Area of Study – Surface Truths and Skin Deep Analysis

The Area of Study (AOS) is a module that will consume more time than any of the other modules because of its incredible scope and relatively short contact time. The module is however, one of the easiest and the most forward of all the modules – asking for exactly what the board of study wants from Year 12, as follows (extracted from syllabus)

English involves the study and use of language in its various textual forms, encompassing written, spoken and visual texts of varying complexity, including the language systems of English through which meaning is conveyed, interpreted and reflected.

This means that you must be able to STUDY and USE a variety of Textual Forms up to and including

  • Essays
  • Creative Writing – Narrative
  • Interviews
  • Transcripts of Conversations
  • Articles
  • Feature Articles
  • News Paper Reports
  • Letters to the Editor
  • Personal Response (Letters, Journals, Diaries)
  • Oration (Speeches, Addresses, etc)

And be able to interpret such obscure forms as:

  • Adverts
  • Pamphlets
  • Websites
  • Posters
  • Filmography (Movies + Short Films )
  • Single Images with some form of AOS message (Paintings come to mind)
  • Comics/Cartoons (Both Satirical and Mundane)
  • Among other less common but equally viable forms, the list goes on… like some kind of composite text involving pictures + interview

These are the principle sources from which your AOS is gone to stem from. Hence understanding what this module is about requires both a textual knowledge of the literary devices as well as contextual knowledge of the Area that you are studying, be it Journeys, Belonging, Change, Adventure, Crime, Authority, or otherwise. As for a comprehensive list of Literary devices you should know – the list is coming – look for updates! We will now look at some of the Areas covered by this Module.

It may be all different, but its all cupcake baby!

2009 – 2010 Belonging

In a nutshell the context behind the module can be summed up by “Teaching Kids the values and context of living in a multicultural environment.” Engaging with cultural, racial, religious, historical, social and personal belonging. This means that you the student must be able to look at text at a glance (40 min exams, tick, tick, tickety) exactly what kind of belonging the text is trying to engage. (Or more precisely, what kind of bullshit can you pull out thats both logical and sound.) Sounds easy? Hell yeah.

I have done the graph below to illustrate to you how Belonging works in this context – you just supply the synonyms.

As you can see the picture basically splits into Belonging! and Not Belonging! Lets look at some examples of either:

  • Joe gets a pet dog, he loves it and watching it grow gives him a sense of PERSONAL fulfillment
  • Abigale finally gains approval from her peers, even if she had to cry “Witch!” to get it
  • Raimond Giata grows up in country NSW where everything is isolated, but Dad looks after him and reassures that hes important
  • A Crusader arrives at Palestine and visits the Sepulcher of the Holy Trinity
  • Pip believes he is a gentleman after studying to be one for half a decade
  • John Howard retires as PM and goes to live with his constituents in Kirribilli
  • Lost Generation Aborigine visits a spiritual circle for the first time
  • Homeless kid finds Homeless man and becomes Homeless together like buddies
  • A lover of Manga arrives at Akihabara
  • Seeing a Van Gogh original after studying art for a decade
  • Orlando gets kicked out of court by brother but finds the woods to be a refreshing and Godly place to live
  • Peter comes home to Mary St and stuffs himself with his parent’s vegetables

When I think about what it is to “belong” I like to use the word “complete” instead – is the author fulfilled? Does he feel complete? What makes him feel complete? Where does this feeling stem from? What kind of completion is it? And so on… On the other hand Not belonging is more of a feeling like:

  • Told you cannot join the basketball game because you are lame
  • All your friends goto the beach, you study mathematics extension two
  • Stolen Generation man feels sad and lost because he has to traceable roots to call a family
  • House gets burnt down, homeless, frightened, uncertain of future
  • Dog dies
  • Accidentally runs over neighbour’s dog, feeling guilty, remorseful, insecure
  • Divorced from your traditional court, you hate the forest, oh how you hate it!
  • No one believes Hamlet when he says Claudius killed his daddy
  • Your mother hates the country side and cheats on daddy to gain a sense of fulfillment only to make matter worse
  • It really sucks being a kid stuck in a world of phonies

Writing about Not -Belonging and all its glorious form is much easier than describing belonging. There are so many reason and ways someone could not belong it is a inexhaustible well that has inspired writers for eons. Your job is to convey belonging via not belonging – alas – you must show how IMPORTANT belonging is by juxtaposing the consequence of those who fail to find belonging.

The dynamics of belonging is where you describe the process of Connection and Disconnection – how, why, who, what, and where – someone belongs or does not belong to X.

  • Choice – pretty obvious one. The choices we make dictate the way we belonging. This can be as simple as picking a citizenship of a country, to abandoning an entire way of life to be with someone. For example, giving up a religion to marry someone of an opposing religion. Forsaking your belief to achieve a long term goal. Think about your prescribed texts – the choice of Duke to exile Orlando, the choice of Prospero to cease persecuting the lovers, the choice made by Romeo to kill Tybalt, the Stolen Generation who chose to pursue legal action against the government – all of these choices have profound impact on the way we belong.
  • Obstacle – another obvious one – no one is gifted with belonging from the outset. Belonging is something that is earned, often in exchange for other forms of belonging. The migrant who learns a new language, the middle manager who pays for his bosses meals, the musician who sells out to make money – getting belonging is getting recognition – it ain’t easy. The best form of belonging is some kind of mutually equal relationship where respect is the foundation, however most belonging relationships you will find in your texts exist as a form of conflict or incentive – so its an obstacle.
  • Change/Reciprocity – This one is about the direct exchange of one form of belonging for another. As a person experiences love, grows up, and prioritizes things in life, they are going to change. This dynamic focuses on people and places that slowly loose its original relevance to accompany the new. For example Les Murray’s poem “Ayres Rock” is about the diminishing cultural and spiritual existence of the famous landmark and its decline into a tourist trap. Atwood’s Penelopiad is about women’s plight that still exists today echoed by the fate of the twelve maids murdered by Odysseus for no good reason (2k years apart, women still live as 2nd class citizens). Change is about how a person, an object, a place or an context that has changed and lost it’s original belonging to be replaced with another form of belonging.
  • Paradox – there will always be a moment that two or more belongings exist side by side. This is made evident by the fact that you – the reader more than likely have yourself conflicting factions of belonging. For example, a Chinese kid born in Australia will grow up to be neither Chinese nor Australian. The Chinese community will not recognize the kid as “Asian” and no blonde hair blue eyes Aussie will admit the kid is “Australian”. Yet the kid will enjoy benefits from both, especially if he is bilingual. Other examples of this are found in books such as “The Outsiders” by SE Hinton – a tale about a two boys from rival gangs of social economic and cultural backgrounds that meld into one another’s shoes through trials of friendship, romance, and violence.

Belonging is one of the most simple modules in year 12. If you know your Language Techniques, Literary Forms, and your T.E.EM writing, there should be no reason you would not finish your Unseen Text in 20 – 30 minutes.

Below are Links to the components of this task

Unseen Texts

Creative Writing

Belonging Essay

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