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Unit 3 English

succeeding in the vce, 2017


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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW FOR ANALYSIS
MEDIA TEXTS AND FEATURES

Media texts (print, non-print and multimodal) are persuasive texts because they try to
persuade you about an issue, idea, person or product. They are full of issues because the
public want to discuss and give their opinion on all sorts of issues that affect them.

Print texts Non-print texts Multimodal

Editorials Speeches CD-ROMs


Letters to the editor Segments from current TV ads
affairs
Letters e-zines
Radio talkback
Opinion column Websites
Online forums
Essays Documentaries
Radio and TV interviews
Reviews Blogs
Chatroom
Cartoons Online media articles
Podcast
Tables
Graphs
Posters
Newsletter
Brochure
Submission, report

© Andrea Hayes Cambridge Checkpoints 2009 VCE English Units 3 & 4 p58.

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TYPES OF PRINT MEDIA
When analysing and comparing media texts on an issue, you need to be aware of features
specific to each text type so that you can comment on how they influence argument and
position audience. You also need to know these features when you write your point of view
text.

NEWS ARTICLES

These tell a current story and concentrate on the “facts”. They are of the “inverted pyramid”
style, putting the most important material near the beginning and including less important
material at the end. This may be omitted, if space is a problem.

BACKGROUND ARTICLES

These provide more information on what has happened and tend to be longer and more
detailed. They may appear some time after the events to which they refer. Often they include
interviews with people involved.

COMMENTARY PIECE

In this kind of article a writer/journalist gives his/her opinion on current events.

COLUMN

A column is a regular article by one writer, which gives her/him the opportunity to express a
view on any one of a range of issues. This may deal with issues in the news or much less
important matters, like the writer’s pet cat or grandchildren. Sometimes there will be a
“guest” column by an “expert” on a particular issue.

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

This is the section of the newspaper where readers get to express their views on an issue.
Often the language used is colourful and they tend to make a good source for this SAC.

EDITORIAL

This is where the newspaper expresses its view on a particular current issue. It is
unattributed, so that the reader knows it is the official view of the newspaper and not of any
one writer. Politicians and newspaper editors, in particular, seem very keen on reading
editorials. Most other readers, it seems, do not. These articles are often used when setting
the ‘Issues’ SAC. However, you should note that nowadays the newspaper’s editor generally
does not write a newspaper’s editorial.

ACTIVITY
Choose an editorial, letter and an opinion article from the Appendix and compare the
language features.

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YOUR DUAL AIM IN THE ANALYSIS TASK
If the skills required for this task have not been well covered in Year 11, you must address
them now as a matter of urgency. This is because it is a very difficult skill to learn and these
Master Classes cannot substitute for good classroom teaching over a long period of time.

What you are primarily examining is the art of rhetoric (a systematic study of the art of
persuasive speaking or writing). This means more than the identification of persuasive
techniques used by writers; it means that you must identify how writers use these
techniques to persuade. If you only identify the technique being used you are only halfway
there. Clearly it is a necessary step in the analytical process, but of itself it is not sufficient.

(Remember, you will have to do this task in the exam so it is worth investing time and energy
in doing this right.)

The question you will be asked in your end of year examination will be:

“How is written and visual language used to attempt to persuade readers to share the
point of view of the writer of article x?”

THE ISSUE AND CONTEXT

You must have a good understanding of the issue. It isn't enough to simply read the article
and analyse the techniques. You need to also understand the background and context of the
article. What exactly is the issue? Which perspective of the issue is being discussed? What
gave rise to this issue? Why has the writer decided to write this piece?

CONTENTION

This is the writer’s point of view. Does he agree or disagree with the issue? Is he taking a
particular stance? The contention can be found either at the start or at the end of an article
or even in the middle!

UNDERSTANDING THE WRITER'S INTENTIONS AND PURPOSE

The idea of Language Analysis is to analyse the language in terms of the writer's intentions
and reader/audience impact. You are not meant to give an opinion on the relative
effectiveness of the argument. You need to look at why the writer is writing this article?
Always ask yourself what the writer is saying and why he has chosen to present the
argument in a particular way and you will usually be on the right track.

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AUDIENCE

In order to successfully complete this task you need to be aware of both the purpose of, and
intended audience for, the piece of writing you are seeking to analyse. In the second part of
the task such awareness will be just as important, when you come to present your own point
of view. Writers will choose language and techniques to suit their specific audience.

If the intended audience for a piece of writing is a group of elderly citizens, fearful for their
future well-being and security, then they may be swayed by a certain kind of rhetoric which
would be irrelevant, even alien, to a younger audience. You must show this awareness in
your analysis.

LANGUAGE STYLE

This is how the writer ‘says’ things. Language style is deliberately chosen to influence the
reader. For example, FORMAL styles create an impression of authority and research that
can impress readers with information, knowledge, the importance or writer. Readers can feel
close to, or distant from, the writer depending on other techniques.

Colloquial styles are chatty, friendly, and inclusive because readers are treated more as
equals. Language is accessible and familiar. You always need to consider the style in the
context of the entire article; do not assume particular styles will always have the same effect.

ACTIVITY
Look at the article 'Make Haters Pay’ (appears on the next page).

Try to identify context, contention, audience, intention and language.

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Make Haters Pay
September 11 2012, Herald Sun, Susie O’Brien

SW rugby league player Robbie Farah was sent a vile and sexually abusive tweet
about his late mother on Sunday night. Quite rightly, there has been a high level of
public support for Farah. The NSW Premier is looking at working with Australian
Federal Police to track down and perhaps prosecute the person who posted the
tweet. We do need to take a stand against Twitter trolls, and the police should have
the ability to become involved and take action in extreme cases such as this.

But we should set the bar high for all public commentary — not just for popular
sports stars but for all people. This should include those who aren’t well liked, such
as iron ore magnate Gina Rinehart.

It doesn’t seem right to me that everyone is outraged by the tweet Farah received,
and the recent comments made to TV personality Charlotte Dawson, but it is open
season on Rinehart.

I am really disgusted by the sexist, mean and cruel attacks on Rinehart, calling her
a slut, moll, troll and a slag. People regularly say she’s fat, ugly and hideous.
Comments include: ‘‘I am pretty sure Gina Rinehart is the ugliest woman on earth’’
and ‘‘Die in agony, you fat ugly rich twat’’.

When people said the same thing to Dawson, there was a national outcry. Rinehart
is also often called a cow, a pig and even a whale. When TV journalist Leigh Sales
was called a cow by Liberal strategist Grahame Morris on ABC radio, there was a
huge backlash. And yet it seems Rinehart is fair game.

I am not speaking up because I am concerned about Rinehart getting upset. She is


more than capable of standing up for herself. But I am concerned about the low
tone of public debate these days.

We have to think of the example it sets for our kids. If we can’t respect each other
as adults, how can we expect them to get it right?

Personal attacks on Gina Rinehart flow down to the way we talk about each other
and to each other.

