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Strathmore Secondary College Unit 1 and 2 Literature 2013. Student Roll Course Handouts Submission of homework Intro to Literature. Welcome to Year 11 Literature! Why did you choose to study Literature? 1. Write down 5 reasons 2. Discuss with the person beside you. What is Literature???

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strathmore secondary college unit 1 and 2 literature 2013

Strathmore Secondary CollegeUnit 1 and 2 Literature 2013

Student Roll

Course Handouts

Submission of homework

Intro to Literature


Welcome to Year 11 Literature!

Why did you choose to study Literature?

1. Write down 5 reasons

2. Discuss with the person beside you


What is Literature???

Write down your definition.

Find a different person to compare your ideas with


Literature – a definition:

(Write this in your books)

Writings in which expression and form, in connection with ideas of permanent and universal interest, are characteristic or essential features.

  • Underline the key words of this definition.
  • Use this definition to come up with 10 texts that you would categorise as literature

TASK 1: Look at your list of literary texts again.

Do they fit the ideas from the table?

TASK 2: Now make a list of the texts you read/viewed in the holidays. Put a mark beside the ones that you would class as literature.


Now we know what it is, why do we study it???

1. List 5 reasons why the study of literature is important.

2. Share you 5 reasons with 2 other people (not the same people as last time)


Circle activity – double circle discussions

Form an outer and inner circle – facing each other.

2 minutes for each discussion point

  • What is your favourite piece of literature?

What are your strengths in English?

  • What are your weaknesses in English
  • What do you hope to get out of the Literature course?
louis nowra
Louis Nowra:
  • Born on December 12th 1950
  • One of Australia’s leading playwrights
  • He is a significant cultural commentator

What does the word CONTEXT mean??

What is Louis Nowra’s context?

Write down your definition

context yours and nowra s
Context: Yours and Nowra’s
  • Context: environment, surroundings, circumstances, time period……
  • When we think of context, we think of ‘where’ and ‘when’ a text was created. This impacts the meaning of the text.
  • Remember – the context of the texts, writer and audience can be different!
context definition
Context Definition:

Copy the definition into your workbook

  • The parts surrounding a written or spoken word or passage that can throw light on its meaning
  • The interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs
your context
Your Context…
  • What is your context? Consider the era in which you are born and live, the place you live, social and political issues that impact you, family influences…?
  • What influences your life and your view of the world?

Write these ideas in your book


Reflect on your holiday homework…

  • What was Nowra’s context??
  • When did he write ‘Cosi’?
  • Why did he choose the setting?
  • What were the major social and political issues presented in ‘Cosi’

TASK: Discuss with the person beside you. Take notes in your workbook.

quotes from the introductory notes that might help you
Quotes from the introductory notes that might help you…
  • autobiographical re-construction
  • Myriad collection of differently and imperfectly remembered situations
  • Nowra investigates our culture through metaphor, parable and influence
  • Details with frightening precision the tragedy and humour of every day lives
nowra s context
Nowra’s Context
  • When he wrote the play he was going through one of his most difficult periods in life
  • The character of Lewis is loosely based on Nowra himself. At 21 he took a job of directing a play in an institution. He felt terror and responsibility.
  • Nowra felt 21 was a major turning point in his understanding of people.
  • Both of his grandmothers suffered from mental illness. He was interested in peoples’ perception of the mentally ill and the treatment they received
your perceptions
Your Perceptions…

Discuss the following in groups:

  • How did people view the mentally ill 100 years ago? 50 years ago? Today?
  • What has changed? What is similar?
  • How do you view the mentally ill? Why do you hold these perceptions?
  • Do you know someone with a mental illness? What are their experiences?

Think back to last year and your study of ‘Curious incident of the dog in the night time’

  • How does he see the world?
  • How does society view him?
  • How did studying this text alter your perceptions of people with a mental illness?

TASK: Discuss these ideas with the person beside you.

