Top Notch Prompt Response Advice

Dear VCE 'Encountering Conflict' students,

This is a space for you to practise different forms of writing and responding to set prompts. When you write a piece you will need to indicate whether you are using The Secret River or The Rugmaker to inform your writing. You also need to provide a mini statement of explanation that outlines form, audience, purpose and context.

You will also be expected to read each others' work and use the comments feature and DIIGO (a web tool useful for conferencing) to provide feedback to each other. When conferencing you can comment about what is working well in the piece, areas for improvement and how you can see the prompt and nominated text influencing the piece. Due to this you might need to edit a post you have submitted so label each edit as post 1, post 2, etc.


diigo it

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Statement of Explanation:

I have decided to write about the prompt ‘all conflicts have lasting effects on those involved’. From studying the text ‘The Secret River’ I can see that this prompt leads itself to a piece of writing about the similar experiences of my ancestors, to those of William Thornhill and his family. For William, the conflicts he encountered throughout his life had a lasting effect on him as a person, his family, and the people around him.
I am going to write an imaginary piece, as a diary entry, based on the point of view of Paul B_ _ _ _ _, whose experiences through life are very similar to William’s from the text. From researching back into my family’s history, I have a good picture of what Paul was like, and the conflicts he faced throughout his life. He too migrated to Australia, after growing up in extreme poverty, leaving behind his loved ones, to arrive in an unfamiliar country. Both he and Will had dreams; to create the best possible lives for themselves and their families. They both encounter similar conflicts along the way; for example, whether to move, and buy their dream piece of land. Will and Paul are very hardened men, because of what has occurred over the course of their lives.
The conflicts the men face are very similar to the conflicts faced today in society. Everyday we are receiving foreign people, desperate for a home in Australia to improve their lives. All these people face the same personal, interpersonal, and cultural conflicts faced by the characters in ‘The Secret River’, and my diary entries.
I want to present this piece as an internal monologue, of Paul reflecting over his life, as he faces big conflicts.
I will be writing my piece for the other VCE students, who have also studied ‘encountering conflict’.
My aim is to show, through Paul’s thoughts, what may have happened, how his life may have changed, if he hadn’t encountered these conflicts.
I will be writing in the first person, to try and capture my audience through personal feelings. I feel that this type of writing is very similar to the style of writing throughout the book ‘The Secret River’. Kate Grenville, the author of the text, has based her book on her ancestors, just as I have done. Grenville’s characters encounter many different forms of conflicts; personal, interpersonal and cultural, which are very similar to the conflicts faced throughout my character’s lives.

Written Piece:
Oct 8, 1883
Well, here I am. Today is my last day ever in Germany. Tomorrow, myself and my friend Charles will board the boat to a new country, all by ourselves. As much as I am scared of what is going to be like, I know it has to be better than what my fate would have been if I had been made to fight in the war.

If I hadn’t been killed, I would have no future here in the village of Rotenberg. Getting up at 4.30, so I can help my father before I go to school, once I arrive home there’s no time for play, I must go back and help him some more.
My family is so poor; they can barely afford to clothe us boys. My parents, although they try to remain optimistic, are worried about us. The meals are getting smaller and smaller, and I know, it won’t be too long until things get much worse. The vine growing business isn’t booming, and between the four of us sons, me being the youngest, there wouldn’t have been much of a share left of the family land for me anyway.

About this strange new land I am headed to tomorrow, I try to remain optimistic, but deep down I am scared. I am scared that they won’t want me, they will send me back here and I shall be forced to enter the war. Pretty much as good as dead, so my father says. Scared, that nothing here will be similar to home. I know it will be different, but even a hint of something recognisable shall be a comfort.
I am scared that the people there won’t be as nice as they are in Germany. What if I can’t find work? Will I be forced to steal to stay alive, or starve to death?

As a 16 year old, with these thoughts rolling around in my head, I wonder if I will ever see the day of myself getting married. Owning my own home, with my own vines, my children and wife in the house.
All I have to say is, thank heavens for Charles. It would have made me feel so much more worse knowing that I was going to have to go through all of this on my own. At least I can trust that he will always be near me when I need him: a true friend.

Jan 4, 1884
Melbourne. Such a strange word. The way they pronounce it is completely different to what I would have thought.
After 4 months at sea, I am glad to finally be on solid ground again. Our ship, the Procida, is quite new, but it has a terrible smell about it. Australia looks nothing like what I thought it would. The landscape is similar to Germany, but the weather is so hot! I find the heat unbearable, but I hopefully shall get used to it after awhile, since I am to be here for the rest of my life. The people here are different; they wear different clothes, and when they talk to me, I can’t understand what they’re saying, which frustrates them. There are two sorts of people here; the whites, who live in houses and work on farms, and the blacks, who live in the trees and eat off the land. This new land I am in makes me homesick for my Mum, Dad, and brothers. I want to be at home with them, but I can’t. This is my new life now, in Australia.

15th December, 1893
I have now been an Australian citizen for three days, and I feel so proud. My wife Wilhelmine came to watch the ceremony with me, even in her heavily pregnant state. She is now an Australian citizen as well. Wilhelmine wishes to go back to Germany, when we gather enough money, so she was confused when I told her I wished to buy a piece of land in Kanyapella. But, she believes in my good judgement, so we have moved to our new home; a slab house built by me on our land. There is a great feeling of pride between us now that we have our own home.
Last week, when I gave Wilhelmine my few extra coins from my weekly pay, which she saves every week, Wilhelmine gave me the whole tin of our savings back to me, telling me if we are planning on staying here, we must have some vines of our own. I bough one olive tree and some vines. I planted the olive tree at the front door of our house, because of this, we now call our land the ‘Olive Vineyard’. We plan to sell our products at the markets, for extra money.

23rd March, 1907
Our sixth child was born yesterday. We named her Alice. We now have Albert, Henry, Olive, Sylvia, Freda, and Alice. Secretly, I’m glad it’s another girl. The boys are constantly complaining that I work them too hard, and they are always talking back to me.
I am trying to teach them to be tough, not to complain, and do what I ask of them. This will make them worthwhile men, men who work efficiently.
Wihelmine tells me that I’m being too harsh, that I should be letting them enjoy their childhood, but that’s not the way I have been bought up. My father bought me up to be the man I am, and I wish to do the same for my sons.
We are starting to have a lot of money saved, and we are thinking of building a new house, to accommodate our growing family.

As much as my life has improved, I still think of myself as the poor German boy, one who came here with nothing. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of my family in Germany, who I have not seen in over 20 years. I wonder if they are better off now, or if they are still as poor as what they were when I left?
I wonder why was I the lucky one, when so my other boys my age were killed in the war? Why was I given the chance to escape death, to be able to live comfortably in my older age?

I love my family, and everything I have been through has made me the person that I am today, but I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if I hadn’t had such a rough upbringing.
Would my sons have had more respect for me, instead of talking back to me? Would I have been able to talk to my wife about how I am feeling, instead of keeping it inside me for all these years? I know that on the outside, people see me as a miserable, angry man, but I can’t help it. The conflicts that I have faced throughout my life have made me who I am. And although I am still struggling to speak English, I feel as though I belong here. I am proud of my family, and the life I have worked so hard to give them.

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