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Resources for the aos ‘Belonging’

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Karen Yager – NSR Professional Learning and Leadership Coordinator ‘Belonging’

Resources for the AOS ‘Belonging’

Key Aspects of the AOS
The AOS requires you to have a conceptual understanding of how ‘Belonging’ is represented and conveyed in and through texts. The key aspects of the AOS are:

  • Representations

  • Representation refers to how the composer’s choice of language modes, forms, features and structures shape meaning and influence responses. These choices are influenced by a composer’s sense of belonging.

  • How the concept of ‘Belonging’ is conveyed through the representations in texts of people, relationships, ideas, places, events, and societies.

  • Assumptions underlying various representations of the concept of ‘Belonging’.

  • Perceptions
    • How an individual’s perceptions of belonging or not belonging can vary and are shaped by his or her personal, cultural, historical and social context.

    • The ways in which a responder perceives the world through texts.

  • Contextualisation

  • How the perspectives of the composer and the responder are shaped by personal, cultural, historical and social contexts, experiences and values.

  • Interrelationships

  • The connections between texts through the concept of ‘Belonging’ and the individual’s perceptions and understanding

Section 1 of AOS Paper 1 – Reading Task
You could be given three or four texts such as a graphic, a prose piece, e.g. an extract from a novel and a non-fiction piece, e.g. a news article. There are likely to be questions on each of these texts that will test your knowledge of how the composer shapes your understanding of and response to the concept of ‘Belonging’. In the past there has also been a question worth more than the others and this question could require an integrated response to the three or four texts.  

It is essential, when answering the questions that you align your information with the criteria. The criteria for assessment should be considered as part of the question you respond to.  

The reading task could feature the following criteria for assessment: 
In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:

  • Demonstrate understanding of the how the concept of ‘Belonging’ is shaped in and through texts

  • Describe, explain and analyse the relationship between language, text and context.

When discussing textual features you should:

  1. Identify the feature

  2. Exemplify the feature

  3. Explain the impact of the feature

  4. Extrapolate by discussing why the composer used the feature.

For questions on individual texts:

  • Make sure you know the features of various forms of text so that you can comment on how the form of the text may be appropriate to the content.

  • Closely analyse the features of a visual. E.g. Positioning, composition, framing, contrast, lighting, point of view, gaze, body language, apparel, vectors, colour, symbolism, etc.

  • You could be asked to compare and contrast the texts in the question (usually the last one). Ensure that you:

    • Refer not only to the selected text but give reasons why you rejected the other texts

    • Compare and contrast the language features and details of the texts, clearly indicating why the text you have selected effectively represents ‘Belonging’.

In Paper 1, you must understand the key terms and appreciate that you are expected to be able to analyse how composers make meaning and shape response. These key words are important:


  • How does the composer convey his/her ideas about ‘Belonging’ through language features and form?

  • How do the language techniques used by the composer impact on the responder’s feelings, emotions and ideas?

The purpose could be to:

  • Entertain

  • Express an opinion

  • Persuade

  • Create

  • Inform

  • Reflect

The composer’s purpose will influence his/her choice of text, tone, language, form, structure and style.

  • Consider how the audience has been positioned to respond to the text.

  • Consider others’ perspectives and how individuals could be resistant readers and not have a sense of belonging to the text/s.

  • The intended audience will influence choice of text, language, form, structure and style.

  • Consider the audience of the time the text was released and a modern day audience’s response.

  • Their values, attitudes, beliefs and context will shape their response to the text.


  • How and why a text is coherent.

  • Consider how the form and content of the text relate to each other.