I should make it clear that I don’t like much of what Rinehart says, or the way she
says it. I found her comments about paying African workers $2 a day to be deeply
offensive to those who have no choice but to live and work in poverty. I think her
suggestion that Australians who are jealous of wealth should get out of the pub, and
get a proper job shows she is out of touch and arrogant.

And I am baffled that a mother like her can end up in court fighting with her kids
about money, when there is more than enough money to go around. However, we
should attack Rinehart’s views and actions, and leave the personal stuff out of it.
There is also an inherent sexism about the nature of the comments made about her.
We simply don’t treat men the same way.

Sure, another mining magnate, Clive Palmer, has regularly been subjected to some
pretty personal attacks about his weight. But, though he has also been highly
controversial, no one seems to be suggesting he’s too ugly to live, or is

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sleeping around. This is a democratic society and free speech is important. But
when you have freedom, you also need to have responsibility. And at this point, this
is what is missing.

I should point out that I have posted a couple of fairly personal comments about
Rinehart on my Herald Sun blog, such as a few people saying she is fat. However,
in such cases I challenge bloggers, asking them to refrain from personal attacks,
and I do edit when necessary. We don’t want intrusive government censorship on
forums such as Facebook, Twitter and blogs. But police should have the ability to
act and prosecute those who put up abusive or racist tweets or posts. Such powers
are already being exercised overseas. In Britain in April, a man was jailed after
posting racist jokes about the footballer Fabrice Muamba, and a teenager was
recently arrested for sending abuse to the British diver Tom Daley. Ultimately, we
need more common respect and decency.

And this should extend to the individuals we don’t particularly like, as well as those
we do.

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SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND HISTORICAL CONTEXT
It is very important that you read the major papers on a daily basis so that you will have a
thorough understanding of any issue placed before you in an examination setting. Your
understanding will be judged according to the second dot point in Criterion 1 (knowledge and
control of the chosen content). It indicates that an understanding of the wider implications of
the chosen issue is important.

For instance, the issue placed before you may be the vexed issue of women’s rights to
abortion. It would add depth and complexity to your argument if you showed an awareness
that this is a state matter, and that the federal government’s intervention could only relate to
Medicare funding. Thus the recent interventions by various federal politicians into this issue
are part of a long-running campaign to re-ignite community feelings about this always
controversial issue.

THE MEDIA'S PRESENTATION OF AN ISSUE

What are the similarities or contrasts between different newspapers or other media groups in
their presentation of an issue? Does there seem to be different political allegiances shown
by various newspapers? Is this shown in their use of language and the way they ‘target’
different audiences?

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PERSUASIVE LANGUAGE TECHNIQUES
ALLITERATION

Alliteration is a succession of words beginning with the same sounds. It is a device much
favoured by headline writers, offering a catchy summary of the story to follow. Alliteration is
much favoured by the tabloid media!

EXAMPLE
‘Doctor Death: Friend to the Dying’

Sample Analysis
The loaded language of the Herald Sun headline is a classic example of tabloid fear
mongering. The catchy alliteration of ‘Doctor Death’ plays upon the readers’ worst fears.
Most of us would think of our doctors as caring and competent people. For such esteemed
professionals to be linked to ‘Death’, rather than healing, is indeed disturbing. Moreover,
there is the still more alarming reference to the doctor as a ‘friend’ to the ‘dying’. Our worst
fear – that the one who should bring us comfort in our last hours is an entirely different kind
of ‘friend’ – is here confirmed.

ANALOGIES AND METAPHORS

The most important thing to remember with analogies and metaphors is that they seek to
paint a picture for us. As persuasive devices they can be quite effective, as human beings
often respond to visual stimulus more than to the written word.

EXAMPLE
A state without strong leadership is like a ship without a rudder.

Sample Analysis
Arguing that ‘a state without leadership’ is like a ‘ship without a rudder’, the Premier sought
to play upon the fears of her audience concerning a change in government. The implication
of her remark was that the leader of the opposition is too weak to be trusted.

ANECDOTES

An anecdote is a story drawn from personal experience and can also be a highly effective
rhetorical device. Much more than dry statistics, anecdotes tell us about human experience
and have the flavour of plausibility about them.

EXAMPLE
I know many people who enjoy the odd flutter at the pokies. Not one of them is addicted to
gambling.

Sample Analysis
Addressing the parliamentary committee on problem gambling, a spokesperson for the hotel
industry referred to the ‘many people’ she knew who enjoyed the ‘odd flutter at the pokies’.
The key words ‘odd’ and ‘flutter’ in her statement sought to defuse her audience’s concerns
about the proliferation of gambling in the state, implying a harmless bet taken on the odd
occasion.

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APPEALS TO TRADITION

These appeals rely upon a sense of the past, which is worth preserving. They can be very
convincing, especially to an older, more conservative audience.

EXAMPLE
The Union Jack has long had pride of place on the Australian flag. It would be a slap in the
face to our forefathers if we were to abandon it now.

Sample Analysis

Addressing the RSL membership yesterday, State President Brian Luxton, drew on his
understanding of history to argue in favour of retaining the Union Jack. This, combined with
the rather emotive reference to our ‘forefathers’ and the ‘slap in the face’ to their memory,
seem designed to appeal to the sentiments of his target audience. Their great deeds are
effectively linked to a long military tradition, now seemingly under threat from this proposed
change.

APPEALS TO PAROCHIAL BELIEFS AND VALUES

Like appeals to tradition, this kind of rhetoric often implies a ‘shared’ set of values. They may
pertain to members of a local or school community, a town, or any area restricted in size and
number.

EXAMPLE
Residents of our ‘tidy town’ can feel justifiably proud of its achievements, and need no
advice from outsiders as to how we should run our festival.

Sample Analysis

Using the inclusive term ‘our’ in reference to her town and festival, the mayor denigrated
those ‘outsiders’ who would offer her any advice. Thus she appealed to the parochial
elements in her audience who would resent any suggestion that their organisation of the
festival had been less than perfect.

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APPEALS TO OUR SYMPATHY

As the title suggests, such appeals are designed to win over an audience by appealing to its
sympathetic side. They may often involve the use of emotive and exaggerated language to
enhance their appeal.

EXAMPLE
How can poor teachers, overworked and under-resourced, be expected to take on this latest
curriculum initiative? It’s simply heartless of the government even to propose such a
scheme.

Sample Analysis

Brian Chalker, President of the Teachers’ Association, appeals to the sympathies of the
school board, arguing that ‘overworked’ teachers cannot possibly accept this latest
curriculum ‘initiative’. Contrasting the schemes of a ‘heartless’ government with the demands
on ‘poor’ teachers, he seeks to highlight the victim status of his fellow professionals and
spare them any extra workload.

APPEALS TO PATRIOTISM

Such appeals rely upon a shared sense of values regarding one’s country, its past, and the
need to defend it at all costs. Politicians can use them in quite devious and manipulative
ways to coerce their audience into agreeing with a certain policy.

EXAMPLE
Freedom-loving Australians, those who truly support this country and its proud democratic
traditions, will get behind this latest military initiative by the government.

