) Comment upon Tim Winton’s construction of fictive feminine selves in Breath. How effective or believable is this rendering of female characters?

ENGL 1026: CONSTRUCTING THE FICTIVE SELF
TAKE-HOME EXERCISE 2015

VALUE: 40 % of total marks for the unit
LENGTH: 2000 Words in total. You must answer TWO questions, ONE FROM PART ONE, ONE FROM PART TWO. The answers should be of roughly EQUAL LENGTH (1000 words each) and are of EQUAL VALUE. Please include a word count at the end of each answer.

SUBMIT YOUR ANSWER via the ASSESSMENT DROPBOXES ON THE BLACKBOARD SITE BY 11.59 PM ON FRIDAY JUNE 26. Your paper will be marked by a tutor other than your own tutor to guard against any perceived bias. Because this exercise is the equivalent of an exam, if you submit it after 11.59 PM ON FRIDAY JUNE 26 your paper will be treated as a FAIL. YOU CAN ONLY SUBMIT THE EXERCISE LATE IF YOU HAVE DOCUMENTED MEDICAL PROOF OF ILLNESS OR DOCUMENTED PROOF OF SUBSTANTIAL MISADVENTURE.

THERE ARE NO ‘SIMPLE EXTENSIONS’ WITH THIS TASK.
INSTRUCTIONS:
You are asked to write on THREE TEXTS in TOTAL for this exercise, ONE TEXT IN PART ONE, and TWO in PART TWO. THE TEXTS YOU CAN WRITE ON ARE BREATH, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, HANDBAG, FISH TANK and TO THE LIGHTHOUSE. MATERIAL ON EARLIER TEXTS FROM THIS UNIT OR FROM TEXTS OUTSIDE THIS UNIT WILL BE DISGREGARDED.

YOU MUST NOT WRITE ON A TEXT YOU DISCUSSED IN PART ONE WHEN YOU ANSWER THE COMPARATIVE QUESTION IN PART TWO. IF YOU DO SO, THE REUSED TEXT IN THE SECOND ANSWER WILL BE DISREGARDED. GIVE BOTH TEXTS IN PART TWO APPROXIMATELY EQUAL SPACE. IF YOU CONCENTRATE ON ONE TEXT TO THE NEGLECT OF THE OTHER YOU WILL LOSE MARKS.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST AND HANDBAG ARE UNDERSTOOD AS DISTINCT TEXTS. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO HAVE TO COMPARE THEM IN PART TWO, AND CAN USE EITHER TEXT ON ITS OWN IN PART ONE. YOU CAN COMPARE EITHER OF THEM WITH ANOTHER TEXT IN PART TWO.

AS WOULD BE THE CASE IN A SIT-DOWN EXAM, YOU ARE NOT TO USE SECONDARY SOURCES FOR THIS EXERCISE. WE WANT TO READ YOUR IDEAS. YOU CAN USE PAGE NUMBERS IF YOU REFERENCE THE NOVELS OR THE PLAYS, OR TIMES IF YOU LOOK AT FISH TANK.
PART ONE
1) How important is mateship and male-bonding in the construction of Pike’s identity? Are these relationships between men positive or detrimental in Breath?

2) Comment upon Tim Winton’s construction of fictive feminine selves in Breath. How effective or believable is this rendering of female characters?

3) How is the construction of the fictive self in Breath a metaphor for a larger Australian identity?

4) How, and to what effect, does Wilde remind his audiences that the characters in The Importance of Being Earnest are “fictive selves”?

5) What part does the idea of discovered secrets play in Wilde’s treatment of identity in The Importance of Being Earnest?

6) Why is lying so important to Wilde and how is this demonstrated in The Importance of Being Earnest?

7) Explore Ravenhill’s examination of parenting in Handbag in terms of identity.

8) How do Ravenhill’s depictions of sex and/or violence in Handbag contribute to his investigation of selfhood and identity in that play?

9) Ravenhill’s plays are often concerned with the negative impact of consumerism on people’s lives and identities. How is this concern addressed in Handbag?

10) How does the director’s use of cinematic techniques influence the way Mia’s identity is conveyed in Fish Tank?

11) How important is performance (particularly, though not necessarily exclusively, through dance) to the identity of one or more characters in Fish Tank?

12) Discuss how the seemingly open-ended and free-flowing narrative in Fish Tank, where events appear to take place randomly or without a traditional narrative structure, affect our interpretations of one or more characters. (You need not agree that the narrative is open-ended and free-flowing.)

13) “Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.” (Virginia Woolf, “Modern Fiction”)
Discuss how narrative technique represents different modes of thinking and perception in To the Lighthouse. You should consider two characters from the novel.

14) Discuss how time and space are represented and managed in To the Lighthouse. How does this representation influence specific themes of self-actualisation in any one character or the perceptions of others on that character?

15) Discuss the significance of various roles of reading in To the Lighthouse and how these shape concepts of selfhood: these might include the reading and reciting of poetry, of the weather, and/or of characters’ moods and thoughts by each other.

PART TWO
IN THIS PART YOU ARE ASKED TO COMPARE TWO TEXTS OTHER THAN THE ONE YOU LOOKED AT IN PART ONE. GIVE BOTH TEXTS IN THIS PART APPROXIMATELY EQUAL SPACE. IF YOU CONCENTRATE ON ONE TEXT TO THE NEGLECT OF THE OTHER YOU WILL LOSE MARKS. THE TEXTS YOU CAN WRITE ON IN THIS PART ARE BREATH, THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST, HANDBAG, FISH TANK and TO THE LIGHTHOUSE. MATERIAL ON EARLIER TEXTS FROM THIS UNIT OR FROM TEXTS OUTSIDE THIS UNIT WILL BE DISGREGARDED.
16) By comparing characters in two texts from the list above, consider the extent to which identity is dependent on the perception of others.

17) Compare the significance of sexuality to the identity of characters in two texts from the list above.

18) Using two different mediums (choose one novel and one play, or one novel and Fish Tank, or one play and Fish Tank) consider the effect those mediums have on the portrayal of characters in two texts from the list above.

19) Compare the importance of class to the identity of characters in two texts from the list above.

20) By comparing characters in two texts from the list above, consider the idea that identity is performed rather than innate.

21) Compare the significance of gender to the identity of characters in two texts from the list above.

22) Compare the importance of the social environment to the construction of characters in two texts from the list above.

23) Compare the importance of lived experience to contemplation in the identity of characters in two texts from the list above.

24) Compare the importance of age to the identity of characters in two texts from the list above.

25) Do characters in two texts from the list construct their own identities, or do forces beyond them have the determining impact? If the latter, what are those forces? (The need not be the same forces).

26) Using two different mediums (choose one novel and one play, or one novel and Fish Tank, or one play and Fish Tank) compare how those mediums allow and/or restrict the exploration of identity in their respective characters.

 

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