The following are just some of the language features that you could consider when you are analysing a text:
Form – purpose, and features of a text influence the construction of a text and will suggest its structure
Level of Usage of Language – slang, colloquial, informal or formal
Person: 1st (I or we), 2nd (you) or 3rd (he, she or they)
Word Choice or Diction – emotive, forceful, factual, descriptive, blunt, graphic, disturbing, informative, etc eg. The writer’s use of forceful verbs such as ‘insist’ and ‘demand’ can be very persuasive
Syntax - Sentence structure - short, simple sentences or truncated (fractured) sentences create tension, haste or urgency; compound or complex sentences are slower and often feature in a formal text
Figurative Language and Sound Devices – metaphor, metonymy, hyperbole, simile, personification, assonance, alliteration, consonance, onomatopoeia, etc. These devices have a powerful impact as they work on our senses to strengthen the subject matter of the text.
Icons- a single person, object or image that represents complex ideas and feelings
Repetition- of words or syntax (order of words) for emphasis and persuasion
Contrast – paradox, antithesis, oxymoron, juxtaposition, etc
Humour – incongruity, parody, satire, exaggeration, irony, puns, etc.
Visuals – composition, angle, framing, positioning, orientation, body language (facial expressions, gestures, etc), lighting, contrast, point of view, symbolism, omissions, colour, gaze, vectors and rule of thirds, etc.
Gaps and Silences – what is not said; whose voice is not heard and whose voice dominates?
Alliteration: repetition of the consonants at the start of words in a sentence or phrase
Consonance: repetition of the consonants throughout a sentence of phrase
Disjunction: A conjunction such as ‘but’ or ‘yet’ that dramatically interrupts the rhythm of a sentence
Ellipsis: a dramatic pause (…). It can create tension or even suggest that there are some words that cannot be spoken.
Emotive Language: words that stir the reader’s emotions
Exclamation: exclamatory sentence ending in an exclamation mark to convey high emotion
Fractured or Truncated Sentences: incomplete sentences that increase tension or urgency or reflect the way people speak to each other
Imagery: vivid pictures are created by words. The reader can be transported to another place and time or visualise a character clearly
Imperative Voice: forceful use of the verb at the start of a sentence or phrase
Juxtaposition: layering images/scenes to have a dramatic impact
Linear: sequential – in order
Metaphor: a comparison between two objects when one becomes the other. It adds further layers of meaning about the object being compared.
Mise-en-scene: what is placed in the scene by the director such as: lighting, choice of actors, props, composition.
Modality: the force the words are delivered at. High modality is forceful and low modality is gentle.
Non-Linear: non-sequential narrative
Onomatopoeia: a word that echoes the sound it represents. The reader can hear what is happening in the scene.
Personification: giving human characteristics to a non-human. Inanimate objects take on a life of their own.
Perspective: a way of looking at individuals, issues, events, texts, facts and so on.
Plosive Consonants: using harsh sounds in a sentence or phrase
Representation: how a composer conveys meaning through textual features and details
Setting: location of a story – internal and external
Sibilance: repetition of the consonant ‘s’ – can make a line sound melodious and sweet or cold and icy
Simile: when two objects are compared using ‘like’ or ‘as’
Symbolism: When an object stands for one or more ideas
Tense: present tense – set in the present. Past tense – set in the past. Future tense – the events are predicted.
Theme: message or moral of a story. Themes make us ponder the big issues in life.
Tone: the way the composer or character feels – conveyed by the composer’s choice of words.
Visual Terms

When you are decoding an image or graphic you could refer to some of the following features or techniques:

Composition: What is included in a visual is usually deliberately placed there or included. This also applies to what the composer has omitted. Therefore, consider all inclusions and omissions such as: surroundings, objects, clothing, etc.
Intertextuality: Appropriating or referring to images or ideas from other texts to make an important point.
Colour, hue and tone: In a black and white image examine the use of contrast, light and darkness. In a colour image, colours are used to signify feelings and evoke a response. E.g. Red conveys passion, anger, hell, vitality, etc whereas blue conveys peace, harmony or even coldness.
Framing: The same camera shots and angles relevant to film are applicable to visuals. Close ups, extreme close ups, medium shots, long shots, tilted up or down shots and so on are relevant.
Body language and gaze: Examine facial expressions, gestures, stance or position as these features can convey the attitude, feelings or personality of the individual being drawn or photographed. Take note of the direction of the subject’s eyes.
Rule of thirds: Used by the great Dutch painters the rule of thirds can be useful for some images. Divide an image into thirds from the top and sides and look at the placement of people and/or objects. An object in the top third is usually empowered whereas anything in the bottom third is disempowered.
Salience: The part that your eyes are first drawn to in the visual – visual weighting. Colour, image and layout determine what the salient image is in a visual.
Vectors: This refers to the line that our eyes take when we look at a visual. Composers deliberately direct our reading path through the vectors. E.g. If all of the subjects are tall, long and upright our eyes follow straight vectors that lead to the top of the frame. This could make the subject seem powerful or inflexible.

