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We understand year 12 is hard. Like, really hard. So, to help students like yourself out, we are giving away access to our unit 3 calculus methods course! Which course? This course!
That’s right, our course valued at $89.99 absolutely free!!!!! Access to all 23 videos on the topic of calculus for unit 3 methods. Use it to prepare for your SACs and outcomes and then use it to revise for your end of year exam like a boss.
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It is no secret that year 12 is an exceedingly difficult year for students, and many suffer from stress. In fact, over 75% of students experience ATAR stress at one point or another during their year 12. Some students begin to experience this as early as term 1.
While your ATAR is important, nothing is more important than your mental health and wellbeing.
Not only that, but numerous studies show high-stress levels negatively impact your ability to learn, remember and to function under pressure. All the skills you need to perform well in year 12 are diminished by uncontrolled stress.
So, how do we manage year 12 ATAR stress before it gets us down?
There are many ways you can bring down your year 12 stress levels.
The first and easiest one to do is create a schedule for your study and stay on top of it.
Nothing is more stressful than knowing you have 4 different SACs/outcomes to sit next week, and you can only put aside time to study for one of them. Or worse, you have had to schedule a re-sit, and this takes up precious study time for other upcoming deadlines.
The best way to overcome this is to create a study timetable and stick with it. You should put aside at least 2-hours of study per week for each subject or more if you can manage it. This sounds like an insane amount of time. But the more time you put into revising concepts, practising questions and working closely with mentors and peers can hugely reduce your stress and improve your grades.
Look at it like this. When you do regular, consistent study, you build your subject muscle.
Just like you would lifting weights in a gym. You wouldn’t go to the gym and work hard for a week experting to lift as much weight as the person who has been putting in 2 (or more) hours every week since the beginning of the year. You will likely wear your self out before the week is over and that in itself will negatively affect your performance.
Your ATAR is no different. Consistent work will always beat out short term cramming. Your grades and your mental health will thank you for consistency in your study.
The second is don’t get caught up in what everybody else scored for their SAC/outcome.
Yes, the whole point of year 12 is to compete against everyone else in your cohort. However, comparing yourself to others does nothing but lead to negative feelings and thoughts.
Feeling bad about yourself and your ability will take you quickly down the path of ‘why bother?’ When students take that path, they give up before they even take the test! Clearly, this is not helpful for your health or your grades.
Now, just let me be clear, looking at higher scoring tests can be helpful. But only if you are looking at them to find ways you can improve. It is not in any way helpful if you are only comparing scores. Working with your teacher or tutor to understand why you got your score can be very helpful. These people have seen loads of high scoring test/essays/questions, and they have the skills and ability to guide you in the right direction. You can learn more about how to choose the right tutor here.
The other thing you can do is self-reflection. Sit down and ask, ‘Did I follow my study schedule?’ ‘Did I put in as many hours or preparation as I could have?’ ‘How can I improve my study routine so I can do better next time?’
Now if you feel like you did all of these things really well, but still got a score you are unhappy with. It is time to consider additional help.
Tips for extra help:
Join a homework study group
Go to lunchtime sessions offered by your teacher
Find a good tutor
Ask the student in your class who got that great score if they can help.
Sign up for a course that specifically helps with the area you are stuck on. (Check out our VCE Methods and English courses here.)
The important thing to remember is that you don’t have to do it all alone. Use all the resources at your disposal, and you will see a difference in your stress and your grades.
You can do it!
What is the take-home?
Create a study schedule and stick to it
Join study/homework groups
Get a tutor/mentor if you feel stuck or want to excel past your current grades
Ask your teachers and peers for help.
These are just a few ways you can manage your ATAR stress and use it to improve your grades.
Hello! Thanks for visiting and having a look at our maths methods free video resources. These videos are for unit 3 of the year 12 curriculum and focus on the topic of calculus. Our team of experts have been working hard for months to create a bunch of video resources for students like you to use so you can reach your best ATAR.
We have created a video course that covers every aspect of the unit 3 curriculum topic calculus and we have decided to make a few of these videos free just for you!
Here is our first video on the formula for differentiation.
This video is a brief explanation of how to use the formula for differentiation. We have shared this here because it is important you understand how to use this formula before we get into some of the more difficult concepts in later videos.
