'The pen is mightier than the sword.' Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1839


- Who/what would humans be without conflict?
- How does conflict shape who we are?
- Freedom, peace, justice, equality, love. What do these ideals
mean? In what ways can they be achieved?

Encountering conflict can be difficult. However, it is ultimately worthwhile. Bearing witness, acknowledging conflict, is how humanity can work to grow and evolve in a positive way. This is why your Yr 12 English study of the Context 'Encountering Conflict' is so exciting. You have the opportunity to go on a journey where you can consider the world from many different viewpoints and through many different mediums. You can inspire and be inspired, you can have your say, you can affect change in the world - locally, nationally and globally.

This blog is intended to be a portal that will transport you into a place where you can consider the Context in a way that allows you to share your thinking and ideas. It is designed to let you:

- learn about the set texts; The Secret River by Kate Grenville and The Rugmaker of Mazar-E-Sharif by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hamilton

- go beyond the set texts to develop your thoughts about the Context

- study language features that occur in the set texts

- practise different forms of writing in a forum where you can recieve feedback from teachers, experts and peers.

There are a number of areas for you to access and contribute to in this blog. They are:

- Conflict Concerns: is the blogging space on this home page for general discusssion about the context and set texts. Exploration and challenging discussion about 'Encountering Conflict' is the aim. Also, questions about the course and what you are meant to be doing can be shared here.

- Music Matters: a space to share and comment on music that is relevant to the Context. You can also discuss how the songs might relate to the set context in ideas, themes, values and language features.

- Text Tremors: discuss how written texts have moved and shaped your ideas in regards to the Context.

- Film Flogging: inspire others by sharing your thoughts on how films, documentaries and t.v. shows you have viewed encounter conflict in their narratives. Comment on parallels that may arise between films and the set texts.

- Picture Panic: share images that make you think about the context and the world you live in. Explain how the pictures you encounter represent the idea of 'encountering conflict' and how they impact on your view of life and how it should be lived.

- Prompt Response: respond to prompts that you have been given and that appear in this space to practise writing 'Creating and Presenting' responses. Upload them here for conferencing that will help you hone your skills to meet the criteria for this area of study to the best of your ability in SACs and the exam.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2010 - Here we go!


Reading and knowing your set texts well is vitally important to doing the best you can in SACs and the exam.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Encountering Conflict in The Secret River - Inspiration brainstorm ideas

internal conflict
battling with oneself
Thornhill was torn between following his fellow 'white men' or doing the morally right thing and leaving the blacks alone.

external conflict
people fighting with each other
Sal and Thornhill arguing whether they should stay in Australia or go back to England

class conflict
when Thornihill steals for survival and faces death as punishment (fairly/unfairly)

environmental conflict
The use and ownership of land
When the blacks get angry/annoyed at the Thornhills for digging/destroying their land.

human vs nature
conflict between environnment and Thornhill/boat

Miscellaneous Thoughts:

Encountering conflict in the World
chk chk boom
was calling people wogs racist
old versus new perspectives
real issue - lying/celebritits?

teachers say no to homosexuals at school ball
conflict between k-rudd and middle class rural students looking to go to uni

War in Iraq/Afghanistan
extra refugees coming to Australia. Taking our jobs/enhancing our society?

-racial conflict
Rising tensions in North Korea

-Human versus nature
Stories of courage and bravery. People making new beginnings

The Line - S/N activity

When you study The Line by Arch and Martin Flanagan you will need to make connections that go beyond the set text, just as you did with The Secret River. The connections you make are about exploring the set context, Encountering Conflict, and building a pool of ideas to inspire writing pieces that are underpinned by themes, ideas and literary devices used in the set text.

To begin this process you are going to source four texts (a picture, a written text, a song and a film) that you can see are about Encountering Conflict and can be linked to The Line in some way. In these explanations make clear:
- the conflict/s you can see
- the links with the set text
- the ideas for possible writing pieces

An area for improvement from our The Secret River blog posts:

Enhance your digital writing by including links to information on sites that supports your commentary. Also, where possible, incorporate a relevant visual with your post. For example, if you are writing about a novel in the Text Tremors section of the blog, import a picture of the novel’s cover.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Prompt Response Task

Writing Samples for The Secret River
Take some time to type up and post some of your writing for The Secret River in the 'Prompt Response' section of the blog. Include the prompt you responded to for pieces you upload. You can use these pieces for exam prep later in the semester. Having your work typed up will allow you to tackle some exam prep tasks more easily.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Don't forget about your S/N task

Hope the study break is going well for all of you. Remember, I will be checking to see if you have made your 4 'The Secret River' posts asap after the break. Alert notices will go home if the task is not completed. You need to complete a post for the Picture Panic, Text Tremors, Film Flogging and Music Matters areas of the blog.

The posts will discuss articles of your choice. Your discussion should consider the article in relation to the context of Encountering Conflict and highlight any connections between The Secret River and the article. Also, include an idea for a piece of writing you think the material would inspire noting the form and audience for the piece.

So, have a go. Don't panic about doing it right or wrong, in this case it's about the discussion we can generate and the ideas that will put us in a strong position from which to tackle the exam. If you see something put up by someone else that gets you thinking leave them a comment. If you come across something that inspires you in regards to The Line put a post up about that too. Good Luck.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Metaphore used by Kate Grenville in The Secret River

When Kate Grenville writes, she uses the metaphor “This is a town of scares … by a shameless black man”, to describe how the ‘black man’ had endured a lot of pain. The metaphor makes the sentence sound more interesting, Grenville could have written, “There were a lot of scars on the black man”, or “The black man carried a lot of scars on his body”, but those to sentences don’t make the sentence sound as interesting.

