RSS

Workshop 02 — NSW HSC: Area Study: Imaginative Journeys

QUESTION: “Every journey, if it is truly a journey, will change the traveller often quite profoundly.” Write a feature article for inclusion in a student magazine where you reflect on the journey studied in your course.

This time I show the polished essay first. To see the first draft, scroll down. I have taken S’s essay and quietly corrected a few errors. Can you see where this has occurred? But my main task was to push his text closer to the feature article text type without adding to or changing his ideas.

Second Draft The writer is a 17-year-old of Vietnamese background. He is a good Advanced English student.

How do the imaginary experiences and the ideas of others in film and literature reflect on us? Do we develop as a result of our viewing and reading? HSC student Bryan Smith found in his imaginative journey, going through and beyond the words and images, that he has been changed. So, he argues, will you be, if you study HSC English imaginatively.

Journeying through words and images

I had always questioned the purpose of studying the likes of Coleridge and Lear in our modern day world. But recently I have come to realise that the “imaginative journey” (as the NSW Board of Studies likes to call it) really does develop not only the way we think but us as people. Let me tell you how this has happened during my HSC year. .

Travels with Coleridge

At first I thought Coleridge was just a drugged-up over-rated poet. How wrong I was! Reading his work, you will find that you are drawn into his imaginary world in poems such as ‘Frost at Midnight’ and ‘This Lime-tree Bower my Prison’. These poems display the capacity of language to change us and force us to look more deeply into what we perceive to be true.

The journey in ‘Frost at Midnight’ is a means for Coleridge to reach enlightenment, and through it we are able to realise some of the values we hold as human beings — family, freedom and security. Coleridge’s desire for freedom makes us realise how integral freedom is to our state of mind. Coleridge’s repetition of ‘still’ in ‘still my heart leaped up for still I wished to see the stranger’s face,’ reflects this desire for freedom and allows us to truly comprehend its importance. In a world of idiotic reality television and movies that are so pointless to watch, it is truly relieving to pick up something so meaningful and positive in respect to our development as individuals.

Coleridge utilises the likes of systolic rhythm –- rhythm like the pulse of the human heart — and the personification of the frost ‘performing its secret ministry,’ to give the poem seemingly magical qualities, allowing us to embark on the imaginative journey.

No different is ‘This Lime-tree Bower my Prison’ in effect. It draws us back into the natural world, away from mundane city life, allowing us to revel in the true beauty of nature. So many of us are finishing our high school careers and travelling in search of the elusive journey that ‘changes us.’ Why not journey through the power of the written word and gain a love for all that is natural?

The onomatopoeic resonance of ‘roaring dell’ highlights Coleridge’s subconscious immersion in the natural world through his imaginative journey. It reflects his elated mood and reflects nature’s ability to change our way of thinking and allows the flow of unbounded imagination to occur. The synesthesia of light in ‘blaze’ acts to emphasise Coleridge’s epiphany, reflecting the imaginative journey’s ability to change perception. We as responders are able to realise the power of the imaginative journey through the text and embrace the concept of nature as a catalyst.

Journeys in fiction

The unique thing about the HSC English Syllabus is that allows students to choose some of their own texts and to truly change from the experience. It allows us to select from a broad spectrum of texts in the everyday world to develop and create meaning based upon our own perceptions.

Dean Hovey’s ‘Brandon’s Free’ is a short story I found to be quite enlightening and a good example of how a responder may develop through an imaginative journey.

It is a beautiful text that portrays the imaginative journey undertaken by an unnamed man; through his introspection, he is able to go beyond time and reach a state of contentment. The core concept of the story revolves around ‘moving on’ and not dwelling in the past. There is a very sombre tone that resonates in the text. It eventually changes to one of gratification as the character ‘spoke quietly to the gravestone of his son.’ This contrast of tone highlights the power of the imaginative journey to change us and instils this very notion into our minds.

An Anime text: not dumbing down

Anime can be overlooked as a childish text type that holds little meaning, due to the fighting animals and violent plotlines associated with Anime. This is most certainly untrue when considering the likes of Shoji Kawamori’s animated series Arjuna. ‘A Drop of Time’ is the first episode of the series and is so meaningful and well made it is sure to change any responder’s perception of nature. Similarly to Coleridge’s ‘This Lime-tree Bower my Prison’ this text allows the responder to realise the beauty of nature, whilst adding a very 20th century concept, that being our need to protect the natural world from human impacts on it.