How clear was that explanation? To test this out, we had a few of our English tutors (who didn’t take methods in year 12) watch this. Guess what happened? They actually understood how to use this formula after watching this video!!! You just know it is good if it can help an English tutor understand methods.
Just a reminder, you can sign up at any point by clicking this picture.
Rules of differentiation (linearity).
This video is part of a group of four on the rules for differentiation. The other videos include the product rule, the chain rule and the quotient rule. The other three parts of this set can be watched here when you enrol join our online maths methods video course.
Want to know more about how you can view parts 2, 3 and 4 of the rules of differentiation?
There are so many rules about differentiation that we just had to make a short series about them. In each video, our tutor Faisal explains how to identify when you need to use a rule, how to choose which one, and use it.
The other videos in this series are about the product rule, chain rule, and quotient rule. All of these are included inour unit 3 calculus bundle!
Properties of anti-derivatives and definite integrals.
This is one part of the anti-derivatives portion of our online course. To learn more about how to complete Anti-differentiation questions by recognition that F ’ (x) = f (x) implies ∫f (x)dx=F(x)+c. You can enrol in our video course here.
Confused? Our English tutors were too. It is a good thing our mathematical methods tutors are here to help!
Unit 3 Calculus bundle
Buy our entire unit 3 maths methods calculus video course right now and grab a discount while you do it! Get access to all of our unit 3 calculus course and start studying today! Was: $118.99
Essay writing is something most students are introduced to in early high school. It is also one of the areas most students find difficult. On of our expert English tutors, James, has written a short article to help you out.
Essay writing, and the textual analysis within it, is a lot like baking a cake. It can seem scary at first, but when you break essay writing down to a step-by-step process, you realise that it is quite straight-forward. It can be very easy if you stick to a plan.
Broadly speaking, all English essays will have the same “ingredients” within them. It is your job to use them to produce an essay that argues a clear, succinct point, in a logical way.
A good, effective structure for an analytical essay is what I like to call The Five-Step Rule. A good effective essay will often have about five paragraphs. Any less and you risk not analysing the themes of the texts in enough detail. Any more and you risk repeating yourself by going over the same idea again and again.
I like to use the KISS formula: Keep It Smart and Simple. What this formula means is clearly explain your ideas and analysis, concisely. Try not to express an idea in 30 words when you could present the same idea in ten. For example, instead of writing:
“The X-Men movie employs stark metaphors in its exploration of who the real monsters are: the mutants who just want to live their lives in peace, or the humans who oppress them.”
Which uses 32 words to convey a single idea, a smarter, simpler way to convey the same idea would be:
“Through the use of metaphor, the story makes us question preconceived notions of prejudice”,
Which broadly expresses the same argument about challenging notions of prejudice. However, the idea is expressed much more succinctly and clearly in the shorter sentence.
Analysis of X-Men (2000)
Let’s say we are writing an essay analysis of the Bryan Singer directed movie X-Men’s central themes. What would be a good strategy for going about writing up an analysis of this movie? The Five-Step Rule would see you structure an essay on it using this basic structure:
First paragraph: Introduction Second paragraph: First Argument Third paragraph: Second Argument Forth paragraph: Third Argument Final paragraph: Conclusion.
Essay paragraph 1
In the first paragraph, introduction, you should introduce what the essay will be analysing, how it will go about doing so, and discuss (briefly) what your view on the text is.
Start the introduction with a topic sentence in which you state your essay’s main idea, that is, the argument or contention your essay sets out to prove. An example of this would be:
“The film X-Men demonstrates that when society divides people intocategories of “us and them”, anger and discontentment often follow. Leading people to judge others on what separates them rather than what unites them.”
This topic sentence works at achieving two things: firstly, it clearly and succinctly demonstrates an understanding of the text and its central themes, and secondly, it expresses the subjective opinion of the person writing the essay, which demonstrates that you not only understand the text, but you can analyse the key ideas within it while incorporating your own views to construct a central argument.
Essay paragraphs 2-3
Paragraph 2 and 3 are where you work at showing textual evidence and examples to support your primary contention. It is a good idea to discuss some scenes, ideas or themes within the text to support your argument. Be sure to provide direct quotes from the text to provide evidence for your argument.