Sample Analysis

Arguing in favour of recent military interventions by Australia, the Prime Minister made an
unashamed appeal to all ‘freedom-loving Australians’, to those who ‘truly support this
country’. Such a blatant appeal – with its implication that those who oppose him are
somehow unpatriotic – seems designed to play upon the patriotic instincts of his audience.
What kind of person would not support such an initiative?

Note:

There are many other kinds of appeals with which you should be familiar. They include:

 Appeals to common sense (‘the only sensible approach is to...’).


 Appeals to fair play (‘our sense of compassion and decency demands that …’).
 Appeals to fear (‘our traditional way of life is under threat if …….’).
 Appeals to self-interest (‘do the ratepayers wish to see their money spent in this
fashion?’).
 Appeals to guilt/shame (‘how can we stand by and see young lives wasted …?’).
 Appeals to family values (‘the traditional family unit has always protected ….’).

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ATTACKING THE PERSON

This kind of approach attacks the person, rather than seeking to address the argument. This
is really an assertion of the writer’s viewpoint. It is commonly employed by politicians and
can be quite a successful diversionary tactic. Denigrating or humiliating the person,
discrediting opponents as unreliable, dishonest, suggesting unsatisfactory associations are
all attacks.

EXAMPLE
In opposing increased taxes, the leader of the opposition has been exposed as the vile
opportunist we have long known him to be.

Sample Analysis

Yesterday, in Parliament, the Prime Minister chose to attack the leader of the opposition for
his supposed lack of integrity. The personal nature of this attack sought to divert parliament’s
attention from the issue of taxes and aims at discrediting the opposition.

CLICHÉS

Worn out, over used expressions. They are familiar, often colloquial, so can offer a shortcut
to convey meaning.

EXAMPLE
Remember the saying 'actions speak louder than words'. That’s especially true when it
comes to teaching your kids the basics...

Sample Analysis

By using such a well-known cliché the coach sends an immediate message to the parents
that they must change their behaviour.

COLLOQUIAL LANGUAGE

Also known as the use of the vernacular, colloquial language seeks to engage the reader
with its warm, down-to-earth style. In a subtle way it can be a form of inclusive language as
not every member of the audience may share its usage.

EXAMPLE
When we go down the street it’s easy to see who the real Aussie is and who is not. Fair
dinkum, it looks more like Baghdad than Bondi.

Sample Analysis

Writing to the editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph, Bondi resident, Jack Hallam, makes
clear his disgust at the wearing of the burqa in the main street of his suburb. Adopting the
colloquial language of an older Australia and appealing to the citizens of that country, he
seeks to mock those who would adopt other styles of dress.

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EXAGGERATED LANGUAGE

Another name for the use of exaggeration is hyperbole. This technique is commonplace in
argument and often makes for interesting or even humorous reading. Often, however, it also
involves conscious distortion of the situation or event being described. The trick is to
recognise hyperbole when you see it, and not to simply refer to it as ‘colourful language’.
Instead you should try to identify exactly how the exaggeration works and why the writer has
chosen to do it in a particular way.

EXAMPLE
Gambling in Victoria is now of epidemic proportions. It is a social disease eating at the fabric
of our society.

Sample Analysis

In describing gambling as a ‘disease’ of ‘epidemic proportions’, anti-gambling campaigner


Clare Ryan sought to bolster her case for restrictions on all forms of gaming. Such
hyperbolic language, with its connotations of something quite out of control, infecting every
corner of society, seemed designed to spread fear and alarm in the community.

EMOTIVE LANGUAGE

This is the kind of language designed to appeal to our feelings, rather than to the more
rational side to our nature. It has its place in the language of rhetoric and is no longer
automatically condemned, as it may have been in days past. However, in the absence of any
rational argument, it can be thin and unconvincing.

Note:

Be careful with this term! Simply describing a passage as containing ‘emotive language’
does very little to advance your analysis. Try to identify the emotions likely to be aroused in
the audience.

EXAMPLE
The flying foxes are simply poor defenceless creatures, destined to be culled in a heartless
campaign of destruction by the department of parks and the environment.

Sample Analysis

In her letter to the editor animal rights activist Teresa Cursio, makes a passionate appeal to
the readership of The Age. For Cursio the flying foxes are simply ‘poor defenceless
creatures’. It is a ‘heartless campaign’ which is being waged against them. Such emotive
language, appealing to our sympathies for these creatures, contrasts nicely with the
presumed lack of compassion shown by the department’s officers.

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GENERALISATIONS

One of the most common devices used by people from all walks of life. Unless exposed to
scrutiny, they can prove quite effective. Can appeal to our general sense of what is true and
so sound authoritative. May pick up on prevailing prejudices and stereotypes in the culture
and so seem convincing because familiar. Can use a kind of emotional appeal to our agreed
prejudices and untested opinions. Look closely at any generalisation to see how it works to
make the reader agree.

EXAMPLE
All Australians love their sport. It’s part of our national character.

Sample Analysis
In her speech, supporting increased payments to the AIS, the Minister for Youth, Sport and
Recreation argued that all Australians ‘love their sport’. This kind of generalisation was
clearly designed to persuade her audience into accepting quite radical increases in funding
to this sports body. By implication, those who oppose such funding increases are somehow
‘Un-Australian’.

INCLUSIVE LANGUAGE

Inclusive language by its very nature includes certain people and excludes others. It can be
a powerful and subtle weapon when used by certain writers. Engages reader and is often
friendly – gains sympathy or persuades reader to reject an idea, individual.

EXAMPLE
We will not allow our country to be overrun by people such as these.

Sample Analysis
With his use of the inclusive ‘we’ and ‘our’ Mr Peter Martin sought to entice the members of
his audience to accept his point of view. As leader of Australians Against Further
Immigration he sought to position himself and other Australians as a part of an embattled
group about to be ‘overrun’. Those who would land here are, by definition, outsiders.

JARGON

This kind of language is often designed to intimidate, setting up an artificial barrier between
the speaker and his or her audience. The audience may feel so intimidated by the use of
jargon that it readily accepts a proposition, which is quite dubious.

EXAMPLE
Barring unforeseen developments, the government’s continued emphasis on fiscal restraint,
combined with a tight monetary policy, should see our long-term budgetary parameters
being met.

Sample Analysis
In using such technical terms as ‘fiscal restraint’ and ‘monetary policy’ in the context of a
talkback radio interview, the Treasurer clearly sought to baffle and perhaps intimidate his
irate caller.

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LOADED LANGUAGE

Loaded language is language rich with meaning beyond its obvious surface features. Like
emotive language, it is designed to appeal to our feelings, rather than to the more rational
side of our nature. This can be a shorthand way of belittling or discrediting someone by
suggesting ‘association with undesirables.’ This tactic usually assumes the reader’s
agreement with the ‘emotional baggage’ that such words carry. Much loved by the headline
writers of tabloid newspapers, it can be quite an insidious form of persuasion. When
identifying loaded language, remember to look for the positive and negative connotations of
words and phrases and then more specifically, at the emotions they are seeking to elicit in
the reader.

EXAMPLE
‘Sudden Death’

This headline appeared in The Age some time ago, headlining an article that dealt with the
then recent spate of police shootings.

