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FAQ - Away by Michael Gow (1 Viewer)

ujuphleg

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Away by Michael Gow
Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is designed to help HSC students studying the text Away by Michael Gow for the Area of Study Module for English. I take no responsibility for the accuracy or validity of the statements below. All new questions about Away not already dealt with here should be posted below and will be added to the FAQ in due course. Any more threads asking questions about Away will be closed.

At the most basic level, what is the play about?

Away is the story of 3 families who go away for the summer holidays. Already, the story sounds deceptively simple but actually, is a complex and richly textured story with many layers and meanings. The protagonist is Tom, a boy dying from cancer of the blood and for the purposes of HSC study about his journey and the journey he instigates for others then guides them through.

What are the main themes in Away?

Some common ones include:
  • Journeys (duh?!)
  • Healing
  • Power of Nature
  • Power of Love
  • The Importance of Theatre
  • Importance of Music

More importantly one can interlink the themes. It would be pointless to talk about just the power of nature for example. But, for example, the healing power of nature is a much better theme.

What are some of the techniques are used in Away?

Some common ones include:
  • Shakespearean allusions
    -NOT illusions but allusions – (references to other texts)
  • Lighting directions
    - a good technique to use because this shows a demonstration of understanding of the text type (play)
  • Symbolism
    -the classic English technique – its all throughout the text, look for it!!!!

***The best students are the ones who can say how the use of techniques demonstrates the theme. An example:

“The storm is also a metaphor for the healing power of nature, paralleled by Gow’s use of light and the outdoors. The opening scene in the school hall has the fairies scurrying about in the “garish light”. After the storm “there is darkness” then the “light becomes warm and intense.” This indicates that a superficial life can be led but to truly understand oneself obstacles and hardships must be overcome but ultimately they lead to a greater understanding of self. Once the storm occurs, the play never again goes back indoors. Upon coming home, Away has completed a full circle but there is an off turn in the circle, in that the class is now outdoors “under the trees” not in the “garish light” of the school hall. Away and the chapter of the characters journeys closes at the conclusion of the play, but the journey itself continues “toward death”.”


What supplementary texts should I use for Away?

This is a tricky question because depending upon what analysis you have of Away, different texts will suit it. Here are just a few suggestions used by students before that have worked:


Pretty Woman directed by Gerry Marshall
Paradise Road directed by Bruce Beresford
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
Billy Elliot directed by Stephen Daldry
A Man Called Horse by Dorothy M. Johnson
I Am the Cheese by Robert Cormier
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Dead Poets Society directed by Peter Weir
Stand By Me directed by Rob Reiner


If you are a student who has previously done Away please post anymore suggestions on this thread. I will add the relevant text then delete your post.

How do I link the texts?

There are several ways you can do this – I can identify TWO main effective ways.

1. Through themes and techniques
2. Through the parallel of one character to another

This does not necessarily mean idenfiying a technique which is used in both Away and in your supp text. What you are looking for is more of the effect.


Below is an example of combining both these linking ways whereby the student has identified a theme, a technique and a character that all link in together.

“The healing power of music in Paradise Road unified the prisoners and gave them the courage to survive the war. Dvorak’s ‘Largo’ from his New World Symphony is the music of hope, similar to the soundtrack which accompanies Away, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Nights Dream. Mendelssohn wrote A Midsummer Nights Dream at the age of 17, the same age as Tom and it was noted: “notably for its beautiful integration and unity of spirit” – similar to Tom’s unifying spirit in Away. It is the vocal orchestra which brings the women together, regardless of race, religion or creed as they sang in harmony. The arranger of the scores Mrs Drummond, can be paralleled to Tom as she brings the women to music but ultimately cannot go on.”


REMEMBER at the end of the day YOU are the one that has to make the effort to read the text, learn the quotes, write the practice essays and remember your texts. No one else can do this for you. Ultimately, YOU remain responsible for YOUR own learning.

Very best of luck to you all.
 

g3ra1d

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hey champ........

thanks for postin the faq's on away.much needed. i was wondering if u are able to help me with this question.

"to what extent has studyng the conept of physical journeys expanded your understanding of yourself, of individuas, and of the world?"

how would u refer it to away.........???

thanks champ.........
 