For example, to help support your central argument, you could write something like:
“X-Men member Jean Grey argues that the profiling of mutants is dangerous and is a form of prejudice when she states ‘mutants are not the ones mankind should fear’. A quote which illustrates the contention that everyone is capable of doing good, and so should be judged on personal behaviour, as both humans and mutants can be evil.”
Paragraph 3 is particularly effective when it is a natural continuation of paragraph 2. It analyses specific moments from the text, with direct quotations, to argue your central view. To avoid repetition, it is best to discuss a different scene/part/passage of the text to the one you discussed in paragraph 2. This further supports your central argument by demonstrating how your central point is evident throughout the text rather than just seen in one part.
Essay paragraph 4
Paragraph 4 can either do two things: It can either continue the pattern established in p2 and 3, in that it discusses a scene from the text, and how this scene works at demonstrating the central themes of the text and your analysis of it, or it can compare and contrast the separate examples found in p 2 and 3, and discuss how together they work at establishing firmly that the text supports the idea that… How you choose to structure p4 is ultimately up to you, and you do drafts of both if it helps, to see which one you believe better works at proving your central argument.
The conclusion is the final paragraph of the essay. It should briefly discuss everything that you have discussed throughout the essay, before coming to some kind of summary of what it all means in regards to your central argument: that is, it incorporates all the separate ideas discussed throughout, to show that the text supports the idea that, for example:
“Prejudice is wrong because it takes away people’s individuality, by grouping them into broad categories, and as X-Men starkly shows. If you are doing this to other people, then they may also start doing it to you, which leads to anger and resentment across society.”
WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED:
We have discussed an effective, accessible structure for writing analytical English essays. While your essay’s specifics will change depending on your year level, subject, and text, The Five-Step Formula can still be used as the basic structure from which more detailed analysis will flow.
James is one of our expert English tutors and helps students for year 6 to year 12. He has a Masters degree by research and a Bachelor’s degree in media studies.
Are you stuck with how to study for your English creative text response? Perhaps you are stuck with how to study for English in general. Well, you have come to the right place!
The English creative text response component of VCE is one many students struggle with. This is because it is one where students have the most freedom of choice regarding their writing, with the only requirement being that it is based on their text/novel/or movie. The options are so broad it can be hard to know where to begin.
Or perhaps you are the student who is looking to make the most out your marks, and you would like tips, hints, and clear explanations on what the VCAA wants in a high scoring response. Our videos are designed to help you learn what it takes to write a great creative text response.
We know how important it is for students to get fantastic scores on their SACs and outcomes as it can drastically affect their study scores at the end of the year. So we are here to help! We have made part of our VCE English creative text response course free, just for students just like you.
Year 12 is a difficult year, and we understand the right kind of support can make all the difference. If you want to get access to more videos like this one and the PDF planner we designed to help you achieve fantastic results on your creative text response you can find it on Udemy. Just click the button above and enrol to start studying with confidence today.
More about our English creative text response course.
Our English creative writing course is designed especially for students who want to get a great score for their year 11 or 12 English creative text response. Like everything in life, the more prepared you are, the better you will perform. Of course, it requires the right kind of preparation. This short video course is designed by a variety of subject experts, teachers and high ATAR achievers at Evergreen Tutoring Services, and it is the best video support you can find. Everything is aligned to the Australian Curriculum, including specific outcome requirements from the VCAA regarding what a high scoring response for this task requires. It covers everything students need to know to get their best ATAR.
Carbon neutral is our long term goal. For a long time, our director has been passionate about the pursuit of becoming sustainably friendly, and she incorporated these principles into her classrooms, office spaces and home. She even wrote and published a book a few years ago on how to become sustainable on a budget.
It seemed only natural that this passion was brought into our business.
Right from the beginning, we decided to be paperless. All of our communication is electronic, even the resource packs we provide our tutors. While we are aware that using electronic devices has a negative impact on the environment the emissions from these devices are lower and preferable to the emissions caused by having a hard copy of everything we have in our office.
Then we removed waste. Everything that can be composted is, and our office only has one small bread bag of garbage each week! Our worm farm is thriving with all the compost we produce, and our native trees have never looked better. It is a fantastic place to have a tea break.
