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Band 6 Journey Essay

Essay writing is the most important skill you need to develop in your HSC year. Success in HSC English will depend on your ability to write convincing, powerful essays that convey your understanding of both the Area of Study and Modules units. It’s understandably daunting to think that so much of your mark revolves around one skill but fortunately, with a bit of direction and structure, a Band 6 essay is achievable.

When marking an essay, teachers and HSC markers want to see that you’ve developed a complex and in-depth understanding of a text (or pair of texts, as the case may be) and in order to show them this, you need to express your ideas clearly. As such, nothing is more important than simplicity and structure!

The first is self-explanatory – if you misuse complex words because you think they’ll make your essay look more intelligent, you’re more likely to lose marks on account of their misuse. If you get a point across using straightforward language you’re guaranteeing that the marker will understand you and you’re more likely to get marks that way. If you are not confident about how to use a new word, it’s best to leave it out and replace with a word you are comfortable with.

Structure is another story altogether. A good essay is a circular (in that the conclusion always links back to the introduction), self-sustaining (in that all arguments put forward will be thoroughly explored in the essay) beast, one that gives the reader everything they need to know. In order to achieve this, you need to structure the following elements.

Introduction

The introduction is the first impression your reader will get, so it’s the most important part of an essay. You need to answer the question asked within the thesis statement then expand on your thesis in the introductory paragraph by introducing the texts, the themes within the texts and their relation to your Area of Study or particular Module. You also need to give an overview of the key techniques you will discuss later.

Example:

Question: How does the comparative study of two texts from different times deepen our understanding of what is constant in human nature?

Introduction (the thesis is bolded):

The comparison of Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel Frankenstein and Ridley Scott’s 1992 film Blade Runner  the Director’s Cut  facilitates the examination of transforming societal values and the human condition. An examination of the transition from early 19th century England when Romanticism was challenging aspects of the dominant Enlightenment discourse founded upon science and rationalism to late 20th century America, a period influenced by Reaganomics and rampant scientific development in cloning and technology, reveals a shift in societal values.

However, both texts explore similar aspects of humanity including humanity’s pursuit of  progress and power, questioning of the human identity and refusal to consider the morality of their actions, albeit in different paradigms. Thus, as texts are a reflection of their context and its values, it is evident that aspects of human nature remain constant irrespective of context.

If you would like more detailed information on how to write introductions, you should look at our essay writing series. Read the first post How to Write a Thesis Statement – a step-by-step guide and we’ll explain why a thesis statement is so important, and walk you through the process of creating them.

 

Body Paragraphs

Each body paragraph must deal with a particular theme or text, and must start with a topic sentence. A topic sentence, similar to a thesis statement, will tell the reader what you plan on discussing. From there, you must justify your statements with evidence. A basic tool you can use is the T.E.E. system – highlight a technique, identify an example and explain the effect – the effect will relate to your topic sentence, which in turn relates to your thesis! The conclusion of a body paragraph must sum up your argument for the paragraph and relate it to the thesis once again.

In terms of what should be in your body paragraphs, you should aim for analysis which is insightful and informed. It is not always easy to form an insightful opinion of a complicated text, so to get started, you will have to do some reading of critical analysis written by experts like academics, reviewers of plays or productions.

Example:

The T.E.E structure in practice has been indicated with the following colours:

Technique
Evidence 
Effect

In Frankenstein, Shelley explores the transgression of the natural order in the Romantic ideal by humanity’s ongoing pursuit for progress and knowledge, a consequence of the Enlightenment Era and the Industrial Revolution. Victor’s overreaching ambition to overcome the natural boundaries of mortality by taking God’s creator role is highlighted in the metaphor “Life and death appeared to me ideal bounds… I should break through“.Victor’s hubristic ambitions criticises aspects of Enlightenment rationalism which attempted to control natural processes, exemplified in Galvani’s experimentation with “animal electricity”.

