AREA OF STUDY 1

Reading and responding
This area of study focuses on the reading of a range of literary texts to develop critical and supported responses. Students examine the structures, features and conventions used by authors of a range of selected texts to construct meaning. They identify, discuss and analyse these in order to explain how meaning is constructed through textual elements such as language and images. They also examine the ways in which the same text is open to different interpretations by different readers; for example, the ways in which a text can be read differently in a different time, place or culture. They describe and analyse the way in which social, historical and/or cultural values are embodied in texts, and develop oral and written responses to a selected text, using appropriate metalanguage.

Outcome 1
On completion of this unit the student should be able to analyse, either orally or in writing, how a selected text constructs meaning, conveys ideas and values, and is open to a range of interpretations. To achieve this outcome the student will draw on knowledge and related skills outlined in area of study 1.

Key knowledge includes
• an understanding of the ideas, characters and themes constructed by the author and presented in the selected text;
• the structures, features and conventions used by authors to construct meaning in a range of literary texts;
• methods of analysing complex texts and the social, historical and/or cultural values embodied in texts;
• the ways in which the same text is open to different interpretations by different readers;
• strategies and techniques for constructing a supported analysis of a text, including a knowledge of the metalanguage appropriate to the analysis and to the text type;
• key elements of oral language conventions and usage in a range of text types;
• features of spoken texts which successfully engage audiences;
• techniques for managing feedback and leading discussion;
• the conventions of spelling, punctuation and syntax of Standard Australian English.

Key skills include the ability to
• critically analyse texts and the ways in which authors construct meaning;
• analyse the social, historical and/or cultural values embodied in texts;
• discuss and compare possible interpretations of texts using evidence from the text;
• use appropriate metalanguage to construct a supported analysis of a text;
• plan and revise written work for fluency and coherence;
• apply oral language conventions in a chosen oral text type;
• engage an audience through interested and varied language use; respond to audience interest and engagement;
• use the conventions of spelling, punctuation and syntax of Standard Australian English.

SAC Details

  • The SAC will be held in 3 periods in the week 8
  • Topics will be distributed in first class of SAC and your notes & SAC will be collected at the end of each period
  • No new notes can be brought in after the SAC has begun
  • One page (double sided) notes/ quotes [handwritten] to be brought to class
  • A dictionary is allowed
  • Work must be handwritten
  • This essay is worth 35% of your Unit 3 score
  • Expected word length 900 words


Introduction and Background Information


Link to Study Design: to understand and analyse the social, historical and/or cultural values embodied the text Twelve Angry Men.

Twelve Angry Men is set in America in the mid-1950s. America was experiencing the Civil Rights Movement which was concerned with ending racial discrimination, and with issues of freedom, respect and equality. In Twelve Angry Men, these issues form the historical context for the legal and personal conflicts which take place in the jury-room. The conflicts between jurors are sometimes personal, but also represent larger cultural conflicts over belief systems and social class. Rose had a particular interest in social justice and Twelve Angry Men is an example of how he explored these concerns in his work. For example, the issue of prejudice is at the centre of many of the conflicts between characters and also forms the basis of some characters’ world views. The central characters in the play do not have a complex understanding of the law. They are ordinary people, just like members of the audience which allows us to form a strong connection with the characters and their concerns.

Activity: You will need to do some research in order to gain an understanding of 1950's America; the time and place in which 12 Angry Men is set. In pairs, research one of the following topics:
  • The Cold War and Fear of Communism in 1950's America
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_War
http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/McCarthyism
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1950s
  • Racial segregation and the Civil Rights Movement of 1950's America
http://www.english-online.at/history/civil-rights-movement/civil-rights-movement-history-and-causes.htm
http://www.sparknotes.com/us-government-and-politics/american-government/civil-liberties-and-civil-rights/section2.rhtml
http://library.thinkquest.org/07aug/00117/civilrights.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregation_in_the_United_States
  • Social class conflicts in 1950's America
http://www.sparknotes.com/testprep/books/sat2/history/chapter19section5.rhtml
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_in_the_1950s
http://www.washoe.k12.nv.us/americanhistory/secondary/lessons/lessons_std09/menante_k3.html

Write a list of questions beginning with 'who', 'what', 'why', 'where', 'when' and 'how' to guide your research. You must be ready to present a short overview of your findings to the class on Monday.

Activity: After the presentations, read and complete p.19 of your Insight workbook.

Style, Structure, Setting and Language


Link to Study Design: to understand the structures, features and conventions used by Rose to construct meaning in Twelve Angry Men.

Twelve Angry Men is part of a realist style known as a ‘slice of life’ because it presents an honest look at a realistic situation. The writing and staging of Twelve Angry Men rarely relies on metaphor or symbolism.