Framing: Close-up of girls’ faces; girls fill the frame – little white space. They are isolated by the wire fence that cuts them off from mainstream society. The two-point framing conveys the close relationship between the girls and the notion of belonging because of circumstances.

Gaze: Our eyes are drawn to theirs. The older girl demands our attention looking directly into the lens but the younger girl looks beyond the frame conveying her fear and confusion.

Rule of thirds: The girls’ eyes are in the top third demanding our attention but the fence dominates the frame subverting their direct appeal.

Body Language: The hands of the younger child clutch the fence and her mouth is open conveying her confusion and fear; whereas as rhe older girl is defiant staring into the lens and placing her hand on the child’s shoulder to provide support and strength.

Salience: Although the girls’ eyes draw us in the fence remains the salient image and disrupts our interaction with the girls. It symbolises dislocation and alienation.

Approaches for Section II: Writing – AOS ‘Belonging’
‘They demonstrated structural complexity, cohesion, the use of an authentic, sustained and engaging voice and took advantage of the opportunity the question presented to showcase originality and perceptiveness. The mechanics of language, punctuation, sentence structure and paragraphing were applied skilfully in these responses’ (NSW BOS, 2007, p.5).
To focus on the craft of writing try these quick writing exercises:

  • Compose a 100 micro word (no more no less) story that reflects one of the key ideas of ‘Belonging’:

  • Focus on the power of verbs

  • Avoid too many adjectives

  • Include figurative language – a simile is simple but effective

  • You could use an analogy or extended metaphor

  • Describe in two paragraphs a place that is special to you; where you feel as if you belong. Now describe a place where you feel alienated and isolated.

  • Focus on creating a mood that reflects your feelings through emotive language and colour.

  • Use the details of the place to represent your feelings without actually describing your feelings.

  • Take a recent well known event such as the Federal Government’s National Apology and write it into an imaginative text that reflects one or more of the key ideas of ‘Belonging’. E.g. Like I said, I didn’t miss her. But she was an addiction of sorts, and like any habit, even once you break it there are still moments that nothing will replace. Like being so amazingly warm with her in your arms that you just want to laugh at the Winter that lives outside the windows. Like the image of her washing her hands at the kitchen sink for fifteen minutes, humming a tune and wearing nothing but pale pink cottons. Or the time we made love on the living room floor, with the background noise of two planes flying into two towers, and hoping our love would make us invincible, and keep us safe.

As ‘Belonging’ is such a personal concept begin tackling Section II by composing a narrative with a focus on the craft of writing. Garth Boomer stated that ‘Stories are the lifeblood of a nation.’ Stories enable writers to convey significant concepts and differing perspectives, and have the potential to invite empathy and understanding.

  • Before you begin writing: Discuss ‘Belonging’ and how it is interpreted by different people. E.g.

  • Belonging spiritually to the land

  • Belonging to a peer group/family/team/institution/town/country

  • Alienation and exclusion

  • Displacement

  • Belonging to the past

  • How an individual can enrich or challenge an individual, group or community’s sense of belonging

  • Select one or more ideas and start to plan a narrative.

Prescribed Text as a Stimulus
Use your prescribed text as a stimulus for a writing task:

  • Feature the perspective of one of the characters in their prescribed text towards the notion of ‘Belonging’.

  • Use one of the main ideas from the prescribed text such as alienation or displacement.

  • Take a key quote from the prescribed text and use it as a focus for an imaginative text.

  • Compose a transcript of an interview with two people in the prescribed text. Explore in the transcript what belonging meant to them’ the barriers they encountered; and how their experiences shaped their attitude to belonging.

Responding to Stimulus Texts

  1. Jeannie Baker – Belonging

Compose an imaginative text that is connected to ‘Belonging to place’

Compose an imaginative text that is connected to ‘Belonging to community’

  1. Read the extract from Robert Gray’s poem ‘’Under the Summer Leaves’ that evocatively captures the place that he once lived and finds has changed.

