It is time to practice and improve your essay skills by having a go at this list of essay questions compiled by Save My HSC especially for you. All of these questions reflect the sort of questions you will have to answer in section three of Paper One. It is highly unlikely they will ask you to write an interview trasncript or a feature article, but these text types are assessable so have a look at the practice questions and get familiar with the conventions of each of these text types. If you are having trouble, feel free to comment this post and Save My HSC will try our best to point you in the right direction!
- To what degree has studying the concept of belonging augmented your understanding of yourself, of others, and of the world? In your answer, refer to your prescribed text and ONE text of your choosing
- In order to belong, we must know who we are and where we come from. Discuss with reference to your prescribed text and TWO related texts
- Despite an individuals desire to belong to a group or community, this is not always possible. How do the texts you have studied represent the processes and results of belonging and/or not belonging.
- You have been invited to speak at the book launch of a new collection of texts entitled “Belonging in our Society” In your speech, explain and assess the ways in which belonging is represented in the texts in the collection
- Belonging to a community or group has a significant impact on an individual’s sense of self. Discuss this statement, focusing on how the composers of the texts you have studied represent the concept of belonging
- Belonging to a group or community can provide opportunities and disappointments To what extent do the texts you have studied support this idea?
- More than anything else, belonging is about finding a sense of place in the world. Discuss with reference to your prescribed text and TWO related texts
- You have been invited to write an article for a teenage magazine called Youth and Belonging. In your article, analyse the ways in which belonging is represented in your prescribed text and ONE other text.
- To belong is as much about being a part of something, as it is about being excluded.” To what extent do you agree? In your answer refer to your prescribed text and 2 related texts of your own choosing
- “Belonging is about the desire of acceptance that may or may not bring personal satisfaction.” How does your study of the Prescribed text and 2 varied texts of your own choosing support or reject this idea?
- “Acceptance can lead to a sense of fulfilment but at a cost.” Do you agree? In your answer refer to your prescribed texts and 2 related texts of your own choosing
- “To belong is innate and fundamentally human.” What challenges or barriers complicate this? In your answer refer to your prescribed texts and 2 related texts of your own choosing
- “Experiencing exclusion helps individuals come to a greater sense of acceptance of others.” What assumptions underpin the Area of Study and can they be validated? In your answer refer to your prescribed texts and 2 related texts of your own choosing
- “Acceptance leads to contentment and self-realisation” Is this an accurate account of your Area of Study? In your answer refer to your prescribed texts and 2 related texts of your own choosing.
- “Perceptions and ideas about belonging vary.”Is this your opinion? How is this reflected in your study of your prescribed text and 2 related texts of your own choice?
- You have been asked to present a persuasive argument on the issue of Belonging at a community meeting. What ideas do you present and you are they addressed in your study. You must also refer to 2 related texts of your own choosing.
- A radio programme is presenting a debate on issues and assumptions associated with belonging. Present two sides of the debate with reference to your prescribed study and 2 related texts of your own choosing.
- You have been asked to write a feature article for a ‘School Special’ section for Sydney Morning Herald. The article must reflect complications of belonging and how this is reflected in a range of texts including your prescribed text.
- Imagine you have been asked to give a speech on the topic of belonging to a local high school. In your speech you are to reflect on the nature of belonging and not belonging and give your opinion. Refer closely to the prescribed text and 2 related texts of your own choosing.
- You are being interviewed on how your perception of belonging has influenced your understanding of the world around you. Write the transcript of this interview. In your answer refer to your prescribed text and 2 related texts of your own choosing.
- You have been invited to chair a panel of experts who specialise in the areas of personal, cultural, historical and the social contexts of belonging. You are permitted to ask a range of questions to any members of the panel in order to present a range of attitudes on belonging. Refer to your prescribed text and 2 related texts of your own choosing.
- “Belonging can challenge a community or group.” Use the quotation as one line in your speech to students. In your speech reflect on how exploring this issue can broaden and deepen their understanding of themselves. Refer closely to the prescribed text and 2 related texts of their own choosing.
- Write a speech about the most important things students should know about belonging for a year 12 study retreat which is to be held before the trial exams. In your speech refer to your prescribed text and at least TWO related texts of your own choosing.
- It’s the night before the half-yearly examination and your friend has called you to talk about paper one. Write the transcript of your conversation, in which you both share your ideas about belonging.
