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The Journey. Area of Study . What is an Area of Study?

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area of study
Area of Study

What is an Area of Study?

  • In the HSC all students in the ESL, Standard and Advanced course complete the same area of study paper. All students in all courses focus on the area ‘journeys’ although they may be focusing on a different aspect of the journey (ie. Inner, physical, imaginative).
  • The AOS ‘Journeys’ requires students to explore the ways in which the concept of the journey is considered and expressed in and through texts. In their responses and compositions students examine, question and reflect on:

+Their observation and understanding of the portrayed events, people, ideas and societies that they encounter in and through the prescribed texts and texts of their own choosing related to the Area of Study

+The assumptions underlying the representations of journeys

+The ways in which they perceive the world through texts and speculate about it

+The ways they consider and express their own journey experiences.

sections in the area of study
Sections in the Area of Study
  • There are three sections in the ‘Area of Study’. These are:

Section One: In this section students will be given a selection of previously unseen stimulus material. Students will have to reply to a series of short answer questions.

Section Two: In this section students are required to respond creatively to a stimulus. This creative response can take the form a short story, a letter, a journal entry or reflection.

Section Three: In this section students will be asked to use their core text, the stimulus booklet and related material to respond to a question on the theme of journeys.

All of these sections will be explored in greater detail in this

power point presentation

types of journeys
Types of Journeys
  • Physical
  • Inner
  • Imaginative
introduction to focus inner journeys
Introduction to focus: inner journeys

Through this focus students explore the ways in which texts depict journeys of the mind and spirit. Inner journeys involve the exploration of the self, as individuals review their growth and development in the light of experiences which challenge and inspire them. Students examine the underlying assumptions about these inner journeys and consider the power of the inner journey to challenge their thinking. In their responding and composing, students reflect on the ways these inner journeys provide new insights and understanding of the world and themselves.

inner journeys synonyms
Alternative words forJourney







Alternativewords for Inner







Inner Journeys Synonyms
  • Brainstorm

What have you learned about journeys over the past year?

  • Reflect

What is a journey you have had in your own life?

  • Which character/author we have studied has a journey most similar to yours?

Before we BeginCopy the following chart into your notebooks and fill it in as we look at the next few overheads. Use two A4 pages, so that you can get all the information in.

obstacles to journeys
Obstacles to Journeys
  • Societal Restraints
  • Other Individuals
  • Personal limitations (For example, ignorance, denial of inner life, poor commitment).
  • What others can you come up with?

Critical Reflection

  • What obstacles have you faced to your own journey?
  • What kind of obstacles did the characters/personas in the stimulus booklet, your related material and Life is Beautiful face?
forces that initiate journeys
Forces that Initiate Journeys
  • Maturation
  • Internal desire
  • External events
  • Influences of other people
  • Spirituality
  • What others can you come up with?

Critical Reflection

  • What are the forces that have initiated journeys in your own life?
  • What were the forces that initiated the journeys of the characters/personas in the stimulus booklet, your realted texts and Life is Beautiful?
sources of assistance
Sources of Assistance
  • Mentors
  • Significant others
  • Competitors
  • Faith
  • Belief in self
  • The journey of others
  • Can you think of any others?

Critical Reflection

  • What sources of assistance have you had in your own journey?
  • What sources of assistance did the characters/personas in the stimulus booklet text, your related material and Life is Beautiful have?
nature of the journey







What others can you come up with?

Critical Reflection

How could you describe the nature of journeys that you have taken?

How could you describe the nature of the journeys that the characters/ personas in the stimulus booklet, your related texts and Life is Beautiful have taken?

Nature of the Journey
consequences of journeys
Consequences of Journeys
  • Changes in the individual- physically, psychologically, intellectually
  • Changes in society eg. New collective knowledge and lifestyle through discoveries, effect of physical conquests
  • May provide inspiration for the journeys of others
the structure of the journey narrative
The Structure of the Journey Narrative

All journey narratives share a basic structure:

  • Orientation

The responder is introduced to the character/persona and becomes aware of who they are before they embark on their journey.