When I was growing up around here, that place had been

just another small town off the highway,

with mothy streetlights, a motel’s insomnia,

treeroots under the pavement blocks,

broken fences and long yards, white fibro

beyond the tree’s braod shadows,

bougainvilleas, weatherboards.

Now there were split-level Spanish houses

in an estate across the hillslopes. There was the first

tall block of flats. Tourist were driving

to the beach, along the new road; and out there, you found,

was also getting freckled over.

Now the cars and motorbikes were everywhere,

their tyre-marks drawn about the sand

like great tangled ropes – so that people might seem

a lynch mob, threatening everything that’s natural.
Describe a place that you remember or feel close to focusing on the use of imagery and sensuous language. Evoke a sense of belonging and then disrupt that feeling through your descriptions.
Planning a Narrative for ‘Belonging’
Create the setting

  • Think about your characters who move in the setting, your key ideas, your purpose and how you are representing your perception of ‘Belonging.’

  • Focus on the craft of writing: imagery, figurative devices, syntax, punctuation and structure.

  • Ensure that your readers can ‘see’ the setting – don’t neglect those small details that can capture the essence of a place! E.g. We buzz north through hours of good farm country. The big, neat paddocks get browner and drier all the while and the air feels thick and warm. Biggie drives. He has the habit of punctuating his sentences with jabs on the accelerator and although the gutless old Volksie doesn't exactly give you whiplash at every flourish, it's enough to give a bloke a headache. We wind through the remnant jarrah forest, and the sickly-looking regrowth is so rain-parched it almost crackles when you look at it. (Tim Winton, The Turning)

  • In one to two paragraphs create the setting

Create the character/s

  • Sometimes our most effective writing is based on our lives and our experiences. Think about the people you have met, even yourself and create one or more characters.

  • Think about the character/s’ perceptions of ‘Belonging’ and how this perception has been shaped by their context, attitudes, experiences, values, perspectives, etc.

  • Consider dialogue and how it can be used to effectively capture and reflect the character/s.

  • Compose one or more paragraphs that describe or represent the character.


  • Good writers have been influenced by many other accomplished writers. Dip into as many texts as you can so that you experience the craft of writing. Tim Winton and Gail Jones have mastered the art of creating detailed settings, appealing characters and intriguing story lines. Read some of the short stories in Winton’s The Turning and read extracts from Jones’ Sixty Lights and Sorry.

  • Write for a specific audience and use the appropriate language and form. E.g. If you are requested to compose a letter to a friend, remember that it should be personal, descriptive and even humorous. It usually starts with a greeting.

  • Show don’t tell. Avoid too much information and focus on appealing to the senses through effective descriptions. Remember our most powerful tool is our imagination! A text that suggests rather than tells all has a powerful impact on the reader.

  • Develop a strong, distinctive voice. To achieve this is it is advantageous to write about what you have experienced so that your writing comes from the heart. If this is not possible because of the nature of the set task, adopt a believable persona and maintain his/her voice. This could mean using colloquial register and slang so that you convincingly capture the voice of the character.

  • Choose and control your use of a range of language features to engage and influence an audience. This means using techniques such as:

  • A variety of sentence beginnings and sentence lengths. You could use short, simple sentences and fractured sentences to create tension or long, complex sentences to slow the action down. Ellipsis (…) is a dramatic way of leaving something not said or hinting that what will happen is too difficult to describe.

  • Vary paragraph lengths – don’t be afraid to use a single sentence paragraph to make a dramatic statement.

  • Poetic devices such as: similes, metaphors, personification, alliteration, assonance, sibilants and onomatopoeia. There are many others. Tim Winton in The Turning cleverly uses very ordinary similes to make us smile and visualize what he is describing or what the character is feeling. E.g. “Reeds bristled like Venetian blinds in the breeze.”

  • Contrast: juxtaposition can be very effective. E.g. You could start by describing the beauty of a place, stressing its quietness and tranquility and in the next paragraph have a bomb drop.

