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Shaping meaning Language Symbols and icons Cultures and values Iconography Literature Types of metaphor Extended metaphor Allegory Literacy

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Monologue Positioning the audience A point of view

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n Symbols and icons

L I T E R AT U R E

LITERACY

Symbols are concrete objects that are given a broader abstract meaning, such as an idea or a concept. For example, a cross is a symbol of Christianity, a dove is a symbol of peace, and in some cultures the colour black is a symbol of mourning. Some symbols are adopted because they are unique to a place. For example, the kangaroo is unique to Australia and appears on the Commonwealth Coat of Arms. Symbols can prompt strong emotional reactions. The word ‘icon’ is a Greek word meaning ‘to be like’. Images—especially religious images of saints or angels—became known as icons. Today, the term ‘icon’ also refers to anyone who is looked up to as representing the best of their type (for example, ‘the Australian singing icon Kylie Minogue’). Places, buildings and even products can also be icons where they represent a great achievement or something culturally significant. Examples are the Sydney Opera House, Uluru and Vegemite. Interestingly, modern technology has also returned the meaning of ‘icon’ to its origins: small onscreen images that represent functions or applications are called icons—for example, the iTunes or email icons.

Kangaroos

LANGUAGE

The kangaroo is known world-wide as the symbol of Australia—think Australia, think kangaroos. Images of kangaroos feature on Australian websites, logos, merchandise and flags. Sometimes the symbol is used playfully, sometimes seriously, and sometimes ironically. Because the kangaroo has symbolised Australia for so long and in so many different contexts, its symbolism remains powerful in Australian culture. Issues such as kangaroo culling and selling kangaroo meat can therefore divide Australians. Farmers whose livelihood depends on keeping kangaroo numbers under control see the kangaroo differently from those who value the kangaroo as a unique native species: what is one person’s symbol of destruction is another person’s symbol of national identity.

Image A

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Image D

Image B

Exercise 2.1

L I T E R AT U R E

LITERACY

Image C

Responding to symbols and icons

1 The photograph of the kangaroo (Image A) is used widely by tourist companies promoting Australia as a tourist destination. The image shows the Australian national symbol against a background of natural beauty. Analyse the techniques that the photographer has used to make this image as inviting as possible. Include in your analysis a critique of the colour, framing and vectors.

LANGUAGE

2 What does Image A offer overseas visitors to Australia? In what way might this image be misleading? Does that matter? Why? 3 The Qantas ‘flying kangaroo’ symbol (Image B) is often accompanied by the words ‘Spirit of Australia’ in promotional material. Explain how the following groups of airline travellers might interpret or respond emotionally to the symbol and the words: a overseas tourists b Australian citizens c regular business travellers. 4 Name another sporting group, besides the North Melbourne Kangaroos (AFL) team (Image C), which has adopted the kangaroo as their symbol. Why do you think the kangaroo is so popular as a sports symbol? 5 Research the origins of the ‘boxing kangaroo’ (Image D), both as a sideshow attraction and then as a symbol. Present your findings in two objectively written information reports. Then write a personal text in which you express your opinion on the use of a kangaroo as a sideshow attraction or the boxing kangaroo as a symbol representing a yacht. Your text can be a literary piece, argument or oral presentation. Include at least one image that connects with and supports your point of view.

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n Cultures and values Australians fly at least four different ‘national’ flags—the official flag, the Indigenous flag, the boxing kangaroo and the Eureka flag. Each flag started off symbolising for its creators a particular value and attitude or event. However, today they may mean many things to different people.

Shifting values

LANGUAGE

L I T E R AT U R E

LITERACY

The dominant culture in a society has significant control over the values of society, expressed through language, government organisation, public symbols and icons. However, minority groups frequently challenge the values of the dominant culture, adopting or adapting symbols to represent their views. As society changes, cultural values change and so do the symbols and icons representing them. The Eureka flag, which shows the Southern Cross, has been used by various groups to symbolise their rebellion against some aspect of the dominant culture. (The Eureka flag was originally a symbol of rebellion at the Eureka Stockade, where goldfield workers opposed miners’ licences introduced by the government in 1854.) Then the Southern Cross was appropriated and placed on the official Australian flag and so came to represent instead the dominant Australian values represented by the flag: democracy and national pride. The blog extract opposite is an example of one person’s values and cultural assumptions about flags and symbols.