There are no distinct scenes, but the play can be measured by the votes which serve as markers for the audience in the journey through the play and which help to structure the action.

The play follows the three classical unities – rules of drama derived from basic principles explored by Aristotle. Twelve Angry Men obeys the unity of time: there are no shifts or disjunctions of chronology, and the action takes place over a confined and continuous period of time. Similarly the unity of place is fulfilled, as the entire play occurs in a single location. Finally the unity of action dictates that there should be a single central plot around which the play revolves. Twelve Angry Men satisfies this condition: the central issue of the play is the jury’s decision-making process in reaching a verdict. The relationships between characters, and details of their personal lives, always serve this central plot rather than forming separate sub-plots.

Rose’s characters use naturalistic, everyday language. They speak in concrete terms about the details of the case. They do not speak in poetic or symbolic language.

Differences between characters are established through subtle variations in speech – for example, 8th sometimes pauses while he speaks, demonstrating his calm, reasoned nature as well as the fact that he is uncertain about the case. Whereas the 3rd juror's speeches are punctuated with exclamation marks and he frequently interrupts other characters, demonstrating his impatience and hotheadedness.


The jury room table is the main setting of Twelve Angry Men, but there is also the window, the water-cooler and the washroom. The window and the washroom are places of thought and refuge, whereas the table is a combative space.

Activity: Make notes from the following PP presentation.



Activity: Read and complete pp.14 - 17 of your Insight workbook.

Activity: Read carefully through the opening three pages of the play.
  • Identify characters who are associated with the window and characters who are associated with the washroom.
  • What is the symbolism of the room and the weather?
  • Describe the dynamics between the characters.
  • The knife is also a critical piece of evidence in the play. It also one of the last things we have an image of: “The knife still sticks into the table...The rain has stopped.” What are all the things the knife could symbolise?

Practice Writing Task


Due: Tuesday 19/02 in class

Link to Study Design:
  • an understanding of the ideas, characters and themes constructed by the author and presented in the selected text;
  • the structures, features and conventions used by authors to construct meaning in a range of literary texts;


Task: Write a short essay (3 - 5 paragraphs) in response to the following topic:

Explain the social, historical and cultural context of Twelve Angry Men and the structures, features and conventions Rose uses to construct meaning.

Sample Response:
Activity: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the sample piece.




Link to Study Design: An understanding of the ideas, characters and themes constructed by Reginald Rose and presented in Twelve Angry Men.

Characters

Activity: Take notes from the following presentation.



Activity: Match each juror to their description on the last page of the following hand out.



Examining Character Motivation
In Act 1, many of the jurors reveal their reasons for believing the defendant's guilt. Some of these justifications are based on factual evidence while others are the result of peer influence and apathy towards spending time discussing the case.
Activity: For each of the jurors below, find the reasons they provide for believing in the defendant's guilt. List these reasons using quotes and page numbers. Then decide if each reason is enough to base a guilty verdict upon.
  • Foreman
  • Juror 3
  • Juror 4
  • Juror 5
  • Juror 6
  • Juror 7
  • Juror 10
  • Juror 12

Activity:
  • Complete activity 2.1 of your Insight workbook. Choose to complete it about either the defendant (the accused boy), Juror 10 or Juror 3.
  • Complete activity 2.2 of your Insight workbook. Choose one of the other jurors (not 3, 8 or 10).
  • Complete activity 2.3 of your Insight workbook about Juror 8.



Character Conflict
Conflict is a struggle between two opposites. Conflict can be external, such as the violent argument between Juror's 8 and 3 or internal as in the struggle of someone trying to make a decision. In Twelve Angry Men conflict is present within jury members as they struggle to come to terms with their pasts and their beliefs. It is also present among jury members as they struggle over the case. This is important because the job of a jury is to maintain objectivity, however, it becomes clear that this is not always possible, with twelve different personalities and sets of life experiences in one room.

Activity: For each juror or pair of jurors, find the sources of conflict that become apparent by the end of Act 2, using quotes and page numbers. Example: Jurors 3 and 5 - Juror 3 appears to despise Juror 5 straight away; perhaps because of their obvious differences in temperament. Juror 3 is forceful and intimidating whereas Juror 5 is naive and timid. Juror 3 immediately assumes that Juror 5 has changed his vote and feels he can bully Juror 5 into changing his vote back.
  • Juror 11
  • Juror 9
  • Jurors 1 and 4
  • Jurors 3 and 8




Practice Writing Task


Due: Monday 04/03 in class

Link to Study Design:
  • critically analyse texts and the ways in which authors construct meaning;
  • an understanding of the ideas, characters and themes constructed by the author and presented in the selected text;
  • the structures, features and conventions used by authors to construct meaning;
  • analyse the social, historical and/or cultural values embodied in texts;

Task: Write a short essay (3 - 5 paragraphs) in response to the following topic:

Describe the dynamic between the jurors in Twelve Angry Men. Explain how and why Rose decided to construct his characters the way he did. Make reference to the social, historical and cultural context of the play, as well as any relevant structures, features and conventions.

