Year 12 Standard English Module A: Experience Through Language: Distinctive Voices Assessment Task

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1 Year 12 Standard English Module A: Experience Through Language: Distinctive Voices Assessment Task Due Dates: Monday, 1 st May 2017 (Week 2, Term 2) BEFORE 9am Weighting: 15% Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 10 Modes: Reading, Viewing/Representing Task: This task is comprised of two parts Part One: Reading Please read and take notes from the attached: General Notes on the Play Part Two: Viewing & Representing Combining the information from the Reading task and your own understanding of the play Summer of the Seventeenth Doll you are to create a presentation using either Prezi or Weebly or Youtube that responds to the following: Considering your study of Summer of the Seventeenth Doll what do distinctive voices reveal about the nature of individuals and the society in which they live? (adapted from the 2016 Independent Trial HSC question) Submission Notes: Because you need to submit this task as an electronic file, I will accept an with a WORKING html link that is time-stamped as received by 9am on Monday 1 st May. The link should be sent to:

2 Marking Guidelines Marking guidelines are not available for the Reading section, as evidence of this will be marked in the Viewing and Representing section. A marking guideline for this section is below. Marking Guidelines The presentation is highly sophisticated in both its content, and aesthetic appeal. A clear and thoughtful purpose is established, and there is a sophisticated and concise flow of ideas. Highly sophisticated use of parts 1 & 2 of the task and evidence of critical thinking Clear, thoughtful, cohesive and highly effective use of chosen technology and layout to shape meaning. Highly sophisticated use of written language and text style. Language is appropriate to audience, context and purpose. The presentation is highly effective in both its content, and aesthetic appeal. Purpose is effectively established, and there is evidence of effective structuring of thoughts and ideas. Effective use of parts 1 & 2 of the task and some evidence of critical thinking to answer the question. Clear and effective use of the chosen technology and the layout to shape meaning. Highly effective use of written language and text style. Language is appropriate to audience, context and purpose. The presentation was completed to an acceptable standard in both its content, and aesthetic appeal. Ideas that are represented are acceptable, but there is a lack of critical thought and the purpose may not be immediately evident. Acceptable use of parts 1 & 2 of the task and minimal evidence of critical thinking Sound attempt to use technology to present ideas clearly, some thought evident in the layout. Acceptable use of written language and text style, although the language may lack impact in parts. Language is appropriate to audience, context and purpose. The presentation was completed to an adequate standard, although it lacks in specific detail and aesthetic appeal. The purpose of the presentation is unclear, and it contains a vague structure and flow of ideas. Adequate use of parts 1 & 2 of the task and little, if any, evidence of critical thinking Adequate use of technology with poor consideration to layout. Presentation lacks cohesiveness and continuity of ideas. Adequate use of written language, and poor choice of text style. Errors may be evident in grammar. Demonstrates little awareness of audience, context and purpose. The presentation is incomplete and/or well below the expected standard. It contains minimal detail, and is lacking in visual appeal. The purpose of the presentation is unclear, with no clear structure of ideas and opinions. Basic use of parts 1 & 2 of the task and no evidence of critical thinking to answer the question. Little or no evidence of thought process involved in the layout. Poor use of written language and minimal effort to create impact with textual style. Inappropriate for audience, context and purpose. Marks A B C 9-12 D 5-8 E 1-4

3 General Notes on the Play (from a talk by Mr Crase-Smith) Why is this play still performed? It is surely dated, with many colloquialisms and morals of the times not heard of today. But The Doll still captures an audience. This is not necessarily because of its Australian-'ness', but more because of its series of universals. This is a play about ordinary people, which people can immediately relate to. The driving force behind the play is surely the desperate sadness which permeates the very heart of the play. This sadness is brought about by the fact that a group of people are trying to stay young, and are refusing to realise they are growing old. They have a lack of understanding of the growing process, and so stick with what they know best - their youth; ultimately to their downfall. We see the very young along with the very old in this play, we see the beginnings of a cycle of women in a situation, each one determined to make their life work, although they have seen the downfall of the older woman. Emma hasn't had an easy life, and although Olive has seen this, she hasn't learnt any lessons from her, except that she wants to have it differently. Bubba, similarly, can see that Olive's life was less than perfect in the outcome, and is determined to make it work for her - she sees the opportunity in Johnnie Dowd, but fails to understand why it is that the group of friends have fallen apart. The audience doesn't know whether Olive will turn out like Emma, hardened and cynical, but ultimately wise, which is an audience-capturing in the thoughtfulness. We can see that the men who at one stage came down like 'eagles flyin' down out of the sun' are coming down this summer battered and bruised. They are not the fit young men they were - Roo has a bad back, and Barney has had many blows to his ego regarding the studliness he once enjoyed. Behind his joking facade, we can see that he is actually a rather pathetic man, who is prepared to break the unwritten code of mateship to save his own skin. This act of selfpreservation has lost Barney the respect and friendship he once had from Roo, as can be seen when they fight in Act II Scene 2. The audience, however, sympathises with Barney, because they can see that behind his facade he is really hurt and sad when he is laughed at by women. The audience sympthasises with this because everyone knows how it feels to be laughed at. Nancy, the only main character we don't actually meet, has realised she is getting old, and wanted to get out of the slowly crumbling dream of the lay-off, consequently getting married, and leaving Barney and the others. She embraced change in a way that Olive cannot understand - Olive believes Nancy's choice as being traitorous to the dream, "She made a mistake - Marriage is different, and Nancy knew it." Through this, we can see a crumbling, insecure world with people who cling, like Olive, or change and grow after the coming of realisation, like Nancy and Roo. Olive clings to a reality that cannot continue. Pearl sees this, and is used in this play as a critical voice, so the audience can size up the characters and compare their actions. Pearl sees the lay-off for what it is, "...if you'd only come out of your day-dream long enough to take a grown-up look at the lay-off...". Is it a faith for Olive, or a fantasy? "I'm blind to what I want to be." Roo, however, sees, perhaps too late, that it is doomed, and wants to embrace change in an effort to retain as much as he can. In listening to what Emma has to say, he understands, finally the reality. It is the bluntness with which Emma presents the reality to Roo that makes this scene so appealing. We can see again how ordinary these peoples' lives are. However, Olive sees Roo's attempt at change as being traitorous. She believes that if Roo leaves with Barney, as he usually does, it is the only thing she has left - the last shred of the dream for her. Her youth has gone,, and she suddenly realises that she has lost everything, except for the memories, and the desperate hope that if he leaves, it will all be magically better next time, when Roo says, "Olive, it's gone - can't you understand? Every last little scrap of it - gone!" She becomes so intense, she believes that her

4 ideal life has been stolen from her: "You give it back to me - give me back what you've taken." Roo's reality is profoundly sad. He refers to it as "...the dust we're in and we're gunna walk through it like everyone else for the rest of our lives!" This 'dust' he refers to suggests mortality, and the fact that everything has been smashed to dust, and cannot be reconstructed. He smashes the seventeenth doll as a powerful visual image - there is no attempt at resolution, or subtlety - the smashing is borne of a brutal, primitive instinct of helplessness and frustration. This adds enormously to the play's appeal - the end is unresolved, and a change from the usual 'happy endings', and relies on the vitality of the characters to play it out. The tension between the fantasy and reality is most seen here, as the ultimate theme of mortality is reinforced. This ending shows the brilliance of the play in its theatrical nature - there is no sentimentality in the play - only shocking realities that confront the audience about their own everyday lives. These people are so ordinary, but throughout the play we get a sense of impending doom, which makes this almost a Grecian drama - the climaxes show the characters' humanity, and enthralls the audience. This play has been labelled by some critics as 'the tragedy of the inarticulate' - a tragedy of people who feel intense emotion and symbolism, but cannot express their feelings. Some critics believe that Olive suffers from arrested development, a psychological disorder in that the person rejects the idea of growing old and remains childlike in many ways, e.g. dressing like a child, or carrying dolls etc. It is a detachment from reality that Olive seems to possess, however she also has spirit and vitality, unlike many sufferers of this condition. She has given up the conventional morals of the times, and takes risks to glory in a dream of her own fabrication. Olive has a great wit and we can see some of her mother in her cynical comments. So this view of Olive as having this condition is a rather narrow one indeed. Other critics feel that Lawler had some ulterior motives in writing this play - they believe he draws parallels to the growth of Australia itself; it's confrontation of colonialism and development to a recognised nation. By the 1950's the colonialistic view of Australia by its inhabitants and its 'Mother Country' Britain had begun to change, and during the World Wars Australia realised how far away from Britain it actually was, and decided that trade deals and treaties were best made with America and the Asian nations, and these would have to be recognised because Australia itself sits on the Asia-Pacific rim, further from Britain than any of her other large colonies. The theme of mateship is also explored readily in this play; we see the loyalties that each person has, and what they are prepared to sacrifice them for. It especially comes under scrutiny when Barney pretends that his friendship with Roo hasn't suffered from his leaving him up North. Although Barney offers emotional and monetary support to Roo, Roo knows just how much Barney betrayed him up North, and shows him how their trust and loyalty has broken down over that incident. Barney doesn't realise until it is too late just how much Roo suffered when he abandoned him, and then tried to pretend that nothing happened. Roo is also fiercely loyal to Olive, and he is confronted by Barney about this when Barney wants to leave to go back North. Roo knows how much the lay-off means to Olive, and doesn't want to abandon her, like Barney did him, because he knows just how much damage that can do, when loyalties are tested like that. Olive also has loyalties to Roo, but her priorities are with the layoff, and her dreams - which is where the loyalties begin to come undone. She doesn't realise that she cannot have loyalties in something that is based on crumbling foundations, which is what Nancy realised when she left to get married. Although she has moved on, Nancy still sends Barney a telegram to wish them well; which shows her loyalties are still somewhat with them. Bubba is very loyal to the other characters of the play - she has grown up with them always in her life, and believes that this situation is the ideal way of life for. She bases her dreams on what has been the stable elements in her life. Emma is also loyal; for all her wisdom and sardonic comments, her loyalty is to Olive, her daughter. She is also somewhat loyal to Roo, as she sees him as the potential husband of her daughter, so offers to help him out when he is broke, although she knows the value of money very well.

5 This play ultimately works because it touches our sense of compassion; we feel pity for the breakdown of the relationships in the play, and for the characters, and for the situation - we feel pity for them growing old. We feel pity for the characters' desire to build an ideal world; we see Bubba's fears for the future, and her determination to overcome them, and at the other end, we see the outcome in Emma's wisdom: although she hasn't built herself an ideal world, she has learned to walk in her 'dust' and make the most of what she has. This play is about how ordinary people hurt in themselves, and how they can hurt one another, and how people are reluctant to change - a human flaw that resides, to some extent, in everyone.

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