Our next big step has been to move all our lessons online. Thanks to the fantastic support from our customers and the passion of our staff, not only have we successfully moved our lessons online while maintaining our excellent lesson standard but we also more than halved our annual carbon emissions. By moving online, we completely removed the need for our staff to travel to work by means of public or private transport. Not a single staff member drives to any of their shifts with us. This has made an enormous difference in our business carbon footprint!
A heart felt thank you
We are very proud of what our team has achieved, and we are endlessly thankful for our clients who support our mission to reach an environmentally friendly business modal by choosing to work with us. Sustainability is a goal shared by all. It cannot just happen in the home, it needs to happen in our workplaces too.
Now, we know we still have a long way to go, but progress is made one step at a time.
There can be a future where our community, businesses, and homes flourish with sustainable living; where everyone lives comfortably, not just us humans. We are proud in the knowledge that our business, team and customers are making a small contribution to that future.
What is more important in a student’s education than English, maths or science? Confidence. Student confidence is the most underrated area of education. Often it is neglected, leaving some of the nations most intelligent students believing they can’t. Or worse, thinking they are stupid.
In my many years as a qualified teacher and then as the director of Evergreen Tutoring Services, I have encountered thousands of students held back by a serious lack of confidence. This lack of confidence has a disastrous impact on school results, the students’ ability to study, and self-belief. In far too many cases, this can spiral into full-blown depression and anxiety.
So, what can we do about it?
The important thing to remember is that a student’s mental health and wellbeing are a million times more important than their grades will ever be. However, there is nothing worse than a kick to the guts when you are already on the ground. Many students get this ‘kick’ when they receive yet another low mark, which further convinces them that they cannot reach their goals.
Improving student subject confidence is always going to help. These students need an individual who can give one-on-one support in a judgment-free environment. A place where the student can feel safe to ask their questions and to learn is essential.
It might be surprising to hear that to learn, you must put yourself into a position of vulnerability. To learn, you must be willing to admit you do not know something, and you must be willing to work hard until you master the topic. This includes getting it wrong sometimes, which leads me to step number one.
Change the way the student views failure.
Too many people view failure as a personal reflection rather than a learning process. Failure is not a representation of our abilities; all it represents is that we have more to learn. Ideally, we want students to view failure as a learning opportunity and that it is not something we should shy away from. For instance, when I am in a lesson with one of my students, I am not afraid to admit I don’t know something, and I immediately follow that admittance with correction of my learning gap. This comes in many shapes and forms. Sometimes it is a word I don’t know, a concept I have never heard of before, or a piece of technology I don’t know how to use.
Sometimes I ask my student to explain it to me. Other times I will say, “hang on, I will look it up,” then I will read the definition out loud, so both myself and the student hear it.
What does all this do?
For one, it shows my student that I am not an all-knowing being. Yes, sometimes, English teachers have never heard of a term, and sometimes they even misspell a word!
Two, it shows my student I am willing to accept that I don’t know something without allowing this lack of knowledge to impact the way I feel about myself.
Three, I do something about it. This is important, and the first two steps lead us to this moment. The recognition that even if we don’t know something right now, with a little work, we have the power to change that reality.
Four, support them through this process.
It is all very well to say, ‘change the way you view failure,’ and move on, but this will achieve little. Students need role models, someone who understands what they are going through and has moved past it. Individuals with low confidence take longer to learn because they are battling through a whole range of other things that make learning harder. Students with low confidence must first get past a whole series of hurdles in their mind that stops them from reaching the moment where they can even begin to try and learn.
The person who helps a student through this needs to be able to:
Set up a safe learning environment. This individual needs to be approachable, caring, and relatable.
This environment should be one-on-one. Students who lack confidence, quite often are reluctant to open up in a class environment. One-on-one gently encourages the student to share with the other person. For instance, in our tutoring classes, we organise all our lessons to be individual for this very reason. We want students to be able to move at their own pace as they begin to step past the walls their low confidence has built for them.
Consistency. It is not enough to run through a couple of meetings with this individual; in almost all cases, it takes consistent and regular interactions.
