For students commencing their Year 12 studies, the common module of Texts and Human Experiences is the first module they meet when studying English. Whilst a related text isn’t required for the HSC or the trial exams themselves, it is required for your assessment task.
So we thought that we would unpack a few different options that our students in the past have used to help with your journey of finding a text. Remembering that some tasks require that the related text be directly compared and contrasted against the prescribed text or it might ask you to analyse the related text in isolation.
When selecting a related text, we encourage students to choose a text type that is different from their prescribed text. For example, if you have a Shakespeare text as your prescribed text, we recommend selecting a film for your related text. Equally if your prescribed text is a film (such as Billy Elliot), then a short story or a poem would be suitable. The reason for this is that you then give yourself a better opportunity to ‘show off’ your skills to the marker as they are able to see how you have the skills to analyse both literary and cinematic/dramatic techniques.
Let’s look at a few to see how it might assist with sparking an idea for you…
When They See Us
This is a Netflix original that re-tells the story of the Central Park Five case from the perspective of the five boys that were wrongfully accused of the crime. The human experiences represented in the text are identified as isolation, the power of memory, cultural stereotypes, loyalty and discrimination. The message and perspective that the director aimed to achieve is clearly established and thereby presents each of the human experiences in a specific lense to capture the journeys of each of the boys.
This is a powerful text as there are a variety of cinematic techniques used such as framing, camera angles, non-diegetic music, symbolism and costuming. If you were to do a text such as this one, we recommend focusing on two of the episodes so that you can provide an in depth analysis versus a wide breadth analysis. This way, you will also be able to capture the development of characters as the text progresses.
It is a good idea to focus on different characters, the setting of the text and the context in which it is created and receive to add further analysis to your writing. For example, When They See Us is set in the late 90’s in New York, however it has been delivered to an audience living in 2020. Consider how this affects the way the human experience is represented and the elements of the rubric that are addresses or relevant in this regard.
If you walk down the aisle of your school library or local library there will be an entire shelf of novels that are a mixture of short stories. The benefit of short stories is that you are effectively analysing a literary text without needing to read an entire novel.
Lately we have drawn some of the stories from the Fig Tree by Arnold Zable and Tim Winton – The swimming chair as they provide a short and sweet glimpse into a human experience that is easy to analyse in an assessment task. The length of a short story is also long enough for you to draw effective examples but short enough that you can get through it all in time for an assessment.
Remember that when you are analysing a short story, you want to consider the character construction, the structure and the usual techniques such as metaphor, symbolism and motifs. Generally short stories use these elements frequently because its an effective way to get a message across to audiences in a meaningful way.
So as you come to study this module, have a read of this blog to see if it points you in the right direction. If you have any questions about the text you have in mind you can email us at any time!
All the best