  • Complication

Events and/or circumstances lead the character/persona to embark on their journey.

  • Climax

The character/persona of the text encounters obstacles or discovers something new about their journey. This is usually about 2/3 through the text and is the turning point in their journey

  • Resolution

The responder can see that the character/persona has clearly been changed by their journey. This new person can clearly be contrasted with the persona/character that the responder was introduced to in the orientation.


TaskPick two texts that we have studied in the unit journeys and fill out the following chart in order to determine what their journey narrative is.


A summary of what we have learned about the concept of journeys so far:

  • The Journey may be physical, inner or imaginative, but it is usually a combination of these.
  • The journey is almost always a quest for both discovery and self-discovery.
  • Through the journey an individual’s understandings about their own gender, sexuality, class, race, ethnicity, age, ability… is changed
  • Journeys can give characters/personas/ourselves a better understanding of our own position within society and culture
  • Taking a journey often involves encountering and overcoming obstacles.
  • There are always forces that initially initiate a character’s/persona’s/our own journey
  • There are always sources of assistance for character’s/persona's/our own journeys.
  • There are always consequences/a person always changes through their journey.

Critical Reflection: What new things have you learned about the concept of journeys?

Section OneConsists of short answer replies to a variety of unseen texts that take journeys as a prominent theme

In order to do well in this section you should be obeying the following basic rules:

  • 1.) Before you answer a question look at how many points it is worth. A question that is only worth one point generally only requires a one or two sentence answer. A question that is worth 3 points will take you about a paragraph to answer because you need to supply more information in order to get the full three points.
  • 2.) Do not list techniques without explaining how the composer uses them in order to shape meaning. Anyone can list of a bunch of big words; it is knowing how to use them that will get you points. Stick to the formula that we have gone over in class (Technique + Example + Shapes Meaning).
  • 3.) Most questions are asking you to discuss techniques even if they don’t specifically mention the word ‘techniques’ in the wording of the question.
section one continued
Section One Continued…
  • 4.) If the question asks you to discuss what types of journeysare in a particular text, you need to specifically mention what type of journey the composer is talking about. For example, physical, inner,or imaginative.
  • 5.) Know your techniques. Things like, the composer uses ‘paragraphs’ or the composer uses ‘sentences’ are not techniques. Techniques are things like: metaphor, symbol, formal language, informal language, juxtaposition, etcetera…

ExamplesIn the following example answers students forgot to follow some of our basic rules (naughty students!). How could we use the basic rules to make their answers better?

  • Question: The Composer uses a variety of techniques to convey feelings about journeys. Identify and explain two techniques used. (Two points)
  • Answer: The composer uses assonance in this text. He also uses metaphors and similes.
  • Question: What type of journey is the poem about? (One point)
  • Answer: The type of journey in the poem is a physical journey. This is shown as the person in the poem describes his physical actions and things happening. It is also mental as the person in the poem describes his feelings and thoughts, for example as the ferry is leaving the person are physically on a journey and it mentally symbolizes the person’s journey from a small bay to a big city.
some better examples
Some Better Examples
  • Question: What type of Journey is this poem about? (One Point)
  • Answer: Gray’s poem shows a physical journey on the ferry and an imaginative journey as he reminisces about his life.
  • Question: The composer uses a variety of techniques to convey feelings about the journey. Identify and explain two techniques used. (Two points)
  • Answer: The composer juxtaposes light and dark imagery. For example, “the longer white lights feel nervously around in the blackness” This juxtaposition is used in order to emphasize the search for light (understanding) in a dark (confusing) world. Throughout the poem the physical journey on the ferry is a metaphor for the inner journey that the passenger goes on. This metaphor allows the responder to experience their own inner journey through being placed on a physical journey with the responder.
some better examples continued
Some Better Examples Continued…
  • Although most of section one requires students to respond in short answer form there is always an extended response question at the end of this section. This extended response question requires students to respond to two of the texts that have previously been presented in this section. The extended response question can take the form of a letter, a journal entry, a script, interview, proposal or reflection. This question is worth six points so your response should take up about a page.
example extended response
Example Extended Response
  • Texts One, Two and Three

