My perspective on the 2016 HSC English Advanced

I prepared my year 12 students for the following electives and texts this year.

Section 1 –Intertextual Connections



Virginia Woolf , Mrs Dalloway

and Stephen Daldry The Hours



John Donne, Sonnets

and Margret Edson ,Wit



William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar

and Niccolo Machiavelli



F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

and Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh and Other Poems.



George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty Four

and Fritz Lang , Metropolis


Section 11 – Critical study of Texts


William Shakespeare, Hamlet



Tim Winton, Cloudstreet

Michael Ondaaje , Skin of a Lion

T.S Eliot, T S Eliot: Selected Poems


Module C

Representing people and politics

Representing people and politics requires that students, recognise that fictional and non fictional writers create narratives in order in order to offer commentary on :

  1. The way people in positions of power, and lay people, reflect particular ideological values, and carry motivations that may be overt or hidden.
  1. By exploring plays such as the Crucible, readers are able to identify the impact of decision – making and its ramifications  on those who remain subservient to the power structure.


The recent 2017 Advanced English HSC examination question on this elective is reflects the need for students to have understood the following conceptual framework.

“ Politics illustrates the ultimate powerlessness of ordinary people.”

This paper is intended to iron out any difficulties students may still be facing with this elective

What does representation mean and how does it apply to your elective text?

 All writers and composers alike, employ language designed to mirror the way a character thinks and feels. The choice of language or technique used by the composer may also carry symbolic effect for the reader. The representation of characters by a composer will inevitably require that they be characterized in a particular way. This characterization is generally depicted through the use of literary techniques, or in the case of cinema, cinematic techniques. In understanding the power of techniques, students will be able to exploit the depth in their text of study.

Most importantly, by analyzing the way a composer writes, readers are often able to see the correlations and metaphoric analogies, which directly reflect their own world. lli


T.S Eliot, T S Eliot: Selected Poems

William Butler Yeats, W B Yeats: Poems selected by Seamus Heaney


Virginia Woolf, A room of One’s Own and Three Guineas

Section 111- Module C : Representation and Text

Elective 1: Representing people and Politics


Arthur Miller, The Crucible


Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.


W H Auden , Selected Poems


Elective 2: Representing People and Landscapes


Alain de Botton, The Art of Travel


Section 111- Module C : Representation and Text



Representing people and politics

The recent 2016 Advanced English HSC examination question: “ Politics illustrates the ultimate powerlessness of ordinary people”, was a terrific question which allowed students to identify Arthur Miller’s broader concerns in The Crucible. Students should have ben able to see the correlations between Miller’s Context and the intended universality of the text. The question of course also allowed students to draw effectively on almost any text that reflected on a wide variety of institutions or individuals and their impact on the individual.


Representation in The Crucible

Context of Arthur Miller’s writings

Before any student can understand this elective, they need to consider the following:

  1. Arthur Miller’s Crucible was influenced by events taking place in the USA when he wrote the Crucible.
  2. The 1950’s era under McCarthy was a draconian anti communist period of history where the blacklisting and execution of individuals perceived to have communist affiliation, or be deemed sympathetic, heralded a culture of fear and abuse amongst people.
  3. It is with the above in mind that Arthur Miller enlisted a historical comparative to explore the dangers of enforced ideology and the consequences brought to bear upon a community forced to live under a Theocratic state in Salem Massachusetts.
  4. The Crucible not only holds applicability for the era of McCarthy but of course warns against the consequences of enforcing “fundamental” social and “moral” order over the individual.


Representation in the Crucible

Style: Through authorial commentary, director’s notes, dialogue and characterisation Miller is able to effectively convey not only the dangers of a theocracy, but the danger of imposing collective tyranny; and the silencing of truth to maintain the status quo.


Suggested themes

Scapegoating – the hidden reasons

Distrust and divisiveness

The persecution and ostracism of individuals and minorities

The struggle to survive with ones morality intact, in an increasingly threatening world.



Students would have needed to consider the way characters not only convey Miller’s themes, but find resonance in today’s world.

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