Mary Jane

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Family, individuality and how they combine....secondardy issues life and death...understanding and incomprehension...talking and fighting....accepting and denial...lots of chance to use the catch word of the day 'juxtopsition; - meaning contrast
 

mickymo

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heya um thats really helpful can u help with this question btw im using a friends acount im doing my hsc this yr 2006 thanks heaps

"to what extent has studyng the conept of physical journeys expanded your understanding of yourself, of individuas, and of the world?"

i got notes i just perfer to hear what u got to say thanks o much
 

samfa88

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hey this info was heaps helpful. i may have a chance after all lol :) thanx
 

hungynguyen

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mickymo said:
heya um thats really helpful can u help with this question btw im using a friends acount im doing my hsc this yr 2006 thanks heaps

"to what extent has studyng the conept of physical journeys expanded your understanding of yourself, of individuas, and of the world?"

i got notes i just perfer to hear what u got to say thanks o much
My intro:Within the construct of a journey, regardless of its genre, we as responders are invited to experience and explore essential human truths and challenges. These truths are not limited to the exploits of the individual or protagonist within the text, but are applicable to our own understanding of individuals and of the world. The play Away by Michael Gow .......

My central focus is on TWO characters Gwen and Coral

I made reference to the three important scenes which led to change in Gwen.

THE STORM:healing power of nature=> Shakespearean technique in the storm scene 'fairies wreak havoc and noise'=> helps Gwen break away from materialism.
-The nocturne in this scene heightens this turnaround in the play.

STRANGER IN THE SHORE: her enthusiasm;the play was led 'thunderously by Gwen' and her sour disappointment with the production of Midsummer Night's Dream in the beginning 'very silly choice if you ask me' shows she has become more appreciative of others rather than her materialistic possessions.

TRANSITION SCENE: accepting the slippers symbolises her acceptance of domesticity. Warm yellow lighting 'the light becomes bright, summery, morning' symbolises hope for Gwen.
 

hungynguyen

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mickymo said:
heya um thats really helpful can u help with this question btw im using a friends acount im doing my hsc this yr 2006 thanks heaps

"to what extent has studyng the conept of physical journeys expanded your understanding of yourself, of individuas, and of the world?"

i got notes i just perfer to hear what u got to say thanks o much
My intro:Within the construct of a journey, regardless of its genre, we as responders are invited to experience and explore essential human truths and challenges. These truths are not limited to the exploits of the individual or protagonist within the text, but are applicable to our own understanding of individuals and of the world. The play Away by Michael Gow .......

My central focus is on TWO characters Gwen and Coral

I made reference to the three important scenes which led to change in Gwen.

THE STORM:healing power of nature=> Shakespearean technique in the storm scene 'fairies wreak havoc and noise'=> helps Gwen break away from materialism.
-The nocturne in this scene heightens this turnaround in the play.

STRANGER IN THE SHORE: her enthusiasm;the play was led 'thunderously by Gwen' and her sour disappointment with the production of Midsummer Night's Dream in the beginning 'very silly choice if you ask me' shows she has become more appreciative of others rather than her materialistic possessions.

TRANSITION SCENE: accepting the slippers symbolises her acceptance of domesticity. Warm yellow lighting 'the light becomes bright, summery, morning' symbolises hope for Gwen.
 

rocbot

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thnks for doin this it has really helped me alot
 

RhiRha

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Thanks for this... I have absolutly NO TECHNIQUES for this essay. My teacher was getting abit old i think lol.:eek:
 

Forbidden.

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Hey, no-one here has mentioned intertextuality i.e. 'play within the play'
e.g Strangers On The Shore represents a turning point for Coral on her journey of recovery.

RhiRha said:
Thanks for this... I have absolutly NO TECHNIQUES for this essay. My teacher was getting abit old i think lol.:eek:
:eek: ... Not even Coral's repetition of "I'm walking" ?
 

RamyuN

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wat kind of physical journey is in dead poets society??
 

coolcapsicum

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is stand by me a good related text for away?.. i remember .. studying it in like yr. 9 in new zealand..

but don't remember exactly every single detail..
 

delusional

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heys

does anyone have any idea how i can link the hobbit to away ??

your help is much appreciated =)
 

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