22 November 2007

10ENG Exam #6: Merchant of Venice

This is the 6th and final exam-prep installment -- make sure you check them all!

All the best for the exam! Use these posts to help you practice well over the weekend and you will be well prepared. If you're confident and apply your skills effectively, there's no reason why you can't perform well!


Mr Davis

Picture courtesy of Jeremy

Merchant of Venice

Use the four options from your essay tasksheet

The best thing you can do to familiarise yourself with the play is to use the study notes from your textbook edition (pages v - xxxi and 93 - 104).

Act 1 Scene 1
Antonio the merchant is sad (apparently because his friendship with Bassanio is changing). His dear friend Bassanio is a carefree and extravagant young man who has bankrupted himself. Bassanio has aplan, however: by spending more money, he thinks he will regain everything. His plan is to marry the wealthy heiress Portia. Antonio will lend Bassanio the money to make the trip, however Antonio currently has a cash flow problem and must borrow more.

Act 1 Scene 2
In Belmont, Nerissa tries to cheer up Portia, who is unhappy about all the men attempting to marry her. To do so, they must solve a riddle set by her father.

Act 1 Scene 3
Bassanio is seeking a money-lender to lend 3000 ducats to Antonio. The Jewish money-lender Shylock is very cautious and doesn't want to risk his money. Shylock hates Antonio, who has insulted him in the past, and Antonio has similar feelings towards Shylock. Antonio convinces Shylock to lend the money because Antonio is his enemy and, if he breaks the agreement, Shylock will be able to have revenge. Almost as a joke, Shylock suggests that if Antonio breaks the bond, he will give up 'an equal pound of his fair flesh'. Antonio accepts the agreement.

Act 2 Scene 1
The men who fail Portia's test will be unable to ever marry. In Belmont, the Prince of Morocco attempts to pass the test.

Act 2 Scene 2
Comedy scene between Launcelot Gobbo, his father and Bassanio, who is planning a party.

Act 2 Scene 3
Jessica, Shylock's daughter, wants to run away from her father to be with her lover, Lorenzo.

Act 2 Scene 4
Lorenzo plans to help Jessica escape by disguising her as a page boy at Bassanio's party.

Act 2 Scene 5
At the party, Shylock wishes that Bassanio's financial position would become endangered.

Act 2 Scene 6
Jessica escapes with Lorenzo.

Act 2 Scene 7
The Prince of Morocco approaches the three caskets of Portia's riddle, lead, silver and gold. He opens the gold one, failing the test ("what many men desire" turns out to be "death").

Act 2 Scene 8
Shylock is upset: Jessica has run away and taken some of his money. Salerio and Solanio hear that a merchant ship has been sunk, possibly Antonio's.

Act 2 Scene 9
The Prince of Arragon fails the test to marry Portia, opening the silver casket ("as much as he deserves" is nothing because he is a fool).

Act 3 Scene 1
Shylock protests against all the wrongdoing that has been done against him because he is a Jew. However, he wants revenge if he can get it. He is happy that Antonio's ship may have been sunk for this reason.

Act 3 Scene 2
Portia and Bassanio are fond of each other. Bassanio takes the marriage test and passes, opening the lead casket. They will be married; as a sign, Portia gives Bassanio a ring. Gratiano and Nerissa announce that they too will be married. The happy feelings are destroyed when it is revealed that Antonio's ship has been sunk and Shylock will happily take revenge.

Act 3 Scene 3
Antonio has been arrested and Shylock refuses to give him mercy.

Act 3 Scene 4
Portia and Nerissa plan some disguises.

Act 3 Scene 5
A short comedy scene featuring Launcelot.

Act 4 Scene 1
The trial. Shylock will not show mercy despite the Duke's request. Bassanio offers Shylock twice the 3000 ducats, which Shylock refuses. Portia appears in disguise in place of a famous lawyer. Shylock refuses her plea for mercy. Portia awards Shylock his pound of flesh and Shylock prepares to cut Antonio. Portia interrupts him to explain that he must take only flesh but must not spill blood. The hot-headed Gratiano is triumphant that Shylock has been foiled. Shylock tries to accept the money but Portia explains that he must take justice. When Shylock tries to leave, Portia explains another law against planning a murder. Shylock will lose all his possessions. Antonio says he will take only half (the rest being left as an inheritance for Lorenzo) and asks that Shylock convert to Christianity. Shylock is left crushed and destitute. In disguise, Portia asks for Bassanio's engagement ring, which he gives to her.

Act 4 Scene 2
Nerissa plots to take Gratiano's ring.

Act 5 Scene 1
The three young couples are reunited. Portia and Nerissa berate Bassanio and Gratiano for losing their rings before revealing their trick. They leave Antonio.

