Creating Texts Framework Writing About Personal Journeys AOS2 Unit 3 Year 12 VCE

Unit 3 AOS 2 Creating Texts Assessment = 2 Essays on the texts in consideration of audience, purpose, and form 20 marks each & Commentary on reflecting on writing process

Framework Writing about personal journeys – the texts consist of personal development as individuals have insights into their own experiences, milestones, struggles and their differences.

Within each framework there are 4 mentor texts for study:

  1. ‘The Dangers of a Single Story’ (Ted Talk) by Chimamanda Ngozu Adichie
  2. ‘Bidngen’ by Maya Hodge
  3. ‘The Red Plastic Chair is a Vietnamese Cultural Institution and My Anchor’ by Amy Duong
  4. ‘Walter’s speech’ (part 1, The Inheritance) by Matthew Lopez

Framework’s Task about Personal Journeys

The mentor texts consist of explorations of life leading into discussions about story telling. They provide a springboard for students to consider personal milestones and epiphanies or the effects of key events on your life. The texts give students the ability to draw on specific perspectives the authors develop and then use your own thoughts about personal journeys. You may want to consider the impacts of change / identity / future goals and how you have negotiated these changes that have led to life leading consequences.

Your task is to draw on the mentor texts as well as complementary texts to explore ideas and record your thoughts in a journal. You will experiment with texts, modes, writing styles and narrative perspectives. The mode of delivery of your piece will impact on your purpose and the way you convey your ideas. You must workshop and refine your pieces, taking into account contextual factors such as your audience and purpose. You will explore 4 types of writing – to express / explain / reflect or argue. You will then reflect upon your authorial choices and language features in a reflective commentary.

The 4 Mentor Texts

The mentor texts vary in tone and style. Lopez’s monologue is a heartwarming discussion about responses to the AIDs crisis during the 1980’s. Adichie’s TED Talk revolves around the nature of stereotypes and their impact upon relationships and one’s ability to control the dominant narrative. Hodge and Duong use a reflective tone and real-life anecdotes to explore their place in the family and in their physical and social environment. The texts all have an auto-biographical slant and suggest that the younger generation can learn about the journeys of trailblazers or of ancestors.

The Mentor Texts – A Brief Summary

‘The Dangers of a Single Story’ = Chimamanda Ngozu Adichie includes personal recounts about her migration experience with the perspective of a Nigerian student at an American University as the springboard for her views about stories and stereotypes. Adichie draws attention to the harmful nature of stereotypes that reduce people and their experiences to a ‘single’ flat-lined story. Adichie realises that her American ‘roommate’ is perpetuating the ‘single’ story about Africans which limits and defines their relationship as one of difference. Likewise, one of her professors does not recognise her story of middle-class professional privilege as an ‘authentic’ African story. She suggests that younger generations can learn about journeys of trailblazers or of ancestors. She refers to key African authors like Chinua Achebe who challenged European narratives of power and superiority and explored the arrogance and hypocrisy of colonial stories. Adichie broadens her narratives to criticise a political and patriarchal system that exploits and suppresses women. She considers women are devalued, reduced to sexual chattels, and conditioned to behave in submissive ways. In her multi-layered experience Adichie explores in her stories which broaden the African experience and focus on culture, courage, resilience, despair, change and dysfunction.

‘Bidngen’ = Maya Hodge includes personal recounts about her life experience with the perspective of being a Lardil person growing up on the outskirts of Mildura and her battles with racism. The story ‘bidngen’ means women and consists of 8 vignettes of Lardil women with generational racism that festers and leaves deep scars. Like Adichie, Hodge also draws attention to the harmful nature of stereotypes that reduce people and their experiences to a ‘single’ flat-lined story. She contends that to deny the diversity and enrichment of multiple stories is to limit the depth of one’s experiences and to hem people in. It is often to the power-broker’s advantage and occurs at the expense, and to the detriment of, the other. Her story focus is on the ‘Lardil girl’ and her journey as a marginalised Aborigine, whose struggle with adversity is ‘white-washed’ and her struggles for social acceptance reinforce the pain of difference. Hodge’s message is to reaffirm and recount stories of fortitude and resilience among her mother’s song lines. Her grandmother’s stories of love and commitment, continuity and belonging reinforce the uniqueness of a culture that has deep roots in their ancestral being. It is the love of her nanna who encourages her to write and share her stories, which helps her write herself into the landscape, to cherish legends that link people to place and the need to challenge stereotypes that perpetuate injustice.

‘The Red Plastic Chair is a Vietnamese Cultural Institution and My Anchor’ = Amy Duong includes personal recounts about her life experience with the perspective of being a daughter of Vietnamese migrants. Duong uses the ‘red plastic chair’ to structure her reflections. It functions as an extended metaphor from which she explores her multi-layered experience of migration. Her piece provides an example of ‘how items of cultural, historical, or nostalgic value can be used to explore personal journeys’ and broaden the significance of one’s insights. Milestones and turning points provide a springboard from which to reflect upon lifestyles and goals. They provide a chance to reset the meter and change course or to renew and refine one’s views and values. The death of her Aunty provides a chance for Amy Duong to reflect upon her cultural roots and examine the gulf between the younger generation and their elders. While she explores her sense of shame and feelings of unworthiness, the Aunt’s funeral and the mourners, each with their ‘red plastic chair’, provides a chance to reconnect with her roots. While she is emotionally challenged by her Vietnamese linguistic incompetence, there is still a sense that the language of love unites. In the end Duong comes to appreciate the sacrifices made by her relatives and the thought she should have been more grateful to them and not create a chasm within her family.

‘Walter’s speech’ (part 1, The Inheritance) = Matthew Lopez has a heightened consciousness of belonging to a generation of gay men who have lived through a sea change with his cohort seeing greyness as secretive and shameful. Lopez shows that for gay men, embracing one’s sexuality also involves loss and grief which the play reveals a silent and ongoing sense of trauma caused by the AIDs pandemic. ‘The Inheritance’ is a 2-part epic which gives a glimpse into gay life in New York, two decades after the height of the AIDs epidemic. Walter’s speech ruminates on homophobic attitudes to LGBTQI+ couples and the debilitating consequences of the AIDs virus. Lopez uses the pear tree as an extended metaphor that takes on special significance in Walter’s monologue as does the secluded setting which adds to the emotional significance of his defiance. Like the other authors who suggest that younger generations can learn about the journeys of trailblazers, Walter defends and extols the virtues and resilience of couples during the AIDs epidemic in the 1980’s. By the end of the play Lopez suggests that, despite the current political darkness, a future exists in which gay men will still be free to be themselves. His characters consider how one moves forward and puts the world back together after a calamity and the hope that the younger generation sees the future in a much more positive frame of mind that their predecessors.

All Resources created by Online Tutoring using Zoom for Mainstream English Students in the Victorian VCE Curriculum

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