- ‘Relationships are important in finding a sense of belonging’. Discuss this statement in relation to your prescribed text and TWO other texts you have encountered in your study of belonging.
- ‘Belonging creates dilemmas’ Discuss this statement in relation to your prescribed text and TWO other texts you have encountered in your study of belonging.
- ‘The human spirit craves a sense of belonging’. To what extend do your prescribed text and ONE other text you have studied support this idea?
- ‘Belonging is dependent on the perspective of the individual’. Discuss this statement with particular focus on how the composers of your prescribed text and TWO other texts represent perceptions of belonging.
- Our lives are shaped by our sense of belonging’Discuss the extent to which belonging shapes our lives with reference to your prescribed text and ONE other text of your choosing.
- ‘Not belonging is a far more difficult road to travel than that of belonging’.How does your prescribed texts and TWO other texts of your own choosing explore ideas of belonging and not belonging?
Posted in Area of Study: Belonging, HSC English Essay Writing, HSC Exams, Paper One, Paper One Practice Questions and tagged Area of Study, Belonging, Belonging Practice Questions, English Practice Questions, HSC English, HSC English Advanced, HSC English Essay, HSC English Exam
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This sample HSC English essay received a mark of 14 out of 15. It is not perfect, but makes some good points and illustrates the structure you should aspire to have in your essays. It refers to the prescribed text As You Like It by William Shakespeare.[separator top=”40″ style=”shadow”]
“Relationships are essential to finding a true sense of belonging”
Discuss with reference to your prescribed text and related text/s
Due to the complex and abstract nature of the concept of belonging, a true sense of belonging can be found in different circumstances for different people. As each individual has their own desires, needs and values, they find their place in the world and a genuine sense of belonging in various avenues. Many individuals find the strongest sense of belonging through relationships, due to the fact that by nature these connections fulfill the human need for social interaction and enrich the lives of the persons involved. Conversely, relationships which do not fit the conventional model of this kind of connection and thus result in negative outcomes for individuals can ultimately lead to a true sense of not belonging and its related notions of isolation and disaffection. Instead, these individuals may attain the same sense that they truly belong outside relationships, though their connections to other ideas such as place and culture, or within themselves. Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Khyenstse Norbu’s Travellers and Magicians are two texts in which an exploration of belonging and its different meanings for individuals ultimately leads to a deeper understanding of the complexity of the concept of belonging and thus that individuals can find a true sense of belonging in a great range of places, not limited to relationships.
Relationships by nature embody ideas of a connection on a psychological level between two people which can fulfill other fundamental human needs such as the need for social interaction, and thus can result in the individuals involved attaining a true sense of belonging. When individuals find meaning and purpose in connections with other people, as they often do in relationships, the need to belong is fulfilled in the greatest sense as the individuals life is enriched by the positive outcomes for their self esteem, security and stability. This idea can be seen in the relationship between Adam and Orlando set up by Shakespeare in As You Like It. Adam promises that he will “follow thee to the last gasp with truth and loyalty” when Orlando decides to go to the forest. By changing the rhyme scheme for Adam’s declaration of commitment to Orlando, Shakespeare effectively emphasizes the lack of superficiality that exists in this relationship as opposed to other relationships he sets up in the play. In their relationship, Orlando finds purpose and stability in his life, knowing he has another person who will always look out for him, just as Adam finds purpose knowing he will always be in the company of Orlando, seen where he states “Fortune cannot recompense me better than to die well and not my master’s debtor.” Through this, Shakespeare communicates that in relationships which are built on trust, loyalty or other solid connections between people, individuals can find meaning, stability, purpose and thus a true sense that they belong. In Travellers and Magicians Norbu inquires into similar ideas which support the value of relationships in the search for a true sense of belonging. In the relationship between Tashi and Deki, Norbu communicates the idea of their deeper connection on all levels through quickly alternating close ups between the expressive eyes of Deki and Tashi, which create the idea that their souls and desires are connecting as their eyes remain fixed on one another. The couple is also often presented on equal terms embracing each other, caring and showing affection through mid shots. Their connection leads Tashi to exclaim “If I never left this place, and died right here with you, I would not die unhappy.” Norbu thus effectively supports the idea that meaning and purpose can be found in real connections with others, and that consequently individuals can find the strongest sense of belonging in relationships such as these. Through this relationship, he also inquires further into the reasons why relationships can lead to a individual feeling that they truly belong. By suggesting that the positive outcomes which the human psyche correlates with attaining a sense of belonging, such as understanding, stability and care manifest themselves in relationships, Norbu advocates and supports the almost inextricable link between belonging and relationships.
