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Acknowledgements Anotetoteachers SectionA:TheLiteratureHandbook OverviewofWesternliterature Historicaltimeline Classifyingliterature:formsandgenres Novelsandshortstories Drama Poetry Film Settingsandcontexts Interpretationandanalysis SectionB:StudyingLiterature iv v 1 2 4 9 16 30 44 61 67 79 85

86 88 93 98 100 105 107 113 114 115 121 124 127 130 131 138 147 151 161 163 165 170 173 178 180 182 185 200 204 206 210 211 228



Three steps for reading How to write up and use summary sheets Examples of worked summary sheet sections




Strategies for doing close analysis Essential elements of close analysis How to read a passage closely Sample close analysis: a three-step process Strategies for studying adaptations and transformations Essential terms for adaptations and transformations Film adaptation of a novel Film adaptation of a play Performance of a play Performance of poetry Strategies for studying views, values and contexts Essential terms for views, values and contexts Features of the text that convey views and values How to write about views, values and contexts Sample assessment tasks, exercises and answer Strategies for studying alternative viewpoints Essential terms for considering alternative viewpoints Theoretical perspectives How to analyse an interpretation Sample assessment task and approach Strategies for responding creatively Essential terms for creative responses Preparing to write Sample creative responses and commentaries Exam format and criteria Preparing for the exam How to write on passages In the exam Sample exam responses Final checklist

















Glossary Index

229 232

LITERATURE for senior students


Insight Publications thanks the following literature teachers for their contributions to this book, and for their unfailing generosity with ideas and suggestions even in times filled with teaching, preparation and assessment: Kate Macdonell PhD (Melbourne) BA (Hons) Dip. Ed. teaches VCE English at Newhaven College. She is a member of the examination setting panel and an assessor for VCE Literature. She taught in the Department of English at the University of Melbourne from 1994 to 2000. Katy Marriner BA Dip. Ed. teaches at St Columba's College. She has taught VCE Literature and English and has presented revision lectures for VCE Literature students as well as workshops for Literature teachers. Heather Maunder BA Dip. Ed. Grad. Dip. Ed. (Children's Lit.) teaches VCE Literature and English at Swinburne Senior Secondary College. She has taught Literature since 1970, been an assessor since 1996 and was Coursework Audit Reviewer 2000­01. She has been State Reviewer since 2003 and is currently a member of the text selection panel for VCE Literature. Margaret Saltau BA Dip. Ed. B. Ed. is a Melbourne-based English and Literature teacher, consultant and writer. She has taught VCE Literature since its inception, has been Assistant State Reviewer and the Independent Reviewer for the 2000 Study Design, and has been a Literature examination assessor since 1995. Sue Sherman BA Dip. Ed. Post-Grad. Dip. (Eng.) teaches VCE Literature and English at MLC, where she is also an IB teacher. She is a current assessor for VCE Literature and is a member of the Literature text selection panel and examination setting panel. Helen Yvonne Smith BA (Urb. Stud.) Dip. Ed. M. Ed. Lead. currently teaches at Mater Christi College, Belgrave. She has taught VCE Literature for over ten years. We also wish to thank Rebecca Yule for her tireless work on the design, and Ian Sibley for his expert proofreading of the 1st edition.


Insight Publications thanks the following for their kind permission to reproduce copyright material: Geordie Williamson for his review `Penance in a time of terror'. Penguin Books for the extract from The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. The VCAA for the examination criteria for VCE Literature. Students and teachers should consult the VCAA home page for more information. The material is copyright and cannot be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the VCAA. Jennifer Mashiter and Hannah Leigh from Swinburne Senior Secondary College for their responses on Atonement and Stasiland respectively. IrisBreuer,Publisher&RobertBeardwood,Writer



