Not sure how to integrate your related texts for the Common Module: Texts and Human Experiences?
You’re not alone! Integrating your related texts well is difficult!
It can become even more difficult when you have to write about human experiences. This is because you’ll be required to think deeply about what your texts have in common.
This guide will show you how to effectively work analyses of related texts into your response!
Why You Should Integrate Your Related Text
While you may have been encouraged to integrate texts before, you might not be sure why.
The reason is this: The best essays will be cohesive and focused on ideas. This means, ideally, you will be talking about how the same experiences are presented in different texts.
You’re writing an essay, not three analytical paragraphs with an intro and a conclusion tacked on. Therefore, your ideas need to be sequenced in a way that makes sense.
For higher marks, you need to be able to discuss texts in contrast or in comparison.
This is not as important as it is in Advanced Module A, where the module is all about comparison and contrast. However, it still needs to be considered.
But first, you need to be able to discuss what your texts have in common.
Step 1: Focus on common experiences
When you identify what experiences your texts have in common, you need to find the middle ground between stating the completely obvious and stretching too far to find commonalities between your texts.
An ‘experience’ is, in simple terms, the events which occur in a text.
For instance, it’s true that both The Merchant of Venice and Jasper Jones explore the experience of ‘discrimination,’ but this could be made more specific.
Both texts could be said to explore ‘the feeling of alienation caused by societal discrimination’. This is more specific, and would leave the writer able to write about how the texts handle that experience differently.
Step 2: Analyse your texts together
Now that you’ve identified what experiences you’ll discuss, it’s time to analyse where those experiences appear in your texts, and how.
It’s time to break out the TEE tables! If you haven’t used them before, click here for our guide.
In this case, the best choice to categorise your TEE tables is the human experiences that you will be writing about.
For instance, let’s imagine your prescribed text was 1984, and your related text was Harrison Bergeron.
You might have one table for examples within the texts which relate to ‘The experience of surviving under a totalitarian government’. You might have another one for ‘The experience of rebelling against authority,’ and so on.
Once you’ve completed your TEE tables, you’re ready to start writing paragraphs. However, thinking about structure is where ‘integration’ can get a bit tricky.
Step 3: Plan out your structure
A typical structure for essays using one prescribed text and one related text is:
- Two paragraphs on your key text
- One paragraph discussing your related text
This considered, it’s not always the best approach to take.
An integrated response is one where both texts are discussed in each paragraph.
This may take longer to do, but it allows for a stronger discussion of both texts, and rather than the focus on textual details.
If you want to read more about what makes for a strong English essay, read our guide to writing Band 6 essays here!
Unintegrated Essay Structure
For instance, here’s a structure for an essay which talks about both texts separately:
- Paragraph One: The experience of surviving under a totalitarian government in 1984
- Paragraph Two: The experience of rebelling against authority in 1984
- Paragraph Three: The experience of surviving under a totalitarian government in Harrison Bergeron
Here, two experiences and two texts are discussed. The texts aren’t discussed equally, so the prescribed text has more focus on it.
This means, also, that the chance to discuss the texts in relation to one another has been lost, which limits its scope.
There is less of an opportunity to demonstrate a knowledge of the module concepts, like individual and collective experiences.
Integrated Essay Structure
However, a fully integrated essay would look more like this:
- Paragraph One: The experience of surviving under a totalitarian government in 1984 and Harrison Bergeron
- Paragraph Two: The experience of rebelling against authority in 1984 and Harrison Bergeron
- Paragraph Three: The experience of enduring punishment for one’s actions in 1984 and Harrison Bergeron
These are basic examples of experiences to write about, but they show what an integrated essay might look like.
The ideas are presented in a way that allows you to consider how experiences depicted in texts may complement one another, which allows for better coherence, and clarity.
Writing an integrated essay means that, by necessity, you will be focusing on the ideas of your essay, rather than presenting a disconnected bunch of analyses.
This makes it much easier to maintain cohesion, which is great for your mark!
However, an essay of this depth would be hard to pull off well in an in-class essay, so you may have to compromise on the level of integration.
Also, more planning is needed, as the elements of the module concepts that need to be discussed need to be laid out before writing. The more integrated an essay is, the more effort and thinking it requires, in order for it to stay strong.
There is no one way to write a good essay — it depends on the context (Because you have more time to play around with structure on a take-home assessment) and your style as a writer.
Consider copying and pasting the below essay scaffold in order to plan a paragraph for an integrated essay!
|Paragraph topic sentence:|
In your paragraph topic sentence, identify an experience that relates to both Text 1 and Text 2.
Introduce two examples of such an experience from Text 1, complete with technique and analysis.
Then, move on to find two examples that represent the experience you identified in your topic sentence from Text 2, complete with technique and analysis.
In this analysis of Text 2, you want to be able to compare and contrast how the experiences in these examples may be similar or different to those found in Text 1.
And that’s it! You have your integrated paragraph.
An ‘integrated essay’ is stronger than an unintegrated one, because it allows you to focus on ideas.
Within ‘Texts and Human Experiences,’ strong students will focus on common experiences between texts, and discuss them in comparison and contrast.
There are a number of ways to structure an integrated essay, but you need to consider time when you do so.
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Cameron Croese completed his HSC in 2013, earning first place in his cohort in Advanced English, Extension English 1, and Extension English 2. Privately tutoring throughout his university career as an English and Education student, he enjoys helping his students at Art of Smart understand, write well on, and enjoy their texts, as well as assisting with other aspects of school life. He is currently working on his Advanced Graduate Diploma in English and Theatre Studies.