2Ellie at the beginning of the novel is… A simple country girl who is a “tomboy”. She is very proud of being able to do practical farm things like driving the land-rover, tractor, working with stock and mending fences. Ellie though is unsophisticated and not that in touch with her feelings. She has never faced a war situation where she has to hide, dodge bullets and murder to keep herself and her friends alive.We see the first sign of change in Ellie’s personality when they are sneaking up on showgrounds where all the residents of Wirrawee have been held prisoner. Ellie doesn’t know if she will have the courage – but she does. “I felt then, and still feel now, that I was transformed by those four steps. At that moment I stopped being an innocent rural teenager and started becoming someone else, a more complicated and capable person, a force to be reckoned with … not just a polite obedient kid.
3Ellie now a murderer to keep her friends alive in a state of war Reflecting on how she had blown up the lawnmower and the soldiers. “It was hard for me to believe that I, plain old Ellie, nothing special about, middle of the road in every way, had …just killed three people…. I could never be normal again… feelings… condemned to wither and die.”
4Ellie wonders whether she is any more moral than the hermit. She killed for the reasons of saving herself and her friends. The hermit killed his family so that they wouldn’t suffer. “ I too had blood on my hands. …just as the hermit couldn’t tell whether his actions were good or bad, so too I couldn’t tell what mine were. Had I killed out of love of my friends as part of a noble crusade to rescue friends and family and keep our land free…I didn’t feel like a criminal, but I didn’t feel like a hero either.”
5Ellie thought hard about what was “right” and “wrong” Ellie thought hard about what was “right” and “wrong”. She had to rely on the fact that she was different to those people who were ugly on the inside. A war criminal perhaps, but like the hermit, had been forced to commit crimes and murder because of the extreme circumstances she was faced with. “ I had a sense within me… to find the right thing to do – instinct, conscience, imagination.”
6Ellie changes from innocent rural girl to someone who realises the seriousness of their situation. Then becomes a mature teenager that is ready to face her new situation.Ellie processes the information about what has been happening to her in a nightmare – she is an uncontrollable monster; hurting her family and killing and maiming.She wakes from her nightmare to a symbolic rebirth. She is now calm and able to cope again. Evidence for this is John Marsden writing that Ellie notices the cockatoos flying above like ‘white angels’. She notices that new life still exists around her with “many shades of green”. Ellie emerges from her sleeping like she is a new butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. She goes down to the creek to wash/cleanse/renew.
7Ellie comes to terms with the morality of killing in a war situation. She considers that she is not a mean or brutal person as some people are that she knows. “Call it anything – instinct, conscience, imagination…I could think of one way in which I was different. It was confidence.” Fortunately she had come to this decision before she heard from Robyn that she had killed soldiers in the explosion.“it’s different than in the movies, isn’t it?” Lee.
8Ellie doesn’t want to end up a coroner’s report Standing in the stream after they had been through the hermit’s belongings.Ellie noticed that the emotion of the facts had been buried in the coroner’s report.She wants to live life with emotion and feel her emotions.WE see later that she learns how to abandon herself and start to “fool around” quite keenly and comfortably.
9Homer Beginning of novel – Homer is boisterous and unreliable. “He was wild and outrageous. He didn’t care what he did or what anyone thought….Homer always seemed to be in trouble…He wasn’t even trusted to hand out the books at school.”
10Homer a very different person – according to Ellie While Fi is stealing the tanker with Ellie, Ellie discusses how Homer has changed.“Homer was the surprise of my life. He even seemed better looking these days, probably because his head was up and he walked more confidently.”
11Fi becoming mature and brave Fi says that they can’t just sit there and keep themselves safe – even though that’s what their parents would like. “We have to do what’s right for us. We have to find meanings for our own lives…scared out of my skin…but I’ll do it.”
12Fi develops the confidence To volunteer to be first sentry. This is just before they go to blow up the bridge.Just before they go about stealing the tanker to go and blow up the bridge, Ellie is expressing her thoughts about Fi’s improvement. Meaning that she has got braver. But Ellie is also very worried about how Fi will cope under extreme pressure of danger. Will she be able to trust her?”I did just hope that when the chips were down she wouldn’t stand there frozen with fear.”Ellie gets a lot more confident about Fi’s ability to carry out her mission. “ here she was, elegant, Vogue …seemed delicate an timid, and she even claimed herself that she was, but she had a determination I hadn’t recognised before. There was a spirit to her, a fire burning inside her somewhere.”