Insight Publications

for senior students

A note to teAChers

Literature for Senior Students focuses on building the skills and knowledge essential to literary analysis. The central question we address is: how do you use your experience of reading and the information gathered in the close study of texts in order to write perceptively and eloquently about literature? All too often the fundamental ideas and processes underpinning textual analysis are not clearly spelled out and explained: this book is intended to fill this gap. Section A: The Literature Handbook provides a detailed overview of literature and literary techniques. The timeline serves as a starting point for grasping the historical breadth of the subject, from ancient Greece and Rome up to the present day. The following sections cover the main literary forms and genres, explaining the key features and conventions and showing how to analyse their use in a wide range of texts. Section B: Studying Literature provides explanations, examples and activities to develop the skills of literary analysis. Each of these chapters has two parts: a generic section with definitions, worksheets and classroom activities; and a textbased section, in which specific texts are used to provide examples and models. The most common ways of responding to texts are covered: close reading of a passage; comparing a print text with its performance or adaptation in another medium; considering different interpretations; writing creatively in a style based on a text. The final chapter focuses on the task set for the VCE Literature exam. Students outside Victoria will also find much of this material helpful: the techniques of identifying significant features of a passage, and weaving together an analysis of those features in a coherent interpretation of the text, are common to studies of literature everywhere. For this 2nd edition, we have replaced textual examples in Chapters 1­7 with examples using texts listed on the 2011 VCE Literature text list. The exception is the analysis of a passage from The Great Gatsby in Chapter 2, which does not depend on familiarity with the novel as a whole. In Section A: The Literature Handbook, we have updated most of the examples in keeping with the current text list but retained others, especially where the texts used have a central place in the literary tradition (as with Ibsen and Chekhov in drama). Although we have not included a detailed bibliography, the writers have found the following reference books to be invaluable aids throughout many years of studying and teaching literature: Alexander W. Allison et al. (eds.), The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 3rd edition, Norton, 1983. J. A. Cuddon, The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory, 3rd edition, Penguin, 1991. Margaret Drabble (ed.), The Oxford Companion to English Literature, 6th edition, Oxford University Press, 2000. Don Munro, Defining Literature: a student's guide, Longman, 2000.

Insight Publications


LITERATURE for senior students

Adrian Barlow (ed.), Contexts in Literature, Cambridge University Press, 2001.


The Literature Handbook

This comprehensive reference section gives you all the essential tools for understanding and writing about literature. It contains: a in overview and timeline of the Western literary tradition the i main forms and genres of literary texts idefinitions of features and conventions such as structure, narrative point of view, characterisation, tone, style, setting, stage directions, imagery, rhythm and rhyme idiscussion of how settings and contexts inform meaning iexplanations of what it means to analyse and interpret a literary text n iumerous examples drawn from a wide range of texts.


Section A: The literature handbook

overview of western literAtUre

Literature has been part of human culture for a very long time: people have always told stories and passed them on from generation to generation as a way of making sense of life and of enhancing its beauty and significance. At first these stories were oral, remembered and recited by particular individuals ­ the epic narrative poems usually attributed to Homer, the Odyssey and the Iliad, from around the 8th century BC, were initially in this form, before they were written down for preservation. Later epics from ancient Rome ­ of which Virgil's Aeneid (c. 30­19 BC) is the most celebrated ­ were written down in the act of composition, and this became the main way in which literary texts were created from around the 13th century. Many works from the late medieval and Renaissance periods ­ such as Dante's Divine Comedy (c. 1308­21) and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales (late 1300s) ­ remain central texts in the literary canon, and the close relations between literature and technologies of writing and replicating the printed text remain crucial to the literary tradition. The analysis, discussion and criticism of literature are as old as literary texts themselves. The literary culture of ancient Greece gave rise not only to the great tragic dramas of Sophocles and Euripides (such as King Oedipus and Medea), but also to the earliest works of literary criticism. Of these, Aristotle's Poetics, written in the 4th century BC, has had a profound and lasting influence. In this work, Aristotle defines the main forms of writing of his time and also indicates the criteria for distinguishing good writing from bad, ranging widely over Greek poetry and drama to illustrate his points. These features of literary criticism ­ of classifying, evaluating and interpreting literary texts ­ are still central to its methodology today.


Romanamphitheatre Greekamphitheatre








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Overview of Western literature



From the time the first universities were established in the late Middle Ages (the universities of Oxford and Cambridge were established in 1249 and 1284 respectively), the literature of ancient Greece and Rome formed the basis of academic literary studies. These works were studied in their original languages: Ancient Greek or Latin. It was only with the rise of the British public school system in the 19th century that the study of English literature became a central part of the high school curriculum, and indeed English only became an important discipline in English universities in the early decades of the 20th century. Nevertheless, English literature has been discussed and debated for hundreds of years, in books, magazines and newspapers, classrooms and lecture theatres, and now ­ in the early 21st century ­ on radio, television and the internet.