Write down 2 ideas for each dot point


‘One flew over the cuckoo’s nest’ clip

Homeland clip

use of humour in cosi
Use of humour in ‘Cosi’
  • In ‘Cosi’ humour is used to move the play along and to reflect critically on what is often a tragedy of human suffering.
  • The play exposes weaknesses and stupidity, it ridicules our prejudices and popular institutions.
  • The comic element links the suffering and the existence of a range of individuals.
importance of setting
Importance of Setting
  • Setting – the burnt out stage. This is a metaphor for the world at large.
  • The Vietnam war (1962-1975) frames the drama – war, anti war beliefs. Shows the madness on the outside.
  • The play says just as much about life outside the institution as it does about life inside.
theatre and life
Theatre and Life
  • Metaphor for the real world torn apart by the chaos of war. It implies that theatre not only has a political role in the real world, but also that it’s potentially as powerful as a moratorium in voicing an opposition to war.
  • The merging of real and illusory worlds thus draws strong parallels between art and life, highlighting the importance of art in our lives
cosi fan tutte the opera
‘Cosi Fan Tutte’ – the Opera
  • The Play within the play – Cosi Fan Tutte

This creates ironies – juxtaposition of moral/immoral behaviours, sanity and insanity


Use the introductory notes in your text, ‘Frankenstein’s Mozart: The making of Cosi’ and ‘Trial by Madmen’, to develop your understanding of the play.

Use the handout to take notes. Due next lesson.

things to consider when studying a play
Things to consider when studying a play


  • What creates meaning for us when we see a stage performance?

Obviously reading and watching a play are very different.

2. How do we respond when we read the script, compared to when we watch it being acted out?

3. What are the positives and negatives of the stage?

4. How is it different to the form of film?

some theatre devices that create meaning
Some theatre devices that create meaning…
  • Stage directions and performance aspects
  • Props and sets
  • Costumes and characters’ physical appearances
  • Stage positions and movement
  • Dialogue
  • Lighting
  • Sound effects
  • Characterisation
  • Narrative structure

As we read the play, consider how these devices help to create meaning.

act 1 scene 1 characters
Act 1 Scene 1 - Characters
  • Lucy
  • Nick
  • Lewis
  • Roy
  • Justin
  • Doug
  • Cherry
  • Julie
  • Ruth
  • Zac
cosi act 1 scene 1 aspects to consider
‘‘Cosi’ Act 1 Scene 1Aspects to consider

Learning Objective:

To understand how meaning is created in

Act 1, Scene 1

You will need to discuss the following discussion points in groups and take notes.

Leave a space under each of your answers to add to your notes later


How is light and darkness used?

  • What does the darkness symbolise?

How are the characters introduced?

  • How do they interact with each other?
  • What do they represent in this Act?
  • What is revealed about them?
  • The opening scene is very practical: it introduces us to Lewis and his role in the play; to each of the patients, and to Mozart’s opera. (This is almost a character in itself!)
  • We see how these characters relate to the opera, and what these relationships represent about each character.
  • Lucy and Nick represent Lewis’ knowledge and experience from the outside world
  • Lewis is the central character – but is so lacking in confidence that Lucy initially takes control
  • It is a physical setting for the play and also a symbolic space for the narrative to inhabit.
  • It is a burnt out theatre – as mentioned in your introductory notes
  • The darkness represents the nature of the theatre and of performance: until a theatrical work has been rehearsed and put together, it is nothing but an idea and there is no light or sound.
  • At this moment of the play, all that exists is possibility. So far we are at the beginning and there is not magic.
  • The darkness also represent Lewis’ lack of knowledge, preparedness and inspiration – he is ‘in the dark’ about what to expect from the patients and from his role.
  • The stage direction ‘a chink of daylight enters’, is perhaps symbolic of Lewis bringing with him a glimmer of the outside world into the institution
reading journal
Reading Journal


Imagine you are a theatre reviewer. What would you say about the opening scene of the play?

Try to comment on:

Characterisation – how were the characters introduced and presented?

Setting – what does it symbolise?

Key ideas – what were the key issues?

Language – why was it used?

act 1 scene 1
Act 1 Scene 1

In Act 1 Nowra introduced key ideas of mental illness, institutions, social workers, love and fidelity and the importance of the Arts, war, reality and illusion (a lot for one act!!)

TASK: You are going to write a detailed paragraph on 1 of these key idea

You need to write about HOW the key idea is conveyed. How do we know what Nowra’s opinions are about this key idea?