  • Imagery: paint a picture for your reader – add colour, sound and smells. Tim Winton does this well: “From the water’s edge you couldn’t even see our street. I found eggs in the reeds, skinks in the fallen log, a bluetongue lizard jawing up at me with its hard scales shining amidst the sighing wild oats. I sat in the hot shade of a melaleuca in a daze.”

  • You are most convincing when you write about what you have experienced. So ground your imaginative writing in things you know.

  • It is a writing task so the structure and construction of the text do matter: paragraphing, varied sentence structure, punctuation, word choice, and the opening paragraph and the concluding paragraph.

Teaching of the Area of Study Integrated Response
Section III: Extended Response
In Section III of Paper 1 of the HSC examination you are required to compose an integrated response - linking and considering the ideas and concepts of texts and arriving at a better understanding of the concept of ‘Belonging’. The key ideas you should demonstrate understanding of are:

  • how the concept of belonging is conveyed through the representations of people, relationships, ideas, places, events, and societies in your prescribed text and texts of own choosing

  • the assumptions underlying the representations of the concept of ‘Belonging’

  • how the composer’s choice of language modes, forms, features and structures shapes and is shaped by a sense of ‘Belonging’

  • your own experiences of belonging, in a variety of contexts

  • the ways in which you perceive the world through texts

  • the ways in which exploring the concept and significance of ‘Belonging’ may broaden and deepen your understanding of yourself and your world.

Thesis or Line of Argument
To compose an effective integrated response, you must be able to develop a strong thesis or line or argument. This has been reinforced in the Notes from the Marking Centre:
Highly developed responses demonstrated an ability to engage with the question, enabling students to apply their knowledge and exhibit engagement with their texts and the textual features. Stronger candidates often answered conceptually and/or metaphorically rather than literally… High-range responses used key terms particular to their focus area to create their own thesis, and displayed an ability to evaluate and analyse. Highly developed responses reflected a personal engagement with the question and a flair for the craft of writing.
Better responses reflected a high degree of fluency and control of language, making perceptive links between their texts’ (NSW BOS, 2007, p. 6).
A thesis or line of argument should reflect your perspective and understanding of what you have been studying in relation to ‘Belonging’. It should be used to shape and direct your integrated response and should be supported and/or challenged by your prescribed text/s and texts of own choosing.
The Prescription’s rubric requires you to:

Consider aspects of belonging in terms of experiences and notions of identity, relationships, acceptance and understanding.

You could use these notions to begin developing your theses or lines of argument.
Exercise 1: Developing and Sustaining a Thesis
Select one of the lines of argument and create a mind map that includes a number of points or ideas that further the thesis.
Examples of Theses or Lines of Arguments

  • Our life experiences teach us that when you stop trying to belong you realise that you have always belonged.

  • We search for a place to belong, not realising that it is our perceptions and attitudes and not the place that allow us to belong.

Notions of Identity:

  • When your cultural identity is marginalised you can feel dislocated and displaced, and believe that you do not belong to your culture or the dominant culture.

  • Our search for who we are is fuelled by a need to find a place in the world where we belong.


  • The need to belong to a group or a community shapes our behaviour, attitudes and actions.

  • An individual has the potential to damage relationships and ensure that others do not belong.

  • When humanity experiences a strong (spiritual) connection to a place the notion of belonging is strengthened and enriched.

  • When our relationship with a place is shaped by a narrow and biased view of the world, our notion of Belonging can be questionable.


  • The basic human need to be accepted and belong can cloud our judgments and direct our actions.

‘No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee’ John Donne.


  • When we begin to understand the forces that drive us to belong we develop empathy for others and personal insight.

Example of a Thesis Linked to Texts
When your cultural identity is marginalised you can feel dislocated and displaced, and believe that you do not belong to your culture or the dominant culture.
Prescribed Text: Namesake: A migrant in a new land can be isolated by language, culture and the absence of friends and family.

‘It bothered me growing up, the feeling that there was no single place to which I fully belonged.’ Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Namesake

Text of Own Choosing: ‘Took the Children Away’: Many indigenous people are caught between two worlds: the world of their ancestors and the world of the colonisers, and belong to neither. Singer and poet Archie Roach acknowledges this conflict, but he is a powerful advocate for the Aboriginal culture and the need to respect and embrace that culture.

