State Rank 1 Essay AOS :: Go Back

I would like remind all my students that you cannot prepare an A range essay, you can only answer one on the day of the test. Let this be a guide, and be flexible when you get your questions! 

~ David 

The most significant aspect of any discovery experience, is its ability to transform the lives of the individuals they impact. This is a result of confronting experiences, provoking changes, and renewed perspectives that lead to growth. Go Back To Where You Came From (2011) by Ivan O’Mahoney is a reality TV documentary which confronts and shocks the Australian audience with the reality of asylum seeker and refugees through a reverse refugee journey. It serves to challenge and change the status quo of continued prejudice of refugees in Australia. The transformational discoveries in it serve to transform the status quo of continued prejudice of refugees in Australia. Likewise, the poem The French Prisoner (1947) by Janos Pilinszky depicts the confronting, provocative and very personal observation of a French prisoner made by the speaker whose initial apathy is forever changed by this singular snapshot of the horror of the holocaust.  As such, both texts and their authors challenge the assumptions of positive discoveries and instead focusing on the confronting and shocking aspects of discovery to validate the lessons they teach the audience. Therefore, both texts are provocative in that they all have the ability to challenge individuals’ assumptions and transform their attitudes and lives.

During the reverse refugee journey, the audience is constantly challenged to confront the reality of asylum seeker and refugees. By living varcariously through the participants and virtually experiences the reality of refugees, the audience gain knowledge and attain growth.Through these provocations and experiences, the responder discovers the inhumanity of dehumanising refugees, and therefore comes to understand and humanise the complex context of the refugee crisis. This realisation is particularly salient through Raye’s juxtaposition shown in the deliberate cross cuts of her initial racism and vitriolic language, “I could have gone over there and shot the lot of them…” and her subsequent empathic reactions to refugees in Indonesia and Africa, “It certainly isn’t living…” Her transformative discovery is evidently reinforced by a montage sequence of life at Takuma. A low-angle close-up shot of abject poverty is used to capture the hardships and suffering faced by the refugees. The fence in the background is a symbol of entrapment, which is followed by a high-angle shot of a child wondering in a wasteland of dirt and dust. This sustained motif of a land without the colour green, with children symbolically placed behind brambles, smothered by rolling clouds and close ups of desperate faces confront the audience with the bleakness of the refugee experience. Evoke transformation in the audience’ s perception of refugee experience. Through living vicarious via Raye’s personal encounter, the audience perceive the sincere change that occurs in her. From a woman “consumed [by] the whole issue” of refugees, to someone whose compassionate tone delivered the redemption that, “Now I would invite them in for a cup of tea.” As such, O’Mahoney’s confronting construct challenges perception of humanity, evoking the audiences’ righteous hearts to discover the necessary care and tolerance needed by the refugees. The growing sympathy and empathy of the participants affirms the shocking experiences lead individuals to impart lessons.

Likewise, The French Prisoner challenges the responder with the confronting observance of an escaped prisoner; the poet’s emotional discovery is explored through the powerful memory of the prisoner. Transformative realization is explores in the powerful memory of the prisoner. The poet initially watches the emaciated prisoner apathetically and is confronted both physically and emotionally. This is particularly evident in the paradoxical juxtaposition, “The sweet food encountered on his tongue delight and then disgust, as it might be the unhappy and the happy.” The taste of “sweet” and “disgust” together with the strong alliteration of the “d” notes emphasises the combination of this impossible paradox. It effectively reveals the shock encountered by transformative process of the poet as he subconsciously places himself in the shoes of the prisoner and virtually experiences his insatiable hunger. The extreme ordeal suffered by the prisoner is alluded in the visceral and confronting image depicted in the anthropomorphism, “the furious and desperate organs galled with one another, forced to tear from one another.” This powerfully conveys the self-destruction of unbearable hunger as the poison of the raw turnip nourishes yet ravages him. The traumatic discovery converts the speaker’s apathy to empathy, which much like the reverse refugee experience alters the perspectives of the observer. The confronting discovery transforms the speaker’s apathetic perspective into one of empathy which much like the reverse refugee journey change the perspectives of the observer. Moreover, the synecdoche, “the seething memory boils over…” further conveys the irrevocable change wrought by such fresh and meaningful depictions of human suffering. Therefore, the provocative and poignant experience of witnessing the inhumane hunger of the French Prisoner awakens the persona to the horrors of war, and changes his apathetic perspective of the war to one of revulsion and detestation. Invokes detrimental transformation through the feelings of remorse which destroys his life.

What both O’Mahoney and Pilinszky demonstrate is that discovery has powerful ramifications; these subsequent impacts shift previous held assumptions and enable individuals to re-assess their values. The transformative ramification of Raquel in GBTWYCF is perfectly represented in the juxtaposition of her initial and subsequent perspectives, “I am very strong Catholic… I don’t believe in Muslim…” juxtaposes strongly with her empathic idiom, “I think people should give people a chance before they judge the book by its cover.” Its didactic influence on the viewing audience is itself evident in the response, where her transformation has unwittingly allowed the live audience to discover their own predispositions for prejudice, where they once referred to her as, “you dead set idiot”, to “I jumped the gun…I’m sorry” This transformation is both an anecdotal demonstration of the power of discovery, as well as a powerful acknowledgement of the renewed perspectives and values that acknowledge the didactic nature of discovery. As well as the powerful transformation discoveries bring about that benefit and enrich individual. Likewise, the experience in The French Prisoner is parallel to that of in GBTWYCF, the persona’s apathy is displaced by the overwhelming feeling of remorse and agony. This is evident through the extended metaphor, “He feeds on me… Now he, who would have been contented once with any kind of food, demands my heart.” The observance he made becomes the burden and guilt that eats away his soul; its recurring nature continues to destroy him and acts as a reminder of his apathy and inaction in front of such a brutal and dehumanising experience. Thus, the compelling discovery questions the persona to reconsider his action however the irredeemable penitence can only be resolved in death. By noting the emotional and spiritual torment of the persona, the deconstructive transformation is evident. Consequently, O’Mahoney and Pilinszky together demonstrate how discoveries can not only lead to beneficial growth but can also have detrimental consequences.

Therefore, both composers have used their mutual experiences of discovery to communicate the power of such experiences to change responders’ perspectives and challenge the established status quo. Whether spiritually, emotionally, or ethically, they demonstrate how [keywords] are capable of instilling renewed perspectives and fresh, meaningful discoveries that open the individual to new experiences.


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