Question: You are conducting a radio interview with two ONLY of the composers of Texts One, Two and/or Three. The subject of the interview is:

‘Not all journeys have an ending’

In one page explain to your radio producer what you hope to discover from your chosen interviewees and how you will incorporate your chosen texts into the interview.

example extended response1
Example Extended Response
  • Answer

Dear Producer,

I would like to conduct a radio interview with Robert Gray and the marketing company responsible for The Ghan advertisements. I hope to discover if the composers believe that not all journeys have an ending. The marketing company for The Gahn has created a series of advertisements which make references to early exploration in Australia. The marketing company has used pictures of Afghan camels and colonials in traditional white suits crossing the outback to remind the viewer of the historic importance of crossing the outback. Exploring the outback has always been an important part of the Australian imagination. What I intend to discovber is if the composers are hoping to continue that Australian sense of adventure and exploration by creating such an advertisement. Are the composers trying to show that not all journey’s have an ending by showing us that we can continue the adventure today by taking a train ride?

Gray’s poetry is also something that gives the reader the sense that journey’s often have no endings. In his poem “Late Ferry,” Gray looks at the ways that a physical journey can often be a metaphor for an imaginative or inner jourmey. The persona of the

example answer continued
Example Answer Continued

Poem sits on a balcony watching a ferry leaving a jetty. As the persona describes the ferry’s difficult journey is actually a metaphor for the difficult journey that the persona (and many of us!) experience in our lives. The poem is given quite a dark tone because of Gray’s use of dark imagery like “dark water.” The poem is left unresolved and I have to wonder if Gray is trying to imply that not all journeys have an ending and that perhaps the journey is a dark one.


Felicity Castagna

section two consists of a creative response to the concept of journeys
Section TwoConsists of a creative response to the concept of journeys

In order to do well in this section students should be obeying the following basic rules:

  • 1.) Take the creative writing task seriously. It is worth 15 marks. Don’t spend so much time on the other sections of your English exam that you only have ten minutes to write your creative piece. You are allotted 40 minutes to do this task, you should be taking 40 minutes.
  • 2.) Write at lest six to four pages just like you would if you were asked to write an essay.
  • 3.) Use the stimulus throughout your piece.
basic rules continued
Basic Rules Continued…
  • 4.) Take five minutes to brainstorm some ideas for your story before you begin. Write down four or five things that will happen in your story in the order that they happen, before you begin to write so that you have something to guide you. This will both serve to prompt you when you get stuck and to ensure that your story has structure.
  • 5.) Be descriptive. You need to give the responder a sense of your characters, their setting and their motivations by using detailed descriptions, filled with adjectives. If you don’t use descriptions you will fall into the trap of simply recounting plot (Jimmy went to the store, and then he bought a can of coke, and then he drank the can of coke, and then…and then…and then…and then…)
  • 6.) Use some literary techniques. By this point in your education you should know what a metaphor is, so why don’t you just go ahead and use one in your own writing.
section two
Section Two

HSC markers have consistently said that those students who got the highest marks in section two did the following things:

  • They were able to use their creative pieces to talk about the fact that journey’s have multiple levels. In other words, their stories were not just about a physical, an imaginative or an inner journey they were about a combination of at least two types of journeys.
  • They were able to clearly demonstrate that the process of going through a journey had an effect on the characters in their piece.
  • They used the stimulus that they were given throughout their stories and repeatedly referred back to it.
  • Their stories were not predictable. They were interesting and imaginative.
  • They stuck to the theme of journeys throughout their texts.
example questions section two
Example Questions Section Two
  • 1.) You have been given an opportunity to interview ONE of the composers/characters from Section 1.

Write the transcript of this interview where you discuss the significance of change in their lives, and relate their experiences to those of your own.

  • 2.)Use one of the following stimulus to write a bout a journey. Reflect on this journey in a series of journal entries the journey may be real or imagined.
example questions section two1
Example Questions Section Two
  • 3.)A selection of students’ imaginative writing will be included in the 2005 HSC edition of the CD-ROM, The Journey.

Compose a piece of writing to contribute to ONE of these sections:

Journeys in Time or Journeys of the Heart or Journeys across Landscapes.

  • 4.) You are entering a writing competition for young writers. The competition is called ‘The journey’. Use ONE of the following images as the basis for the beginning or ending of your story. You may write from any point of view you choose.
example answer this is an example answer to question four
Example AnswerThis is an example answer to question four
  • A Solider in my Bedroom
  • My mother begins to take a journey
  • In the beginning my mother dressed up as an Army Sargent from nine to five, Monday to Friday. In order to become an Army Sargent my mother took a toothbrush and combed her eyebrows upward to make them look larger. Next, she applied gel to her charcoal grey hair and slicked it back so that it sat on her head like a thick woollen hat. The last thing that she applied was perhaps the defining costume feature. It was a salad bowl from our kitchen that she painted army green, turned it upside down and slapped it on her head.
  • She did not require much more pruning. As far back as I can remember she has always been a thick-set woman with broad shoulders, big breasts, and thick legs like tree trunks. She had only to unhook her bra and she became a flat-cheasted woman with a sizable paunch, like a military leader that had given up caring.
  • My mother became an Army Sergeant in 1990 when we moved from Germany to Surfers Paradise. Surfers wasn't particularly a place that my mother was excited about moving to. In the brochures of the place it looked like the Las Vegas of the Southern Hemisphere, equipped with a beach that looked as unreal as the neon lights and cabaret dancers in the background. She preferred places like her hometown, B______ where everything was grey, ordered and efficient.
  • In her first few weeks of living here my mother could not remove herself from the balcony of our apartment. She felt both horrified and strangely attracted to the women who frequented the beaches. They were all top heavy with small waists and thin legs. She wondered how it was that they simply did not fall forward and land on their breasts.
  • In Germany people walk up and down the street in the evening, in order to socialise. They pause and chat and walk, not for the purpose of getting anywhere in particular, but rather for the purpose of seeing and being seen. In Surfers, it seemed to my mother, people walked for the purpose of finding some place to sit. They sat on deck chairs at the beach, they sat in front of poker machines, they sat at the all you can eat buffets. They sat for no reason at all and stared out into the distance.
It appeared to my mother that even the people who worked here spent rather too much time sitting, talking, not doing much. She could never quite bring herself to forgive the people of Surfers for the arrogance of their belief that they had a right to accomplish so little.
  • In the first few months my mother divided her time between sitting on the balcony and looking for employment. As a large box of a woman with a face like a brick wall it was very difficult for her to find employment in a town dominated by the hospitality industry. When the job came up at Henri's House de Wax it was perfect. Her job was to take the customers tickets as they came through the door and to ensure that no one touched the wax statues. The only catch was that she had to come to work dressed in costume.
  • My mother's choice of costume was a lot easier than you would think. On the way home from her interview she passed a magazine stand on which there was a copy of Time Magazine with the face of a young Army Sergeant, who was worn out and learning against a tree. His staunch defiant face caught her attention and she paused there in front of him to get a better look.
  • We all begin to take a journey
  • In the next few years our house began to change. Not so much change perhaps, but fill itself with a foreign presence. A picture of that Army Sargent leaning up against a tree went up on our fridge so that I had to watch him staring at me thoughtfully every time I got the milk for my breakfast cereal.
  • My mother seemed restless, inattentive, grappling with so many ideas in her head that she could not form simple sentences out of it all. She turned inward and neglected to speak for a rather long time although it was clear that in her mind there were rather lengthy arguments being conducted.