As we grew up we felt alone

Cause we were acting white
Yet feeling black…

Text of Own Choosing: Yolngu Boy : The western culture is so powerful and pervasive that many young people reject their cultural identity believing that this is the only way that they can ever belong. Botj in Johnson’s film Yolngu Boy rejects his Yolngu culture believing that it is the old way; however, he loses his dignity, self-respect and eventually his life.

  • Respond immediately to the question or statement. You could agree or challenge it.

  • Develop a thesis or concept that relates to the question or statement and sustain this line of argument throughout the response.

  • Use your prescribed text/s and texts of own choosing to support or challenge your thesis or concept.

  • Give a brief overview of the composer’s context and the composer’s perception and representation of ‘Belonging’, values and attitude, and how this shapes the underlying assumptions. E.g. Texts represent choices not to belong, or barriers which prevent belonging. The Namesake’s representation of belonging is shaped by Lahiri’s experiences as a migrant. Lahiri states “it bothered me growing up, the feeling that there was no single place to which I fully belonged.” The barriers that she experienced are reflected in the novel by Ashimas’ sense of alienation. However, Ashima also builds her own barriers by her fear and rejection of a foreign culture and place.

  • Examine the relevant aspects of the texts in relation to ‘Belonging’.

  • Focus on how a text shapes meaning; therefore, discuss and compare HOW this is done in all of the texts. E.g. The Namesake explores the duality of belonging and alienation through polyphony. We are aware of how the characters feel through a strong sense of their voice and thoughts. Ashima’s frustration of not wanting to belong at first to this foreign place where she has left her family behind resonates through steam of consciousness and imagery. When Ashima is having her son Gogul, the symbol of time connects the alien world of the hospital with her home in Calcutta, ‘American seconds tick on top of her pulse point.’

  • Demonstrate an understanding of how you are positioned by texts.

  • Select the texts of your own choosing that you are enthusiastic about.

Resources for Section III
Suggested Scaffold for an Integrated Response

  • The question must drive and shape your response.

  • Your thesis or line of argument must be developed and sustained.

  • Integrate your discussion of the ideas and the textual features and details of your texts using your thesis to shape the analysis.

  • Select texts of own choosing that connect and contrast with how the concept of ‘Belonging’ has been explored and represented.

  • Your personal response to how ‘Belonging’ is represented and how your way of thinking has been challenged is valued!

It is always best to allow the question or the statement provided to shape your response; however a scaffold has been included if you need the support. You do not have to start with your prescribed text, but remember if you are pushed for time this text must be dealt with in your response.

Paragraph 1: Immediately address the question or statement and introduce your thesis or line of argument that challenges or supports it. You could introduce an insightful quote that encapsulates your thesis or concept.

Hint: Using a concept that is supported and challenged by your prescribed, stimulus and/or texts of own choosing demonstrates a thoughtful consideration of the Journey and the concepts.
Paragraph 2: Connect to the question or statement through your prescribed text by discussing whether the text supports or challenges the question or statement, and your thesis that arises from the question. Briefly discuss the composer’s context and times, and his or her perspectives, and how these influence the text’s representation of ‘Belonging’ and the underlying assumptions of the text about ‘Belonging’.
Paragraphs 3 - 5: Use the question or statement and your associated thesis or line of argument to discuss those aspects of the text that are relevant. Integrate an analysis of the textual features and details that convey ‘Belonging’. Use quotes from the text, but don’t use lengthy quotes that are not explained or linked to your discussion. Make connections with one or more of the other texts.
Paragraph 6: Link the discussion of your prescribed text with your next text – it could be the stimulus text. State if the text challenges or supports the question or statement or how this text further illustrates your thesis. Describe the context and times of the text, and the composer’s perspective and their relevance to the text.
Paragraphs 7 - 9: Now use the question or statement to discuss those aspects of the text that are relevant. As you discuss the text integrate an analysis of the textual features and details that convey ‘Belonging’. Use quotes from the text, but don’t use lengthy quotes that are not explained or linked to your discussion. Make connections with one or more of the other texts.
Paragraph 10: Link the discussion of your next text – could be text of own choosing the stimulus text and your prescribed text. State if the text challenges or supports the question or statement or how this text further illustrates your thesis. Describe the context and times of the text, and the composer’s perspective and their relevance to the text.
Paragraphs 11 – 13: Now use the question or statement to discuss those aspects of the text that are relevant. Use quotes and integrate your discussion of the textual features and details. Make connections with the prescribed text and/or the previous text.
Paragraph 14: Conclude by returning to your concept or thesis and what you have discovered. You must link back to the question or statement.