If you would like to know more about writing topic sentences, you should read our posts on How to Write a Thematic Framework and How to Write a Topic Sentence to see learn how the introduction and topic sentences work together. In addition, our step-by-step guide will walk you through how to write a body paragraph.

 

Conclusion

A conclusion can often be both the easiest and most difficult part of an essay. You must never introduce new arguments or information in a conclusion, nor can you merely restate the introduction. A conclusion must draw on the fundamental idea that you have extracted from the question, and which you have based your entire essay on – in essence, you need something reflective and thought-provoking to leave with the reader.

Example: In the shift from 19th century England to Reaganite America, the foundation of power migrated from scientific knowledge to a greater focus on economics and capitalism. However, despite their differing contexts, both Frankenstein and Blade Runner  suggest that humanity’s pursuit of power and progress has resulted in a continuous foregoing of the moral and ethical concerns of their actions. Thus the comparison of these two texts reveals how these fundamental flaws are ingrained in human nature and that they will paradoxically remain constant even as society and its values inevitably shift.

For more detail on how to write a conclusion, read our step-by-step guide.

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A mate's essay, draft with comments from our teacher.

Journey

Every one embarks on a journey in daily life. The journey can be either physical or inner, however, both of these journeys interact with each other. The inner journey usually results from the physical journey. One starts out on an expected journey, but from that the unexpected journey occurs. A journey is exciting because no one can ever know what will happen within it.

Allan Baillie’s novel China Coin, Wayne Wang’s production “Joy Luck Club” and the article “Lee Fong’s story” by Dave Blot are bound by a common thread, where all characters undergo an “inner journey” that changes their perspectives, attitudes, sense of identities and ultimately their lives (good!). Baillie’s character Leah and Amy Tan’s June both participate in a physical quest to find their families which ultimately leads to self discovery and acceptance of their own identities.(good) Lee Fong visits her family in Hong Kong, a trip that ultimately causes her to confuse her identity.

The inner journey is related to the physical journey (in these texts or in general?), which is an emotional or interior change based on the person’s own experiences. Allan Baillie’s novel China Coin is a story about a girl who is forced to go on a quest for an ancient coin in China and as a result must figure out her own identity. Leah,-the main character of China Coin, has delusions that “she is sold into a slavery in the lost mountain in China” by “an evil Aunt” during the plane ride to China. after she arrives in China she “believe she was still at home”?????. As the story keeps moving forward, the more Leah experiences and finds out during her quest, the closer she reaches into her inner journey which becomes the acceptance of her Chinese identity.

In Wayne Wang’s production “Joy Luck Club” the main character June goes back to China to meet her lost sisters, which is the last wish of her dead mother; she can now try and be “the best hope of her mother”. The more she understands her mother the more changes occur in her heart. Afterwards she finds out she is the same type person as her mother, that she ”does not require the best quality things but has the best quality heart” (excellent). After she met her sisters in China, she reaches the final destination, which is she finds out the Chinese voice in her heart and better understands her mother (very good!).

In contrast, “Lee Fong’s story” is about a Chinese girl who has lived in the US for six years and visits her family in Hong Kong which is “a difficult period of my life”. After Lee Fong is back in Hong Kong, her family treats her as “an outsider, a stranger in my own country” who has”forgotten your Chinese way” (good use of quotes). After she goes back to America, she also does not “feel like American” and her “accent, name and oriental features mark her as a foreigner”. She “now feels homeless” and is clearly suffering the effects of anomie.

