'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.

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