Sample Analysis

The loaded language of this highly emotive headline evokes images of imminent death,
eliciting a response of shock in the reader. ‘Sudden Death’ implies a lack of rational
assessment of the situation on the part of the Police force, suggesting certain rashness. The
police are meant to be the protectors of our society, and the notion of their harming, or even
killing, us is a very confronting one.

ANOTHER EXAMPLE

‘RU486: A Prescription for Backyard Miscarriages’ says minister.

ACTIVITY
Can you analyse the use of loaded language in this recent statement from a federal health
minister? Write your analysis in the space provided below.

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PUNS

Puns are a most effective device, much favoured by headline writers! As a pun involves a
‘play on words’ you should always look to the second or hidden meaning behind the obvious
one.

EXAMPLE
‘Shane Warne: Lord of Spin’

Sample Analysis

The headline in The Age seems designed to mock and denigrate the famous cricketer. While
there is the obvious compliment to his bowling skills – he is a master of spin bowling – there
is also another less flattering meaning. The idea that he is a master at ‘spin’ (the art of
placing the best construction on all his behaviour by well-paid PR managers) is considerably
more sinister. Clearly the writer does not believe a word of his explanation for recent drug
taking and invites his audience to share his scepticism. The effect is to undermine
completely all of Warne’s recent claims to be innocent of drug taking.

REPETITION

This is a relatively simple device that consists of the repetition of a phrase or sentence. The
overall effect is a rhythmic one, as the message is reinforced in the mind of the reader.

EXAMPLE
‘These lazy people are bludgers, bludging on honest taxpayers.’

Sample Analysis

The constant reference to ‘bludgers’ and ‘bludging’ in Melissa Holt’s letter reinforces the idea
that many of the long term unemployed are preying on the good will and hard work of others.
The repetition of this most reviled term plays upon our loathing of all such ‘parasites’.

RHETORICAL QUESTIONS

Strictly speaking, a rhetorical question is one that there is no need to answer because the
answer is implied or understood. It can position the reader/audience in such a way that to
disagree would be to dismiss some point that clearly commands agreement. However at
times a writer will answer his own questions, which is a powerful variation.

EXAMPLE
Does the Prime Minister care about the rate of youth unemployment?

ACTIVITY

 What do you think is the purpose of a rhetorical question?

 Why has the writer used this technique?

 How does it make the reader think?

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Sample Analysis

The rhetorical question, which the leader of the opposition asked of the Prime Minister, was
a classic of its kind. Does the Prime Minister ‘care’, asked his parliamentary opponent. The
implication was clear: the Prime Minister does not care. Nor was the leader of the opposition
interested in his reply.

SATIRE

Satire, as you are probably aware is the art of creating humour out of what was originally
intended to be serious.

EXAMPLE
In order to reduce the number of refugees entering Australia the federal government is now
offering ‘free’ holidays at Club Nauru.

ACTIVITY

 What do you think is the purpose of using satire in persuasive writing?

 Why has the writer used this technique?

 How does it make the reader think?

Sample Analysis

The satirical references to ‘holidays’ and ‘Club Nauru’ – with its pun on the idea of Club
Mediterranean – in the article by Michael Burke seeks to undermine any claims to
compassion which the federal government might make.

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STATISTICS

Like the use of jargon, statistics can be cited in ways designed to baffle or confuse an
audience. One must look very carefully at the authority of the speaker, his or her knowledge
in this area, and the way in which they are being applied.

EXAMPLE
If we can induce more people to give up smoking they will reduce their risk of heart disease
by at least 50%.

ACTIVITY

 What might the effect of this information be on the average ‘lay’ reader?

 What further information might you need before accepting such information at face
value?

Sample Analysis

The recent statement by the AMA in favour of further restrictions on smoking plays upon
community fears of heart disease. For smokers in the audience the effect might well be as
alarming as it is encouraging. While encouraged by the dramatic potential drop in their risk of
heart attack, they may well be alarmed at the thought of further restrictions on their ‘right’ to
smoke.

TONE

Refers to the voice of the writer; the writer’s attitude to both the subject matter and the
reader. Reflects the writer’s attitudes, which can position the reader to agree or reject
something. If the tone is very aggressive, the language itself can be forceful and persuasive;
a calm tone often informs a reasoned piece of writing. Changes of tone are important too as
they can signal a new direction.

The idea is to show how the tone adopted by the writer works persuasively.

Sample Analysis

Adopting a rather detached stance in relation to asylum seekers and their dilemmas, the Age
editorial argues that it is time we took a fresh look at this problem. This measured approach,
combined with a fairly weighty analysis of the problems refugees face, establishes the
credentials of the writer in the minds of his readers as a reasonable and impartial observer. It
is in quite sharp contrast to the blatant appeals to fear and loathing of…

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 17
ACTIVITY

Have a look at the attached list of adjectives associated with tone.

In what ways could these work to influence the reader's thoughts?

Analytical Aggressive Humorous

Discursive Belligerent Satirical

Detached Confrontational Whimsical

Rational Heated Jocular

Serious Abusive Light-Hearted

Measured Vitriolic Engaging

Calm Rancorous Facetious

Deliberate Hysterical Facile

Neutral Angry Sarcastic

Reasonable Fervent Sardonic

Authoritative Passionate Patronising

Admonishing Disgusted Mocking

Note: It is not sufficient to identify simply the tone of a piece. You must also show how its
tone might influence a reader.

ACTIVITY
Choose two or three shorter articles from the appendix and analyse the tone in each.
Compare them. What creates the tone in each? Be specific with your answers and use
examples.

Note:

 This list should not be considered exhaustive!

 The items in this list are by no means mutually exclusive. A statement, which uses
loaded language, may also appeal to our parochial fears.

 In each case you must not only identify the type of persuasive language being used,
but also its likely appeal to a given audience.

It is not enough to simply identify these techniques. You must discuss and explore how the
writer is ‘positioning’ the reader. This refers to the position we are being invited to share,
the parties we are being drawn to condemn. Note Criterion One, dot point three, of the
assessment criteria.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 18
VISUAL LANGUAGE
Visual media texts include: Cartoon, photograph, table, graph, video clip in a TV current
affairs segment, community poster. They may be separate or attached to a print or online
article. Analyse visual texts using the Visual text questions and correct visual language
terms where possible.

You also need to discuss how visual features related to the actual form of the text help
persuade and manipulate reader. These features include: Watermarks, letterhead, logos,
the use of bullet points, bolding and italics etc.

For example, if a bulletin from a school principal contained the school motto, bullet points
and bolded sections, you would need to discuss how these impact upon the reader, help
create tone and persuade the reader.

ACTIVITY
Discuss for the following visual language terms:

Stereotype:

Layout:

Font:

Symbol:

Icon:

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 19
VISUAL LANGUAGE TERMS

Terms Definition and how it persuades

Number of items/subjects and their position within the text and in


Composition
relation to one another. Includes camera angles, body language,
white space etc.
Where audience’s attention is drawn to first, usually top left hand
Hotspot
corner.

Colours/shades Colours used, where, for whom? What do the colours symbolise?