In your paragraph include discussion of the theatrical techniques we have discussed, and how they develop meaning

  • Characterisation: how characters behave, interact, dialogue, appearance (Consider stage directions!)
  • Setting: what it symbolises in relation to the key idea
  • Language: what impact does the language have? How does it help create meaning?
  • Tone: what is the mood of the opening scene? How does this develop the key idea?

To write this paragraph, you need to ‘jump in’! No introduction – just a paragraph. Choose your focus idea and start writing about how it is developed.

Eg. In Act one Scene one of Louis Nowra’s play ‘Cosi’, the issue of mental illness is quickly introduced. Nowra relies on his own context to develop his central character ‘Lewis’, who is cast into a ‘burnt out’ and ‘pitch black’theatre. This darkness symbolises…….

Nowra emphasises the stigma placed on the mentally ill through Nick’s offhand comment that mad actors are bad enough, but madmen…’ The negative attitude towards those with a mental illness is further conveyed by Justin and his use of the negative connotation of the word queasy. …….

Nowra uses black humour, especially through the characterisation of Doug, to provide relief from the seriousness of the issue. Doug’s offhanded comment that when you want a lobotomy you just can’t get it, allows the audience to relate to the characters through their humour.

The play is naturalistic in style. Doug’s colloquialisms of poofter and dunny engage the audience as it is Australian and contemporary.


Description of Setting pg. 1

A burnt out theatre. It is day outside but pitch black inside the theatre. A heavy door opens, a chink of daylight enters, as do three people: Lewis, Lucy and his friend.

Comment on Nowra’s choice of setting. What does it represent? Consider the idea of:

  • the darkened, destroyed theatre
  • use of light
  • tone


Context Key ideas

Views and values Tone

Beliefs Narrative structure

Represents Symbolic


What is wrong with this paragraph about the setting?

The opening setting is of a theatre; in a theatre. This shows that the theatre is a stage for society and the world. Louis shows there isn’t any hope because it is dark, but maybe some hope will come because there is a chink of light.

sample response to the setting

Where does it come in the text?

Use adjectives to describe his views

Louis Nowra’s choice of the opening setting in his play ‘Cosi’ introduces his cynical views on key social issues of the 1960s and modern society. The ironic use of the ‘burnt out theatre’ that is ‘pitch black’ is a metaphor of the world as a stage, conveying a bleak tone of moral destruction and hopelessness in regards to both war and the mentally ill. This tone is contrasted however, as it is revealed that ‘a chink of daylight enters’, symbolising the hope and possibilities that Lewis may bring to the patients, and revealing a sense of change regarding perceptions of Australia’s involvement in war.

Comment on tone. Describe it.

Look for contrasts

What is being symbolised?


Opening line: author’s name, title, context, significance of where it falls in text.

Sentence Starters…

  • The ‘burnt out theatre’ is symbolic of ……
  • Contrasting the ‘day outside’ and ‘pitch black inside’ represents…(what is implied about mental illness and war?)
  • Nowr’s view of society’s perception of war is evident through…
  • The tone alters as a ‘chink of daylight enters’, revealing that…
more on humour
More on humour…

‘Cosi’ – A Comic Drama

In ‘Cosi’ the oppositions between ‘sane’ and ‘insane’ characters are a source of much ironic humour. Nowra tends to blur the line between sanity and insanity

Through his humour, Nowra overturns audience expectations and assumptions about certain issues.


What is black humour?

Examples of its use in films or tv shows?


This style of humour finds its humour in joking about sensitive subjects and dark elements in human nature.

  • In ‘Cosi’ the patients themselves, with their amusing and often perceptive comments are the source of much of the play’s black humour.
  • Doug’s sexual humour violates social conventions or taboos in comedic ways.

‘Cosi’ involves stereotypical characters, physical humour, deliberate nonsense and the entanglement of the protagonist…essential elements of farce.

