Reflecting on the 2010 HSC English Paper 2: Modules (Advanced)


Ok… so I’m only going to discuss the Modules which I’ve tutored before – otherwise I won’t know what I’m talking about.

Module A: Elective 2: Texts in Time

Wow, I was surprised by the 2010 questions for this Elective! I’ve always thought Module A was pretty breezy, but this year’s questions were a bit harder – they didn’t focus on specific themes etc.

In terms of Blade Runner and Frankenstein – I think this question was ok. You could’ve talked about how:

  • Deckard, Roy, Tyrell – challenging notions of humanity, creation/invention, consumerism etc (Capitalism).
  • Victor, the monster – challenging again notions of humanity, the pursuit of science etc (Age of Enlightenment, Industrial Revolution).

I think it was much harder for The Great Gatsby and Browning. I mean, with The Great Gatsby, the characters don’t challenge the values of the Jazz Age directly. I suppose you could talk about how Nick questions the values, and how Gatsby shows that the values are destructive. For Browning, this seems quite difficult, because she (as persona) doesn’t really challenge the Victorian values! She adheres to them, I would think, right? Except for the fact that she does challenge religion to some extent, and the conservative expression of emotions…

What did students write for that?

Module B: Hamlet

Yay, this was a pretty stock standard question. Asking for your interpretation in response to the ideas of “struggle” and “disillusionment” – very similar to the format of the 2009 question.

Based on my interpretation, I would’ve talked about Hamlet’s internal struggle (Renaissance duty and Christian beliefs), his disillusionment by the betrayals/deceptions around him etc.

It would’ve been interesting though – to discuss whether it is THOSE ideas which continue to engage readers over time.

Module C: Conflicting Perspectives

Textual form? Good thing I told my students to always mention textual form in their Mod C essays! This was quite a good question, because of the “to what extent” aspect. You could also use “textual form” to then branch out and talk about specific textual techniques etc.

For example, with Justice Game, I would’ve begun with discussing how JG’s non-fiction format creates a sense of authority and objectivity to Robertson’s views, shaping our response and understanding of the conflicting perspectives about a particular issues. However, the textual techniques, within the textual form are what act as the greatest influences upon our reading…

Any comments?

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5 Comments to “Reflecting on the 2010 HSC English Paper 2: Modules (Advanced)”

  1. I didn’t do those texts in the Modules paper, but I generally thought the exam was good. It was nice and generic. Once you got past the specific working of the questions is was essentially: This is a big notion in the module. Tell me everything you know. Haha. Which was good. Students didn’t have to jump through many hoops to show that they had worked through the year, as long as some of the question wording didn’t throw them : )
    Despite all of that. I am still really disappointed with how I went… ahh well…

  2. Hi there! I also tutor HSC English. In relation to the Browning/Gatsby question I taught my students the following because I suspected they might ask something about challenging context.
    * Nick challenges the values of his society by questioning it, while Gatsby shows these values are destructive.
    * Browning challenges values concerning women and relationships, she demands to be her partners equal as apposed to his inferior. Browning also uses romanticism to challenge the victorian notion of marriage being about status and money as well as security for women.

    • Hi hezzabeth – yeah, those are the some of the points that I thought of. But how do you support the idea that she demands to be equal with her partners? Especially considering the sonnet, where she compares herself to the broken viola? I can only think of the sonnet where she refuses to profess her love for him. TT

  3. I’m so glad I’ve finished English. I don’t want to look back!!!

    I don’t think the questions really reflected the syllabus requirements/rubric though, except for Paper 1.

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