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English – HSC Major Work


The English Extension 2 course requires students to conduct extensive independent research in order to create a Major Work, which explores a topic relevant to the study of literature. Students may choose from a variety of forms including narrative, poetry, critical response, sound, and multimedia. The course requires students to think critically, develop original insights, continually reevaluate their ideas and extensively redraft their work.

Three intrepid English students chose to take on this challenging in 2023: Benjamin Stansfield, Lachlan Sherratt and Tom Conroy. While all three chose to compose critical responses, they developed their own unique approach to the course, and each of their responses was the culmination of a personal process of reading, reflection, writing and redrafting. Tom’s fictocritical response, Cinematic Ontologies of the Posthuman Consciousness, applied posthumanist theories to a variety of Science Fiction films in order to consider the ways in which the emergence of Artificial Intelligence necessitates a shift in the way composers represent and audiences understand consciousness. Lachlan’s personal essay, Hypermasculinity, examined the way toxic masculinity has led to problematic interpretations of literature and film, tracing this phenomenon from Hamlet to more contemporary examples in Fight Club and American Psycho. Benjamin’s Major Work, The Epidemic of Identity Politics, explored the ways in which cancel culture and identity politics have shaped the interpretation and publication of literature, examining the potential ramifications for literature and creativity.

Each of these students should be commended for their willingness to undertake a demanding course, to accept feedback and continually refine their ideas. Most of all, they should be congratulated for developing their own voice and understanding of the world. Each of them have crafted a unique ‘verse’ to contributed to the ‘powerful play’ of ideas, art and culture.

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