Confidence is for everyone
In my experience as a teacher, tutor, and director, I have implemented and expressed the importance of these practices to my workmates and teams. While these steps take time and are not a magic wand over the issue of low student confidence, they are a long-term solution. Giving students the skills, strategies and abilities to approach a problem is a life skill, and it will benefit them long after their formal schooling ends.
Everyone, adults, teenagers and students deserve the right to be confident with who they are and what they can do. The most important thing to remember is that confidence is not something we are born with. Like English, maths, and science, it is something that we learn.
As always, if you would like to book some time with one of our tutors feel free to contact us.
The TEEL formula is the standard essay structure taught by most (if not all) schools in Australia. TEEL is an acronym to help students remember the necessary steps for paragraph structure in essays.
Every paragraph in every type of essay must contain these four elements; it does not matter if the writing is an analysis, comparative, or persuasive. Albeit, when we talk about comparatives and argument alalysis, the formula becomes more in-depth. It is important to note ‘Explanation’ and ‘Evidence’ can be reversed, but they must always travel as a pair.
Let’s take a closer look at TEEL.
The topic sentence informs the reader what the paragraph is about or what is being argued. It is essentially a miniature introduction, and it is necessary for every paragraph. A well-crafted essay has a topic sentence that outlines the paragraph; this is not the place to bring in any evidence.
For example, a topic sentence for a paragraph on an essay topic like, ‘Should students have to wear a school uniform?’ could look like:
School uniforms create equality amongst students leaving no opportunity for oppression based solely on clothing.
This topic sentence very clearly informs the reader about the direction of this particular paragraph and sets the stage for the rest of the written response. In a sense, it is a brief introduction. Your topic sentence should be between one and two lines long.
In the explanation, the idea is to provide more information on the paragraphs stance. Brainstorm or research a few ideas that might help support your argument.
An explanation for the same essay question would look something like this:
Uniforms bring a level ground into schools where students cannot receive prejudice or torment based on their choice or quality of clothing. While expressing choice is an integral part of coming to understand one’s identity, the schoolyard is not the place for this demonstration as it can encourage unwanted opinions, and often damaging views of other students.
See how this section has brought in more information relevant to the topic sentence? It has made clear the authors stance, and it has brought up a few points that can be explained further. This expansion and fleshing out of ideas helps to make way for our next section.
Okay, the section above explains clear thoughts and even goes as far as to make a statement. This is where evidence is needed. Including evidence not only proves that statements and comments are sound, but it also helps to convince the reader of the point being made. The best essays are based on evidence.
Evidence for the section above could look like this:
Not only does wearing a school uniform reduce the pressure on students to wear the latest designer fashion labels and trends, but it also reduces perceived inequalities due to socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. Moreover, the department of education encourages schools to have a uniform, as schools that enforce them have significantly lower levels of bullying.
Evidence is the basis of an essay; it can make or break it. Evidence in the form of analysis or comparative essays is delivered in the same way. The only exception is that the evidence, in these cases, usually comes from texts or movies.
Here is where the link (the final statement) connects to the topic sentence. This link is designed to wrap the paragraph up neatly and to help it finish on a strong and relevant point.
School uniforms are an essential part of life.They create equality among students, reduce the stress that comes from keeping up with the latest trends, and reduce bullying in the schoolyard. In all, they create a better, more pleasant school experience.
This link directly relates to our topic sentence. Moreover, it summons up the contents of the paragraph, in effect, concluding this section of the essay.
What does our essay look like altogether?
Let’s have a look at what all our TEEL sections look like together as an essay paragraph.
As you can see following this formula has created a clear and well-structured essay paragraph. TEEL is an easy formula to follow once you understand how it works and how each part functions to make the paragraph flow.
Practice topics for the TEEL formula:
Cats are better pets than dogs (or vice versa)
Should students have less homework?
Sustainability is the responsibility of all humans.
Choose at least one of these topics and practice forming a paragraph using the TEEL formula outlined above.
Bonus Essay Writing Tip:
Read everything out loud before you give it to anyone to read. I cannot stress this enough. You will be amazed at the silly mistakes you pick up. Reading your essay out loud can easily mean the difference between a B and a B+.