Exercise 2.2

Changing values and symbols

1 Read the extract then summarise how AnthroYogini saw Australia Day in the past. 2 She uses the words, ‘Well. We didn’t. Now, apparently, we do’. What changes is she referring to? 3 List the positive words and phrases she uses about the Southern Cross, and explain her attitude to it and the values she places on it. 4 She sees a shift in values symbolised by the Southern Cross. What aspects of change does she identify? 5 Write a blog entry explaining your attitude to Australia Day celebrations and the value you place on them. 6 Think about what you see happening in Australia and the world today and, from that, speculate about what different values and symbols Australians might adopt in the future. You can decide to take a humorous or serious approach, and a positive or negative view of a future Australia. Present your speculations in the form of a magazine article that responds to the question: ‘Where are we headed?’

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Advance Australia? January 26 is Australia Day. For those readers who live elsewhere, Australia Day commemorates the day that Captain Arthur Phillip sailed into Sydney Cove in 1788 and commenced the European settlement of Australia. Up until 10–12 years ago, Australia Day was a daggy kind of day. Australia Day amounted to the government awarding a few honours to people (usually sports MEN), there was a cricket match, and a few other events around the country involving BBQs. And a public holiday. We love public holidays in Australia, but that’s another blog post.

LITERACY

Australians have never been patriotic in the way that Americans are. We are a laid-back, laconic culture, who shy away from the flag-waving, chest-beating, Hollywood whoo-haa that America promotes in the name of national pride. That kind of display has been treated with suspicion and embarrassment. Most of us can’t sing our national anthem to save our lives (it’s a woeful dirge, anyway.) Many Australians think that Australia Day is celebrated on January 26 because that was the day Captain Cook discovered Australia! We just don’t do the whole patriotic thing … Well. We didn’t. Now, apparently, we do.

L I T E R AT U R E

… It makes me wonder about the deep and possibly lasting changes that are happening in Australian culture. The co-opting of the Southern Cross for one. The Southern Cross signifies home to me. It signifies my identity in opposition to the Northern Hemisphere-dominated rest of the world. It comforts me when I camp out bush by myself in the Australian Outback. I feel better when I look up and see it there, no matter where I am.

LANGUAGE

Yet now it seems it’s become a symbol of fear, hate and exclusion. Every redneck, young lout and racist sports a Southern Cross tattoo on their anatomy, in honour of some new-hate and fear-filled nationalistic fervour that’s become acceptable in the last 10 years. This tattooing and baring of the symbol on the flesh is not about being a proud Australian and celebrating the good things about our country—like our tolerance and easy-going lifestyle—it’s about exclusion. It’s about saying: I’m a monolingual, English-speaking Caucasian. If you’re not like me, you don’t belong here. It’s [the] kind of shameful display that fuelled the Cronulla riots several years ago. As a former Sutherland Shire resident, these riots appalled me. Then there is the displaying of the flag. The flag used to be reserved for the tops of official government buildings, office buildings, passports, tourist attractions, sporting events etc. People did not put the flag on their cars (they put streamers in the colours of their football teams during finals time), they did not put up flag poles in their drive ways or yards. Now they do. Why? Posted by AnthroYogini

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n Iconography

LITERACY

The word ‘Gallipoli’ evokes strong responses among Australians. A whole iconography has built up around the Gallipoli legend. ‘Iconography’ refers to the images that are widely recognised as representing the values associated with an event. Images associated with the Australian Army—the slouch hat and ‘Rising Sun’ badge—are part of the iconography of Anzac and they represent qualities of patriotism, courage and sacrifice. In recent times, the iconography has broadened to include images of young Australians respectfully attending the Anzac Day Dawn Services at Gallipoli Cove, these images representing a renewed commitment to the ‘spirit of Anzac’. The Anzac Day website has the following to say about the ‘Rising Sun’ badge.

‘Rising Sun’ badge

L I T E R AT U R E

In the prolonged and bitter struggles of World War I and World War II, the soldiers of the 1st and 2nd AIF (Australian Imperial Forces) had this esprit-de-corps, and its focal point was a humble badge. The so-called ‘Rising Sun’ badge, worn on the up-turned brim of a slouch hat, typified the Spirit of ANZAC—the camaraderie of Australian soldiers to fight for the Crown and the British Empire. This version of the badge was used from 1904 to 1949.

www.anzacday.org.au/education/tff/risingsun.html

LANGUAGE

Appropriating Anzac iconography Two major football codes—Australian Football League (AFL) and Australian Rugby League (ARL)—promote special Anzac Day ‘clashes’, using words like ‘tradition’ and ‘courage’. The promoters use Anzac icons to connect the football games with the Anzac legend.