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LITERATURE for senior students

Section A: The literature handbook

historiCAl timeline

When 1000 BC

Ancient Greek and Roman civilisations



Homer (Greek), The Odyssey, The Iliad Virgil (Roman), The Aeneid Sophocles (Greek), King Oedipus, Antigone Euripides (Greek), Medea, Women of Troy

Literary forms

Epic poetry: a long narrative poem about a hero; initially to be read aloud Drama: Greek tragedy and comedy established the basic forms for these genres

Events and social movements

The Greek civilisation 800­300 BC: a collection of city-states linked by a common language and artistic heritage Roman Empire roughly 300 BC until 400s AD

450 AD


Middle Ages/ Medieval period

Beowulf (anon.), written in Old English possibly during the 8th century Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: sequence of narrative poems, written in Middle English during the 14th century Thomas Wyatt, poetry, especially love poetry, including sonnets Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596) William Shakespeare, sequence of 154 sonnets John Donne Christopher Marlowe, Tamberlaine (1590), Dr Faustus (1604, first performed 1594) William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet (1597), Hamlet (1603)

Poetry: narrative poetry and lyrics Drama: Morality (or Mystery) plays demonstrated Christian stories and virtues

Norman conquest of England 1066 Printing with movable metal type used in Europe from 1450s Columbus landed in the Bahamas (`discovering' America) 1492 Henry VIII established the Church of England in 1530s


Elizabethan period

Sonnets (14 lines, usually about love) were widely written in sequences (known as `cycles') and distributed in court circles Tragedy and comedy developed to a high level of complexity and popularity, particularly by Shakespeare

Queen Elizabeth I reigned 1558­ 1603 Consolidation of the (Protestant) Church of England English military and trade strength increased Cultural activity flourished




Jacobean period/ Restoration

Shakespeare, King Lear (1604­5), Macbeth (1606) Ben Jonson, Volpone (1607) John Webster, The White Devil (1612), The Duchess of Malfi (1623) John Milton, Paradise Lost (epic narrative poem, 1667) Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe (1719)

Drama: Jacobean tragedy, e.g. Webster in early 1600s Restoration comedy ­ the `comedy of manners' ­ in late 1600s

James I reigned 1603­25 English Civil War 1642­49 Theatres closed 1642­60 Charles I beheaded 1649 Restoration of the monarchy 1660


18th century

Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels (1726) Henry Fielding, Tom Jones (1749) `Dr' Samuel Johnson Alexander Pope Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

Novels: the first English novels were published Poetry: the Augustan poets (e.g. Pope) emphasised form, restraint, elegance First English dictionary 1755 written by Samuel Johnson

Rise of the middle classes meant more educated people with money and time to read American Declaration of Independence 4 July 1776 French Revolution 1789 overthrew the monarchy/aristocracy In Australia: First Fleet arrived at Botany Bay 1788; colony of New South Wales founded as a convict settlement





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Historical timeline

When late 1700s


William Wordsworth Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Literary forms

Forms such as the ode and the lyric Emphasis on the expression of feeling and an appreciation of beauty, especially of nature Rejection of urban, industrialised society Frankenstein reflects the concerns of romanticism: love of nature, scepticism towards science and technology Austen's novels reflect middleand upper-middle-class lives and concerns Scott established the historical novel More critical than previously of social aspects, e.g. ·poverty and exploitation of working classes lives Later novelists in this period (Hardy, James) anticipated modernism

Events and social movements

Regency period 1811­20 The Industrial Revolution led to population movements from the country to the city Slavery abolished in British Empire 1834 Rise in nationalism across Europe In Australia: colonies of Tasmania (1825) and South Australia (1836) established; Port Phillip District (1834) later became Victoria (1851) Convict transportation to NSW ceased 1840; to Tasmania ceased 1853

Romanticism/ Regency period

Poetry Novels

Lord (George) Byron Percy Bysshe Shelley John Keats William Blake Mary Shelley, Frankenstein Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility Sir Walter Scott, Rob Roy, Ivanhoe


