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2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 Sample Answers

In this article, the Matrix English team shares their 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 sample answers. Use these responses as a guide to see what would score highly for the 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1.

The Matrix 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 Sample Answers for the English Advanced Common Module are here!


2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 Sample Answers

It’s that time of year! Have you seen the 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 yet?

In this article, we share our sample answers for Section 1 of the 2021 HSC English Advanced Exam Paper 1 to show you the sort of response that would score highly. You can find the paper here on the NESA website.

Read on to see sample responses for all of the 2021 unseen section questions.


Section 1

Question 1 (3 marks) – Sample Response

Text 1 – Nonfiction extract

Explain how Daniel Gray uses language to invite the reader to share his experiences.

Through his adept use of intense imagery, Gray invites the reader to participate in his experience of finding a new book to read. Although a mundane task, Gray uses sensory language in order to connect the reader physically to this experience. Gray’s use of gentle tactile imagery means that as readers we are almost able to feel ourselves “brushing fingers over embossed titles, handling and patting… tickl[ing] spines and… brush[ing] pages.” The reader is enticed to imagine themselves partaking in the event and can almost imagine themselves in the quiet of a bookstore, undisturbed. However, the gentleness developed by this tactile imagery is juxtaposed against Gray’s sudden use of violent language in “devour”. This use of diction invites us as readers not only into Gray’s physical state, but also his emotional state and indicates Gray’s overwhelming desire for escapism that he believes he can gain via reading. However, what we as readers become aware of through Gray’s sensory and evocative language is that this escapism begins before Gray has even turned the first page, and that this mundane task of buying or borrowing a book has solidified itself as part of his escape from reality.

Question 2 (3 marks) – Sample Response

Text 2 – Poem

How effectively does the use of imagery convey a human experience?

The use of tactile imagery in Guest’s poem invites the reader to explore the human experience of existentialism and the epiphany of one realising their trivial existence when faced with the natural world that surrounds them. When the persona wraps their hand around the piece of quartz “its rough edges pressed against [their] outline, changed [their] shape in a small way,” connecting the persona and the crystal through tactile imagery until they are one and the same. Through this, Guest suggests that the persona herself is merely a small piece of the world in the same way that the piece of quartz is merely a small part of Plaza Blanca. However, Guest undercuts this notion via the reference to the weight of the stone in the persona’s hand as “heavy for something so small.” The contrasting ideas of “heavy” and “small” represent the “difficult work” that each individual has to overcome throughout their lives even though we acknowledge that our existence is merely a “wink in a deep night.” Through this Guest explores the idea that though our lives are short in comparison to that of the natural world, our existence is also our greatest burden as human beings.

Question 3 (4 marks) – Sample Response

Text 3 – Prose Fiction Extract

How does Ocean Vuong represent the relationship between the characters?

The relationship represented between the Grandmother and Grandson within Vuong’s On Earth We Are Briefly Gorgeous, is one of intense familiarity in which love for one another is shown through small, intimate acts of service. Through the process of plucking out his Grandmother’s grey hairs, the narrator becomes closer to her, both physically and emotionally and through the stories that she tells, he connects with a form of his grandmother who he was not able to know, and who his grandmother is slowly forgetting. While reading the excerpt we become intensely aware that this relationship is one with limited time remaining. This is articulated via the personification of his grandmother’s memories in “they spiralled out from her mind only to return the next week with the same introduction…” and are rectified by Vuong through his development of familiarity between the two characters. Where the narrator’s grandmother forgets, he remembers “as if watching a film for the umpteenth time”, filling in the blanks and creating “a movie made by Lan’s words and animated by [his] imagination.” Vuong uses both simile and metaphor to emphasise the grandmother’s lasting memory in the grandson’s mind and represents the notion that even once she is gone, that she will remain a part of him.

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Question 4 (4 marks) – Sample Answer

Text 4 – Nonfiction extract

Analyse how Didem Caia uses literary devices to reflect on her experience.

Within this piece, Caia uses sensory imagery and figurative language to reflect on the concept of being unintentionally forced out of her comfort zone, only to find that the experience is refreshingly freeing. Caia’s stream of consciousness style of writing allows the reader to dive into her subconscious and lends itself to introspective thought from both the audience and Caia herself. Caia’s use of sensory imagery within “the scent of hung-over raindrops, the sound of gravel, touch of leaves, tree trunks and the sight of falling diamonds,” transports the reader into her memory, making them feel as if they were with her during this experience. However, Caia is not only allowing the audience access to her memory of her physical experience of which she writes about, but also the thoughts and emotions that go hand in hand with these memories. She uses metaphor in “the woods were the stage, I was the audience, and I experienced the great creative tension of the theatre…” to compare her experience of being lost to that of the initial anxiety and excitement an audience member feels before a play begins, and through this entices her audience to feel the same as they come to the conclusion of her reflection.

Question 5 (6 marks) – Sample answer

Text 5 – Prose fiction extract

Evaluate Anne Enright’s use of narrative voice in shaping the character of Katherine O’Dell.

Although Enright shapes her narrator as a close and familial connection to the character of Katherine O’Dell, the development of narrative voice throughout the piece leaves the audience with a feeling of disconnect between actress mother and narrator daughter.

The piece begins with listing of all the people her mother could be, “a normal person… eating toast and marmalade… a mother… an actress.” However, as the narrator continues, we find that she cannot distinguish between the different personas she witnesses within her mother. This becomes apparent through the use of metaphor in the last line of the extract “not just on screen or on the stage, but at the breakfast table also, my mother Katherine O’Dell was a star,” especially when juxtaposed against the beginning of the piece in which the narrator “did not use the word star,” to describe her mother. This accentuates the idea that even though she may have viewed her mother’s personalities as separate entities, as she begins to describe her, she cannot find a way to disconnect her parent standing in the kitchen, from the actress on the screen or stage. This inability to separate mother from star and star from mother, indicates that Katherine’s character is always acting, and her identity as the narrator’s mother is just another role that she has to play.

This concept is further explored via the use of personal pronouns throughout the piece. While Katherine is described as “my mother” throughout the narrative, the narrator never refers to herself as a daughter, instead calling herself “a girl of eight or nine.” This suggests that the narrator has never been made to feel like a daughter, as Katherine merely sees her as a fellow actor, pretending at playing a role “like in the movies.”

Katherine’s inability to distinguish between fiction and real life becomes apparent in the last paragraph when she “gets up and walks away,” and the narrator comments that she believes “someone else will dispose of” her unfinished toast and stubbed out cigarette, like a set crew after the director has called ‘cut’ on a scene.

Overall, we get the sense that Katherine O’Dell is more actress than mother, and that her own daughter did not know her any better than the strangers on the street who claim to have loved her.

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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