Exercise 2.3

Analysing the DVD cover

1 Explain all the ways in which the badge on the AFL DVD cover copies the ‘Rising Sun’ badge. 2 What changes have been made? 3 Does the badge have high or low salience on the cover? Why did the designer place it in this way? 4 What meaning does the reworked badge have in this context?

AFL DVD cover

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ANZAC COVE TEST

LITERACY

League plans Gallipoli salute

EXCLUSIVE by Andrew Webster

This image has been manipulated.

LANGUAGE

Exercise 2.4

L I T E R AT U R E

IT'S the small stretch of sand and treacherous cliff face where young soldiers were killed but a legend and bond between two nations were cemented forever. Now, Gallipoli is poised to be the setting of a new Anzac legend with plans well advanced to hold a rugby league Test match between the Kangaroos and Kiwis in Turkey in 2015. It will mark the centenary of the landing of Australian and New Zealand troops on the iconic peninsula during the First World War. The Daily Telegraph has learnt that secret discussions between ARL, NRL and New Zealand Rugby League officials have been held for the last two years and an official proposal will be handed to the Australian, New Zealand and Turkish governments within the next few weeks.

Responding to ‘Anzac Cove Test’

1 Read the beginning of the Daily Telegraph report and examine the images, then write a brief summary of the news point that is being reported here. 2 Is this objective or subjective reporting? Support your opinion by referring to the headline, subheading, style of writing and images in the report. 3 What is the journalist’s purpose here? Is this appropriate in a news report? Why? 4 Below is one reader’s response to this news report. Read it and respond to Jack (70–80 words), either agreeing or disagreeing with him. 5/5/2011 3:16 pm I’m a digger who’s seen active service. I’m also a league fan. But I’m disgusted at how low the league can go in looking for new ways to make a buck. The marketing boys have excelled themselves this time. Clearly the Anzac legend means nothing to these morons. They just don’t get it. Shame! Jack

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n Types of metaphor Extended metaphor, metonymy and allegory are types of metaphor, the literary device that describes one thing in terms of something completely different (‘He is a bower bird’; ‘Your room—it’s a bombsite!’). Each of these types of metaphor can serve to expand, understate or clarify meaning.

Extended metaphor

LITERACY

Extended metaphor is a way of describing one thing in terms of another and then continuing and expanding that connection. For example, the metaphor ‘stormed’ in ‘She stormed into the room’ can be extended to show the depth of her feelings with ‘She stormed into the room, her eyes flashed and her words thundered over us’. The writer extends the storm metaphor with ‘flashed’ and ‘thundered’. In the following extract the words in bold indicate the extended metaphor of the fog as a cat.

L I T E R AT U R E

The love song of J. Alfred Prufrock The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, And seeing that it was a soft October night Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.

LANGUAGE

T.S. Eliot

Nowhere does the poet actually use the word ‘cat’. Instead, he leaves it to readers to infer the connection from the way he describes the fog moving and settling over the streetscape. The metaphor extends so far that the two things—the fog and the cat—seem to become one.

Metonymy Metonymy is a ‘shorthand’ type of metaphor in which part of something is used to refer to a whole thing. For example, ‘the press’ refers not only to the (now largely defunct) printing presses, but to the whole print media including journalists and proprietors. Similarly, ‘the suits’ refers to the bosses of large companies. ‘The White House’ refers to the US President and his government. Shakespeare, in one of his sonnets, refers to 500 years as ‘five hundred courses of the sun’, while in Julius Caesar, Mark Antony pleads with the crowd to ‘lend me your ears’—in other words, to listen carefully to him.

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Allegory Allegory is an apparently simple story but which has another level of meaning, usually one that moralises or satirises. Aesop’s Fables are famous allegories; animal characters represent human traits or foibles and the fables teach moral behaviour. For example, ‘The boy who cried wolf’ is a lesson about lying. A boy minding a flock of sheep thinks that it’s funny to call out ‘wolf’ and see the villagers come running to save the flock. One day, a real wolf appears and the boy cries out, but the villagers ignore him and the wolf kills his flock. The moral of the story is that people who lie lose all credibility. The poem ‘Stupidity Street’ is set in a typical English street in which birds are sold for food. The poet ‘sees’ a future in which birds no longer eat the worms, so worms will eat the wheat, and people will starve. This allegory with an ecological message also warns humans against short-term gratification that could have long-term negative consequences.

