One of the challenges of Module C: Craft of Writing is integrating key ideas from prescribed texts into your Module C response.
One way you can do this is by translating their key ideas into your own writing.
But how do you do that?
Read this guide on integrating key ideas from prescribed texts into your Module C response to find out!
Concepts into Writing
Essentially, this part of the syllabus asks you to engage with texts, and show how your understanding is clear within your imaginative work.
An option to do this is to think about their key idea and translate the execution of those key ideas into your own work!
As in, if we consider that one of the most important ideas of Ray Bradbury’s short story ‘The Pedestrian’ is societal punishment of non-conformity, as an example, we can also say that ‘The Pedestrian’ holds societal punishment of non-conformity as a key idea.
Why this matters for your own writing is that, along with the style of the text, you will want to show your understanding of a text’s treatment of its key idea through a story.
However, you will have to think at a conceptual level to do this.
For instance, if you had been prescribed Franz Kafka’s short story ‘The Metamorphosis,’ about a man who turns into an insect overnight and the struggles his family faces as a result, you don’t have to literally write a story about a horrifying transformation.
What you could explore is theme of change in a person and how this affects their family.
So, let’s dig into how you can identify and understand key ideas before applying them in your own work.
How Do I Understand a Text’s Key Ideas?
Step #1: Identify the key ideas of your text
Identifying a key idea usually involves identifying what the core of text is about.
This can be harder than it seems, as many students reach Senior English believing that a ‘theme’ is contained in a word, like ‘family’ or ‘love.’
If you want a deep understanding of a theme, you need to express it to yourself in a way that’s more complicated than that.
This involves taking a word word theme and turning it into a key idea.
For example, while you can say that ‘surveillance’ is a key idea of Nineteen Eighty-Four, it would be more useful to say that the text deals with ‘how surveillance encourages paranoia.’
This gives you something more specific to work with than a single word.
If you’re unsure what the key ideas of a work are, think about the ideas that are presented throughout a text, and write down what you think these ideas are.
In this way, key ideas, are more useful than one word themes!
Step #2: Analyse those key ideas
This is where you break out your TEE tables!
If you’re not sure what this means, read our guide on what a TEE table is and how to use one here.
Basically, you’re able to analyse key ideas from your prescribed text through the use of a TEE table, which stands for technique, example and evidence.
Firstly, find pieces of evidence or examples – that may include quotes, scenes, or lines from a stanza, which represent your key idea.
Place these pieces of evidence into a TEE table which allows us to break down the example so that we can identify the technique and explanation.
In the explanation box, think about how the key ideas are shown within the text. This will allow you to translate those skills of analysis into your own writing!
Now, you’re ready to apply that analysis into your writing!
How Do I Apply My Analysis of Those Key Ideas?
Step #1: Think about techniques and effect you can employ in your own writing
Remember, you need to adapt the key idea into your own writing, but this doesn’t mean making it too literal or obvious!
That’s why it’s important to think about techniques and the effect these can have to convey a key idea from your prescribed text.
For example, ‘The Pedestrian’ uses visual imagery to depict an empty, lonely city in order to convey its key idea with isolation in society.
While Bradbury, in that story, describes the streets of a city and its silence, you could use imagery which focuses on your setting — say, a desolate Outback setting — but also captures a sense of isolation.
Alternatively, you could use other techniques for the same end: Meaning you may wish to convey a sense of isolation, in our example, through use of simile or metaphor.
Step #2: Re-contextualise those key ideas
In order to effectively understand how key ideas function to create meaning in your texts, you also need to understand context.
This is so it makes sense when you apply the same key idea in your own context of writing (i.e the contemporary era).
For instance, if you wanted to use Judith Wright’s poem ‘The Surfer’ as inspiration, you might want to choose humanity’s struggle with nature as a theme to use within your own writing.
But you live in a different context than that poet, so you need to think about how a ‘struggle with nature’ might be written differently than it was in her day.
You can be creative when reinterpreting or re-contextualising this idea in your own context, in fact, it is encouraged!
Step #3: Analyse your own writing
As strange as it may feel, you need to be able to justify and argue for the choices you make in your own writing, with reference to your texts.
One way to practise this is write up some TEE tables, once again.
But in this case, you will want to discuss not only the effect, but also, how it reflects your understanding of specific parts of a given prescribed text, such as through a key idea.
You can discuss the effect and reflection of your own understanding in the explanation column of your TEE table.
This TEE table which analyses your own writing will become particularly important if you are asked to write a reflective statement.
To read more about how to write a Band 6 worthy reflective statement for HSC English Module C, read our article on it here!
Showing your understanding of texts through imaginative writing might be hard, but you can strategise!
Hopefully, this guide has shown how you might want to approach Module C: The Craft of Writing by imitating how themes are presented within texts you are looking for.
Taking this option will give you the critical engagement you need for a high mark, as well as providing a way for you to practise your analysis!
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Cameron Croese is a qualified English teacher, who has a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) / Bachelor of Arts (English) from Macquarie University and is currently undertaking a Masters of Education in Melbourne. A long-time Art of Smart coach, Cameron has supported over 60 students from Years 7 to 12! When not studying, Cameron is an avid writer, having won several awards for short stories, including the Alan Marshall Short Story Award.