HSC English Advanced Module C: Representation and Text

Posted on September 20, 2017 by Patrick Condliffe

HSC English Advanced Module C: Representation and Text is a mystery for many HSC English Advanced students. Complicating things, it is often the Module that students get the least time with during the HSC year. In this post, we will take out some of the mystery of what Module C requires of you.

What is HSC English Advanced Module C?

Module C of the English Advanced HSC course is concerned with analysing, understanding, and discussing processes of representation in texts. For HSC English Advanced Module C, you will study one set text and will need to find two supplementary texts as well.

“Representation” refers to how a composer conveys information and meaning to an audience and the way their choices – form, genre, technique, and style – combine to create meaning.

When analysing texts for HSC English Advanced Module C, you need to ask the following two questions:

  • How (i.e. through what techniques) has the composer represented ideas?
  • What is the effect of the composer’s choices on the meaning?

The NESA syllabus document prescribes the way this module should be studied in the following overview:

This module requires students to explore various representations of events, personalities or situations. They evaluate how medium of production, textual form, perspective and choice of language influence meaning. The study develops students’ understanding of the relationships between representation and meaning.
Each elective in this module requires the study of one prescribed text offering a representation of an event, personality or situation. Students are also required to supplement this study with texts of their own choosing which provide a variety of representations of that event, personality or situation. These texts are to be drawn from a variety of sources, in a range of genres and media.
Students explore the ways in which different media present information and ideas to understand how various textual forms and their media of production offer different versions and perspectives for a range of audiences and purposes.
Students develop a range of imaginative, interpretive and analytical compositions that relate to different forms and media of representation. These compositions may be realised in a variety of forms and media.
Source: Board of Studies Module C Overview

This document uses some key terms when dictating how to study texts. Let’s have a look at what they mean:

  • Medium of Production – refers to the genre and text type in which a text is composed, and the technical methods of production that are used by the composer to convey meaning most effectively to the responder. These include: film techniques, auditory or visual techniques, rhetorical devices and structural techniques, as well as verbal cues, sound effects and colloquialisms used in speeches, interviews and panel discussion transcripts.
  • Textual Form – Form refers to the physical appearance and structure of a text; the way it visually affects us, appeals to our senses and elicits an emotional response. The choice of textual form is an important decision for any composer, and you must assess why this decision has been made.
  • Perspective – Perspective refers to point-of-view in relation to the composer, the responder, and the characters of a text. Point-of-view is subjective and personal. It is a reflection of the values, beliefs, life experiences, and personal context of both the reader and the composer.
  • Choice of Language – Diction (word choice), register, use of jargon or specialist language, are the foundation of representation in English. Careful consideration of the feelings that such language choices evoke and the interpretations they suggest is central to Module C.
  • Representation of an Event Personality or Situation – Texts are versions of reality; that is, representations of reality. The composer’s perspective is central to the presentation of the ideas. A representation is thus a re-presentation, a repositioning of a situation so that certain aspects of it are highlighted for emphasis.
  • Relationship Between Representation and Meaning – When reading a text we can make connections between the representation and the potential meanings by asking ourselves the following questions:
    • What situation is presented in this text? (What the text is about)
    • For what purpose has this text been constructed? (Composer’s intention)
    • What are the available facts surrounding the situation? (Context!)
    • To what degree does the representation differ from your understanding of reality? (Your perspective on the text.)

Your task in this Module is to assess various representations of events, situations, and personalities, and to show through close analysis of techniques the ways in which meaning has been constructed to target specific audiences or convey specific ideas. A satisfying and complete answer will connect the how (techniques) to the why (purposes), and comment on the composer’s use of persuasive techniques.

“To excel in this module you need to demonstrate a clear understanding of techniques and analyse their effects in a convincing manner.”

The HSC English Advanced Module C Electives

HSC English Advanced Module C is split into two electives: Representing People and Politics and Representing People and Landscapes. While these are called electives, it is actually your teachers who will choose the texts. These electives require students to examine differing aspects of representation.