The first scene of the episode presents a series of images that suggest a kind of timelessness in the imaginative journey. Through the symbolism of the innocent protagonist as the natural world and humanity as a malevolent worm-like creature, humanity is presented as a parasite upon the world. Our thoughts are being moulded by these notions of human apathy and the destruction of the natural world. Various super-imposed images flow together with an hourglass in the background suggesting the little time we do in fact have to save all that is natural.

Judging a book by its cover?

The Board of Studies booklet also has texts that allow us to change. Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t have to be your enemy; it can be your friend!

The Ivory Trail is the book cover you will find in the booklet. You may be asking, ‘How on earth can a cover change me?’ But you would be quite surprised to find out how much meaning and how much can truly be gained from this complex and ambiguous visual text. Themes of freedom, danger and mystery are implicit in the text, making us consider them and catalysing our own imaginations. It is true that we can over analyse this text and generate meaning that isn’t there. But the truth is the text does change us, even if this change is minimal and not as life-changing as the Board of Studies might hope.

The super-imposition of a desert in the image emphasises the concept of freedom through the journey. It changes our concept of the journey and concept that it is a ‘defined path,’ but rather an ‘ambiguous trail.’ Our concept of the journey is developed even through the use of colour symbolism, suggesting danger and mystery in the journey. This concept of freedom and liberty through the imaginative journey is further emphasised through the vector lines that lead our gaze beyond the image.

***

Change as a result of the imaginative journey can occur through all these texts. As students studying the English syllabus we are able to develop as people and change on a deeper level.

Put down that remote control, turn off the computer and really journey through the texts you are studying for the HSC.

So there it is. It could be that more description of just what is to be seen in that book cover may be needed. What do you think?

First Draft.

Journey beyond the words and images

How do every day experiences and the ideas of others truly reflect us? Are we developing as a result of the journey? Bryan Smith delves into the core of the imaginative journey, beyond the words and images, and investigates how they change us.

I had always questioned the purpose of studying the likes of Coleridge and Lear in our modern day world. But recently I have realised how much the ‘journey,’ (as the board of studies likes to call it) really develops not only the way we think but us as people.

At first I perceived Coleridge as a ‘drugged-up and over rated’ poet. How wrong I was! When you look beyond the context you will find that you are drawn into his imaginary world in poems such as Frost at Midnight and This Lime-tree Bower my Prison. The poems encompass the capacity of language to change us and force us to look more deeply into what we perceive to be true. Coleridge utilises the likes of systolic rhythm and the personification of the frost “performing its secret ministry,” giving the poem seemingly magical qualities allowing us to embark on the imaginative journey.

The journey is a means for Coleridge to reach enlightenment, and through it we are able to realise some of the values we hold as human-beings- family, freedom and security. Coleridge’s desire for freedom makes us realise how integral freedom is to our state of mind. Coleridge’s repetition of “still” in “still my heart leaped up for still I wished to see the stranger’s face,” reflect this desire for freedom and allow us to truly comprehend its importance. I a world of idiotic reality television and movies that are so pointless to watch it is truly relieving to pick up something so meaningful and positive in respect to our development as individuals.

No different is This Lime-tree Bower my Prison in effect. It draws us back into the natural world away from mundane city life and allows us to revel in the true beauty of nature. So many of us are finishing our high school careers and travelling in search of the elusive journey that “changes us.” Why not journey through the power of the written word and gain a love for all that is natural?

The onomatopoeic resonance of “roaring dell” highlights Coleridge’s subconscious immersion in the natural world through the imaginative journey. It reflects his elated mood and reflects natures ability to change our way of thinking and allow for the flow of ones unbounded imagination to occur. The synesthesia of light in “blaze” acts to emphasise Coleridge’s epiphany, reflecting the imaginative journey’s ability to change. We as responders are able to realise the power of the imaginative journey through the text and the concept of nature as a catalyst.

The board of studies booklet also has texts that allow us to change. Yes, that’s right, it doesn’t have to be your enemy it can be your friend! The Ivory Trail is the book cover you can find in the booklet. You may be asking, “How on earth can a cover change me?” But you would be quite surprised to find out how much meaning and how much can truly be gained from this convoluted and ambiguous text. Themes of freedom, danger and mystery are heavily implied in the text making us consider them and catalysing our own imaginations. It is true that we can over analyse the text and a large deal of meaning can be gained from something that isn’t there. But truth is the text does change us, even if this change is minimal and not as life changing as the board of studies would hope. A concept of freedom and liberty through the imaginative journey is heavily emphasised through the vector lines that lead our gaze beyond the image.

The super-imposition of a desert again emphasises this concept of freedom through the journey. It changes our concept of the journey and concept that it is a “defined path,” but rather an “ambiguous trail.” Our concept of the journey is developed even through the use of colour symbolism, suggesting danger and mystery in the journey.

