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Posts Tagged ‘Module C’

Poets in Partnership

Another source of insight into the relationship between Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes for Module C Conflicting Perspectives.

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A good way to get started analysing your related texts is to treat them as unseen texts from Paper 1 Section1. Sit down with your text (or, if it’s a long text such as a novel or a film, one or two extracts) and annotate it (for a film, write a detailed viewing log); then answer these questions:

  1. What is the text’s message about belonging (or conflicting perspectives or history and memory)?
  2. Identify and explain at least two language (or visual or aural) features that explore this aspect of belonging (or conflicting perspectives or history and memory).
  3. What is the tone?
  4. Identify and explain at least one language (or visual or aural) feature that reinforces this tone.

Now you should have at least two points to make about the piece and at least three quote/technique/explanations (triangles of doom) to support them. That’s a paragraph’s worth of information. Need more? Sit down with a study buddy and do this for each other’s related texts. This is great practice for Paper 1 Section 1 and should also result in more notes for both of you.

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Here is how I would approach Paper 2:

Tactic Time (mins) Count Down Clock
Reading Time
Read the questions for Modules A, B, and C. Make sure you check that you read the correct questionfor your elective/text. 5 2h
Writing Time
Annotate the question for Module A and plan your response, including a strong thesis statement and between two and four main supporting points. Remember the focus of this module is CONTEXT. 5 1h55m
Write your Module A essay. 35 1h20m
Annotate the question for Module B and plan your response, including a strong thesis statement and between two and four main supporting points. Remember the focus of this module is RECEPTION. 5 1h15m
Write your Module B essay. 35 40m
Annotate the question for Module C and plan your response, including a strong thesis statement and between two and four main supporting points. Remember the focus of this module is REPRESENTATION. 5 35m
Write your Module C essay. 35 0

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One way to approach the concept of Conflicting Perspectives for Module C is through imagery and extended metaphor. Conflicting Perspectives are about how people standing in differently places, see things (events, personalities, situations) in different ways. You know what else people see differently depending on their perspective? Art.

This is “Ascending and Descending” by MC Escher. Depending on how you look at it, the figures are either climbing or walking down stairs. The staircase is also endlessly rising or falling; again, depending on your perspective. From this image we can draw two ideas (thesis statements):

  1. Conflicting perspectives are an inevitable part of the human experience (the figures are trapped within the staircase, heading in opposite directions).
  2. Conflicting perspectives are shaped by differing contexts (how you look at the image directs whether you see the figures as “ascending” or “descending”).

This is  Salvador Dali’s portrait of his wife, entitled “My Wife Nude”. This image shows a classic nude portrait of Gala, Dali’s wife, echoed by a Gala-shaped building in the background. This image also inspires two ideas about Conflicting Perspectives:

  1. Conflicting Perspectives are  shaped by both intimacy and distance (when viewed up close, Gala is Dali’s beloved wife; from a distance, she becomes a construct).
  2. Conflicting Perspectives can exist within an individual (it is Dali, the artist, who sees his wife in these two ways).

These images could be used as related material by students who are confident in visual analysis; or they could be used as extended metaphors to shape the ideas in an essay.

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There are, as I have said in previous posts, a couple of different ways to approach the selection of related material for Module C. This is true also for Peter Carey’s The True History of the Kelly Gang (which, by the way, I think is quite a difficult text) in the History and Memory elective.

Approach One: Stick to Ned, his gang and 19th Century Victoria

Some other texts that would work for this approach are:

Gregor Jordan’s 2003 film Ned Kelly. It has Heath Ledger, it has Orlando Bloom and it opens with a scene which it represents as being Ned Kelly’s personal memory. What more could you want?

The Jerilderie Letter. This link is to the State Library of Victoria page on this artefact/text. You can find the full text of the letter (I think this is also reproduced in the novel). There are some other text links from this page that also look interesting.

Stringybark Creek. Ballads are interesting because they have the status of being oral history but are actually usually quite recent. This one supposedly comes from the Kelly era and the story goes that people caught singing it could be fined up to five pounds.

And while we’re on songs:

For a broader approach, I suggest looking at the National Museum of Australia’s webpage about their current exhibition Not Just Ned: A True History of the Irish in Australia. Its appropriation of Carey’s title is deliberate. Like the Smithsonian site (another core text for this module and elective) this site includes personal stories as well as official history. Websites are brilliant to analyse because of their multimodal nature.

