Comprehending

👁️👁️ FIRST PERSON POV v THIRD PERSON POV 👀

In the COMPREHENDING SECTION of your ATAR English exam you could be asked to discuss the significance of the narrative point of view.

So!  Best you know the difference between them! 🤙😉

It is RARE to come across 2nd person pov texts.  These are the “Choose-your-own-adventure” sort of texts (“You climb up over the wall to see…”)

👁️👁️ FIRST PERSON POV 👁️👁️

The narrator is part of the story (I, me).  You are inside their head and see directly through the eyes.

Therefore, this point of view can very SUBJECTIVE and BIAS because the character’s interpretation of events or the action is directly INFLUENCED by their personal experiences, opinions, attitudes or motivations.

E.G. In "A Handmaid’s Tale" we share what Offred knows, experiences and remembers, but she has a very limited view of the world due to her position. We have to trust her about Gilead and what happens to her.

So, first person point of view narrators can be UNRELIABLE.

👀 THIRD PERSON POV 👀

The narrator is an observer of the action or events (they, he, she, it).  They are an outsider looking in.

They may be LIMITED (i.e. focus on the thoughts and feelings of one character) or OMNISCIENT (i.e. can go into the thoughts of many or all of the characters, sometimes called Eye-of-God narration).

These narrators are more OBJECTIVE and RELIABLE because they have no self interest in the events occurring.

In some cases, they may show concern for the characters or comment on the action, such as Death does in "The Book Thief", but this is unusual.  For the most part they just report the story.

And that’s it!  Simples!  😊

Responding

VOICES IN NOVELS / EXPOSITORY TEXTS

Most Yr12 students will study a fiction or non-fiction text this year, so think about the VOICES represented in the text you have studied and the different PERSPECTIVES it offers.  Here’s a few examples 

👩‍🎓 “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime” – Mark Haddon gives children with Aspergers and their families a VOICE and presents their PERSPECTIVE of living with this disorder.

👨‍🎓 “Destroying Avalon” – Kate McCaffrey gives teenage victims of bullying (both cyber and physical) a VOICE in this novel and presents their PERSPECTIVE of what it’s like to be in this situation.

👩‍🎓 “Broken Lives” – Estelle Blackburn gives John Button a voice and protests his innocence, presenting his perspective on the evidence and life in prison. She also presents the perspective of the Eric Edgar Cooke and his crime rampage on the streets of Perth in the 1960s.

👨‍🎓 “The Book Thief” – Markus Zusak takes the unique approach of giving Death a VOICE, making him the narrator in the novel. We see Death’s PERSPECTIVE on death, loss, suffering and humanity). He also gives a VOICE to the German people who disagreed with what the Nazis were doing and presents their PERSPECTIVE on this period of time and the treatment of Jews.

👩‍🎓 “Things Fall Apart” – Chinua Achebe gives the Igbo people a VOICE and presents their PERSPECTIVE on an African society that challenges narrow Western representations of the continent.

👨‍🎓 “The Handmaid’s Tale” – Margaret Atwood gives women a VOICE and explores feminism from several different PERSPECTIVES.

👩‍🎓 "Snow Falling on Cedars" – David Guterson gives Japanese Americans a VOICE and presents their PERSPECTIVE of living in a post-WWII America.

👨‍🎓 “The Kite Runner” – Khalid Hosseini gives Afghan people a VOICE and presents their PERSPECTIVE of life in Afghanistan before and after the Russian invasion, under Taliban rule and life as an immigrant/refugee in America.

👩‍🎓 “Hiroshima” – John Hersey gives VOICES to six survivors of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in this journalistic novel, presenting each person’s PERSPECTIVE of the bombing and the impact it had on their lives.

And that wraps up our focus on VOICE and PERSPECTIVE 

Hopefully we’ve provided enough examples to give you the idea and understand the concepts a little better.

And maybe, if you have to do your own investigations, we’ve given your some great ideas for texts that you can choose from too 

Composing

COMPOSING SECTION – STEP 1:  Deciding WHAT to write (i.e. FORM)

By Yr 12 you should have some idea of your writing strengths.  You may be a kick ass story writer, you may have a great sense of humor and wit that lends itself to satirical articles or you may be a speech writer good enough to outdo Obama.

Or you may have absolutely no idea what your strengths are and deciding what to write in this section makes you want to vomit!  If that is the case, our advice is to choose the FORM you find the easiest to write in and go from there 😊

The trick it to make it really clear to the marker what FORM you are writing in.

This is where SIGNPOSTING is really valuable.

Do you recognise the following FORMS of writing based on the SIGNPOSTING in their openings?

TIP:  DIARY OR JOURNAL WRITING should focus on exploring the emotions, attitudes, values, beliefs, fears, dreams, motivations etc. of an individual (non-fiction) or character (fiction).  It’s a highly EMOTIVE AND PERSONAL FORM of writing.  That’s why people hide diaries/journals or lock them up, especially from getting into the hands of a little brother or sister!

 

TIP:  ARTICLE / FEATURE ARTICLE - you gotta know your stuff!  Particularly about SOCIAL ISSUES in the world:  the problems with plastic and the impact on our environment, the refugee crisis, how social media is affecting our privacy and security etc.  ARTICLE writing relies on facts, statistics and hard evidence (anecdotes, quotations, specific examples etc).  Your ideas need to be strong.

ALSO, they can come from texts you’ve studied during the year – gender inequality (The Handmaid’s Tale), PTSD in soldiers (Slaughterhouse Five), gun control in America (Bowling for Columbine) etc.

 

TIP:  Open your DEBATING SPEECH with some sort of HOOK or OPENING STATEMENT and then address the audience and topic.  It’s a little more sophisticated that way.  Also, DEBATES can be a great FORM for exam questions that ask you to “construct two brief texts that represent different perspectives.”  First speaker of the AFF versus first speak of the NEG.

 

TIP:  When writing DRAMA SCRIPTS use the STAGE DIRECTIONS to show setting, symbolism and actions of the characters.  The DIALOGUE will drive the ideas or issues so be sure to tap into the attitudes, values and beliefs of the characters you’ve constructed when writing their dialogue.  And of course, lay it out as you would expect to read it in a script.

 

TIP:  SPEECHES rely on strong content knowledge (ideas, issues, attitudes, values) and all the RHETORICAL DEVICES that speech writers draw on.  Again, a HOOK is the best way to start – as shown in this excerpt from Stan Grant’s speech from 2015.

 

TIP:  NARRATIVE + GENRE.  Try lifting the sophistication of your story by writing in a particular GENRE.  You can tell this excerpt is a THRILLER NARRATIVE because of the conventions associated with the THRILLER GENREdark night, bad weather, female protagonist (alone) in entirely inappropriate footwear, phone is flat, isolated train platform, only one tiny light.  Proper scary stuff!

Write in a Science Fiction genre, or Zombie genre, or Fantasy or Dystopian or Western (to name a few)

THE KEY IS TO SHOW YOUR MARKER FROM THE OUTSET WHAT FORM YOU ARE WRITING IN.  THERE ARE LOADS TO CHOOSE FROM:

  • Opinion Piece
  • Editorial/Column
  • Online Blog
  • Letter to the Editor
  • Interview (Radio, TV, Podcast)
  • Personal Letter form a particular era, take on a persona
  • Autobiographical Narrative from the perspective of a character or individual
  • Newspaper Report
  • Obituary
  • Film/Book Review
  • Essay

NEXT POST:   The Composing Section Step 2 – Deciding WHY to write? (PURPOSE)