  • It was at this time that things really began to change in my mother. When she moved it was with a much stronger sense of authority than I had seen in her previously. She walked in a stiff almost solider-like march. She sat on the couch with her legs wide open as if there was something in that empty space that she did not want to crush.
  • There were days when she came home from work and did not bother getting changed out of her costume at all. She did not seem compelled to explain her behaviour and oddly enough we did not seem compelled to ask.
  • Later on, there came a day when I ceased thinking about her as my mother who dressed up like as a Sargent and simply began to think of her as Sargent. I am not the only one who began to think of her in this way, I am sure. She took on a new air of authority so that when she walked around our neighbourhood people took notice. The neighbour's kids no longer giggled at her funny accent, rather, they straightened up their bodies and stood in line as she passed.
The soldier leads a rebellion
  • On the fifth day of the strike my mother's face appeared on the front page of The Paradise Herald. She was standing in front of Henri's House de Wax as straight as a soldier guarding Buckingham palace. Outside the museum there was a line of confused tourists. The face of a little boy was staring up at my mother. My mother was staring back at him. Her face spoke a defiant no.
  • All twenty-two of Henri's employees went on strike for forty days. They sat on the steps of Henri's every day from nine to five holding placards, singing, cooking barbeques, laughing with their children and families. Tourists began to go to Henri's to see the strikers rather than the wax statues, so that the workers themselves became the exhibit.
  • It was my mother who led the crowd so that when the strikers became discouraged and hung their heads low, staring at the pavement, she would rouse their spirits with her speeches. The strikers applauded for her, workers in the neighbouring shops left their positions to listen to her speak, the tourists shook her hand and had their photos taken with her.
  • On the fortieth day of the strike Henri listened again as the soldier listed off the workers demands. He caved in slightly and agreed to give them a slight rise in wages and holiday pay on the condition that the soldier leave the museum and cease being their union leader. When the soldier put Henri's proposition to the workers they got up and left, went back to their homes and began the search for new employment. They could not, they said, turn their back on their leader.
  • Two months later the wax museum closed down. Henri could not find any new employees. No one in Surfers would work there even if he did pay higher wages. No one could explain why, they just remembered the photograph of Sargent leaning up against the building looking staunch and determined.
  • Henri sold all the wax statues at rock bottom prices. They turned up in all sorts of places around Surfers. Madonna and Michael Jackson took up residency in front of the poker machines at Crown Casino. Elvis helped sell chicken in front of Chucks Chicken Castle. Queen Elizabeth I was spotted at a foam party on South Beach.
Sargent journeys off elsewhere
  • Shortly after she led the workers revolution at the Wax Museum, Sargent left us. She did not take much with her, just her army greens, her cigars, a few pairs of underwear.
  • She sent me a postcard. I don't know where the stamp was from, I could not read the writing. It was not the kind of postcard one usually gets, with pictures of bridges and lakes and sunny landscapes. It was a picture of a grey building, standing firm and efficient, framed by a hazy blue-grey sky.
  • A Soldier in my bedroom
  • Years after she left I found the museum's wax statue of a soldier in a little second hand shop on Rose Street. The shop lady drove a hard bargain for the statue but when I told her that my mother was a Sargent she seemed to understand and sold it to me at a price I could afford.
  • I keep Sargent in the corner of my bedroom. I shine her shoes, dust off her uniform, tease her beard, stick a cigar between her fingers and kiss her cheek before I go to sleep at night. As I turn off the light in my bedroom and get underneath the covers I look over at her and she gives me a wink as I fall into sleep.
  • In what ways does ‘A Soldier in My Bedroom’ fulfill the basic guidelines and markers recommendations that we previously discussed?
  • The following is the assessment criteria that the markers use to score section two. To what extent does ‘A soldier in My Bedroom’ fulfill this criteria?
    • Students express understanding of the journey in the context of their studies
    • Students organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and context
section three
Section Three
  • In this section students can be asked reply in the following text types:
  • Essay
  • Diary/journal entry
  • Interview
  • Script
  • Letter
  • Personal response
  • Reflection
  • Feature article
  • Speech
  • Review
texts in section three

