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2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1 Sample Answers

In this post, we give you the sample answers to the 2020 English Paper 1 for English Standard and English Advanced Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences

The Matrix 2020 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 Sample answers for English Advanced Common Module are here!

2020 HSC English Standard Exam Paper 1 Sample Answers

Have you seen the 2020 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 yet?

In this post, we will give you sample answers for Section 1 of the 2020 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1, so you can understand what would score highly. You can find the paper here on the NESA website.

Read on to see sample responses for all of the 2020 questions.


Section 1.

Question 1 – (5 Marks)

In Text 1, Michael Frayn uses analogy and personification to suggest that the creative process is generative yet restricted. He compares the tantalizing spark of inspiration that is the start of an idea to the “meat on the bone” that “lures you on.” While this ability to be inspired, and, by following the inspiration “be led into a new world” highlights the generative nature of the creative process, he underscores the reality that there is more to the process than seemingly freewheeling creation. Artists’ worlds too are anchored, and in this sense, “constrained as anyone else’s by the material that’s available,” because while we may have imagination that generates ideas, that imagination depends on what we have been exposed to. It is this latter fact of the restrictive limitations of creation that is also exemplified in Text 2. Julie Paschkis’ whimsy illustration is a clearly a visual metaphor for what it means to be a writer. A single man ‘navigates’ a literal sea of words with an oar that is a pencil. For a writer, too, is an artist, and their materials are words, and while they may play with the order of those words, they are limited to the words that exist, or risk being incomprehensible. Finally, just as Frayn describes the process of creation as feeling like a ‘discovery’, so too is Paschkis reminding her audience that creating art – whether with words, paint, or any other medium – is a voyage of discovery.


Question 2 – (5 Marks)

McFarlane represents the disconnect between individual and community experiences following major change. In the opening lines of the prose fiction extract, the dramatic tone and hyperbolic language in, “[w]hen the movie people left, the town grew sad. An air of disaster lingered in the stunned streets”, demonstrates the sheer devastation felt by the town community. This is exemplified when the townspeople turn to each other “with all their private burdens of ecstasy and despair”. The juxtaposition of “ecstasy” and “despair” highlights the community’s erratic emotional responses to the loss of the ‘movie people’. This bereft experience is contrasted by the persona’s sceptical tone, as they privately celebrate the absence of movie people as depicted in the anaphora: “no more trucks in the streets, no more catering vans in the supermarket parking lot, no more microphones and boom lights”. This scepticism is reinforced in the persona’s description of the townspeople circling the streets, “as if they were following the same deep and certain instinct that drives herring through the North Sea”. By comparing the community to a flock of birds, this simile criticises the ‘herd mentality’ response to their abandonment, resulting in communal mourning. Therefore, despite the all-encompassing nature of community experiences, their power can exclude, and ultimately oppose, the experiences of individuals within the communities.


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Question 3 – (4 Marks)

Terry Eagleton’s extract, ‘On Laughter’ examines the human experience of laughter by adopting a clinical, detached tone in his precise and detailed dissection of the variations, manner of, and reason for laughter. He cites Samuel Johnson’s research, but only to refute him. Instead, Eagleton asserts that humans laugh in a plethora of different ways, and goes on to list the many different terms people use for different kinds of laughter, each with a specific nuance. He also distinguishes the sensory distinction between laughing, as an aural action, and smiling, as a visual cue. Eagleton’s use of detached tone, encyclopaedic listing and incisive, microscopic attention to detail in his analysis allows the reader to take a step back and reflect on something we take for granted, and in doing so appreciate the many complicated ways and different emotions are expressed under the umbrella of the single term action we call ‘laughter.’


Question 4 – (6 marks)

This extract conveys the idea that a deep understanding of a place – born of generations of knowledge – allows an individual to develop an identity bound to the physical place, but also be recognized and respected by others as having a claim to, and authority over that physical place. Wright uses a simile to show Normal Phantom’s ancestral and lived connection to the river. Not only was “Normal like ebbing water,” his connection to nature extended to the stars, a connection that was wondered at with rhetorical questions with an undertone of awe: “otherwise, how could he come back?” This awe and respect of Normal’s deep knowledge of the river, a river whose deep waters “he knew… better than the big salties”, is underscored by reverential, evocative description of the way Normal braved the “glassy-eyed monsters’” “snapping jaws”, and Normal’s own nonchalance towards the salties that he felled with his gun in the moonlight. The use of tense is striking – Wright uses past tense for the entirety of the given extract, in the retellings of people’s recollections of Normal, save for the few lines where he describes Normal’s tussle with the crocodiles. The sudden use of present tense and active verbs in describing the “looking, charging, snapping, splashing, swishing, thrash, thrashing” of the fight feels like a moment of HD clarity in an otherwise sleepy, sepia photograph. Such is the larger than life presence of Normal, his memory looms over the town, the repetition on the final paragraph underscoring the fact that despite “no living soul… no picture… no one” remembering how the river looked before the port existed, everyone still knows that the river was “Normal’s river.” Thus, though deliberate shifting of tense, simile, repetition, Wright shows us how deep engagement with a place shapes not only the individual’s identity, but how the place and the individual are recognized by others.


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Written by Matrix English Team

The Matrix English Team are tutors and teachers with a passion for English and a dedication to seeing Matrix Students achieving their academic goals.


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