  • Farce provokes laughter through caricatures of people in improbable or silly situations.
  • It is highly tolerant of immoral behaviour and tends to depict human beings as vain, irrational and childish.
  • The action moves at a frantic pace.
  • The typical ‘happy ending’ of farce is not evident though.
sample sentences
Sample Sentences
  • Nowra’s characterisation of Lewis in Act One Scene One reveals him to initially be….
  • The ‘burnt out stage’ metaphorically represents…
  • The chaos of the outside world, and the chaos caused by war, is symbolised by…
  • The language used by Doug in Act One conveys the contrast between the beauty of the opera and the reality of the real world…
  • Nowra’s use of ‘the play within the play’ conveys the universal nature of the issues of…
follow up to week 2 homework tasks
Follow up to week 2 homework tasks
  • Take out the sentences you wrote about characterisation, key ideas and techniques.
  • Share with your table group. Provide feedback. Consider:
  • Expression/clarity – do they flow, make sense, are there any unnecessary words
  • Word choice – appropriate words, varied vocab, interesting word choice
  • Ideas – depth of ideas, plausible/relevant comments
  • Quotes – relevant quotes, embedded within the sentence
  • Analytical language – conveys, explores, reveals, critiques, subverts, exposes


Using the A3 paper, make a list of the best sentences from your group. (Don’t be shy!)

use of music notes from insight study guide
Use of Music – Notes from Insight Study Guide
  • Mozart took up the theme of fiance swapping, a notion which dates back to the thirteenth century. Mozart’s opera follows the tradition of Renaissance comediadell’arteplots which question the fidelity of married women – an issue which troubled Mozart.
  • The title literally means ‘Thus do all’ and implies all women, but is usually translated as ‘women are like that’.

Despite his glorious music, Mozart’s audiences found the plot trivial (just as Nick does).

  • Nineteenth century composer Richard Wagner (Zac’s musical hero) found Cosi Fan Tuttedemeaning to women, whom he regarded as noble and, potentially, the moral saviours of men.
  • Despite many objections to the plot, the opera is still popular with audiences.


Listen to the overture. Discuss with your group:

  • How does it make you feel?
  • How is it significant to Cosi?

Think about tone, contrasts, Roy’s comments


Roy believes that it echoes with the ‘harmony of the spheres’.

  • This notion originated with Pythagoras, who believed that each of the planets was enclosed in a sphere, and these spheres ascended towards heaven; each sphere emitted a sound corresponding to notes in the musical scale, thus creating order and harmony in the universe.
  • The idea of music creating universal harmony still remains.

Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries (the most famous piece from his opera Die Walkure) is well known today for its numerous references in popular culture, including the helicopter scene in Apocalypse Now. Why do you think this is?

  • Wagner’s music exemplifies the intense passion of grand opera, with its powerful and melodramatic style, and it the antithesis of the more graceful, classical style of Cosi Fan Tutte.
  • Ride of the Valkyries would be inappropriate as the overture to Cosi Fan Tutte. Why?


Listen to Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries

  • How does it make you feel?
  • How does it link to Cosi?
  • What does it reveal about the play? Links to characterisation, tone, irony, contextual references
shared writing task
Shared writing Task

Write a paragraph in which you discuss the use of music – Mozart’s overture and Ride of the Valkyeries

Possible points for discussion:

  • The contrasting mood each piece evokes
  • The context of each piece
  • How each piece symbolises, exaggerates, contrasts the characters and key ideas
  • The universal use of both - links to key ideas
  • Cosiis a two act play which loosely follows a traditional structure: exposition, development, complication, climax, resolution.
  • In Act One a sense of impending crisis is driven by the tensions between the characters, the impossibility of the task they’ve undertaken and the incompetence of the director.

In Act Two, tensions escalate and the crises become more dramatic, whilst the patients’ needs to perform the opera become the play’s driving force.

  • The performance itself ends on a high note of hilarity and hope.
  • However, Lewis’ final address to Cosi’saudience reminds us that theatre is about creating illusions and that real life is more problematic.
the play within the play
The Play within the play
  • The backdrop of war is a significant feature of both texts: The Vietnam war in the 1970s and the Albanian battle for independence from the Ottoman empire in 1790.
  • An important structural feature to note is the play within the play.
  • This highlights the parallels between the characters and the themes in Mozart’s opera, and those in Nowra’s play.
  • Both opera and play revolve around issues of loyalty, fidelity, and betrayal.