Nouns at work in The Secret River

What effect is created by naming the characters in this way?
I think Grenville has named the black characters this way to describe the characters looks, which could give the reader a prejudice view towards them.

What connotations do names like ‘old greybeard’ have?
Names like this give negative connotations. It may have the reader feel as if the ‘old greybeard’ dude is old and useless.

How is the relationship between the two Aboriginal men shown?
The aboriginal men have a tight bond between each other. They are comfortable in their own group habits and environment.

How do these ways of naming support the author’s purpose in writing about conflict?
By using descriptive names, it applies that conflict can arise because of peoples differences in their culture and the way they live.
a) By naming the white characters and leaving the black characters nameless it gives a sense of an us against them mentality which makes reader feel it’s the black men taking away the white man’s stuff when really it’s the other way round.

b) Names like old-greybeard carry the negative connotation of a brittle old man who is well past his prime and struggles to do day to day activities.

c) The relationship between the two-men is very respectful. They are both very confident in themselves and who they are and the younger one shows vast amounts of respect for his elder.

d) The naming of these characters by Greenville enforces the idea that conflict usually arises because of people’s differences in culture and ethnicity and is close to unresolvable when no common form of communication can be used.
Naming of characters: Make a list of the nouns and noun phrases (e.g. old greybeard) (including proper nouns, e.g. Thornhill) used to name the central characters in the slapping scene, page 142.

Old man
Two black men
Younger man
Thieving Cunny

What effect is created by naming the characters in this way?
By giving the whites names and not giving the blacks any names, it creates an ‘us versus them’ mentality

What connotations do names like ‘old greybeard’ have?
These kinds of names give negatives connotations, eg ‘old greybeard’ implies that he is past his prime and is of no more use

How is the relationship between the two Aboriginal men shown?
The younger man shows respect to the older man, as if he is the authority, though they cover each others back.

How do these ways of naming support the author’s purpose in writing about conflict?
This strengthens the author’s view that conflict can arise through misunderstandings and little communication

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Exploring text features in The Secret River

Kate Greenville is saying that conflict can arise over the smallest of things like the land or simply the colour of your skin and that a situation can escalate very easily and very quickly

Exploring text features of the Secret River

What is the author saying about conflict in describing ‘slapping’ incident? (pg 141-148)

Through this incident the author illustrates how cultural conflict is be a result of cultural differences and how language barriers can result in lack of understanding and misinterpretations.

By Kate and Sarah
Exploring the text features of The Secret River

What is Grenville saying about conflict in the slapping incident?

Fear, miscommunication and misunderstanding were – maybe – the instigators of the argument. Grenville writes about the lack of communication and how it can lead to violence. She writes to inform readers of how arguments between the ‘whites’ and the ‘blacks’ could have arisen, so that history does not repeat itself.

By Maddie and Caitlyn

Exploring text features of The Secret River

Exploring text features of The Secret River

What is Grenville saying about conflict in describing the slapping incident?

The slapping could have been a result of fear, miscommunication, and misunderstanding which expanded into more conflict. The author tries to have the reader understand the past and how conflict can arise and lead to violence. We are able to relate to the topic and think of ways that could have prevented conflict.

By Matt and Alex

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The most prominent type of conflict present in the secret river is that of cultural/racial conflict. A memorable instance of this type of conflict occurs when the 'blacks' are stealing crops from Thornhills paddocks. William Thornhill doesn't take too kindly to the lack of respect shown and he replies through the use of force. He grabs one woman by the hair, savagely elbows another and kicks the knee of another older lady. He also encourages the others to "be off" by parading around with a shotgun in hand and calling them "thieving black whores". In my opinion racial/cultural conflict is the usually the worst as its the least understood. Different cultures and races have differing views on what is right and what is wrong which is the intigation of many of these racial/cultural conflicts. These differing views are why this type of conflict is usually the worst, as people have so little understanding about other cultures, races and their values.
Cultural conflict, is a conflict present in many peoples lives, and it has been like that for many years.

The Secret River is based on a true story, and has many aspects of cultural conflict. This demonstrates that cultural conflict is an issue that has been around for centuries.

In "The Secret River" the english settlers judge the black people by standards and attitudes based on english life. Many of the english settlers - including Thornhill - thought that the aboriginal people didn't care about the land because they didn't have fence and houses etc. showing that they possess the land. Some of the settlers treated the 'blacks' no better than animals. Smasher treated the blacks horribly when he hung the 'theif' as though it was an animal. Also the way he treatesd the black woman was worse than how you would treat any animal, he tied a woman up for his own sexual fantasies.

For some people, including Thornhill, the racism toward the aboriginals may be because of fear. Blackwood gives advice to thornhill, but fear causes him to abandon all nagotiations he had in place with the 'blacks', and causes him to loose his son.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Hello MSC Yr 12 English stars, and welcome to the world of learning through blogging.

To begin your blogging journey for the Creating and Presenting Area of Study I want to you to write a post that discusses what you think is one of the predominant types of conflict presented in The Secret River. In your post, use an example from the text to demonstrate where you see this conflict being encountered in the novel. Some types of conflict you might like to choose from are:

- Class conflict
- Social conflict
- Cultural conflict
- Physical conflict
- Internal conflict
- Interpersonal conflict
- Avoiding conflict

Once you have identified the conflict occurring in the text, present some general thoughts you hold about that type of conflict. Explain why you think the way you do. Use a hyperlink to showcase an example of media that also adresses these conflict issues in some way.

When you have finished composing your post spend some time viewing and adding comments to others' perspectives.