  • Lengthy quotations are not necessary; the integrated brief quote used to explain or support a point or a concept is desirable.

  • The prepared response is dangerous. If you prepare a generic response to the Area of Study, you must be flexible and know how to manipulate and transform the response.

  • The Area of Study is concept driven so you must understand the concepts clearly and be able to create a range of your own related concepts or lines of argument.

Suggested Texts of Own Choosing

Australian Rules

A Beautiful Mind

Band of Brothers

Bend it Like Beckham

Beneath Clouds

Bride and Prejudice

Children of Men

Cruel Intentions



Howl’s Moving Castle

Little Miss Sunshine

Miss Potter

Monsoon Wedding

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

One Night the Moon

River Queen


Spirited Away

The Dark Knight

The Devil Wears Prada

The Kite Runner

The Lives of Others

The Mighty

The Pursuit of Happyness

The Talented Mr Ripley

Yolngu Boy


Whale Rider
Television Shows

Big Brother

Ugly Betty


The Time We Have Takes – Steven Carroll

A Far Country – Daniel Mason

A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khalid Hosseini

Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger

Daughter of the Wind - Suzanne Fisher Staples

Divisidero – Michael Ondaatje

Feral Kid – Libby Hathorne

Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad (‘We live as we dream – alone’, Conrad)

Inheritance – Lan Samantha Chang

Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck

Ten things I hate about me - Jamilah Towfeek

That Eye the Sky – Tim Winton

The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith - Thomas Keneally

The Child in Time – Ian McEwan

The Kite Runner – Khalid Hosseini

The Other Side of Truth – Beverley Naidoo

The Riders – Tim Winton

The Secret River – Kate Grenville

The Story of Tom Brennan – J.C. Burke

The Unknown Terrorist – Richard Flanaghan

Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe

Under the Persimmon Tree – Suzanne Fisher Staples

Wild Cat Falling – Colin Johnson
Graphic Novels

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

Romeo and Juliet - Sonia Leong

American Born Chinese - Gene Luen Yang

We Are On Our Own - Miriam Katin

Palestine - Joe Sacco

The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

Tales from Outer Suburbia - Shaun Tan
Picture Books

Belonging – Jeannie Baker (See interview,

Way Home – Libby Hathorne

The Arrival, The Lost Thing, Stories from Outer Suburbia – Shaun Tan

You And Me: Our Place - Leonie Norrington
Short Stories - Stories on the theme of belonging

Black Juice: ‘Singing My Sister Down’ – Margo Lanaghan

Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth – Jhumpa Lahiri

‘The Dead’ – James Joyce (

The Fig Tree – Arnold Zable

The Turning – Tim Winton


Romeo and Juliet
Taming of the Shrew

The Tempest

No Sugar – Jack Davies

Waiting for Godot - Beckett
Poetry & Songs

By the River - Herrick

‘Masque’ – Deb Westbury

‘Mending Wall’ – Robert Frost

‘My Artist Son’, ‘Municipal Gum’ & ‘We are Going’ – Oodjeroo Noonuccal

‘My Beautiful Child’ & ‘Took the Children Away’ – Archie Roach

‘My Island Home’ – Christine Anu

‘The Wasteland’ - T.S. Eliot (

‘William Street’ – Kenneth Slessor

‘Journey: The North Coast’, ‘Landscape’, ‘The Meatworks’, ‘North Coast Town’, ‘Flames and Dangling Wire’, ‘Poem to My Father’, ‘Dipytch’, ‘Memories of the Coast’, ‘Under the Summer Leaves’ – Robert Gray

Chief Seattle,


Belonging, A Century Celebrated,

Belonging: Voices of London Refugees,

Voices Nearby – An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Writing - Grover. P (ed)

Australian Screen,

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