Charles Dickens, Bleak House, David Copperfield Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights Novels George Eliot, Middlemarch Thomas Hardy, Tess of the D'Urbervilles Leo Tolstoy (Russia), Anna Karenina

·restrictions on women's

Victorian period

Henry James (US/UK), Washington Square, Portrait of a Lady Robert Browning Poetry Elizabeth Barrett Browning Lord Alfred Tennyson Christina Rossetti Dramatic monologue developed by Browning and Tennyson Formal structures, rhyming and conventional rhythms remain important More naturalistic forms were developed by Ibsen and Chekhov to represent `ordinary' people and situations Wilde perfected the `comedy of manners'

Queen Victoria reigned 1837­1901 Great Exhibition 1851 held in London at the `Crystal Palace': each nation displayed machines and inventions Mass production replaced `cottage' industries Common land broken up into privately owned blocks Education became universally available and compulsory after the 1870 Education Act American Civil War 1861­65; slavery abolished 1865 In Australia: growth of major cities and of cultural life

·Marcus Clarke published His

Natural Life in serial form 1870­ 72 painters in 1880s and '90s, inc. Tom Roberts and Arthur Streeton

·Heidelberg School of landscape

Henrik Ibsen (Norway), A Doll's House, Hedda Gabler Anton Chekhov (Russia), Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest Drama

·Henry Lawson and Barbara

CONT. www

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LITERATURE for senior students

Baynton published stories in late 1890s and early 1900s


Section A: The literature handbook

20th century


Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness James Joyce, Ulysses Novels D. H. Lawrence, Lady Chatterley's Lover Virginia Woolf, Mrs Dalloway Marcel Proust (France), In Search of Lost Time T. S. Eliot, `The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock', The Waste Land W. H. Auden (UK/US) Amy Lowell (US) Luigi Pirandello (Italy), Six Characters in Search of an Author Bertolt Brecht (Germany), Mother Courage, The Caucasian Chalk Circle Vladimir Nabokov (Russia/ US), Lolita Novels and short stories Kurt Vonnegut (US), Slaughterhouse-Five Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook Gabriel García Márquez (Colombia), One Hundred Years of Solitude Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina), Ficciones Italo Calvino (Italy), If on a Winter's Night a Traveler `Beat' poets (US): Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac Poetry John Ashbery (US) Frank O'Hara (US) Ania Walwicz (Australia) John Forbes (Australia) Samuel Beckett (Ireland), Waiting for Godot, Endgame Eugène Ionesco (Romania/ France), Rhinoceros

Literary forms

Much experimentation with form and a breaking down of older ideas and conventions WWI had a major impact on writers, undermining confidence in authority figures and in traditional social structures and institutions Novels used `stream of consciousness', unreliable narrators; addressed `taboo' subjects such as sexuality Poetry used free verse (no systematic rhyming or rhythmic scheme) Drama broke down conventions for representing people in a realistic fashion

Events and social movements

World War I (1914­18) Spanish Civil War (1936­39) World War II (1939­45) Suffragettes campaigned for women to have the right to vote: ·achieved in England for women over 30 in 1918


·achieved in Australia in 1902 Expressionism: artistic movement; advocated the strong expression of emotion in distorted or grotesque forms Surrealism: artistic movement; combined objects in unlikely ways and contexts

literary movements

around 1950



Continued experimentation with form, often in a more playful way than in modernist writing Novels: use of multiple narrators, fragmented forms, ambiguity and lack of closure Poetry: much experimentation with form, style and content, including: ·free verse


·playful arrangement of words ·wide use of informal and

(and sometimes punctuation) on the page colloquial speech patterns


political content Drama: Beckett and Absurdist theatre abandoned traditional plot and character conventions More interest in working-class identities and concerns Use of everyday speech patterns for dialogue

·allusions to popular culture ·anti-conservative and overtly

Vietnam War (1959­75) `Cold War' (from 1945): massive build-up of nuclear weapons by US and USSR followed by the collapse of the USSR (1991) Electronic media (radio, television) became much more prominent compared to print media Internet developed during the 1970s with rapid expansion throughout 1990s In Australia: ·immigration from Europe (1950s and '60s) and south-east Asia (1970s)