Whilst there may be an almost inextricable link between belonging and relationships, not all relationships ultimately lead to individuals finding a genuine sense of belonging which manifests itself in positive outcomes for their lives. Some relationships can be driven by the quest to maintain control, have power and maintain authority over others or by the decisively one sided benefits to one of the individuals involved. In these relationships, it is more likely that individuals find themselves not belonging, isolated and disaffected rather than finding a true sense of belonging. This idea is expanded on by Norbu in Travellers and Magicians. The relationship between Deki and Agay is characterized by Agay’s domination of his young and beautiful wife. This is emphasized through low shots which place the vertically challenged Agay in a position of power over Deki and his statement to Tashi that he makes her live in the isolated hut with him because “We may grow old, but our jealousy stays young.” Deki is thus presented by Norbu as isolated in her relationship; she does not feel the strong connection with Agay that conventional notions of being in the marriage relationship would suggest. Thus through the negative consequences for Deki of being in a relationship with Tashi, and her strong sense of isolation and the feeling she does not truly belong, Norbu communicates the idea that relationships are not always central for individuals trying to find a true sense of belonging. Shakespeare through the representation of a relationship in which love is unrequited similarly challenges the connection between relationships and a true sense of belonging. Whilst Phoebe ends up marrying Silvius, there is a lot of ambiguity in whether she truly loves him and thus has attained a genuine sense of belonging in this relationship. When they marry, all Phoebe comments is “I will not eat my word now thou art mine Thy faith and my fancy to thee doth combine.” A rhyming couplet draws emphasis to this section of the play, where it is not resolved whether Phoebe truly commits her whole self into this relationship, and thus whether Silvius will experience the positive outcomes of the relationship he has desired throughout the play. In this ambiguity, Shakespeare supports the notion that individuals do not always find the greatest sense that they belong in relationships, especially relationships which are unequal and result in negative outcomes for individuals.
Individuals can find a true sense of belonging outside the confines of a relationship in connections to ideas such as culture, place or even within themselves. As each individual is intrinsically different, so are the ways in which they fulfill the fundamental human need to belong. Norbu presents the ideas that individuals can find contentment and fulfill the need to belong through connection to traditional culture and village life. In the first scene, a series of quickly changing mid shots show the activities of daily life in their rural setting. The villagers all wear traditional Gho’s and shrieks of joy emphasized through an echo when practicing archery suggest they are content with these repetitive activities. Essentially, they conform to the expectations of their traditional culture and life and find a true sense of belonging and fulfillment in this connection. Norbu thus demonstrates in this connection that a true sense of belonging and its positive outcomes can be found outside relationships. Duke Senior in As You Like It, can similarly be described as finding a genuine sense of belonging and contentment with his place and environment, the Forest of Arden. He asks Amiens and the audience “Are not these woods More free from peril than the envious court?” In the use of the words “free from peril,” Shakespeare suggests that in this place Duke Senior feels comfortable, content and untroubled and thus has developed a true sense of belonging with this place. The character of Jacques also finds an inner contentment within his meaningless existence.. At the end of the play, Jacques states “I am for other than for dancing measures” and retires to Duke Senior’s “abandoned cave.” He deliberately chooses not to belong in relationships with his comrades, instead he finds his own sense of contentment within himself, and thus Shakespeare demonstrates that a true sense of belonging can be found within an individual.
The complexity of the concept of belonging often means that individuals find belonging in different places to other individuals. Whilst many individuals can attain a true sense of belonging in relationships, due to the nature of these connections and the positive outcomes they have for individuals, there are some relationships in which individuals experience the opposite from truly belonging. Furthermore, there are many circumstances outside the confines of relationships in which individuals can attain a genuine sense of belonging, including culture, place and within themselves. Analysis of a range of texts including As You Like It and Travellers and Magicians inquire into these ideas and foster an appreciation for the need to consider different circumstances and individuals before making assumptions about the multifaceted concept of belonging. Ultimately, relationships are often the connections in which individuals find the truest sense that they belong, but the fulfillment of the fundamental need to belong is not strictly limited to the confines of a relationship.