In this section you will write about:

Life is Beautiful

At least one text from the stimulus booklet

At least two related texts

Your related texts can be

A poem

A song

A feature article

An editorial

A speech

A novel

A play

A feature article

A documentary

A picture

A cartoon

Make sure that you choose a variety of different text types

Texts in Section Three
example questions
Example Questions
  • The quest is a journey, a pursuit frequently of a form of self-enlightenment.

Metaphor 2004

Discuss this statement in light of the texts you have studied. You must refer to your core text, ONE text from your Board of Studies Stimulus Booklet, and at least two related texts of your own choosing.

  • Learning is a journey

How does this statement relate to your study of journey?

In your answer you must refer to your core text, ONE text from your Board of Studies Stimulus Booklet, and at least two related texts of your own choosing.

  • The journey leads to greater understanding

Discuss how this greater understanding is represented by composers in different ways. In your answer, make close reference to your prescribed text,ONE text from the board of studies Booklet, Journeys, and additional texts of your own choosing.

answering a question in section three
Answering a Question in Section Three

Step One: Make sure that you answer the question. 

  • When you are writing a response to any question for your HSC the most important thing is that you answer the question. In order to answer the question you have to first be sure that you understand what the question means.

Sample Question: 

  • ‘The journey is more important than the arrival’

How do the texts you have studied present the processes and results of the journey?

step one defining the question
Step One: Defining the Question

In order to begin to understand what the question is you need to first identify the important vocabulary in the question:

For example:

 ‘The journey is moreimportant than the arrival’

How do the texts you have studied present the processes and results of the journey?

  • The question is asking you to concentrate on discussing the process of the journey. Although you might comment on what results from different characters journeys (for example, a greater sense of themselves, or the world around them) you need to concentrate on discussing the process of the journey not the end result.

Directions: Copy the following statement into your notebooks. Underline the important vocabulary. What is the question asking you to do?

  • The quest is a journey, a pursuit frequently of a form of self-enlightenment.

Metaphor 2004

Discuss this statement in light of the texts you have studied. You must refer to your core text, ONE text from your Board of Studies Stimulus Booklet, and at least two related texts of your own choosing.

step two writing introductions
Step Two: Writing Introductions

A good introduction to an essay for this section must:

Be a ‘double barrel’ introduction. This means that it must contain two paragraphs.

-The first introductory paragraph must define what a journey is and then define specifically what an inner journey is.

-The second introductory paragraph must contain a thesis statement that both provides an argument and uses the language of the question. It then needs to outline your argument for the rest of the essay.

  • ‘Journey’ is a term that implies travel which offers new experiences. An inner journey involves the exploration of the self, as individuals review their growth and development in the light of experiences which challenge and inspire them.
  • The texts studied in this course clearly demonstrate that the journey is more important than the arrival. The texts ‘Life is Beautiful’ by Roberto Benigni, ‘The Road Less Traveled’ by Robert Frost, ‘Post-Cards from Surfers’ by Helen Garner and The Red Tree by Shaun Tan all present the processes of the journey as being more important than the results. The composers shape meaning about the importance of the journey through their use of various techniques such as pace, sound and imagery.
step three structure
Step Three: Structure
  • Space
  • You will be asked to write about four texts: ‘Life is Beautiful’, one stimulus booklet text and 2 related texts. As ‘Life is Beautiful’ is your core text you need to dedicate most of your essay to it. About half your essay should be dedicated to discussing ‘Life is Beautiful’. The other half should be dedicated to your other three texts.
step four structure
Step Four: Structure
  • Each paragraph of your response must contain:
  • A topic sentence
  • Evidence to support your topic sentance