·Whitlam government (1972­75)

improved women's rights; recognised Aboriginal land rights; funded the arts and education (removed university tuition fees)

CONT. www



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Historical timeline

20th century


Salman Rushdie (India/UK/US), Midnight's Children, The Satanic Verses

Literary forms

Writers from colonies or former colonies of European nations became more prominent, often strongly critical of colonial powers and their exploitation of indigenous peoples Salman Rushdie coined the expression `The empire writes back' The English language became an instrument for `writing back' (expressing the experiences of the dispossessed in the language of the coloniser) Writing by women became increasingly prominent post-WWII Experimentation with narrative point of view and style to develop a feminist or feminine writing style Feminist writers have used nonfiction as well as novels, poetry and drama Feminist concerns also entered into literary texts without being obviously politicised Traditional forms continued to be used, generally receiving wider and bigger readerships and audiences than experimental forms Blockbuster novels sold in millions of copies across the globe; often adapted to film Poetry became less widely read and known Drama: mainstream forms continued within national dramatic traditions, e.g. in US (Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller); Australia (David Williamson, Hannie Rayson) The musical became the dominant form of theatre, e.g. Rodgers and Hammerstein (Oklahoma!, The Sound of Music); Andrew Lloyd Webber (Cats, The Phantom of the Opera)

Events and social movements

Australian colonies federated in 1901; Aboriginal people counted in census from 1967 India independent of British rule from 1947 Indonesia independent of Dutch rule from 1945 Vietnam independent of French rule from 1954 East Timor independent of Indonesian rule from 2002


Chinua Achebe (Nigeria), Things Fall Apart Arundhati Roi (India), The God of Small Things Toni Morrison (US), Beloved Sally Morgan (Australia), My Place Kim Scott (Australia), Benang Michelle de Kretser (Australia), The Hamilton Case Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own Simone de Beauvoir (France), The Second Sex Betty Friedan (US), The Feminine Mystique Germaine Greer (Australia/UK), The Female Eunuch Jeanette Winterson, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit Helen Garner (Australia), Monkey Grip J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings Frederick Forsyth, The Day of the Jackal

literary movements

Feminism/second-wave feminism

Following WWII, women have increasingly moved into professions traditionally dominated by men, e.g. medicine, law, politics Women gained more control over reproduction through: ·introduction of the birth control pill (early 1960s)

·liberalisation of abortion laws

(from 1967 in UK)

Other fiction (popular, mainstream)

Thomas Harris (US), The Silence of the Lambs Stephen King (US), The Shining John Grisham (US), The Firm Patricia Cornwell (US), Body of Evidence Colleen McCullough (Australia), The Thorn Birds Tim Winton (Australia), Cloudstreet, The Riders Bryce Courtenay (South Africa/ Australia), The Power of One, The Potato Factory

Hollywood cinema globally dominant in terms of distribution Indian film industry became the largest in the world In Australia: ·Australian literature began to be recognised in universities from 1960s

·Patrick White won Nobel Prize


·rise of Australian film industry

in 1970s, including early films by Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock), Fred Schepisi, Bruce Beresford and Gillian Armstrong (My Brilliant Career)

CONT. www

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LITERATURE for senior students

Section A: The literature handbook

21st century

Novels: popular and literary


J. K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series Stephanie Meyer (US), the Twilight novels Dan Brown (US), The Da Vinci Code Stieg Larsson (Sweden), The Millennium Trilogy Jonathan Franzen (US), The Corrections Hilary Mantel, Wolf Hall Peter Carey (Australia/US), True History of the Kelly Gang

Literary forms

Breakdown of clear distinctions between literary and other genres of writing Many crossovers into film Film remains a dominant form but DVDs and the internet provide alternatives to cinemas Increasing interest in nonfiction Growth of online publishing and weblogs Development of multi-modal texts

Events and social movements

India and China become global powers with huge labour forces; India moves to forefront of ICT industry Terrorists fly hijacked planes into World Trade Centre, New York 2001 `War against terror' begins US invades Iraq 2003 with UK and Australia as allies Climate change recognised as a major global challenge



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