Reference List

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Edwardess, C. (2004). Every Second Counts in a $42 million three minute film [image]. Retrieved September 22, 2011 from http://www.smh.com.au/news/Film/Every-second-counts-in-42m-threeminute-film/2004/11/22/1100972313772.html

Manufacturer.com. (2008). Blanket [image]. Retrieved September 22, 2011 from http://www.google.com.au/imgres?q=blanket&hl=en&gbv=2&biw=1280&bih=510&tbm=isch&tbnid=xgaScLSuElrzgM:&imgrefurl=http://www.manufacturer.com/business/search%3Fisnew%3Dall%26type%3DSellLeads%26keywords%3DWaffle%2BBlanket%26start%3D51&docid=KwQhys4wLaboWM&w=340&h=370&ei=7ht7TtydA9CXiAf3w9kG&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=1028&vpy=86&dur=363&hovh=128&hovw=116&tx=128&ty=130&page=1&tbnh=128&tbnw=116&start=0&ndsp=14&ved=1t:429,r:6,s:0

Moon B. (2007). Literary Terms: A Practical Glossary (2nd rev. ed.). Cottesloe: Chalkface Press. (textbook)

Nimony. (2007). Nicole Kidman Chanel No. 5 [image]. Retrieved September 22, 2011 from http://www.flickr.com/photos/21089594@N07/2110945426/

Wildanimalsonline.com.(2009). Common Blackbird [image]. Retrieved September 22, 2011 from http://www.wildanimalsonline.com/birds/blackbird.php

Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird- Wallace Stevens

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This piece of literature was my least favourite out of all of the readings provided. This did not interest me at all, and it still after discussion in class does not interest me enough to recommend it. I don’t know if it is my attitude toward literature that the old classics need to be modernised or that there needs to be some relevance to society/life for it to be interesting, but I was strongly disappointed with this.

Image of a Blackbird

I never came across a piece of literature like this throughout my schooling. Which I suppose is my reason for not having an interest in this. I have always considered myself to be well informed when it comes to metaphors and understanding when they are used, but it was not until the tutorial that I realised that the ‘blackbird’ could be substituted for envy, jealousy, lust or many other different emotions. It was when the class discussed deconstruction of texts, and first impressions that it became obvious to me.

There was also a need for prior knowledge about the ‘blackbird’ if the reader is to take it literal. I thought the ‘blackbird’ might have referred to a crow or raven as I did not know that there was actually a bird that was named ‘blackbird’. Again, this was made obvious to me in the tutorial. I also found it interesting that some of my peers found this literature really interesting. I suppose that shows the diversity in the workshop and just how important upbringing, gender, race, class, age and all other factors are when it comes to what you like/dislike.

This reading has many literary features that are described in great detail by moon, and as I have mentioned previously in my reflection of Nicole Kidman’s commercial Chanel No. 5. One of the main features that are present in ‘thirteen ways to describe a blackbird’ is polysemy. The blackbird in this text can mean many different things. The reading also requires a certain amount of semiotic analysis. The reader needs to understand that certain words mean different things, and the reader needs to be able to visualise certain images when reading the literature. This reading also has a lot of denotation/connotation throughout it. The word blackbird for example can be taken literal as a blackbird, but it can also, as I have previously explained, mean envy, jealousy and other emotions. It is really up to how the reader chooses to interpret the reading.

It is important to keep the textual features in mind when reading literature like this, but it is doubtful that students in a classroom will. I am sure that this reading might remain an option when I am teaching in the classroom, to use as stimulus to teach deconstructing the textual features. However, I do not think that future school students will show an interest in this type of text. I think that the use of ‘blackbird’ will confuse students, especially in Australia as this is not a bird we are familiar with. I also think that the literature might be too confusing for students at a secondary school level, as I struggled with it. Although I believe this to be true, I can only speak for myself, and all that I know is what I have been exposed to. People that have had a different upbringing to myself or have different likes/dislikes may think differently.

The Blanket- Graham Jackson

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The first time that I read this reading, I had no interest and struggled to finish it before losing interest. After reading it for the second time I have understood the reading and can find it quite enjoyable.

The Blanket- An Essay in Definition

My first impression of the reading was because I read it in the wrong format. Although it is called ‘An Essay in Definition’ I tried to make it flow as a poem or lyric. When that failed I approached it as a narrative to no success. The main reason for this I believe was the layout. The layout of the reading is broken into small paragraphs, has no thesis and no linking statements. It therefor does not meet the traditional essay format that I am familiar with which was explained to me in high school. Once I re-read the reading and took it to be a snippet of an essay, evidence of different definitions for ‘blanket’ is when it all made sense to me. The reading is an interesting one when taken this way. It also has some humorous lines that give insight to the author.

As I stated earlier, I tried to read this text in numerous different ways, which shows in a way that it is an open text that is open for interpretation. It is also left open for the reader to add some more definitions of ‘blanket’. The definitions of ‘blanket’ that are listed are closed answers, as it is definitions, but the option to continue it leaves it open.  The context of the reading is in Australia (that is who the audience is), and the topic of heat rash, Aborigines and some of the language used is recognised in Australia.