Stupidity Street I saw with open eyes Singing birds sweet Sold in the shops For the people to eat, Sold in the shops of Stupidity Street.

LITERACY

I saw in vision The worm in the wheat, And in the shops nothing For people to eat; Nothing for sale in Stupidity Street. Ralph Hodgson

L I T E R AT U R E

Extended metaphor and allegory

I was angry with my friend: I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe; I told it not, my wrath did grow.

And it grew both day and night, Till it bore an apple bright; And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine,

And I water’d it in fears, Night & morning with my tears; And I sunned it with my smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.

And into my garden stole When the night had veil’d the pole: In the morning glad I see My foe outstretch’d beneath the tree.

LANGUAGE

A poison tree

William Blake

Exercise 2.5

Interpreting extended metaphor and allegory

1 Identify the extended metaphor in ‘A poison tree’ and explain its meaning. 2 Identify and explain the lesson or allegorical content of the poem. 3 Using the poem ‘Stupidity Street’ as a model, write a poem based on a water supply/dam/river and the way people abuse it.

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n Extended metaphor Writers often use extended metaphor to sustain description and give depth to their text. They cleverly explore an idea through extended metaphor, highlighting and then going more deeply into their idea through the extended reach of the metaphor.

Song lyrics

LITERACY

In the following extract from a song, Katy Perry uses extended metaphor in comparing a person to a firework.

Firework

L I T E R AT U R E

Do you know that there’s still a chance for you Cause there’s a spark in you

LANGUAGE

You just gotta ignite the light And let it shine Just own the night Like the Fourth of July Cause baby you’re a firework Come on show ’em what you’re worth Make ’em go ‘Oh, oh, oh!’ As you shoot across the sky-y-y Baby you’re a firework Come on let your colours burst Make ’em go ‘Oh, oh, oh! You’re gunna leave ’em fallin’ down-own-own Katy Perry

Exercise 2.6

Extended metaphor in song lyrics

1 The ‘you’ in the song is described in terms of a firework. List the chain of references to fireworks.

Katy Perry

2 Explain in your own words what the lyrics are saying about ‘you’ and what connection this has with the firework metaphor. 3 What message is the songwriter sending to ‘you’?

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Poem

Exercise 2.7

35 Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,

LITERACY

And sweetest in the gale is heard; And sore must be the storm That could abash the little bird That kept so many warm. I’ve heard it in the chillest land, And on the strangest sea; Yet never in extremity It asked a crumb of me. Emily Dickinson

L I T E R AT U R E

In her poem about hope, the American poet Emily Dickinson describes hope in terms of a bird. She pairs characteristics of hope with characteristics of a bird, in particular that of singing. ‘Hope’ is the subject of the poem and she explores how hope has helped her in difficult times. l Stanza 1 establishes that the persona has hope and it sits within her soul, like a bird, singing without words. l Stanza 2 develops the idea that hope is a sweet and good thing to have in stormy or bad times, and that it takes a lot to destroy hope, even though it might seem a fragile thing. l Stanza 3 explores the idea that hope will exist in the most difficult and strangest of circumstances and never expect anything of the person who holds it in their heart, in the same way that a bird that sings and rewards the listener might never ask for a crumb in return.

Using extended metaphors

LANGUAGE

1 List five animals and five emotions, then link two together (for example, horse and courage). Brainstorm any words you can associate with both your animal and your emotion. Using the words, write a short extended metaphor in the form of a poem, following the model below. In the first five lines, the words that are associated with a horse create an extended metaphor for the emotion of courage, which is stated in the last line.

It stands proud Tosses its head Paws the ground Rears up And forges ahead ... Courage! 2 Write part of a song lyric using extended metaphor. Base your lyric on a person and a flame, candle or sparkler. Make a list of words connected with candles, such as light, flame, upright, lasting, melting, exhausted, spent. Write a paragraph about a person’s life, using those words to describe the life. Shape the paragraph into song form, using short stanzas, clear images and repetition or chorus.