13EllieKevinCorrieChrisHomerRobynFiLeeSettings:After Common Day when the Wirrawee Show was on.Town of WirraweeThe concentration camp at the Wirrawee Showgrounds“Hell” or an “Eden” of safety hidden by Satan’s StepsSetting of first assault:Mrs Alexander’s gardenThemes/main ideas/ issues:Change to environmentChange to lifeChange to relationshipsChange in personalitiesChange to the way each of the teenagers viewed each otherRelationships between the teenagers
14Suspense created during the match-striking scene Suspense created during the match-striking scene. They blew up the ride-on mower.Ellie tired and worn out but must keep biking away from Mrs Alexander’s garden. SURVIVAL.PAGE 95 HOMER STARTS TO SHOW LEADERSHIP QUALITIES.THREW A COFFEE MUG AT THE BACK OF THE FIRE PLACEELLIE REALISES THAT SHE HAS CHANGED SO MUCH SHE COULD NOW MURDER. “Killed three people”
27Homer and Ellie head to Robyn’s to find her and Lee “In the midst of death we are in life” EllieRelationships: Ellie thinking about Homer and Lee. We were in the midst of war and here I was thinking about boys! 124
30Change to how they are having to live to survive. Context is Homer speaking to them about how they are going to have to live.“…just got to become totally nocturnal and triple-check every move…we should get more supplies in and make it a proper headquarters…organising rations…living off the land… a guerrilla outfit.”
32The morality of warRobyn can understand why the neighbouring country would want to invade. Australia hasn’t been prepared to share their natural resources.“We’ve got all this land and all these resources, and yet there’s countries a crow’s spit away that have people packed in like battery hens. You can’t blame them for resenting it.”“well that’s the way the cookie crumbles,” says Kevin.“In fact it looks like they are taking the whole packet!” Robyn replied.“If you’ve lived your life in a slum, starving, unemployed, always ill, and you saw the people across the road sunbaking and eating ice cream … then you’d convince yourself that taking their wealth and sharing it around …isn’t such a terrible thing to do… There doesn’t have to be a wrong side or a right side. Both sides can be wrong.”
33The Hermit from Hell represents someone who had to escape from society because they had been misunderstood.He is someone who has been judged by society.He has been accused of murdering his wife and child. He shot them in the head.It turns out that there had been a fire and Bertram Christie [the hermit] had found his family either burned badly and needing to be put out of their misery, or about to be burnt with no escape.He had been a war hero.
34Change “Hell” - “the place was beautiful and I was with my friends and they were good people, we were coping OK with tough circumstances. There were lots of things to be unhappy about, but somehow the papers I’d read in the Hermit’s hut …had given me a better perspective on life.”Hell is a human invention of the MIND. Not a geographic location. Guilt.Ellie thought hard about what was “right” and “wrong”. She had to rely on the fact that she was different to those people who were ugly on the inside. A war criminal perhaps, but like the hermit, had been forced to commit crimes and murder because of the extreme circumstances she was faced with. “ I had a sense within me… to find the right thing to do – instinct, conscience, imagination.”Robyn tells Ellie that the soldiers she had blown up had died. But she is Ok with it now. “It’s different from the movies,” Lee.
35Relationships theme Ellie’s developing relationship with Lee. Context/example from the text – was when Ellie and Lee were asleep together in the haystack. They are talking about how things have changed and all the things that happened to them in such a short time. “Too many things – too much has happened”They are cuddling and Ellie tells him that she dreamed about him. They end up kissing passionately. Desperate times draws people together
36Chris is someone that you can’t trust Chris falls to sleep when he is meant to be on sentry duty. Pg 161. “He’d risked the lives of all of us by being so slack.”
37Change to their world/environment Context when Corrie tests the ‘tranny’ and stumbles onto a report about how their country had been invaded “many civilian and military prisoners have been captured”. “forces have occupied major coastal cities”. Pg 168
38Change to the environment Context – example – evidence from Kevin and Robyn who have been in Wirrawee. “40 people have been killed.”“They keep talking about a ‘clean’ invasion. …They’re going to colonise the whole country with their own people, and all the farms will be split up between them, and we’ll just be allowed to do menial jobs, like cleaning lavs.”“Hey, we could end up being the nation!” Kevin.