Words within frame of text. E.g. Speech bubbles, sign. Can


Body text
reinforce or state contention.

Caption Words outside frame of text. Can state contention.

Signature signs or labels that identify a subject. Images that


Motifs/symbols/icons
represent ideas or concepts. For example, rose represents love,
dove represents peace. An icon is a symbol or image of a sacred
or religious subject. Sydney Opera House, Pharlap, Edna
Everage are Australian icons. Appeals to audience values.
A type of generalisation in which a single person or thing is taken
Stereotype
to represent a class of people or things. Generally well known to
audience.

The blonde, blue-eyed, suntanned, muscular lifesaver is said by


some to be the stereotypical Australian. This is a generalisation
and inaccurate. Not all Australians are blonde, blue-eyed, tanned,
muscular lifesavers.
How much blank space there is and where it’s located. Where
White space
does it draw audience attention?
The attitude of the creator towards the subject.
Tone
E.g. Humorous.
The way the creator constructs the text. E.g. Minimal number of
Style
strokes and big round heads for a cartoon, lots of close up
camera shots etc.
Different font sizes and percentage of text that is graphics. Can
Layout
make message clearer to audience.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 20
ACTIVITY
Look at the following cartoons and analyse them as a class.

Mark Knight Cartoon sourced from www.thepunch.com.au

sourced from www.kudelka.com.au

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 21
sourced from www.smh.com.au

sourced from www.inkcinct.com.au

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 22
ANALYSING THE ARTICLE
Before you can even begin to write you must analyse the article in front of you in
detail. Ask yourself questions like (keeping all the above in mind!):

 What is the issue? Why does it have social significance?

 What are the various sides to the issue? Are there more than two? What are the
attitudes of the particular writer/s?

 What is/was the status of the media coverage at the time the item was produced?

 Comment on the effect of the placement of the article within the newspaper.

 What type of article is this? An editorial? A commentary piece? A letter to the editor?
Each of these text types must obey formal rules and conventions. You need to be
aware of these rules so that you do not slip into obvious errors. For instance, it would
be foolish to accuse a writer of bias in a certain direction if she were writing a letter to
the newspaper. As the writer is simply offering her point of view on a particular matter,
we would expect her to have a certain bias. Such a tendency would not be so
acceptable in an editorial. Here we would expect the writer to offer a more balanced
analysis of both sides to an argument.

 What is the writer’s background? Does she clearly have a vested interest in a certain
outcome?

 What has instigated this response from the writer (i.e. why is he/she writing this?)
What is his/her purpose writing this article?

 Who is the intended audience? How can we tell?

 What is the tone of the writer? (For Example: Neutral, detached, angry, sarcastic,
enthusiastic, fervent.) How can we tell?

 Does the tone alter at any stage? The writer may begin in a jocular fashion, and then
shift to a more analytical approach. You should note this.

Examine the language of the text.

 Comment on the headline. Does it attract our attention? How is it relevant to the rest of
the article? If so, how?

 What about the opening paragraph(s)? How do they work to set up or position the
audience?

 Are these methods designed to shock/provoke/challenge us? If so, how?

 How is the article structured? Why?

 Is humour used? If it uses humour, what form does it take?

 Is hyperbole (exaggeration) used?

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 23
 Is graphic description used?

 Do the words used have certain connotations? (For example: favourable/unfavourable,


positive/negative, rather than neutral?)

 Is there a use of language designed to impress? (For example: Jargon/quotations from


various ‘authorities’/’scientific’ evidence/ use of polls, statistics.)

 Is the opposing viewpoint ridiculed?

 Is the language designed to appeal to our patriotism? Our need to conform? Our love of
tradition? Our fears? Our sense of threat?

 Does the writer seek to flatter the reader?

 Is there an attempt to create empathy by use of inclusive language (“I” or “we”)?

 Are rhetorical questions used?

 Are any or some of alliteration, repetition or colloquial language used?

 Are there any visual texts – such as photographs, cartoons, graphics, maps,
diagrams, charts or tables?

 If so, do they complement the contention of the article?

 Look at the photographs or cartoons and analyse their content. How are people
positioned, what are they wearing, what are their expressions? Why have they been
photographed in this manner?

 What is the effect (on the audience) of the nature of the photograph? Does it evoke an
emotional or sympathetic response or is it designed to ridicule etc.?

 Are certain words repeated or emphasised and why? What effect is the author trying to
create by doing this?

ACTIVITY
Choose an article from the appendix and practice analysing it using the above questions.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 24
January 20, 2012, Opinion, The Age, January 12 2012, Bridie O'Donnell

Warne's cycling spin falls short of his social


responsibility

'I would love for every driver in Melbourne to ride a bike to and from work for a week.'
Photo: Craig Abraham

IT WAS disappointing to read that cricketer Shane Warne was allegedly involved in a road-
rage incident with a cyclist in Melbourne on Tuesday night. But what was more disappointing
in the days following this event was the example of yet another overpaid, overexposed
professional male athlete failing to demonstrate any sense of social responsibility. Warne's
recent escalating series of anti-cycling and anti-cyclist statements on Twitter generated a lot
of support from many of his 630,000 followers.

Initially, it allowed him to receive validation for his ill-informed and harmless comments,
which in turn, reinforced his opinion. Of course, if more than half a million people follow you
on Twitter, it's because they like you, admire you or are enthralled to hear what whimsical
and acerbic sound-bytes emanate from your intriguing mind. He was quickly and repeatedly
corrected over his statement that it was a legal requirement for cyclists to ride single file on
the road. His other general remarks about arrogant lycra-clad cyclists blocking cafe
entrances and behaving selfishly were received with the predictable backlash from all who
bother to engage in any sort of dialogue with Warne.

Perhaps this demonstrated just how thin-skinned we cyclists often are, but is it any surprise
we're defensive? A general lack of respect in ''harmless'' tweets can often be a superficial
marker of a more deep-seated loathing and intolerance for the rapidly growing cycling
community. It's important to remember that while Warne made a career out of being a spin
bowler, he was just as famous for his sledging, his hair, his recidivist womanising and poor
nutritional choices. He can be proud of his contribution to cricket's image as a sport of
overweight, overpaid blokes who drink a lot.

Still, the Australian sporting fan base has shown a great capacity to forgive Warne's
transgressions, and like it or not, he is still a very high-profile athlete in this country. I
consider it a privilege to be an elite athlete in a country where sport is such an integral part
of our lives. We can make a living from it, contribute to a more active and healthy population
and effect change. It's with this in mind that Warne should consider it his social responsibility
to behave accordingly.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 25
Young men making a generous living from their sporting talent are quick to renounce their
fame when things go awry. ''I never asked to be a role model'' is the quote of choice from
any lad who finds himself involved in cases of drink-driving, drug use, sexual assault or
racist remarks.

But guess what? You don't get it both ways. If you're lucky enough to excel at a sport that
gets most of the sporting section of the paper or the air time on every news channel; if
hundreds of thousands of people care what you say, what you eat and who your girlfriend
is; if millions of young men and women look up to you, then it's too late. By definition,
you are a role model. The important concept that non-cyclists often ignore is that we
are all road users. Cyclists are labelled as such, as though this then determines their
behaviour.

