First HSC Subject Complete for 2022

This afternoon Jasmine Ingram and Luke Briscoe submitted their Extension 2 English Major Works to NESA thus marking the completion of the first HSC subject for 2022!

Extension 2 English has long been perceived as the most academically rigorous subject offered in the HSC. The subject is not restrained by an HSC examination; instead, students commit to a robust 12-month process of research and composition which culminates in the construction of a carefully considered Major Work. Unlike other exam-based subjects, Extension 2 English provides students with the opportunity to pursue their English based passions, grapple with complex ideas and even more importantly, to develop their own personal voice as they become the composer rather than the responder.

Extension 2 English allows students to work within the parameters of a range of different textual forms. This year, both Jasmine and Luke chose to compose a piece of short fiction. What they have managed to achieve over the last 12 months is remarkable. They have demonstrated maturity, agility and huge personal growth as English scholars, ultimately producing Major Works that they can be incredibly proud of.

Jasmine’s Major Work, Red Walls; White Blossoms is a multi-layered dual perspective narrative that aims to interrogate the validity of self-categorisation and by extension, constructed reality. Using the stylistic features of magical realism, Jasmine immerses the reader into two unique temporal settings.  The first is set in the present and offers the perspective of a mixed-race tourist who travels to the Forbidden City to unpack her cultural identity. The other is set in the distant past during the Qing Dynasty and explores the turmoil of a teenage concubine. Despite living hundreds of years apart, on an icy day in the Forbidden City, their stories converge, allowing each of them to attain the freedom and complex understanding of self that they had both been searching for.  Jasmine’s experimental approach is highly original, and it has allowed her to create a piece of writing that is nuanced, poignant and indicative of her wonderfully creative spirit.

Luke’s Major Work, TRAMMEL is a Hong Kong centric narrative that propels readers to consider the subjective nature of truth and individual perception. The plot centres on varying narrative perspectives of the central character; Karl, with the interest lying in the fact that Karl is never actually afforded narrative control or privilege. Instead, through the multi-perspective approach, he is metaphorically enmeshed in a trammel net of contradictory perspectives thus requiring the reader to untangle the woven rope fibres to construct their own sense of truth. The narrative unfolds throughout the city and surrounding waters of Hong Kong with water-based imagery and fishing nets emerging as the dominant extended metaphor that unifies the three opposing narrative strands. TRAMMEL is notable for its wonderfully evocative exploration of our local landscape and has allowed Luke to pay homage to the city that he has grown to love.

The Major Work is a self-directed project, but Jasmine and Luke should be commended for the collaborative approach that they have taken this year. This is a challenge that they have embraced as a ‘dynamic duo’ and it has been wonderful to see them sharing ideas, offering suggestions in the composition phase and most recently, proofreading as the clock ticked closer and closer to the 3pm submission. It has been a privilege for Mr Mui and me to guide them on this journey, to observe their growth and to see them flourish as writers.

As always, the completion of a high-level HSC subject is not possible without a team of dedicated staff working behind the scenes. This has been Mr Caleb Mui’s first year teaching Extension 2 English and I have very much appreciated his depth of knowledge and the critical eye that he has been able to bring to the process. Special thanks must also go to Mr Peter Phillips, Mr Wade Cox and Mrs Janine Haymes for assisting with internal assessments and extra feedback.

Finally, congratulations Jasmine and Luke; we hope that your love of language and literature continues to intensify in the coming years and that you will always look back on this experience fondly.

Jo Craig | Head of English