I understand that in your exams, you will not be afforded this opportunity, but at the very least, read it through in your head. MAKE TIME FOR IT. I tell all my students to leave 10-minutes to read through every essay before they hand it in. This rule should be observed for exams as well.
If you are looking for some help with mathematical methods circle symmetry, then you are in the right place! Read through our break down of how to complete circle symmetry questions with confidence.
The unit circle is comprised of four quadrants. The y and x-axis break up each quadrant. These quadrants are numbered going anticlockwise from the positive x-axis as seen to the right.
As you may know. The x-axis in the unit circle is the number given by the expression cos(∅), and the y axis is sin(∅) where ∅ is the angle moving anticlockwise from the positive x-axis. Knowing this, we can use symmetry to determine relationships between the circular functions for angles in different quadrants.
This graph summarises the rules of symmetry, but let’s explore it further:
We see the angle ∅ which is highlighted green in the diagram. Since we know that the angle ∅ is the angle moving away from the x-axis, this gives an element of symmetry as the angle can move in different directions from x.
Sin (∅) = b and cos (∅) = a where these are both in quadrant 1. Let’s now flip the angle ∅ across the y axis. We now see that to get to this angle, we must take 2 steps:
1) Get the value of the closest x axis to the angle
2) Add or subtract the angle ∅ from the x axis value
For the following example, we see that the closest x-axis to the flipped angle is the negative x-axis. The value of this part of the graph is π or 180o, so we start with sin(π) or sin(180o).
We will use π for this example.
The next step is to add or subtract q from what we have. Looking at the example, we see that ∅ is flipped and is being subtracted from what we already worked out. This leaves us with the angle: sin(π – ∅)
Enrol today and get some one-to-one time with a tutor who can help you out with questions like this!
As we mentioned earlier, sine is the value given along the y-axis. Looking at our example, we can see that the value of y is positive in quadrant 2. Therefore we can say that:
sin(π – ∅) = b
If we take the same example from previously, but instead we see what the cosine value is, we see the angle is still going to be (π – ∅) however this time it is cos so cos(π – ∅). Looking at the graph, we know that cosine values are given along the x-axis. This angle sits in the 2nd quadrant, which gives a negative value of x. Therefore we can say that:
cos(π – ∅)= -a
The positive and negative values of the angles in different quadrants can be summed up by the diagram.
The best way to remember the signs of sin, cos and tan in these quadrants is the ‘ACTS’ diagram shown. If an angle lands in any of these quadrants, the designated sign is given the positive value in that section.
a. First we must distinguish which quadrant it is in. As we can see, it is (π – x). We have π which we know lies on the x-axis. We then have the angle x being subtracted from π. As you can see in the diagram to the right that is in quadrant 2. Using acts, any angle of sin in quadrant 2 becomes a positive value. Therefore, the answer to sin(π – x) = sin(π ) = 0.6
b. Similar to the previous question, we start with π. This time we are adding x to π. As we can see, adding x brings the angle into quadrant 3. In quadrant 3, sin gives a negative value. Therefore, the answer to sin(π + x) = – sin(π) = – 0.6
This question is the same as the previous example, only this time instead of using radians ‘p’ we are using degrees. First, you must see the π = 180o. From here, the next step is, like in the previous example, subtract x from 180o. This leaves you in quadrant two. In this quadrant, cos gives negative values. Therefore, the answer to cos(π – x) = – cos(π) = – 0.8
In year 11 and 12 English and Media Studies classes, you will often analyse the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. His movies are so widely studied because they are character-driven suspense stories which invite the audience to ask questions about human nature. Some of the driving questions of his stories are:
The debate over nature vs nurture when it comes to ‘evil’ behaviour,
How people react to adverse situations,
The ways in which mental illness can shape behaviour, and so on.
Characters representing human nature
Some of the most common Hitchcock movies for year 12 texts are; Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, Rope, The Birds and Psycho. While these films all have different plots dealing with distinctive problems and concerns, they all draw upon similar themes and issues regarding human behaviour.They all broadly troubled, unhappy main characters dealing with a huge problem or issue. They have trouble adequately and appropriate addressing the challenge. This is because of their own personal issues and concerns, and this limits their ability to function as a productive member of society.
