Marriage and Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” (5) And it is a truth universally acknowledged that the novels of Jane Austen are centralised around the theme that young women must be married, least they want to die an old maid.

In ‘Pride and Prejudice’, the very first line prepares the reader as to what this novel will be about, the Bennet family is in need to be married, and who better a character to emphasize this than Mrs. Bennet, “The business of her life was to get her daughters married;” In ‘Emma’, we know that the heroine’s matchmaking skills enable her to discover how tricky the marriage market can be, especially when she falls for it herself. And in ‘Northanger Abbey’, Catherine Moreland discovers that it is only until she is mature that she can finally marry the man she loves, and achieve the goal shared by all heroines in Jane Austen’s novels.

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Review: The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion Text Publishing

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Text Publishing

I have been meaning to read Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project ever since I began studying Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT. Graeme had apparently completed a stint in a few of the writing subjects I took, and was proclaimed to have been a ‘success story’ of the course. But it wasn’t simply this trophy alone that had me intrigued. Any mention of The Rosie Project or Graeme Simsion’s name had my fellow students react in some surprising ways. The most common was a snigger followed by the most outspoken student of the room declaring it to be ‘the worst book, ever’. I was rather surprised. I had read Rosalie Ham’s The Dressmaker in high school and thought, even with some flaws in sustaining focus in the second act, it was a beautifully written and engaging novel. It was why I chose to participate in this writing course, I wanted to write something that might one day be published and inspire another student in a remote country town…

But I digress.

I initially thought the reaction to The Rosie Project was the effects of pure jealousy. Yes I had heard that Graeme worked tirelessly to promote his work on social media, bordering on the line of annoying. I heard he was a bit full of himself. But I thought my fellow students were just indulging in the Australian way of cutting down tall poppies in case their head got too full of themselves. So in order to cut the mystery and to figure out if Graeme was full of shit or not, I finally sat down to read The Rosie Project.

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The City in Film Noir

The theme of the city is important to film noir. Noir captures the insignificance of man as an individual and the setting of the city heightens this insecure and inconsequential feeling. The classic look of the city in Noir is at night, neon lights illuminating the damp concrete, the sound of high heels clicking on wet pavement, dark alleyways and cramped apartments. The city is claustrophobic and at the same time it’s easy to get swallowed up in its immensity. In Noir, the city has changed from a place of adventure and excitement to a place of alienation and darkness.

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Duty of Care

When the Supreme Court awarded $1.2 million in compensation to Peter Doulis after it found Werribee Secondary College had failed in its duty of care to him, I was relieved.

Finally, the Department of Education was being held responsible for its gross negligence to many Victorian teachers who are burnt out and at risk of severe health problems. At last, we can start having a conversation about what is really happening in our schools and how easy it is for the Department of Education to shut the door on teacher’s classroom and ignore the cries for help.

As I read through the articles describing Mr Doulis’s outcome, I was shocked at the angle the media were taking.

“Former teacher Peter Doulis awarded damages over ‘unruly’ students”

“Teacher sues over difficult students”

“Australian teacher who suffered nervous breakdown after student made flamethrower in class wins £720,000 payout”

“TAXPAYERS will fork out close to $800000 to a former high school …”

What the hell?

Let me make this clear. Peter Doulis was awarded monetary compensation of 1.279 million dollars for general damages, past loss of earnings, future economic loss, and interest. This was awarded to him because Werribee Secondary College, and therefore the state of Victoria, failed in its duty of care to support Mr Doulis after he sought assistance when allocated an unfair workload of low-achieving and disengaged students. It is not because of ‘feral students’ as the newspapers are so keen to point out.

So-called ‘feral’ students are not the problem here. They are a by-product of an useless school administration caused by ineffectual educational policy created by our government. A change is well overdue.

Because three years ago, I was having a psychological breakdown of my own.

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Fact or Fiction? The Blending of Genres to Find Deeper Meaning

Someone once said that to be a good writer, you should write about what you know. But where is the line between artistic licence and an invasion of privacy when writing about the people and events in our lives?

Helen Garner has received much criticism for her novel The Spare Room, due to the striking resemblance of the environment and characters to her own life and the people in it. To some, it is a work of non-fiction and yet Garner herself continues to call it fiction.

Caroline Baum, editor of Good Reading Magazine remembers a time when she was “stupid enough” to use real names and personal details of people she worked with while contributing to an anthology on the theme of marriage. She recalls how she “lost all sense of propriety and caution, believing no-one from this chapter of my life would ever know I had contributed to this collection or bother to read the story.” Is it justifiable to say that writers write about life and what life centres on relationships and people? Do writers need to give their friends disclaimers, informing them that they may well in the future be used as creative sustenance?

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What do students want? Deconstructing the Teacher Ideal

‘Does anyone know what an effective teacher looks like?’

It was the first week in my graduate diploma of education. I was sitting next to my brother in a university classroom that was usually reserved for science classes. The chairs protested as they were grazed along the linoleum floor. An old-school projector sat up the front of the classroom, along with its operator.

‘Anyone?’

I was reminded of Ferris Bueler’s Day Off, and wondered if this was the right room. I stole glances at the other students who steadfastly looked anywhere but at our teacher. Avoidance is the number one tactic used by students when asked a question, we would learn later in the year. The key was to pick on one, but choose the most extraverted student so you don’t damage an introverted one by singling them out in front of their classmates. In fact, the extroverts will love the attention. It was a rhetorical question. The answer lies in adjectives like inspiring, knowledgeable, and authoritative.

Bueller...Bueller....

Bueller…Bueller….

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How to get a job when you are out of the game

Was it really this bad???

Was it really this bad???

As I prepared to enter the teaching profession again, I rebounded between cautious apprehension and absolute terror. I dreamt of studious, efficient classrooms where each student got a pat on the head and my desk was overflowing with apples. Then I dreamt of classrooms where every student was on a behavioral contract and I dodged the chairs sailing over my desk. I read all the progress in Australian curriculum and planned new units of work based on relevant sources that speak to teenagers. Then I remembered I have no control over what I teach and I would probably be delivering Romeo and Juliet to kids who have been sexting each other since they were 13. I watched the last few dollars of my bank account disappear each week and salivated at the prospect of being able to afford a new car, a holiday and dinners that don’t involve tinned tuna. Then I realised that 10% of my last teaching salary went towards weekly therapy sessions where I talked incessantly about my childhood and how that impacted on the way my students behave (um, what?).

But I am an adult, and my time as a university student has come to a close. I have sponged off the government, my savings and my dad, and all those resources have dried up. It was time to become a responsible adult contributing to the community, who can afford to eat fresh fish for dinner and pay her car registration.

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