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n Allegory An allegory works best when readers can enjoy a narrative that is simple and entertaining in its own right while also recognising that there is another more complex level to the story. For example, the writer may be using an allegory to ridicule or criticise the social behaviour, attitudes or politics of the day, or highlight important moral and ethical issues.

LITERACY

Gulliver’s Travels

LANGUAGE

L I T E R AT U R E

Jonathan Swift was an 18th century English writer who wrote allegorical stories populated by cartoon-like characters who could not possibly exist, yet who closely resembled politicians of his time. Gulliver’s Travels is often thought of as a children’s book. Children certainly enjoy Gulliver’s adventures, but to the audience of his time Swift’s message was clear. The beginning of Gulliver’s Travels details the journey to the island of Lilliput (which represents England). Gulliver is captured by hundreds of the tiny people who live there. He observes the strange behaviour of politicians and royalty. Society generally disapproves of people who ‘crawl’ to authority or who change their opinions depending on who is listening to them. In Chapter 3 of Gulliver’s Travels, Swift describes the ‘rope dancers’ who are ‘candidates for great employments and high favour at court’. When a position becomes vacant in the court, they ‘dance on a rope’ to impress the king. The king also found other ways of getting people to compete for his approval and to gain positions at court.

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Silken threads

LITERACY

There is likewise another diversion, which is only shown before the emperor and empress, and first minister, upon particular occasions. The emperor lays on the table three fine silken threads of six inches long; one is blue, the other red, and the third green. These threads are proposed as prizes for those persons whom the emperor has a mind to distinguish by a peculiar mark of his favour. The ceremony is performed in his majesty’s great chamber of state, where the candidates are to undergo a trial of dexterity very different from the former, and such as I have not observed the least resemblance of in any other country of the new or old world. The emperor holds a stick in his hands, both ends parallel to the horizon, while the candidates advancing, one by one, sometimes leap over the stick, sometimes creep under it, backward and forward, several times, according as the stick is advanced or depressed. Sometimes the emperor holds one end of the stick, and his first minister the other; sometimes the minister has it entirely to himself. Whoever performs his part with most agility, and holds out the longest in leaping and creeping, is rewarded with the blue-coloured silk; the red is given to the next, and the green to the third, which they all wear girt twice round about the middle; and you see few great persons about this court who are not adorned with one of these girdles.

Exercise 2.8

L I T E R AT U R E

from Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Interpreting the allegory

1 Which people witness the ‘diversion’? 2 What do the characters have to do to impress the emperor?

LANGUAGE

3 What do they receive as rewards? 4 The performance is completely pointless and does not actually require much agility or dexterity. Why might people be willing to perform for the emperor in this way? 5 Why might the emperor reward performers who ‘leap’ and ‘creep’, even though it serves no purpose? 6 Many ‘great persons about this court’ are willing to leap and creep. What does this suggest about their personalities? 7 In a paragraph, explain the point that Swift is making in this extract. 8 Identify an aspect of modern Australian society that you consider ridiculous or that needs reforming. Write a brief allegory ridiculing it. For example, you might consider that rubber flooring on children’s playgrounds is ‘overkill’, so you could write a piece in which every aspect of a child’s life is protected to the point that they never have ‘natural’ experiences and never learn to deal with real situations. By exaggerating, you make your point. You could use animal characters such as the officious park inspector (German Shepherd), an over-protective mother (Labrador) and various children (puppies).

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n Monologue A monologue is an extended talk by one person. Mono means ‘one’, and logue means ‘talk’. Comedians rehearse their monologues for live or recorded audiences. They often take on a persona and need to quickly establish that character, the setting and interactions. Joyce Grenfell was a 20th century English comedian who performed monologies on radio and in one-woman shows. She used to invent characters who delivered monologues that recreated their experiences in ‘unintentionally’ humorous ways.