But one can't generalise: cyclists can be commuters, old men trying to keep fit, young men
trying to beat their mates, women socialising, teens emulating their heroes. Most of them
are also motorists who pay registration, understand road rules and can have the same flaws
as everyone else. I ride nearly 600 kilometres a week on roads in Melbourne and I see
motorists breaking the law every day. They text and use

their phones, run red lights, ignore road rules and drive dangerously.

I also see a consistent improvement in the consideration they show for cyclists. Every year,
there is a noticeable improvement in courtesy, patience and a general awareness of riders
as valid road users, and for this I am very grateful.

Cyclists need to be beyond reproach in our use of the road to maintain the respect of
motorists. But I would also love for every registered driver in Melbourne to ride a bike to and
from work every day for a week.

It would change the way they see cyclists and how they drive. Who knows, they may even
love it as much as the rest of us.

Bridie O'Donnell is a professional cyclist and a former national champion.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 26
SAMPLE STUDENT RESPONSE
How is written and visual language used in an attempt to persuade the audience to
share the points of view in the opinion piece “Warne's cycling spin falls short of his
social responsibility”?

Bridie O’Donnell does not hide her bias of being a professional cyclist when she declares her
disappointment about Shane Warne’s ‘road-rage incident’ in her opinion piece ‘Warne's
cycling spin falls short of his social responsibility’ (The Age, January 12). She uses this
opportunity to address all road-users, and at times singles out the lack of social propriety
shown by ‘elite male athletes’. O’Donnell’s initial dismay develops into a predominantly
scathing and accusatory tone as she asserts that Warne’s altercation with a cyclist was
unbefitting of a figure who is the beneficiary of great public adoration. She concludes in a
measured fashion that ‘all road users’ deserve respect. The juxtaposition of this earnest
piece with the range of forthright opinions cast in ’…and another thing’ establishes a contrast
that broadens the target audience.

O’Donnell initially makes her distaste of elite male athletes clear when she links their
stereotype to Shane Warne and his most recent transgression. The title immediately
establishes Warne’s role in the issue through the pun ‘spin falls short’ which insinuates that
his career as a ‘spin bowler’ leaves much to be desired in his position as a role model.
Furthermore, the pun implies that Warne’s ‘ill-informed…comments’, albeit ‘harmless’ were
just rhetoric. She seeks to instil a sense of injustice and outrage in the concerned readers by
enumerating the negative qualities of those who disregard any sense of social responsibility’-
the ‘overpaid, overexposed professional male athlete[s]’. This alliterative rhythm sets in
place the scathing and belittling tone of the piece’s opening. O’Donnell maximises the impact
of the cycling incident by her adroit use of phrases such as ‘road-rage’ and ‘deep-seated
loathing’ which draws the reader into a shared sense of derision towards Warne and his
uncouth behaviour. She forcefully declares that his ‘escalating series of anti-cycling and anti-
cyclist statements on Twitter’ are detrimental in accelerating a poor image of cyclists. Her
bitingly sarcastic comments that hundreds of thousands of people are ‘enthralled to hear
what whimsical and acerbic sound-bytes emanate from [his] intriguing mind further
ascertains his unconstructive approach to being ‘look[ed] up to’ by Australians. This derision
is supported by Phil Hawkins who states he is eager for ‘Warne’s view on gay marriage,
pokies reform and the euro crisis’ inferring he is out-of-touch and his opinions are neither
warranted nor respected.

Conscious of not wanting to sound biased, as she herself is a ‘professional cyclist and
former national champion’, O’Donnell balances her argument by mocking her own
demographic as being ‘thin-skinned’ and so invites the audience to be amused by the self-
defecation and realise that she is not being pious about her argument. In doing so she
encourages acceptance of what she perceives as a ‘general lack of respect.’ O’Donnell
suggest her ‘lycra-clad’ comrades may indeed be thin-skinned’ which acts in her favour since
she is not exhibiting the general arrogan[ce] or selfish[ness]’ of cyclists. She goes on to
scornfully maintain that Warne’s ‘recidivist womanising and poor nutritional choices’ should
make him ‘proud of his contribution to cricket’s image as a sport of overweight, overpaid
blokes who drink a lot’. O’Donnell shifts to becoming more serious as she states it is a
‘privilege to be an elite athlete in a country’ with such a proud sport culture. She adopts a
didactic tone when stressing athletes can ‘contribute to a more active and healthy population
and effect change’ whilst simultaneously suggesting Warne is acting reprehensibly. This
manner shifts to become more measured as O’Donnell addressed athletes directly that ‘if
you’re luck enough to excel at sport…you don’t get it both ways’. This extrapolates her
personal social responsibility to behave accordingly to the wider domain of all high profile
male athletes.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 27
O’Donnell reverts to her original plea that cyclists deserve respect on the roads in an attempt
to highlight how one can be a ‘role model’. She fervently rebuts ‘lads’ who are ‘quick to
renounce their fame when things go awry’ with a fanatical tirade of reasons why ‘by definition
[they] are role model[s]’. By highlighting these indiscretions as ‘drink-driving, drug use,
sexual assault and racist remarks’ O’Donnell evokes revulsion within the audience which
creates a void between the public and their sporting heroes. The piece implies this will be
filled when these ‘young men’ act responsibly. The inclusive appeal that ‘we are all road
users’ invites the audience to share her sense of mutual respect and understanding. By
specifying cyclists as ‘commuters, old men…young men…women socialising [and] teens
O’Donnell provides more tangible personas that ‘arrogant lycra-clad cyclists’ which develops
sympathy for riders. O’Donnell however acknowledges an annual ‘improvement in courtesy,
patience and a general awareness of riders as valid road users’. This makes the audience
feel proud of their own efforts on the road and encourages them to maintain these advances.
She concludes with a challenge for all ‘drivers in Melbourne’ to cycle to work for a week in an
attempt to enable them to share the ‘love’ of ‘the rapidly growing cycling community’ and
therefore look towards a more tolerant community.

Bridie O’Donnell evokes the reader’s value of social etiquette and moral obligation in a ploy
to develop higher expectations of sporting role models and negate any aversion to cyclists.
The array of opinions that accompany the text share the overall view that Warne has fallen
short of his social responsibility.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 28
HOW TO WRITE A COMPARATIVE ESSAY
INTRODUCTION

STEP 1

Briefly explain the background and put the issue into context.

State the title of the first piece, type of article, the writer, the source and date.

Discuss the tone, their contention and intended audience and why the writer might have
composed the piece (purpose).

Compare this to the second article and the visual.

