My Random Insights (from Life) into HSC English Concepts

It seems like a lot of students tend to hate English because the ideas may sometimes seem stupid (too simple) or insignificant (too complicated and useless).

But it’s interesting to see these same ideas later crop up in unexpected ways. Here’s a few ways that I have “encountered” the English AOS and Modules in the past:

Wicked: The Musical


I saw this musical play 3 weeks ago. It was fantastic! I loved the sets, though the ending did seem a bit contrived and soap drama-esque. The play is actually based on a novel by Gregory Maguire.

As an (unofficial) prequel to The Wizard of Oz, it attempts to explain the origins of the Wicked Witch of the West’s “wickedness”.

Without spoiling it, I’d like to point out that this could be a useful related text for Belonging. There are definitely ideas about belonging/not belonging.

More interesting, though is how Wicked relates to the Advanced Module C: Conflicting Perspectives! There’s a lot of rich ideas about the construction of perspectives (how the Wicked Witch “becomes” as evil in the eyes of the Oz people, how Glinda “becomes” the Good Witch in the eyes of the Oz people, the Oz people’s perspective of the Wizard). You can also think about how Wicked is a alternative perspective itself of the Wizard of Oz story – the musical includes Dorothy’ s arrival/adventure in Oz, but is told from the perspective of the Wicked Witch. What is REALLY intriguing (and possibly confusing) is thinking about how after reading/watching Wicked, your perspective of the Wizard of Oz is altered.

Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea

‘Is there another side?’ I said.

‘There is always the other side, always.’

– from Wide Sargasso Sea

Wikipedia describes these types of texts (contradicting stories in the same “universe” written by different authors) as parallel novels.

I actually came across this idea last semester in Genre Study (Autumn 2009) when I wrote my final essay on Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea. Like Wicked, WSS is an unofficial prequel of JE (in the sense that it is written by another author 100 years later). In WSS, the story of Mrs Rochester (and how she ends up insane in the attic) is revealed – you come to see Mr Rochester as the antagonist and NOT the hero you read about in JE.

Again, this could be very good related material for Conflicting Perspectives. I do warn you though that WSS may be a difficult read – it is rather fragmented and stream-of-consciouness styled.

WSS is told from alternating perspectives (Mr and Mrs Rochester) and ultimately your perspective of Jane Eyre is changed by your reading of WSS.

What is apparent in both Wicked and Wide Sargasso Sea is that: they are texts that bring forward the “other side” to the original/dominant story.

Ficto-Critical Writing

I’m doing Ficto-Critical Writing this semester (Spring 2009) and I’ve found some really interesting links to the Advanced Module C: History and Memory.

Here are some quotes that I’ve come across that might help you develop ideas for H&M.

This is from Kerryn Goldsworthy’s ‘She Goes Berserk in the Middle of a Sentence’ in The Space Between: Australian Women writing fictocriticism:

If…all knowledge is perspective, then historians and others who write about the past are fettered by language, culture and belief systems which prevent them from ever really grasping the significance of past lives…Their means of communication and the tools of their trade do not liberate them but trap them in a cultural bubble. They can only manfacture myths and legends that are more revealing of the society in which they are living and working than the one they are studying.

This is from K. Schlunke’s ‘No Ground Beneath Me”:

As the child’s child child of other ‘settlers’ I had access to other myths about other settlers. My great great grandmother feeding mares milk to the baby on her way to New England, of my great great grandfather re-inventing his twelve year old convict self into a hardworking, prodigious pioneer. And as low on the non-Aboriginal hierarchy that they must have been, they still had access to ‘faithful’ black domestic servants and probably stockmen but the male Aboriginal workers are not mentioned in the family stories – it robs something perhaps from the heroic tale of individual masculine effort.

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