LITERACY

A fairy ring

LANGUAGE

L I T E R AT U R E

Children ... we’re going to do our nice ‘Moving to Music’ this morning, so let’s make a lovely fairy ring, shall we? And then we’ll all be flowers growing in the grass. Let’s make a big circle—spread out—wider—wider—just finger-tips touching—that’s it. Sue, let go of Neville—Because flowers don’t hold hands, they just touch finger-tips. SUE. Let go of Neville. And Sue, we don’t want GRUMBLERS in our fairy ring, do we? We only want smilers. Yes David, you’re a smiler—so is Lavinia—and Peggy and Geoffrey. Yes, you’re all smilers. QUIET, PLEASE. Don’t get so excited. And Sue is going to be a smiler too, aren’t you Sue? That’s better. George ... don’t do that! Now then, let’s all put on our Thinking Caps, shall we, and think what flower we are going to choose to be. Lavinia?—What flower are you? A bluebell. Good. Peggy? A red rose. That’s nice. Neville? A wild rose. Well done, Neville! Sidney?—Sidney, pay attention, dear, and don’t pummel Rosemary— what flower are you going to choose to be? A horse isn’t a flower, Sidney. from ‘Nursery school—flowers’ by Joyce Grenfell

You can read the whole monologue at http://monologues.co.uk/First_Ladies/Flowers.htm.

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Language choices

LITERACY

Joyce Grenfell was one of the great comic actresses, adept at the comic monologue that suited radio presentations as well as live performance. She honed her language to a point where much comedy was achieved from few words. In ‘Nursery school—flowers’, the teacher uses simple language that the children can understand. Grenfell is gently mocking the language that some early childhood teachers use with their class: relentlessly happy words like ‘nice’ and ‘lovely’; the persistently inclusive first person, ‘we’, as she identifies with the children; and behaviour management techniques such as ‘And Sue, we don’t want GRUMBLERS in our fairy ring, do we? We only want smilers.’ There is a contrast throughout the monologue between the world that the teacher wants to create for the children and the real world represented by the way the children behave. The teacher’s world is one of happiness, politeness and cooperation: ‘let’s make a lovely fairy ring, shall we?’ ‘let’s all put on our Thinking caps, shall we?’ ‘Sidney, pay attention, dear’

LANGUAGE

L I T E R AT U R E

However, the real world of children is a tougher, more realistic place than this. The teacher has trouble drawing the children into her fantasy world. The children want to wrestle, fight and touch each other and they crave approval: ‘Yes David, you’re a smiler—so is Lavinia—and Peggy and Geoffrey. Yes, you’re all smilers. QUIET, PLEASE.’ All of this comes through the monologue in the vividly imagined detail of the teacher’s words as she struggles with keeping her temper, and keeping alive her hope of having a lovely fairy ring activity.

Exercise 2.9

Writing a monologue

Imagine that Sidney returns home and his mother asks him: ‘What did you do at school today, Sidney?’ Use this as a starting point to write a brief comic monologue in the persona of the mother (100–200 words). Use the same techniques that Grenfell uses to respond to what Sidney tells her. Record your monologue for presentation or perform it to a group or the class.

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n Positioning the audience Playwrights write dialogue that positions audiences to react in certain ways to their characters. They do this in order to lead the audience into the world of the play and help their audiences understand the action, enjoy the conflict and become aware of the underlying themes.

Contrasting characters

LITERACY

Debra Oswald is a contemporary Australian scriptwriter and playwright. One of her plays is Mr Bailey’s Minder, the story of Leo Bailey, a famous Australian artist who has early dementia from too much drinking. He has been adored all his life and indulged by people because of his fame. Therese, employed by Theo’s hated daughter, is the only person who will stay with him in his decrepit, filthy hut on the shore of Sydney Harbour because it’s the only job she can get after being in gaol.

Leo and Therese You’re an art student. THERESE: No. LEO: They tried that. Getting art students in here. ‘Ooh, Mr Bailey, you’re so brilliant.’ Nauseating. THERESE: I’m not an art student. LEO: Overseas student. Backpacker. You don’t sound foreign. THERESE: Not unless you count Cessnock as foreign. LEO: Aaahhh ... you’re a penniless writer. THERESE: No. LEO: I know. I know, You’re a— THERESE: I’m Therese. I’m not anything.

LANGUAGE

L I T E R AT U R E

LEO:

LEO snatches a plate of half-eaten food from THERESE’s hand. LEO: THERESE:

Oy, I’m still eating that. Give us a break. There’s hairy stuff growing on it.