EXAMPLE 1

With the recent euthanasia-induced killing of Northern Territory man Bob Dent, vehement
debate has been elicited over the legitimacy of such practice and its implications for society.
One written response to this issue, an editorial published in The Age on the 9th of July
entitled “Let the quality of mercy not be restrained”, expresses views in favour of the matter,
arguing that euthanasia is morally sanctified and that legalising its use is a move in the right
direction. However, accompanying the aforementioned editorial is an image showcasing the
computerised commands a euthanasia patient will witness before choosing to die,
establishing that others view euthanasia as possibly demeaning and horrid to humanity. In
line with this view, Brian Coman’s letter to the editor entitled “Let the quality of mercy not be
restrained”, purports that euthanasia is detrimental for society’s wellbeing as well as ethically
abhorrent. These articles illustrate the complexity of this issue; euthanasia will almost
certainly continue to spark debate over its implementation due to its intrinsic relation to both
human rights and ethical conduct in society. (Vincent Chiang)

EXAMPLE 2

A frightful increase in violence on the streets of Victoria has become alarmingly apparent to
those of the wider community. In addition many feel the Brumby Government have not
implemented enough deterrents to prevent this ‘knife culture’. Neil Mitchell attacks the
government policies in the ‘Anti-knives campaign is far too weak’ article, contending that the
actions of the government must reflect and address the issues at hand, and not simply serve
to create the illusion of action. Similarly, The Age cartoon illustrated by Leunig also attacks
the government, however not on their approach; instead depicting and exploiting the mixed
messages they impose on the vulnerable youth of society. The Age editorial ‘Broad
approach needed to blunt knife culture’ expresses the need for community education so as
to edify today’s youth on the consequential implications of crimes. Therefore although all
three media texts differ, they share the similar concern in their need to protect the children
and community as a whole. (Brooke Carnes)

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 29
http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/seewhatsusiesays/

Lance: what a total copout


Susie O’Brien
BLOG
JANUARY 19 2013 (2:53pm)

Who watched Lance Armstrong’s Oprah interview? I’d love to know what you thought.

He says he’s deeply sorry but it’s too little too late. He is still saying his systematic doping
is just a matter of him “losing my way” and of merely “slipping up”.

But this is to vastly underestimate his systemic doping, and the elaborate coverup that
even included suing former friends who were just telling the truth. He admits to the
technical doping but not the moral failing that it represents. He calls himself a bully, as if
he is just another playground thug. Armstrong says “things got too big, things got too
crazy”. He talks of losing himself and “getting caught up in it”.

He does make some acknowledgments, but not too many. There is always an excuse –
that it wasn’t actually cheating, that it was just doing what everyone else was doing. He is
still trying to justify what he did, play it down and concentrate on how it affected him
personally.

For me I think there is a relief in seeing him admit to what everyone else has known for so
long. But it gives little relief, because it seems his giant ego has come through almost
intact. It’s hard not to see the interviews as anything other than an exercise in personal
redemption rather than a wholesale apology. Until he takes steps to not only apologise but
to make serious amends - by donating some of his $100 million fortune to his many
victims, then he’s just not sorry enough.

COMMENTS:

Who would he donate his money too? Who are these supposed victims?
Can you emphatically state that the people he beat those 7 times were clean? How far down
the results list will you need to go the ensure the recipient did not take drugs of any kind?
Yes he cheated, but so do the rest of them.
As for his sponsors, he can pay them back, but how about they pay back what he made for
them?
As for his charity, monies would be better channeled into them, than the pockets of the firms
that paid him sponsorship.
As he only won a bronze at the Olympics, I’d say its fair to assume that he was not doping
during the games.

James P. of East Bentleigh (Reply) Sat 19 Jan 13 (06:55pm)

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 30
Dear Susie, you and your readers are total copouts. None of you have ever done anything
useful… Ever. I can say this categorically because only morons of the lowest grade would
espouse the mental dumbery that you do, and which your weak-minded followers eat for
breakfast. You trundle to your pathetic day jobs which rely on other people’s genius, take
money from the table of someone else’s business and then claim that without risking
anything, without actually achieving ANYTHING that you get to have an opinion. You are
mentally foolish, morally vacuous and pathetically beige. When the Herald introduced a
quota system, who knew it would drag in people like you. Go home, stick this rubbish on
your fridge, and bask in the glow of your Support Network’s support, cause that’s all the
approbation you’ll get, the rest of us think you’re an idiot.

While Lance is a liar, a cheat and a fool at least he risked something, accomplished
something and then failed something before he died. You just write about stuff, which makes
you a voyeur, a tag-along and a mere commuter in life.

Yasou of Brisbane (Reply) Sat 19 Jan 13 (10:16pm)

As an avid fan of cycling this story is very upsetting. Lance has been a very ordinary human
being. Now Susie I have to say the word bully was spot on. It’s not a school yard cop out
comment. It’s exactly what he was and still is. I think his apologies have been genuine. Also
He is not a man of raw emotion. Think about it, when have you ever seen him show emotion.
Even during his stage wins and ultimate tour wins he showed little emotion. Therefore the
apology is what it is. I really hope h turns his life around. I feel sorry for the man. Time will
tell but any person who is truly repentant deserves forgiveness.

Big bad of Geelong (Reply) Sun 20 Jan 13 (08:28am)

didn’t watch it, why would I?

Oprah drip fed the salivating media and some of the public for a week before it was aired.
Such a “serious” matter can only be publicly resolved by Oprah Winfrey, that’s quite funny,
but this is the modern world.

He cheated at sport big style, but somehow I’ve found myself with other things to concern
me, although If a cyclist that may be different.

Flipping through papers though I’ve been most entertained by all the psychoanlysis by
journalists who apparently all know what he really meant, what he should have done and
what he should do now. I guess they are all mind readers who have been inside his head
and life experience. Moving on. Susie i assume has written to him about her $100 million
donation plan. Maybe the cancer foundation should be shut down today, would that help?

The Critical Eye of Mount Eliza (Reply) Sun 20 Jan 13 (09:32am)

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 31
 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 32
Use Susie O’Brien’s blog “Lance: what a total copout”, the comments and the cartoon
for the activity below.

ACTIVITY
Write an introduction.
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 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 33
STEP 2

BODY PARAGRAPHS

Paragraph one should discuss how the writer has chosen to begin the article.

How does this work to position or ‘set up’ his intended audience?

What powerful techniques have they employed?

Follow this up with an example and quote.

State how this works and how it will impact on the audience.

Note: There may be more than one technique so you need to include those and comment
how they all contribute to achieve the writers’ intention from the beginning.