The unique thing about the English syllabus is that allows students to choose come of their own texts and truly change from the experience. It allows us to gain from a broad spectrum of texts in the everyday world and develop and create meaning based upon our own perceptions. Brandon’s Free is a short story I found to be quite enlightening and an example of a means to develop as a responder through the imaginative journey.

It is a beautiful text that portrays the imaginative journey undertaken by unnamed man and how through his introspection, is able to go beyond time and reach a state of contentment. The core concept of the story revolves around “moving on” and not dwelling in the past. There is a very sombre tone that resonates in the text. It eventually changes to one of gratification as the character “spoke quietly to the gravestone of his son.” This contrast of tone highlights the power of the imaginative journey to change and instils this very notion into our minds.

Anime can be overlooked as childish and a text type that holds little meaning due to the adventures of fighting animals and violent plotlines affiliated with Anime. This is most certainly untrue when considering the likes of Shoji Kawamori’s animated series Arjuna. A Drop of Time is the first episode of the series and is so meaningful and well made it is sure to change any responder’s perception of nature. Similarly to Coleridge’s This Lime-tree Bower my Prison the text allows the responded to realise the beauty of nature, whilst adding a very 20th century concept, that being our need to protect the natural world and human impacts on it.

The first scene of the episode presents a series of images that suggest a kind of timelessness in the imaginative journey. Through the symbolism of the innocent protagonist as the natural world and humanity as a malevolent worm like creature, humanity is presented as a parasite upon the world. Our thoughts are being moulded by these notions of human apathy and the destruction of the natural world. Various super-imposed images flow together with an hourglass in the background suggesting the lack of time we do in fact have to save all that is natural.

Change as a result of the imaginary journey can occur through all texts. As students studying the English syllabus we are able to develop as people and change on a deeper level. Put down the remote control, turn off the computer and really journey through the texts you are studying for the HSC.

 

7 responses to “Workshop 02 — NSW HSC: Area Study: Imaginative Journeys

  1. George

    December 17, 2006 at 2:15 pm

    nice response

     
  2. Jim Meddle

    July 23, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Personally, I think the HSC English curriculum is a load of s**t and I wonder – and I think many parents would wonder – how the study of English degenerated into mere literary criticism.

     
  3. ninglun

    July 23, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    I wonder – and I think many parents would wonder – how the study of English degenerated into mere literary criticism.

    As distinct from what? The HSC course has been “literary criticism” ever since it started in 1967; it could be argued that the current HSC is less so than the 1967 model, though that is precisely what many of its critics are complaining about.

    Most of the 1959 Leaving Certificate English I did was also “literary criticism” except for the small component on traditional grammar.

     
  4. So Dark

    August 6, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    A study of grammar would be nice. I am currently in Year 12 at the moment, and find that the majority of my cohort are very poorly skilled in problems of grammar.

    I find it pretty hard myself over the net, but when writing prose we should all know how to express ourselves correctly. The net isn’t as one would say, a conventional means for implementing proper English.

     
  5. ninglun

    August 6, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks, So Dark. I know I always taught quite a bit on grammar and usage, and how to write. Most of it was not in separate lessons, but connected to some other purpose, or taught as problems arose.

    There is a lot on grammar on this site. Search, or hit the tag “English Grammar” in the side bar tag cloud. Also, go to the links page.

     
  6. ha

    October 25, 2007 at 8:25 pm

    I have to agree – I’ve just started the HSC Course, and literary criticism seems like such a waste of time when we’re rarely going to use it outside of school.

    In comparison, so many of the students in my class have a terrible grasp of grammar and punctuation – not to mention that they often don’t know the meanings of simple words, nor are they able to glean such meanings from context.

    We rarely spend time working on HOW to write, and as a result, we don’t get to practice expositions, poems etc, instead spending the majority of our time writing essays on literary criticism with the occassional creative writing module.

    I was under the impression that english is supposed to be about both language and higher order thinking skills. I’d much prefer to focus on how texts/meaning behind text arises – focusing on what influenced people to write, how the writing affects us etc. I’d love to learn HOW to write in different forms…

    BTW, I go to a selective school!

     
  7. ninglun

    October 25, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    In my understanding of the HSC course you may well learn more about the things you mention. I hope so. This does depend a bit on just how the teacher implements the syllabus, and what their own interests and background are.

    While literary criticism may seem a bit abstruse and irrelevant at first, I still believe the skills developed enhance our ability to respond to all kinds of texts and messages. I certainly hope that is the case.

     
 
%d bloggers like this: