'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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Encountering Conflict in 2012



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

Begin your studies by commenting on this post about the themes and ideas the images above reveal the texts will deal with.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


  • Include features of your chosen form of writing in your piece
  • Use words from the prompt, and synonyms of those words in your piece
  • Ensure links/connections to the set text are obvious, a reader looking for them should be able to notice them easily
  • Show depth of knowledge in your writing/discussion, be detailed and use quotes in essays
  • For this AOS make sure you do not write a text response or retell the story
  • Make sure you develop whole, complete pieces of writing. You must have a beginning, middle and end or introduction, body and conclusion
  • Use paragraphs, they are an important structural element of writing. Do not leave line gaps within paragraphs - they are a block of writing.
  • Structure dialogue in a story carefully. look at examples and use them as a model.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Your S/N Task - Exploring the Context - some further points

Aim to create four posts for The Secret River . 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. Include an idea for a piece of writing you think the material would inspire, try to note 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 SACs and 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 Rugmaker put a post up about that too. Good Luck.

Monday, June 6, 2011

THE RABBITS by John Marsden and Shaun Tan

Marsden and Tan put forward that Australia has been invaded. This comes through in the ise of the rabbit as a metaphor for European colonisers. Just as rabbits, an introduced species to Australia, are a pest and cause destruction of the environment, so too have the European colonisers. They caused destructive change by taking control, and dominating.

Connections with The Secret River:

Both show the European take over of Australia
They both outline changes to country and Aboriginal people - chopping down of trees, destruction of natural food sources, introduction of alcohol and disease.
Have a similar message - to put forward that invasion occured.
Grenville presents a sympathetic viewpoint that Marsden doesn't towards the Europeans who came, she considers the vicitm impact on those who were convicts or forced to escape persecution and poverty in Europe.

If Marsden and Tan had created The Rabbits for a SAC or Exam response addressing the promp that, 'Conflict creates a legacy of tragedy', it would work in all the ways required. It would have been an imaginative short story that considers themes present in The Secret River and aims to deliver a message to the reader about colonisation that is suportive of Grenville's perspective. At times in her text Grenville uses metaphor and so does Marsden. Also the naming of the characters is done for a purpose just like Grenvilee does. It would meet all the three requirements:

1. Consider the Context
2. Address the Prompt
3. Connect obviously with the set text


It is the same - the invader will call it colonisation and the ones being invaded will call it invasion. Australia = European/British = coloniser. Aboriginal people = invaded.

Those coming into a country would use the term colonisation instead of invasion because it doesn't have as vicious a connotation - it makes it sound as if it is ok.

Is there a right or wrong on this topic?
Colonisation is right because British introduced modern civilisation.
Invasion is right because the ownership of the land and culture of Aboriginal people was not respected.

This is a topic that extends to many more places than just Australia:

New Zealand - Maori
America and Canada - Indians
Ireland, Wales, Scorland - Celts/Gaelic

Encountering Conflict Wordle - Use wordle to respond to prompts

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Initial Incidents of Conflict In the Secret River - pp 1-15

STRANGERS by the class:

Thornhill and his family are stuck in Australia, Australia is used by the British as a prison
Thornhill overcomes the conditions on the convict ship by imagining himself back at home
To Thornhill being in NSW seemed worse than dying
Thornhill comes in contact with an Aboriginal, it is his first contact with a native - cultural conflict, fear of what he doesn't understand
The narrative comments that Thornhill had died once he could die again, sentenced to death but got a second chance, how long will it last, also are some things worse than death?
Fear of him and his family being in danger
Thornhill is uncomfortable with surroundings where he has to live
He struggled to survive on the convict ship

Thornhill faces internal feelings of worthlessness due to his situation
Class conflict - gentry/upper, middle and lower classes portrayed in England
Status and power - Blackwood making his way up from convict to free man and landowner
Conflict between two William Thornhill's - internal/family conflict - Our main character felt like a replacement for his dead brother
Survival - youngest versus oldest in the Thornhill family - survival of the fittest
Environmental conflict - b/w boat and prison versus Australia the country - Australia = a prison without walls

  • View these sites for a further synopsis and outline of conflicts and characters in The Secret River:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Settings in the Text

Settings are an important part of any text. Using or being inspired by the settings in The Secret River is one way in which you can draw from the set text to inform your Creating and Presenting SAC.

Working in pairs create a PowerPoint (or Prezi) to show: Settings In The Secret River

1. Spend some time seeking out images that you believe represent some of the settings in The Secret River
2. Present the images on separate slides in the PowerPoint
3. For each image explain the setting it represents and outline a page or pages in the novel that it is used
4. MAINTAIN A BIBLIOGRAPHY to show where you have collected the images from. This will be the
    last page in your PowerPoint.
5. Pigeonhole your work to 12EngPPSR(yourname)

Hawkesbury river