LEO grumbles but lets her take it. LEO: You look nothing like my third wife. She was a flame-haired goddess. THERESE:

Third wife? I married five of the most beautiful women in Australia. THERESE: Five? LEO: Women who could have had any man they wanted. They picked me. I don’t find you attractive at all. THERESE: Yeah? Bingo. I don’t find you attractive either. So that’s lucky, eh? LEO: What? What are you squawking about? You’ve got an ugly voice. Ugly. THERESE: It’s lucky because this arrangement wouldn’t work if we were hot for each other. LEO: My wife was a hot woman. Like sleeping next to an open fire. LEO:

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ISBN 978 1 4202 2971 4

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THERESE: Maybe it was something to do with being a flame-haired goddess. LEO:

Not that wife! The one before! Are you stupid stupid stupid? from Mr Bailey’s Minder by Debra Oswald

Leo

LITERACY

Leo’s dialogue reveals his character and positions his audience to dislike him. He denigrates Therese with his insistent, know-all comments. He is condescending: ‘Aaahhh ... you’re a penniless writer.’ He is rude and has disgusting eating habits: ‘Oy, I’m still eating that.’ He compares her appearance unfavourably with his beautiful wives and tells her how unattractive she is. He tells her that her voice is ugly and that she is stupid.

Therese Therese’s dialogue positions the audience to sympathise with her and even admire her. She is revealed as a person with low self-esteem, trying to do a job but being treated badly by the person she is attempting to care for. She describes herself as a ‘nothing’ and tries to stop him eating food with ‘hairy stuff growing on it’. She tries to humour him or deflect his comments about her not being attractive: ‘So, that’s lucky, eh?’

L I T E R AT U R E

Pace Simple statements (‘You’re an art student’) and one-line or few-word answers (‘No’) achieve a quick pace in the dialogue and reflect the power relationship. Leo has the power, knowledge and educated language; Therese has little education, no power and tries to manage him.

Directions The stage directions illustrate Leo’s grabbing, greedy nature and lack of manners.

Positioning your audience LANGUAGE

Exercise 2.10

1 In pairs, brainstorm a situation in which one person is caring for another (for example, person in wheelchair/carer; child/mother; older person/nurse). 2 Make one of the people a ‘nicer’ person (for example, more patient, generous, giving, understanding) and the other person difficult (for example, demanding, arrogant, selfish, mean). Write a short list of personality traits or characteristics to differentiate between them; for example: • bullying/patient • educated/uneducated • older/younger • prying/has a secret. 3 Experiment with some dialogue, words or phrases that will differentiate between these two characters and position the audience to respond to them in a particular way. 4 Create a short scene in which the dialogue of the two characters reflects their personalities and positions the audience to respond to the characters in dramatically different ways. Use stage directions for any important action. 5 Test your scene in a reader’s theatre activity (a group script-in-hand performance). Listen and make notes, and then edit and improve the dialogue.

ISBN 978 1 4202 2971 4

200734 ME9AC_CH02 6pp.indd 37

Chapter 2 • Shaping meaning

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n A point of view

LITERACY

Most speechmakers want to express a point of view to an audience and persuade as many of the audience as possible to agree. Some speeches are overtly biased or subjective—the speaker openly expresses a point of view. Other speeches are more difficult to ‘read’ because the speaker hides a point of view behind apparently objective, unbiased words. Al Gore’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Prize awards in Oslo, Norway in 2007 is an openly subjective speech. Al Gore, a former Vice-President of the United States, was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 for his ‘efforts to build up and disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations for the measures that are needed to counteract such change’. Below is part of his acceptance speech.

‘We must make it right’

LANGUAGE

L I T E R AT U R E

We, the human species, are confronting a planetary emergency–a threat to the survival of our civilisation that is gathering ominous and destructive potential even as we gather here. But there is hopeful news as well: we have the ability to solve this crisis and avoid the worst—though not all—of its consequences, if we act boldly, decisively and quickly. However, despite a growing number of honourable exceptions, too many of the world’s leaders are still best described in the words Winston Churchill applied to those who ignored Adolf Hitler’s threat: ‘They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all powerful to be impotent.’ So today, we dumped another 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the thin shell of atmosphere surrounding our planet, as if it were an open sewer. And tomorrow, we will dump a slightly larger amount, with the cumulative concentrations now trapping more and more heat from the sun. As a result, the earth has a fever. And the fever is rising. The experts have told us it is not a passing affliction that will heal by itself. We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth. And the consistent conclusion, restated with increasing alarm, is that something basic is wrong. We are what is wrong, and we must make it right. Al Gore

Making the message powerful Al Gore uses powerful emotive and rhetorical language to send out his warning about global warming.

