leave “the world for me to bustle in!” It is evident that through acting and deceiving Richard is able to gain authority and power.

Richard is able to seduce his enemies through wordplay, wit and cunningness. The wooing of Anne demonstrates this. In Act 1 Scene 2, from lines 33-155, it begins with Richard’s sudden and violent entrance. In language that is the opposite to courtship he commands, then threatens the mourners, “Villains set down the corpse, or by Saint Paul, I’ll make a corpse of him that disobeys.” Anne’s reaction to Richard combines two of the most potent Elizabethan fears: the power of the supernatural and of eternal damnation. Anne demonizes Richard in her opening words to him. He is a “fiend”, “the devil” and a “minister of hell.” Her command to him “avaunt” was accepted as an effective way of banishing supernatural beings. Richard’s cunning mind immediately turns the situation to his moral advantage. The blameless mourner (Anne) is forced to play the accuser as she invokes first superstitious belief, then revenge, “heaven with lightning strike the murderer dead” and finally hellish possession, “his hell-governed arm.”  Shakespeare incorporates the use of stichomythia during the verbal duel between Richard and Anne. It imitates rapid exchanges, repetitions and contrasts which were often found in the plays of the first-century Roman dramatists Seneca. The effect of words being returned back and forth adds to the rhythm of the dialogue. Furthermore, this quickfire repartee, with its formal and artificial qualities, was much enjoyed by Elizabethan audiences as it was designed to show off the ingenious wit and intellectual cleverness of the actors, thus it reinforces Richard’s sharpness in this scene. Richard continues his act, in an outrageous move he proposes to “lie” with Anne in her bedchamber and in a typical reversal of roles, he daringly blames her for his actions, “Your beauty was the cause of that effect, Your beauty, that did haunt me in my sleep to undertake the death of all the world.” The flamboyant actor wins the day, delighting in wordplay, Richard’s lines turn Anne’s image of the eyes of a monster into his own that weep for Anne’s beauty. He kneels at Anne’s feet and “lays his breast open” twice urging Anne to stab him. She cannot and this is the turning point of the scene. Richard says, “Look how my ring encompasseth thy finger.” The ring symbolizes Richard’s triumph. Performers and critics continue to discover exciting and diverse interpretations of this powerful scene. For example, on stage, Antony Sher’s Richard was brutal. He expressed his deformity and sexuality by slipping his crutch under Anne’s skirt. Famous poet W H Auden believed that Richard’s primary satisfaction “is the exercise of power over others against their will. Richard does not really deserve Anne: what he enjoys is successfully wooing a lady whose husband and father-in-law has been killed.”

As the play progresses, Richard begins to lose his ability to charm his enemies. In Act 4 Scene 4, from lines 197-436, Richard attempts to woo young Princess Elizabeth through her mother, Richard attempts victory but Elizabeth proves a worthy adversary. The episode begins with Elizabeth anticipating Richard’s wishes and protecting her daughters who “shall be praying nuns, not weeping queens”. Feminist critics argue this powerful opening statement reveals that Elizabeth wants her daughters, not the men in the play, to have control over their bodies. Elizabeth ironically uses the vicious rumours Richard had spread about the illegitimacy of her children to save young Elizabeth, “Slander myself as false to Edward’s bed”. Richard then argues the advantages to Elizabeth as a grandmother but Elizabeth responds with a series of questions to Richard’s proposal as she mockingly asks “under what title shall I woo for thee?” During this conversation, we again witness a quickfire exchange of stichomythia, often using balanced, antithetical pairing of sentences. It mirrors a similar exchange with Anne. Furthermore, we clearly see Elizabeth attacking Richard and this shows that she is not deceived by Richard’s evil plans. In this back and forth exchange, Elizabeth accuses Richard of disregarding three basic principles that govern a stable society, “God, law, honour”. Richard’s final argument to Elizabeth is the strongest – the state will collapse without this marriage alliance, “Death, desolation, ruin and decay.” Elizabeth agrees to Richard that she will talk to her daughter into marrying him however most interpretations show her as fooling Richard. Critics identify parallels with his wooing of Anne. Both episodes are expressed in formal, often stylized language that uses repetition and antithesis and both episodes form part of the larger structure of the play. The successful wooing of Anne balances the attempted wooing of young Elizabeth. Richard’s earlier success with Anne reflected his mesmerizing power and growing success at that point in the play; however his endeavour to convince Elizabeth signals those powers weakening.

Evidently, Richard is able to manipulate other characters through his different roles demonstrated in his conversation to Clarence. He is able to use brilliant language techniques and cunningness to seduce his enemies thus manipulating them such as the wooing of Anne. However Richard is unable to sustain this when he is crowned King; he loses the elegancy in his speeches and thus he is unable to exploit other characters’ weakness and use them to his advantage. It is clear that Shakespeare is implying that even the most astucious character will have flaws.

Currently studying: PhD in economics at MIT.

Interested in financial economics, econometrics, and asset pricing.