Reading and analysing language

Students engage with an extract from Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner and a painting by Eugene Von Guerard separately analysing the use of techniques in each, before making a judgement about whether written or visual language is more engaging.

Student activities

Task no. 1

Language analysis

Read the following extract from Seven Little Australians and analyse the language choices.

‘Down at the foot of the grass hill there was a flame-coloured sky, with purple, soft clouds massed in banks high up where the dying glory met the paling blue. The belt of trees had grown black, and stretched sombre, motionless arms against the orange background. All the wind had died, and the air hung hot and still, freighted with the strange silence of the bush.’

Visualise the scene that is being described. Annotate or list examples of the following language devices:

  • Emotive language
  • Figurative language (specifically personification)
  • Sensory and colour imagery

Discuss the following: What is the mood or feeling that is created and how do the language features contribute to this?

Task no. 2

Compare and Contrast

View the painting, Sunset in New South Wales by Eugene von Guerard, below.

Complete a venn diagram comparing the similarities and differences between the scene in the painting and the scene described in the extract from Seven Little Australians. Draw on the scene you visualised in your mind when you read the extract for the first time.

Discuss: What do you prefer – written description or a visual image? Justify your response using examples from the extract from Seven Little Australians and the painting Sunset in New South Wales.  

Sunset in New South Wales, 1865
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