Text and Representation = Textual Manipulation

Rubric from Board of Studies says:

  • demonstrate understanding of and evaluate the relationship between representation and meaning
  • organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and form

HSC Online Says:

Conflicting Perspective
– their responding and composing, students consider the ways in which conflicting perspectives on events, personalities or situations are represented in their prescribed text and other related texts of their own choosing. Students analyse and evaluate how acts of representation, such as the choice of textual forms, features and language, shape meaning and influence responses.

Memory and History
– In their responding and composing, students consider their prescribed text and other texts which explore the relationships between individual memory and documented events. Students analyse and evaluate the interplay of personal experience, memory and documented evidence to broaden their understanding of how history and personal history are shaped and represented.

What this means is essentially you need to pay attention to the highlighted Bold words. – Ways in which, relationship and interplay of meaning is shaped and represented. This should tell the informed HSC student that markers are looking for the following:

  • Ways = T.E.EM (s), dynamic of techniques, forms, literary techniques, film techniques, theatrical techniques, etc
  • Relationship = Presentation of Character and Setting according to Context
  • Interplay of Meaning = How these relationships influence our interpretation, for example: presenting Caesar as a man of hubris creates a natural expectation of tragedy to follow, presenting Kubuo as the silent protesting victim of a bigot township elicits sympathetic feelings from the responders.
  • Represented = The presentation of these events, personalities, and interpretations as formulated through the T.E.EM (s).

Elective One – Conflicting Perspectives

One of the more confusing topics of this HSC is the concept of Conflicting Perspectives. What is this conflict many would ask, are we talking about conflicts of different presentations or are we talking about different views on similar issues? The answer is a combination of both. In you response to this module; you must first identify what issues are been conflicted, and then show through T.E.EM (s) that these issues are presented through textual and language manipulation.

Essentially, you must ask yourself the following rhetorical questions:

  • Has my text (Prescribed and Related Material) presented a conflict of – perspective, interest, goals, emphasis, procedure, opinions, etc. An example of this would be in Julius Caesar – does Caesar deserve to be Emperor? Should the Senate be disbanded? Is Anthony right in pursuing vengeance? Did Brutus do the right thing in killing the man he respects the most to save his beloved nation? For Ted Hughes – Was he the victim? Was Plath crazy? Did he do the right thing? Was he a supportive husband after all? Where does the fault in the disintegration of their marriage lie?
  • Now ask you self this – Why do I agree with either Ted, or Caesar, or Antony, or Brutus? What has convinced me? The answer is their language – their fine speeches – their dramatic prose – their poetry – their verse.
  • Your essay than, is essentially a presentation through a variety of non-essay formats (it can also be an essay, but past papers dictate it likely is not) how these authors have swayed / manipulated the reader to believe and support their plight through employing powerful rhetorical device.

Thus you will ask yourself this question: Did character X perform action Y for good reason? (Did Brutus kill Caesar for good reason?) The answer must be YES or NO – an conflicted opinion. If Yes – Why? If no – Why? The answer is that you are swayed and manipulated by the language of these composers.

Successful analysis of these rationales using T.E.EM (s) is what the module is all about.


Both as an responder and a Plebian of the Roman Empire, we cannot help but be swayed by the powerful metaphoric rhetoric of Brutus when he states

“Think him a serpent’s egg which hatched … would grow mischievous… (I) Must kill him in the shell”.

This vivid imagery of a snake – symbol of treachery and deceit – implanted with the image of Caesar as the snake egg – a bomb waiting to explode. He suggests the inevitability of power to corrupt, and that he is the only force which can prevent such a corruption of the state of Rome from happening.

“It must be his (Caesar’s) death I know no personal cause but for the general”.

Here Brutus conveys that he does not want to kill Caesar out of maliciousness or jealousy – rather he is pure in heart and only has the best interests of Rome in mind. How can we as the reader not be swayed by such noble purpose and striking imagery that so implies the urgency of his actions?

As you can see in the example above – I have expressly examined how the use of the powerful metaphor with the snake convinces us of Brutus’ righteousness, and thus sways our opinion to stray to his area of the “conflict”.


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