Let’s have a look at what they ask you to do:

HSC English Advanced Module C Elective 1: Representing People and Politics

In this elective, students explore and evaluate various representations of people and politics in their prescribed text and other related texts of their own choosing. They consider the ways in which texts represent individual, shared or competing political perspectives, ideas, events or situations. Students analyse representations of people’s political motivations and actions, as well as the impact political acts may have on individual lives or society more broadly. In their responding and composing, students develop their understanding of how the relationship between various textual forms, media of production and language choices influences and shapes meaning.

In this elective, students have to discuss how a composer represents political concerns. This can take the form of an individual’s political perspectives, but it can also take the form of a society’s response to a political situation. You need to look at how the composers utilise the particular properties of their chosen form, medium of production, and genre to convey their ideas.

It is important to note that politics has its etymological[1] roots in the Ancient Greek term polis, literally meaning ‘the city’. It refers to citizenship as a concept, and the body of the citizen population as an entity. As such, the concept of politics is embedded in place as much as people: those who occupy and make up the citizenry of a city or town or space. Politics is concerned with the relationships between people and their personal beliefs or ideologies. While one branch of politics may be concerned with the operations of government, it is equally valid to discuss the politics of fashion or music or food.

Your teachers will choose from the following texts:

  • William Shakespeare King Henry IV, Part 1;
  • Aldous Huxley Brave New World;
  • Arthur Miller The Crucible;
  • Barry Levinson Wag the Dog;
  • The poetry of WH Auden;
  • Henry Reynolds Why Weren’t We Told.

The other elective you may be asked to study for HSC English Advanced Module C is Representing People and Landscape. Let’s see how that differs:

HSC English Advanced Module C Elective 2: Representing People and Landscapes

In this elective, students explore and evaluate various representations of people and landscapes in their prescribed text and other related texts of their own choosing. They consider the ways in which texts represent the relationship between the lives of individuals or groups and real, remembered or imagined landscapes. Students analyse representations of people’s experience of particular landscapes and their significance for the individual or society more broadly. In their responding and composing, students develop their understanding of how the relationship between various textual forms, media of production and language choices influences and shapes meaning.

Individuals engage with both real and imagined landscapes. Landscape means different things to different people, and as they imbue the world with meaning they represent those landscapes in different ways. Landscape comprises spaces individuals inhabit, feel connections to, and wish to visit. Landscapes are implicitly political and we perceive them through a subjective lens. An individual’s ideologies, context, and emotions will influence their perception of a landscape. When discussing landscape you need to consider how individuals relate to and represent the world around them and how composers represent landscape to their audiences.

Real, remembered, and imagined landscapes can be understood as the following:

  • Real: The landscape in reality as experienced in the present moment by individuals.
  • Remembered: the landscape people have previously experienced. Remembered landscapes are always subjective and affected by emotions such as nostalgia or trauma.
  • Imagined: Landscapes are often perceived and imagined before being experienced. These are landscapes we desire, such as those we construct in our imaginations from things like travel brochures. On the other hand, we also construct landscapes in an imaginary way to define ourselves or our communities. For example, for many Uluru is a giant rock, but for many Aboriginal Australian communities it is spiritual site that defines their cultural identity.

As a critic, your job when studying this module is to consider which type of landscape is being represented and explore how the relationship between people and the different types of landscape are being represented.

Your teachers will choose from the following texts:

  • Melissa Harrison Clay;
  • Colm Tóibín Brooklyn;
  • Patrick White The Tree of Man;
  • Rolf de Heer Ten Canoes;
  • The poetry of Judith Wright;
  • Alain de Botton The Art of Travel.

Now that you understand what HSC English Advanced Module C and its electives ask of you, you need to start reading and analysing your text according to the module. If you need more help, check out the links to other Module C blog posts below.

You may be interested in our HSC Module C articles

© Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au, 2017. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Matrix Education and www.matrix.edu.au with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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