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Ministry of Education.

Exemplar B: Merit

Explain how characters in two short stories are ‘out of their comfort zones’ and respond to the situations they face

Develops and structures ideas convincingly.

Clearly structured:

  • an introduction
  • separate paragraphs exploring how each story is linked to the theme
  • a conclusion comparing and contrasting the thematic treatment in the stories.

Develops relevant and connected ideas about characters in both stories, well supported by relevant examples.

Makes connections between the two stories: in this case, convincingly comments on significant thematic connections and diffferences.

Neither the boy, the main character in the short story Patricia Grace’s ‘The Hills’ nor the man in the taxi in Apirana Taylor’s ‘The Red Sari’ have control over the problems they face.

In ‘The Hills,’ the boy goes through a terrible experience after being taken to the police station. What starts out as few drinks with his friends turns into an experience that changes the boy forever. He is assaulted and insulted by the police. The boy thinks that it is all part of a game “only rougher than usual,” but he is definitely out of his comfort zone. At the police station the boy is cavity searched which has a huge impact on him. Before this happens the boy has been a “funny man” who imagines the hills look like “bums and boobs.” The experience in the police station changes his whole outlook on life. He cannot even look at the hills again, let alone joke about them like he did before.

The man in the taxi in the story ‘The Red Sari’ is facing a very different challenging situation. He is stuck in a traffic jam in the middle of New Delhi. He feels ‘out of his comfort zone’ because he does not know what to do. He is faced with beggars like Fatima asking for money. He cannot get away from the situation as the traffic is completely grid locked. The man tries to ignore Fatima and others like her around him. He thinks to himself, “Look straight ahead. Close your eyes? That’s like admitting something’s bothering you.” He wishes he couldn’t hear her calling to him or see her unmistakable sign language for eating as she pleads for food. He tries to reason his way through the problem by thinking that the poverty is so big that there is nothing that he can do about it. As soon as the traffic starts to move, the man can drive away from the beggars and pretend the problem that made him feel uncomfortable no longer exists.

The characters in both stories are in situations that neither of them want to be in. Both situations are similar in that neither character is in control, but the outcome in each case is completely different. Unlike the man in ‘The Red Sari’ who simply drives away from his problems and forgets the situation quickly, the boy in ‘The Hills’ cannot forget the experience he has been through and is deeply emotionally scarred.

Uses language features with control.

Appropriate and varied vocabulary choices made.

Range of syntax used with control.

Text conventions used accurately.

Published on: 23 Nov 2010