Often these characters seek to find an ‘easy way out’ of their problems by lying, cheating, or hurting another person; and this always backfires on them. Their dishonest behaviour usually works against them and leads to the demise of their plans and sometimes even themselves. Another central theme of these suspense stories is self-denial. The main characters often lack morals, and we see them justify their behaviour to themselves and others in a number of ways; typically they focus on how they believe the ends justify the means. Including, how lying and cheating is not inherently wrong, so long as you believe the person ‘deserves’ it.
Therefore, a central theme within Hitchcock’s movies is that evil behaviour never has a positive outcome. While doing the right thing is usually rewarded, albeit slowly.
No Hitch when it comes to writing on Hitchcock
An effective starting point when writing an essay on a Hitchcock movie is to address some of the character’s central problems. For example, if you were studying Psycho you could write about the initial protagonist of Marian Crane. Marian is a dishonest, underhanded character seeking to rip off her employer. To support your essay, it is useful to find quotes from the characters where they discuss their own personal philosophy. Hitchcock’s stories are character driven, and there is often a scene where a central character describes their own personal philosophy, or world view.
This is their personal justification for why they feel it is acceptable to behave the way they do. It is crucial in terms of understanding them as a character.
Quotes support charcater world views.
For example, as a character Marion is selfish and only thinks about herself and personal gain. She does not for a moment care what consequesnces her selfish actoions have on others, so long as it works to her advantage. When discussing a random issue with another character, Marion responds with: “Headaches are like resolutions. You forget them as soon as they stop hurting.”, a quote which tells us much about Marion’s character. It has a double meaning, as headaches are not simply a painful sensation in the cranium, they can also refer to a stressful situation or problem one deals with.
This quote tells us that Marion thinks only in the short-term. She does not care about the consequences of her actions for others because as soon as it stops “hurting” for her, she forgets about the issue. However, this selfish behaviour backfires for Marion, when she goes on the run after stealing from her employer, taking refuge at a motel run by an extremely troubled man, and things do not end well for her. A central theme within Hitchcock’s movies, is that of hurtful, nasty behaviour working against the person. These people often get caught out in a troublesome manner which they themselves caused.
You could call it a form of karma, as Hitchcock’s movies end on a somewhat positive note. Hitchcock reinforces the view that good things usually happen to ‘good’ people, while bad things often happen to bad people.
Attempting to find an easy ‘out’ to your problems only makes them worse.
Another key theme in these suspense stories is that trying to avoid personal responsibility and how this is not a good idea. This is seen in Strangers on a Train where the main character finds himself trapped in a bad situation. A complete stranger (Bruno) proposes the idea of ‘swapping murders’ with him. While it initially seems like a hypothetical, vaguely humorous suggestion, the protagonist finds himself with problems, after realising that the man proposing this is serious.
We learn the personal philosophy of Bruno, when he claims “my theory is that everyone is a potential murderer”. He believes that all people have within them the capacity for evil, and that placing someone in an uncomfortable situation could bring this behaviour out.
As with other Hitchcock movies, kindness and humanity win out in the end. The main character, Guy Haines, refuses to let Bruno’s negative influence cause him to commit murder. In Hitchcock fashion, the maintaining of decent human behaviour results in a happy ending for Guy, with the complete opposite for the villainous Bruno.
What have we learned?
This reading has provided us with an introduction into how to analyse a Hitchcock movie. Remember, that Hitchcock was fascinated by human behaviour, and how negative situations can lead to negative behaviour. However, he was ultimately an optimist when it came to human nature. His films typically show kind-hearted, decent human beings being rewarded, and unprincipled, selfish characters getting out caught in a web of deceit.
Regardless of the Hitchcock movie under analysis, an effective way to go about writing about it is to look at the main characters and how their own personal behaviour shapes their situation. How the situation turns out for them is usually a reflection on whether they acted morally or immorally. Further, characters that are trapped in bad situations usually have some personal responsibility for being there. Their deceitful, immoral behaviour has backfired on them, resulting in them being stuck in the mess.
If you really want to understand the characters, remember to look for their quotes in which they describe their world view/philosophy. This gives us much insight into who they are, and the eventual consequences of their actions.
Keep these tips in mind when you prepare an essay based on a Hitchcock movie and you will do well. Good luck!
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