There are many different language features used in both of the texts. In China Coin Allan Baillie keeps changing the context to show the journey moves on(good), and all the events are( arranged as the experiences of Leah??). From Guangzhou to Shanghai then Sichuan, during the trip, the first time she met her Chinese family, Leah gettinglost, Joan’s accident… all these events leads Leah to mature, accepting her own Chinese identity and even more it is the driving force to push Leah to go to the destination (what does this mean??) of her journey. The story took place in 1989, during the student riots in Tiananmen Square. This setting is based on the historical fact which makes the story more realistic and attracts the audience’s interest. The characters in the novel have important roles, they help to change Leah’s perspective, and support her quest such as, Ah Key who introduces the political knowledge about China to Leah and suggests a romantic connection with her. He helps to change the Leah’s and encourages her to love China and accept her own identity. (quotes? How the composer achieved this??)

In the movie “Joy Luck Club”, Wayne Wang sets the story in a farewell party and uses the technique of flashback for the mothers and daughters to enter into their journeys. This technique is very useful; it illustrates the physical journey of the mothers from China to the US and the physical growth of their daughters. However because it is a flashback, therefore it is the individual experience of every character, which also becomes their inner journeys. In his movie, the composer combines the physical and inner journeys together; this technique leads the relationship between physical journey and inner journey closer and closer. (some examples? Otherwise, hard to know what you mean) Both of the composers use an unseen third person to narrate the book. This technique links the different events together and (reduces the pause between different events really? How??). This technique has another important role which is to help the readers get into the characters inner journey. without the third person narrative, the audience would have difficulty understanding what the characters actually think and it would slow/hinder the communication between the text and the responders (good).

The author of “Lee Fong’s Story” uses emotional language such as”shock”, “I feel homeless” and “the confusion and hurt I soon began to feel in my parents’ home”. This technique fully expresses the real feeling of the character and encourages the audience to feel compassion and sympathy (good). The author also uses direct quotes from the characters such as the conversation between Lee Fong and her mother. This adds to the realism and authenticity of the article and it also allows the readers to visualise the dialogue between Lee Fong and her mum good. Additionally, all three texts use inner monologue and analogical (??), which means the composers compose the thoughts of the characters and break down the events and attempt to explain the situation to ensure the story makes sense. Both techniques help the audience to understand the texts and allow them to follow the story line and keep moving forward.

There are many obstacles occurring in both texts. It the beginning Leah and June have negative attitudes about going to China, and a bad relationship with their mothers. For Instance, in the beginning Leah said to an air hostess “can’t you see (the others of me??) apart from my hair” she is angry about other people thinking she is Chinese (good quote). And even before she boarded the plane she even thinks China is a “backwards country, they eat raw meat.” (good) In “Joy Luck Club” June has a terrible relation with her mother because she can feel all the hopes from her mother, however she can not reach what she thinks her mum has expected of her since she was still a child. From the perspective of her mother it is a way of taking care of her child, however from June’s perspective all the hopes are a source of pressure, she feels sorry that she has disappointed her mother. After her mother died, the night before she goes back to China the conversation between her father and her ”you are the pride of your mother… you are the same type person as your mum.” The conversation what??? Finish the sentence, explain what this interchange means After that, June was able to identify with her mother and the obstacles between them have disappeared. In “Lee Fong’s Story” Lee Fong is eager to go back to visit her family in Hong Kong, but because she behaves as an “American women” at her “parent’s home”, a conflict appears within the family. The mother complains her daughter has “forgotten her Chinese ways”, Lee Fong forgets the “the place of a women in a Chinese home” , she ”talks when she should remain silent” and “speaks openly of her inner feelings and desires” (good). Rather than solve the obstacle Lee Fong chose to escape from it, she “cuts the visit short”. This is an unexpected journey of Lee Fong, and it makes her t feel “confusion and hurt”. What does this unexpected turn lead to?? Lee Fong returns ‘home’ only to find that she is not truly Chinese and not truly American. In other words, finish up your ideas, Tony and show cause and effects.

All three texts have successfully built up an inner journey based on the physical journey and each fully conveys the excitement of the unexpected journeys that resulted from the original adventures. Although not all the journeys have a happy ending, people are still willing to go on the journey as the journey is the experience of our lives, no one should try and escape from his/her life experience.

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