Inclusive first person Gore uses the first person pronouns ‘we’ and ‘us’ to refer to all humankind. He draws together the prominent members of the audience at the Nobel Awards ceremony, himself and all human beings as being jointly responsible for climate change and jointly obliged to do something about it. Using the first person also personalises the issue of climate change,

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Macmillan English 9 for the Australian Curriculum

200734 ME9AC_CH02 6pp.indd 38

ISBN 978 1 4202 2971 4

26/06/12 12:07 PM


taking it out of the more remote scientific world and making it a part of everyone’s life and everyone’s moral responsibility.

Emotive language The first sentence in the quoted extract is packed with emotive words intended to alarm listeners. The abstraction ‘emergency’ and nominalisations in ‘threat to the survival of our civilisation’ create a tone of deep seriousness and danger, while the opinion adjectives ‘ominous and destructive’ also sound a frightening warning note. Then the second sentence offers a way out. The action verbs ‘solve’, ‘avoid’ and ‘act’ suggest that ‘we’ can do something to avoid disaster, an idea backed up by the opinion adjective ‘hopeful’ and the adverbs ‘boldly’, ‘decisively’ and ‘quickly’.

Cohesion LITERACY

Connectives create cohesion in the speech and guide listeners to follow his argument: ‘However, despite ...’; ‘So today, …’, followed by another temporal connective ‘And tomorrow, ...’, then ‘As a result, …’ in bringing his argument to conclusion.

Extended metaphor

L I T E R AT U R E

The second-last paragraph is an extended metaphor, with a lexical chain that compares the earth to a mortally sick human with a ‘fever’: ‘not a passing affliction’; ‘heal’; ‘second opinion’; ‘third’; ‘fourth’; ‘consistent conclusion’; ‘increasing alarm’; ‘something basic is wrong’. Woven throughout the extended metaphor is urgent and desperate repetition: ‘We asked for a second opinion. And a third. And a fourth.’ And the rhythm of the paragraph reaches its climax in the final words: ‘something basic is wrong’.

Balance

Exercise 2.11

LANGUAGE

Balanced sentences and paragraphs help orators deliver their speeches in a pleasing and powerful way, allowing them also to set up contrasts that dramatically illustrate the point being made. The first paragraph is perfectly balanced with one sentence warning of disaster, then the next sentence offering a reprieve. The final sentence of this part of Gore’s speech is beautifully balanced, throwing the emphasis on the contrast between ‘wrong’ and ‘right’ and repeating ‘we’ to make the point that humankind is responsible both for the crisis and the solution.

Exploring the speech

1 The Al Gore extract gives some facts but relies heavily on humans responding to the ethical and moral issues facing them in regard to global warming. In what ways does Gore indicate that there are ethical or moral issues involved? 2 In groups, discuss and evaluate the worth of the argument in the speech by: • summarising and evaluating the information provided about global warming • researching global warming for more information • deciding whether the subjective, highly emotive style of the speech adds to or detracts from its credibility and impact on the audience. 3 Imagine that you were at the presentation and were allowed to ask questions following Gore’s speech. What question would you ask to challenge him to justify the point of view he has taken or to draw out a different perspective on global warming?

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200734 ME9AC_CH02 6pp.indd 39

Chapter 2 • Shaping meaning

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Assessment tasks Viewing and Writing The flag shown here is Brendan Jones’s design for a new Australian flag. Write a three-minute speech in which you: • discuss the symbolic elements in the flag • explain what assumptions and values are expressed in the flag • express a clear view on whether or not you consider this a suitable replacement for the current flag. You will be assessed on your knowledge of symbolism and your ability to explain how visual texts can be designed to create particular effects.

Writing Write a short allegorical story (of about 500 words) in which you use an animal or animals to teach young children about crossing the road safely. You will be assessed on the quality of the allegory and on how well you position your readers to understand and respond positively to the lesson.

speaking Create a three-minute amusing monologue in which you are talking to a difficult audience (for example, your inattentive younger brother or sister, a busy parent, or a friend who keeps texting). Shape the monologue so that, as it progresses, you increasingly lose control of the situation. Use language, volume, pause and intonation as you attempt—and increasingly fail—to control your audience. Perform your monologue live or to the camera. You will be assessed on how well you use a variety of language and speaking techniques to amuse your audience.

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Macmillan English 9 for the Australian Curriculum

200734 ME9AC_CH02 6pp.indd 40

ISBN 978 1 4202 2971 4

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Macmillan English 9