10ENG Exam #5: Burning Eddy

If there's anything you're not sure about from Burning Eddy, I suggest re-reading parts of it. The main themes of Burning Eddy that we studied are:
  • Animals

  • Life Experience

  • Work

  • Friends

  • Family

  • Death

If you want to explore these further, you can download Scot Gardner's study notes here (1.4MB PDF from http://www.scotgardner.com/).


1. Using examples, discuss three themes dealt with in Scot Gardner’s novel Burning Eddy.

2. Discuss the role of animals in relation to the characters, events and themes of Burning Eddy.

3. Discuss how three significant events in Burning Eddy reflect the novel as a whole.


1. Spider
Background to Dan Fairbrother's family. Spider medicine = "the courage not to be paralysed in frightening situations" (p6).

2. Snake
Dan loves snakes and marvels at the dance of 'Cain & Abel'. Toby shares Dan's love for snakes. Graham & Tina hate them and always shoot them. The snakes' shedding of their skin represents the cycle of death and rebirth (p11) -- an important underlying theme of the novel.

3. Yellow Robin
Dan meets Eddy, a strange farting old woman with a strong Dutch accent. She pays Dan $40 for cleaning her garden.

4. Wombat
Dan's father, Steven, is always grumpy from his work. Dan sees some wombats crashing into the house. Wombat medicine = be hard-headed (p27).

5. Scorpion
Dan sees Eddy half-naked; she tells him, "My body has been with me for so long that I sometimes forget that I'm wearing it". 2 scorpions: a real one and the Mitsubishi car. Scorpion medicine = "keep a sting in your tail" (p35).

6. Panther
Dan goes to the Ammets Creek shack to spy on Michael Fisher (Fish) and his friends. They see him and beat him up. The 'panther' turns out to be a cow. Dan feels crushed and hopeless.

7. Fox
A fox breaks into the chicken coop and kills all the chicks but one. Dan sees the fox as "a person stuck in a dog's body" with a wise look: "Eddy's eyes". Fox medicine = speed and cunning (p50).

8. Cat
Dan tells Eddy his life story. Eddy tells Dan about her spiritual experiences.

9. Possum
Dan is cleaning the Mayor's yard and burning off. Fish and his father arrive in the fire truck and squirt the fleeing possum and then Dan, leaving him feeling hopeless again. He has a horse ride with Chantelle.

10. Wallaby
Dan buys the Mitsubishi Scorpion. A fire is started in the neighbourhood. As Tina and Dan are driving, they hit and kill a wallaby.

11. Pig
Steven Fairbrother is arrested. Dan spends time with Eddy's friend Luke and his pig, Black Peter. Because pig poo becomes fertiliser, pig medicine = "turn everything into a resource". Kat is happy. Dan unlocks everything.

12. Echidna
Eddy tells Dan more stories about the mysterious experiences of her past, including traumas: after being raped by an American soldier in WW2, she tried to kill herself. Like an echidna, Steven Fairbrother always buries his head in the sand. Finding everything unlocked, he beats up Dan.

13. Lizard
At Graham and Tina’s, the Fairbrothers escape the bushfire which, they discover, was lit by Fish’s father. Dan finds a goat drowned in a dam and the traumatic memory of his drowned friend Chris surges to life.

14. Owl
Early in the morning, an owl visits Dan’s windowsill. He believes it’s a sign that Eddy has died.

15. Frog
Dan frantically drives to Eddy’s place where she tells him that “sometimes an owl is just an owl”. Dan realises that his friendship for Eddy is not just “like” but love. The frog on the window just shows that it’s raining.

16. Fish
Dan returns Fish’s pocket knife to him and they strike up a friendship. They visit their fathers in jail. Dan’s father tells him that he was arrested for stealing a truck. The police have also discovered that long ago, he murdered someone -- the babysitter who sexually abused him. Dan burns his porn mags and forgives his father.

17. Fairy
Dan tells Chantelle he loves her and asks her out.

18. Magpie
Later, in August, Eddy dies. Dan feels both happy and sad. At the funeral, Luke is choked by grief but Dan is moved to make a speech about Eddy’s inner beauty, the fullness of her life and how much she has taught him. Dan sleeps over at Chantelle’s place but “when you really love someone, sometimes just being with them is enough. You don’t have to do anything” (p209).