EXAMPLE 1

In an empathic tone, the editorial “Let the quality of mercy not be restrained” begins by
presenting euthanasia as a humane solution to suffering in an effort to influence the reader
towards viewing the issue in the same manner. In the tricolon “Calmly, fearlessly and
painlessly”, the writer uses repeated appeals towards the reader’s sensitivity to suffering in
an effort to sooth them and position them into viewing euthanasia as safe. By immediately
contrasting this against the horrific mention of “gnawing pangs”, the writer is furthermore
attempting to evoke feelings of sympathy from the reader towards those who may possibly
call for euthanasia-induced killings, influencing the reader to consider the possibility that
euthanasia is the more humane solution. Similar juxtaposition of “agonising circumstances”
and “ethically justifiable” throughout the piece further the use of this effect, presenting to the
reader euthanasia as a morally upright act. Coupling this with mentions of the “right to die”,
the writer then appeals to the reader’s feelings for liberty and human rights, inspiring them
into a position of viewing euthanasia as a necessary aspect of a liberal society.
(Vincent Chiang)

EXAMPLE 2

Torpin starts his article with directly stating his contention, “I love my Fireside”. This bold
statement shows the reader that he owns and uses a Fireside, so can be trusted when he
goes on to state the seemingly endless positives the device holds. The title “A new Fireside
Romance” ties into this idea of “love” in relation to the e-book and also highlights the
possible novelty of the “new” item. Highlighting all the benefits of the Fireside, “near-perfect”,
“I can select larger print”, “no airtime charges”, Torpin positions the reader to understand his
love for the machine. His listing of the things that show “how good it is” continues throughout
the article, always coming back to his contention that the benefits of the Fireside are
endless. (Jess Lindstrom)

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 34
ACTIVITY
Now write your opening paragraph to continue on from the introduction above.
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 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 35
STEP 3

In the following body paragraph continue to analyse techniques as they appear in the article.

Separate paragraphs depending on effect/impact techniques are creating and/or change in


tone.

EXAMPLE

As the article progresses, the writer shifts to a more aggressive and rational tone as they
attack the opposition of euthanasia. By contrasting potential “careful monitoring” against the
more infantile phrase “blanket prohibition”, the writer presents his opposition as
simpleminded, encouraging the reader to view any decrying of euthanasia as somewhat
absurd.

ACTIVITY
Continue with the next paragraph.
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 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 36
STEP 4

FINAL PARAGRAPH

Comment on how the writer has chosen to end his article.

What does he want his readers to be left feeling or thinking?

How does this work to achieve his purpose?

EXAMPLE 1

By the piece’s conclusion, the reader is ultimately pushed towards viewing euthanasia as
both emotionally and morally appealing, suggesting that “the Northern Territory legislation
should not be wantonly struck down” and that its opposition is flimsy.

EXAMPLE 2

She finishes her article with the notion that all her books “[have] a story beyond the story
within”, highlighting the importance of the memories she is reminded of through her books.
This supports the developing feelings of concern readers have about losing so many
experiences through the loss of books and emphasises her contention that the e-books are
unnecessary and flawed.

ACTIVITY
Write your final paragraph for the first article.
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 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 37
STEP 5

Use a linking sentence to connect the first article to the second commenting on the
different/similar approach the writers have used.

EXAMPLE 1

In contrast to the editorial, the accompanying image seems to suggest euthanasia a


heartless practice. The text within the picture – saying “you will cause a lethal injection to be
given within 30 seconds, and will die” – reduces the act of euthanasia to what may appear to
be a merciless act of killing devoid of emotion.

EXAMPLE 2

JOB’s cartoon, while in stark contrast to Torpin’s view, parallels Houghton’s idea that
e-books are impractical and take away the memories and experiences real books provide.

STEP 6

Write the second analysis as per the first.

Comment on any similarities and/or differences to the first article as you write the second
article.

Remember to begin with how the article begins and why?

Include how this compares to the first.

ACTIVITY
Write a linking sentence and begin writing the analysis on the second article.
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 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 38
STEP 7

Add the visual where you think is most appropriate.

Comment on the position of the visual.

If for example the visual is right at the start of the article you may want to begin with
analysing the visual and explaining why the writer has chosen to place it there.

STEP 8

CONCLUSION

Your conclusion must comment on the different or similar strategies that both writers have
used and how they have tried to achieve their purpose.

EXAMPLE 1

Though different overall, both the image and the letter to the editor position the reader
against the legislation legalising euthanasia; the former focuses primarily on reducing
euthanasia to merely a merciless act of killing, whilst the latter utilises several passionate
please in order to better appeal to its audience’s abhorrence for the morally corrupt. In
contrast, the letter to the editor in The Age invites an open acceptance of euthanasia,
encouraging its reader towards its viewpoint through careful rebuttal and appeals towards
the practice being ethically sound. All three invite open scrutiny of various aspects of
euthanasia, of which will factor heavily into debates over its utilisation in the future.

EXAMPLE 2

Common to the three pieces is the focus on the different features of the e-book, with Torpin
focusing on the benefits and Houghton and JOB focusing on the flaws. They all use a calm,
yet convinced tone to display their view of the e-book, giving readers the impression that
they are all completely sure of their arguments. While Torpin strongly fights for the use of the
Fireside, seeming almost sure readers will want to buy one, Houghton states all the
negatives of the device in a way that assures readers they should feel nostalgic and
protective of their printed books.

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 39
ACTIVITY
Finally write your conclusion.
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Congratulations! You have written an analysis that is worthy of an upper range mark!

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 40
KEY WORDS AND PHRASES TO USE IN AN ANALYSIS

THE WRITER’S CONTENTION

X admits that …….


Y advances the argument that …..
Z asserts that ……
X claims that……
Y contends that ……
Z maintains that …….
X pleads the case for ………
Y points out that ……..
Z puts forward the view that …….
X rejects the view that …..
Y sympathises with …
Z submits that ……
X urges the reader to ……..
X concentrates on ………
Y condemns …..
Z confronts ….
X denigrates …..
Y appeals to ….
Z makes the point that …….

EXAMPLES

In his commentary piece written in The Age (3/3/20010) well known political columnist Peter
X states the case for ……

In typical tabloid fashion the editor of the Herald Sun argues that ……..

In her letter to The Australian concerned citizen Margaret Y makes the point that …..

Adopting a rather whimsical approach to the issue of gun control, Giovanni L takes the side
of those who believe that …………

In a letter to The Leader (‘Keep Our Roads Safe’, 24/2/20011) ‘concerned’ resident Janet D
argues the case for ……………. Its rather indignant tone reflects the outrage of her
community at the traffic plans mooted by local council.

Adopting a rather parochial stance on the issue of water restrictions was Helen Li from
Sunshine. In her letter to The Age she maintained that there is no reason why ……….

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 41
LINKING WORDS AND PHRASES

These help to form a ‘bridge’ between your paragraphs as you move from one article to
another.

EXAMPLES

Unlike the editor of The Age, correspondent Steven X draws upon his own experience as a
health professional to argue the case for …………

In contrast to the rather hyperbolic tones of the Herald Sun, The Age editorial adopts a far
more measured and analytical approach to the issue of ……

Keen to distance himself from the rather self-serving approach of Y, John Z of Croydon
appeals to the readers’ sense of fair play and compassion. His depiction of refugees as
‘…………….’ calls to mind ……..

Like the leader of the opposition, government spokesperson Amanda T also appeals to her
readers’ sense of pride in Australian sporting achievement. However, she also confronts the
issue of ………..

In contrast to the rather optimistic approach taken by the editorial in The Australian is Lisa N
of Croydon. Citing cases of doubtful practices, which she has encountered in her
professional life, she argues for greater restrictions on tobacco promotion.

Adopting similar tones of outraged disbelief to X of Box Hill, Herald Sun columnist Jane P
argues the case for ……………..

 The School For Excellence 2017 Succeeding in the VCE – Unit 3 English Page 42