Wars also involve loyalties and betrayals

  • They exemplify chaos on a grand scale; this underscores the chaos in the lives of the characters in the opera and the play.
now it s time to write about cosi the passage analysis
Now it’s time to write about ‘Cosi’…The PASSAGE ANALYSIS
  • Are you tired of the same old text response essays that which you have been writing since year 7?
  • Are you ready for something new? Do you need a new challenge?
  • If this sounds like you, then the Passage Analysis SAC is for you!
  • It won’t all be easy (but who wants it all to be easy?!), there may be some frustration along the way – but it will be worth it!
what is the passage analysis
  • 3 passages from anywhere in the text
  • Your task: To use the passages to show your interpretation of the text
  • HOW? Making links between the passages and the text
what to focus on
What to focus on??
  • Why the passages are significant
  • where they fall in the text
  • how they reveal character development
  • what key ideas they convey
  • how meaning is created through language and literary devices:

tone, pace, dialogue, language, stage directions, intertextuality, music, lighting, setting, symbolism etc

  • REMEMBER!!! You are showing how meaning is created through the above devices, NOT simply stating what the ideas are.
time to write
Time to write…

The good news….You have already been writing in the style of the ‘Passage Analysis’!

  • Your analysis of a key aspect of Act 1
  • The analysis of the music
  • The comparison of the play to the film

Go to page 10 of ‘Cosi’ or use the handout.

Highlight and annotate the following:

  • How characterisation is revealed (Lewis and Roy) and the purpose of this characterisation
  • How the context is conveyed
  • The key ideas
  • Why and how foreshadowing is used
  • How music and lighting is contrasted and why
now look at sample passage analysis of this page
Now look at sample passage analysis of this page.
  • Carefully read the annotations
  • Consider how ideas are ordered
  • Look at how quotes are embedded into the text
  • Review the information which is included
  • Notice how the focus is on how meaning is created, not merely what the meaning is.
your turn
Your Turn…
  • Now you are going to try to complete your own single passage analysis.
  • Read and annotate page 61. Look for what is revealed about characterisation and key ideas through specific literary devices. (Mini handout)
  • Make a dot point plan of how you will order your analysis of this page.
  • Now try to write it! Remember – there is no ‘right’ way. It is up to you to choose what you focus on and how you order your analysis.
putting it all together
Putting it all together….

TASK: Individually: Read over the 3 passages

TASK:As a group: Think about what stands out to you? How do these passages link to the overall ideas of the text?

TASK: Individually: Read the student response to these passages

Task: As a group: discuss the points at the end of the essay

now try it with 2 3 passages
Now try it with 2-3 passages…
  • Look carefully at the 3 passages.
  • Highlight key moments in characterisation, dominant key ideas, literary techniques – use different colours.
  • Annotate as you highlight – make notes/lines between passages.
  • How are the passages important in regards to the whole text? (What do they represent?)
  • How is language used to develop mood/tone

What threads can you see between the 3 passages? Examples:

  • Lewis’ development and what it reveals about people’s perceptions (HOW is his development shown?)
  • Importance/perceptions of love (How are different perceptions shown?)
  • love and fidelity
  • war/betrayal (metaphors/symbolism?)
  • Links to overall interpretation?
  • Remember – HOW is it SHOWN? Don’t just tell what the ideas are. Analyse HOW they are conveyed/
some more tips
Some more tips
  • You don’t have to write about everything!
  • Pick things that interest you and ideas that you can develop
  • Try no weave between the passages to form you ideas
  • Focus closely on the passages, and then make broader links to the wider text to support your analysis.

Use you annotations to make a plan

  • How will you order your ideas?
  • Write a dot point plan roughly outlining what areas of the 3 passages you will discuss, and in what order
  • Look at the sample response to see how their ideas are ordered.
tips for passage analysis
Tips for passage analysis
  • Discuss 2-3 of the passages
  • Engage with the language of the passage as much as possible.
  • Deconstruct and comment on your chosen quotes
  • You can jump straight in to your analysis
  • If you want a separate intro/conclusion make them very specific to the main points you will discuss in the passages – no overviews of the writer/text!
  • Do not describe what is in the passages. Your focus is your interpretation of the passages through your analysis – what are the ideas – how are they revealed?
  • Write in present tense
  • Do not write in first person