Sample Response:
Activity: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the sample piece.




Link to Study Design: An understanding of the ideas, characters and themes constructed by Reginald Rose and presented in Twelve Angry Men.

Justice

Underlying the American justice system is the notion that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt.
  1. It is better to for a possibly guilty person to go free than for an innocent person to be found guilty. How does the play support this notion?.
  2. Juror 8 represents the pride one should take in civic duty, whereas Juror 7 wants to get out as quickly as possible. There are many others on this jury who clearly should not be there, hence the jury system is only as good as the people on the jury. Discuss.
  3. Does the play glorify the American justice system or criticise it?

Overcoming Prejudice

  1. The play shows blatant racism and negative class attitudes towards those living in slums. Find examples of where this occurs in the play and provide quotes.
  2. Some of the jurors really believe their prejudices and stereotypes are 'facts'. Which jurors believe this? Provide quotes.

Democracy at Work

The jury represents democracy at work; with all people being able to express an opinion openly.
  1. For democracy to work, it is important that a sense of social responsibility is present in the jurors. It is the absence of this sense of social responsibility that makes some jurors unfit for the task. Divide the jurors into those who have a sense of social responsibility and those who don't. Use quotes.

Facts

  1. The play highlights how 'facts' need to be examined because we may jump to conclusions or be misled by what sounds correct but does not stand up to testing. Which 'facts' in the play are eventually disproved and how?

Reasonable Doubt & Human Fallibility

  1. What is your opinion of reasonable doubt and the jury system? Is there a better way to find justice? What are its limitations and benefits?

Violence

Violence is a recurring theme throughout the play. There’s the:
  • Violent murder
  • The 3rd Juror’s disgust at his son’s refusal to fight
  • The 3rd Juror’s threat to “kill” the 8th Juror
  • The 3rd Juror’s simulation of the stabbing
  • The 10th Juror’s threat of violence
  • the 7th Juror’s threat of violence
  • The 6th Juror’s threat of violence
  1. The 3rd, 10th, 6th and 7th Juror all threaten violence on another Juror at some point in the play. What is Reginald Rose saying about our capacity for violence and the place violence has in the decision making process?


Link to Study Design: To understand the ways in which Twelve Angry Men is open to different interpretations by different readers; for example, the ways in which a text can be read differently in a different time, place or culture.


An interpretation is more than an 'opinion' - it is the justification of a point of view on a text. To present an interpretation of a text based on your point of view, you MUST use a logical argument and support it with relevant evidence from the text.

Resistant Readings

  1. It’s easy to think at the end of the play that the teenager is innocent, that the 8th Juror is right in the way he questions all the evidence, and that the 3rd and 10th Jurors are the 'villains' of the play. But this might not actually be the case. Think about these things:
  • Who had the clearest motive for killing the man?
  • Who had a knife identical to the one used to kill the man?
  • Who was ‘seen’ - by two independent witnesses?

2. Complete a resistant reading of the play adopting the perspective of one of these two dot points:
  • The 8th Juror does the defence attorney’s job for him. But is this really justice or the role of the Juror?
  • Why do we judge the 10th and 3rd Juror for their intuitive response to the case? After all, everyone else thought the boy was guilty. Should we judge instead, the 8th Juror for his cynical questioning of all the evidence?


Facts or Interpretations

The boy is proven innocent at the end of the play.

The 3rd Juror is prejudiced against the accused because of his hostile relationship with his son.

All the Jurors who vote guilty at the start of the play are prejudiced against the boy

There is no evidence that links the accused to the crime that cannot be disputed

Many of the Jurors don’t take the deliberation process seriously to begin with

The heat represents the tension inside the jury deliberation room

The 8th Juror is more intelligent than the other Jurors

The 4th Juror makes important contributions to the jury’s deliberations

The 3rd Juror’s opinions aren’t worthwhile in the jury room

The 10th, 3rd, 4th and 8th Jurors are the main characters. All the others are minor characters.

The stage directions in the play provide important insights to the characters

The 8th Juror is just as prejudiced as the other jurors


Link to Study Design: To learn strategies and techniques for constructing a supported analysis of a text, including a knowledge of the metalanguage appropriate to the analysis and to the text type.

Writing a Text Response to Twelve Angry Men

See Chapter 5 of ESL Insight

Practise SAC Feedback