39Homer shows leadership and strategic thinking – blowing up the bridge Homer shows leadership and strategic thinking – blowing up the bridge. “It was a high risk plan but a brilliant one.” Ellie
40Fi She was elegant, Vogue, designer label, big house on the hill… delicate and timid…but she had a determination I hadn’t recognised before. There was a spirit to her, a fire burning inside her somewhere.“Homer was the surprise of my life. ..” Ellie
42EpilogueKevin – went from being macho, turned out to be a wimp – blood-thirsty/scared – finally Ellie describes him as “Loyalty, courage and goodness” this is when he is looking after Corrie and takes her to the hospital.Fi – ends up reliable and wanting to be a “rural” making fence posts for the hens.Robyn continues to read her Bible for understanding of her situation.
432011 sample essay questions for written texts. Describe at least ONE character or individual you enjoyed reading about in the text(s).Explain why the character(s) or individual(s) helped you understand an idea in the text(s).Describe at least ONE idea in the text(s) that you found interesting.Explain why the idea(s) was interesting in the text(s) as a whole.Describe at least ONE important aspect of setting in the text(s).Explain why an aspect(s) of setting helped you understand a key idea(s) in the text(s).Note: Setting could include time and / or place.Describe at least ONE language feature that was used to help you understand an important idea in the text(s).Explain why the language feature(s) helped you understand a key idea(s) in the text(s).Note: Language feature(s) could include imagery, style, vocabulary, or symbolism.Describe at least ONE event at or near the end of the text(s) that was important.Explain why the event helped you understand a key idea(s) in the text(s).Describe at least ONE important conflict in the text(s).Explain why the conflict helped you understand a key idea(s) in the text(s).
44QUESTIONS YOU MAY WISH TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH: (All of this year’s question topics most likely will require links to themes/ideas seen in the text:Describe an interesting aspect of the text’s style (e.g. word choice, use of language features/ techniques, structure or layout of the text TRICKY for most students – not enough time spent on this…Describe a problem that a character faces. Explain how successful the character is in solving it.Describe a place or an object. Explain why it is important.Describe a theme that interests you. Explain what you think about it.Describe an event that surprised you. Explain why the event is important.Briefly describe One important scene or event in your novel. Explain why it is important.Describe how a character faced pressure. Explain how he or she coped with it.Describe a character in conflict in your text. Explain how this conflict is resolved. Eg. Robyn’s religious beliefs and her ability to understand why the soldiers had invaded conflicts with morality of killing to save friends’ lives. Ellie and the morality of war – killing being justified?.
45Describe a dominant personality and the effect that person has in the text. Describe the most important relationship in your text. Explain how this relationship influences events.Describe the most important thing that happened to a main character in your text. Explain, with detailed reasons, why it was important.Describe the main challenge to a major character in your text and explain, giving detailed examples, how the character responded to this challenge.Explain an important idea in your text and give detailed reasons as to why it was important.Describe an important decision that a main character had to make. Explain what effect this decision had on the people OR events of the text you studied.Describe an idea that interested you in the text. Explain why this idea interested you.Describe a challenge faced by a character in the text. Explain how the character dealt with the challenge.
46TOPICS (Choose ONE)Describe a choice made by a character or individual in the text. Explain how this choice brought about a change in that character or individual.Describe an important idea you learned about in the text. Explain why this idea was worth learning about.Describe an experience or event that was important to a character or individual in the text. Explain why this experience or event was important to that character or individual.Describe an important time or place in the text. Explain why this time or place is important in the text.Describe a strong relationship between at least TWO characters or individuals in the text. Explain how this relationship helped you understand these characters or individuals.Describe an important scene or event at (or near) the beginning of the text. Explain how this scene or event helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.
472005 TOPICS (Choose ONE)1. Describe a memorable setting in the text.Explain how this setting helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.2. Describe a situation or event in the text that shocked or surprised you.Explain how this situation or event helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.3. Describe an important change that happened in the text.Explain how this change helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.4. Describe a challenge faced by a character in the text.Explain how the challenge helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.5. Describe an important scene at (or near) the end of the text.Explain how this scene helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.6. Describe an important conflict in the text.Explain how this conflict helped you understand an idea (or ideas) in the text.