I also think that the topic of ‘blanket’ first put me off. I just thought that it was ridiculous and with no real point, not worth my time. Balancing University, Work and my Daughter leaves me little time to sit down and read so if it is not on a topic that will interest me, I tend to ignore it. However as this was a university reading I was required to read it. I found that the humorous elements in it allowed me to read it fully. I found that the class discussion that happened in the tutorials were useful in allowing me to understand and decide to give the reading another chance.

Other students found the reading interesting, which made me curious as to how I misinterpreted it that I did not understand it. In the class discussion, fellow students mentioned the informative aspect of it, and how they approached it as evidence in an essay, not as anything else, which is where I realised my error. Once I understood this I was well on my way to understanding the literature.

I believe that a certain amount of prior knowledge is required for this reading.  The reader needs to know what terms like ‘bastard’ mean, and have an understanding of the language used. The language and sentence structure is in my opinion ‘dumbed down’ a little, but I suppose that is to add a bit of humour or simplify it to grab the attention of a wider audience.  It is almost stereotypical to simplify the language for typical Australian’s. When reading the literature, I almost imagined an old Australian man from the outback reading it.

In the classroom, I think that I would use this piece of literature to allow students to look at writing that is aimed at Australian’s. I could also use it as a starting point to writing an essay. All of the different arguments that are presented to show the different uses of ‘blanket’ in the Australian language and how they can create an essay on ‘the term blanket can be used in numerous different ways’ with each section of Graham  Jackson’s essay as a basis for arguments. The literature could also be used as stimulus for students to identify some of the textual elements present and what experimental fiction is.

Chanel No. 5- Nicole Kidman Advertisement

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I am a 19 year old female, from a town that is known as being a part of the “Low Socio-Economic” bracket. When I read or view a form of literature I am fully aware that I am being shaped or influenced by these factors.  Another factor that I know has a huge impact on the way that I view certain forms of literature is that I am a mother.

Nicole Kidman in the Chanel no 5. commercial

When viewing the advertisement of Chanel No.5 with Nicole Kidman, it is a nice break from reality. As the advertisement is projected as a miniature movie, it is a nice little fix of drama/fantasy for a mother that is studying at University and does not have time to go to the movies and sit for 2 hours.

I did enjoy this piece of literature, as I am a fan of Nicole Kidman- I have enjoyed many of her movies, so that got me on side.  Some other outside factors of this advertisement is the well-known fact that this advertisement cost a fortune to make ($18 million). The director of the film was also the great Baz Luhrmann, who has worked with Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge and Australia. He has also directed Romeo and Juliet with Leonardo Di Caprio and Clare Danes as well as many other blockbuster movies. Taking into account the cost, main actress and director the advertisement which is also known as a mini-movie, has the pretence to be a great piece of literature. I am a great believer in the idea of modernising literature to engage and involve students better, as this is how I prefer to learn personally. I believe that if when teaching a class, you show an adaptation or modern version of a classic to “set the mood” for the students.

When I originally saw the Chanel No. 5 commercial, when it first aired to television, it reminded of Moulin Rouge. However, in the workshop I learnt from the group discussion that it had a similarity to the other movie “Notting Hill” as well as some classic pieces of literature with the plot of running from whom you really are and the upper class trying to hide amongst the commoners. This shows the intertextuality that occurs in literature of all different types. Moon (2010) states that there can never be a text that is completely original, it will always have an outside influence, which is evident in this advertisement. The outside factors are the two movies that I have stated previously.

Chanel no. 5 commercial

Another textual feature that is evident in this advertisement is Polysemy which is discussed by Moon (2010) on page 98 of his textbook. Polysemy is the idea that all words and images have the potential to mean more than one thing. The main example of this is the product being advertised. It is Chanel No. 5 which is a popular brand of perfume but as the advertisement shows, it can mean much more than that. Chanel No. 5 also means luxury, perfection, fantasy, romance, fame, fortune and a certain amount of mystery to name a few. It takes a certain level of semiotic analysis (Moon, 2010, p139) to understand the advertisement properly. Semiotic analysis is the term given to the way in which humans can understand and interpret signs that are in the world. In this advertisement it opens with camera flashes, which are then interpreted as paparazzi cameras which in turn allow the viewer to know that the person whom the flashes are aimed at is famous.

It is the textual features stated above that have influenced my reading and understanding of the advertisement. All of the concepts stated above allowed me to understand the message being portrayed. The features such as music, flashing scenes and others add to the suspense and spontaneous energy that is a part of the advertisement.

I am well aware that my interpretation of this advertisement may be completely different to that of someone else, because of what prior understanding and influences I bring to the literature. Being able to analyse the advertisement down to what message is being portrayed, what semiotics are present and what is the dominant reading are very important to be taught in the classroom. I believe it is important that students are aware and equipped with these tools to be able to analyse advertisements and other forms of literature. My approach to literature is to try to make it relevant to the class, so watching an advertisement like this as an introduction to deconstructing texts using literary concepts or using a snippet of a movie to introduce a book is something that I could imagine myself doing in my classroom.