Approach Two: Explore other Historical Personalities, Events and Situations

For example:
Constitutional Crisis 1975

Situation: The Whitlam government was elected in 1972 with a small majority in the House while the Senate was controlled by the Opposition. In 1975 the Opposition used its Senate majority to block supply, effectively shutting down the government and causing a constitutional crisis.

Personalities: Gough Whitlam, Prime Minister; Sir John Kerr, Governor General; Malcolm Fraser, leader of the Opposition.

Event: The sacking of Gough Whitlam by Sir John Kerr on November 11 1975.

Texts:

Whitlam’s Speech This link to an audio extract of the speech at Australian Screen Online  includes curators notes and links to other visual and audio texts.

Whitlam Dismissal Online This site contains links to songs, official documents and new clippings about the situation, event and personalities. There is also a sound and picture archives.

Jeff’s Cartoons Political cartoons from 1975.

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The focus of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is on the following personalities, events and situations:

Personalities: Caesar; Brutus; Cassius; Antony; Calpurnia; Portia and Octavian.

Situations: the expanding Roman Empire; the failure of the triumvirate; the civil war resulting from Caesar’s death and the ultimate end of the Roman Republic.

Events: Antony offering Caesar the crown; the night of omens; Caesar’s assassination; and the battle at Philippi.

Julius Caesar is an essentially political play. An interesting approach to selecting related material would be to consider other political situations that have inspired conflicting perspectives (otherwise known as every political situation ever) and find some texts that portray different perspectives.

Good places to find texts include:

Texts can be articles, images, blog posts, news reports or even forum discussions (if they’re well written).  You can also usually find books, both non-fiction and fiction, about historical events and, if they were sufficiently interesting or significant, there may be a film. Here are some ideas to get you started searching (try to find something that interests you).

Personalities: Julia Gillard; Bill Clinton; Tony Blair; Margaret Thatcher; Idi Amin; Winston Churchill; Charles de Gaulle; Nelson Mandela.

Situations: The war in Iraq; the Suffragette movement; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Indonesian invasion of East Timor; the fall of the Ottoman empire; the Apartheid regime in South Africa.

Events: The assassination of President Lincoln; the fall of the Berlin Wall; the coronation of Elizabeth I; the abdication of Edward VIII.

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The focus of Birthday Letters (or at least the poems selected for study) is on the following personalities, events and situations:

Personalities: Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath and, to a lesser extent, Otto Plath

Situations: The marriage between Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath and its subsequent breakdown.

Events: Seeing a photograph, eating a peach, destroying an heirloom sideboard, a trip to Paris, a wild ride on a runaway horse, Plath’s eventual suicide.

There have been other literary marriages and relationships that have been personality driven and tumultuous. Exploring some texts that portray conflicting perspectives about these relationships could be an interesting approach to this module.

Personalities: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, writers, expatriots and icons of the roaring twenties.

Situations: Their whirlwind courtship, acrimonious marriage, F. Scott’s alcoholism, their literary careers, Zelda’s obsession with ballet, her struggle with mental illness.

Events: Zelda being admitted to a sanitorium and diagnosed with schizophrenia, F. Scott’s affair with Sheilah Graham, his death in Hollywood, Zelda’s death in a fire.

Texts

Nancy Milford’s fascinating biography of Zelda Fitzgerald. Well researched and, although sympathetic towards its subject, inclusive of other perspectives.

The Beautiful and the Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Allegedly Fitzgerald stole excerpts from his wife’s diaries and included them, verbatim, in this and other novels. When Zelda Fitzgerald drew on their relationship for her writing, F. Scott became enraged.

Article: Would you swap places with Zelda Fitzgerald? from The Guardian

A visual biography of the couple, which was created drawing on their individual albums and scrapbooks.

The Collected Writings of Zelda Fitzgerald, includes her novel Save Me the Waltz as well as semi-autobiographical short stories and magazine articles.

Given the theme of conflicting perspectives, these texts could also work for The Justice Game, Julius Caesar, Snow Falling on Cedars or the other core texts. I think they could also work for History and Memory, particularly The Woman Warrior or The Queen.

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