19. Eagle
Chatelle, Luke and Dan scatter Eddy’s ashes and reflect on the “web of life”.

10ENG Exam #4: Essay stuff

Remember to plan and clearly structure your ESSAY as a whole:
  • Introduction
  • Paragraph one (point one)
  • Paragraph two (point two)
  • Paragraph three (point three)
  • Conclusion
Remember to clearly structure each PARAGRAPH:
  • Topic sentence (STATE your point)
  • Body sentences (DISCUSS your supporting evidence, examples, quotes, etc.)
  • Concluding sentence (SUM UP your point)
Example paragraph

One of the most prominent themes in "Burning Eddy" is family. Throughout, the novel closely follows the relationships within the Fairbrother family from Dan's perspective. We see the innocence and lively curiosity of Dan's younger brother Toby alongside the awkwardness of his older sister Kat. Dan's intensely private father, Steve, keeps secrets from the rest of the family, shown through his obsession with locking everything. Eventually it is revealed that he was sexually abused when he was younger. We also see the struggle of Dan's mother to cope with and understand Steve, especially when he is arrested. "Burning Eddy" follows the ups and downs of the Fairbrother family and allows us to identify and empathise with their situation. Family is clearly a significant theme in the novel.


- Aim for 5-7 short sentences in each paragraph. (This should enable you to reach the 400-word minimum.)

- Plan to include AT LEAST TWO quotes in each text essay, and more in the poetry essay.

10ENG Exam #3: Poetry essay (2)


Remember that poetry is about emotions and feelings: poetry brings feelings, experiences and environments vividly to life.

In your poetry essay, make sure you refer to the authors' names and the titles of the poems.

Remember to COMPARE poems as required by the topic. If possible, choose comparisons where you can clearly demonstrate CONTRASTS, e.g. poems 2 & 4.

Poetic techniques are never random or accidental: the writer has used them as TOOLS to achieve a special PURPOSE. In you essay, you must explain THE EFFECT of the poetic techniques you are discussing, not simply point them out. If you are not sure what effect a technique achieves, read and 'feel' the poem in your head, be imaginative and take a guess.

"Discuss how poetry can be used to portray one topic in two completely different ways."

(Introduction and paragraph one)
Poetry is used to bring feelings and experiences vividly to life through specially chosen techniques which act as tools for the writer's purposes. Through these techniques, poets can portray one topic in starkly contrasting ways. This essay will focus on two poems by Judith Wright and Ruth Pitter and the contrasting use of the techniques of metaphor, imagery and simile.

Firstly, the use of the technique of metaphor shows how differently two poets can depict the same topic. For example, Judith Wright's snake is "black horror", a metaphor that vividly portrays the snake as the source of all evil and loathing. This "killer" is something to be feared and the writer goes on describe her frenzied efforts to kill the snake. However, Ruth Pitter's snake is depicted very differently. This snake is a thing of wonder, a "fallen angel" with a beautiful "embroidered dress". The writer uses these metaphors to show the snake not as something evil but something lovely, leaving her staring in wonder after it has slipped away. Wright and Pitter have both portrayed the same topic in two very different ways through their use of metaphor.

  • The introduction has begun with a statements about poetry and techniques
  • In paragraph one, the topic sentence and concluding sentence both refer directly back to the topic (different portrayals of a topic).
  • The important key words have been used strategically throughout paragraph one, e.g. "technique", "metaphor", "portray", "depict", "differently"

24 October 2007

10ENG Exam #2: Poetry essay (1)

Part 1 of 2

The 4 main techniques you must understand and be able to apply (see "Task 1") are:
  • Alliteration: e.g., 'She sheathed her tongue and shining stole away''
  • Metaphor, e.g., 'O slender vial filled with poisoned wine!'
  • Simile, e.g., 'Fluid as molten glass', 'In amber pools like tea'
  • Imagery, e.g., summer 'lapped me warm in its waves'
Here's a run-down of all the poems.

1. 'A Snake Yarn' by WT Goodge
THEMES :: Yarn (e.g., tit
le) = humorous; being able to laugh at a supposed source of fear (e.g., 'It was a log!')
TECHNIQUES :: Simile; rhyme

2. 'The Killer' by Judith Wright
Fear, horror, loathing (e.g., title; 'Black horror sprang from the dark in a violent birth'); fight for life; violence
TECHNIQUES :: Simile; metaphor; imagery

3. 'The Brown Snake' by Douglas Stewart

THEMES :: Nature in the Australian bush; drowsiness broken by fright (e.g., 'Rearing with lightning's tongue'); the danger of the bush (e.g., 'The earth itself ... reached out to strike')
TECHNIQUES :: Simile; metaphor; imagery; alliteration

4. 'The Viper' by Ruth Pitter
THEMES :: Beauty (e.g., 'Fair was the embroidered dress'); wonder (Although cautious)
TECHNIQUES :: Metaphor; imagery; alliteration

5. 'Snake' by Ian Mudie
The snake's perspective; irony ('So keep away from the long grass, it's dangerous there')
TECHNIQUES :: Metaphor

6: 'The Snake' by Vance Palmer
THEMES :: Awe; fear; wonder and horror mixed
TECHNIQUES :: Simile; metaphor; imagery; alliteration