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Question: english part a responding to a prose extract 20...

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Part A – Responding to a prose extract                                              20 marks

Read the following extract from Sally Morgan’s autobiography, My Place, and then answer the questions that follow. For Part B of the task you will write your own prose narrative.

Sally Morgan is a highly acclaimed Australian artist and author. She was born in 1951 and belongs to the Palku and Nyamal peoples of the Pilbara region in the north of Western Australia. Members of Sally’s family were part of the Stolen Generation and she grew up in Perth, unaware of her Aboriginal heritage.



[…] In April that year, my youngest sister, Helen, was born. I found myself taking an interest in her because at least she had the good sense not to be born on my birthday. There were five of us now; I wondered how many more kids Mum was going to try and squeeze into the house. Someone at school had told me that babies were found under cabbage leaves. I was glad we never grew cabbages.

Each year, our house seemed to get smaller. In my room, we had two single beds lashed together with a bit of rope and a big, double kapok mattress plonked on top. Jill, Billy and I slept in there, sometimes David too, and, more often than not, Nan as well. I loved that mattress. Whenever I lay on it, I imagined I was sinking into a bed of feathers, just like a fairy princess.

The kids at school were amazed to hear that I shared a bed with my brother and sister. I never told them about the times we’d squeezed five in that bed. All my class-mates had their own beds, some of them even had their own rooms. I considered them disadvantaged. I couldn’t explain the happy feeling of warm security I felt when we all snuggled in together.

Also, I found some of their attitudes to their brothers and sisters hard to understand. They didn’t seem to really like one another, and you never caught them together at school. We were just the opposite. Billy, Jill and I always spoke in the playground we often walked home together, too. We felt our family was the most important thing in the world. One of the girls in my class said, accusingly, one day, ‘Aah, you lot stick like glue’. You’re right, I thought, we do.


The kids at school had also begun asking us what country we came from. This puzzled me because, up until then, I’d thought we were the same as them. If we insisted that we came from Australia, they’d reply, ‘Yeah, but what about ya parents, bet they didn’t come from Australia’.

One day, I tackled Mum about it as she washed the dishes.

‘What do you mean, “Where do we come from?”’

‘I mean, what country. The kids at school want to know what country we come from. They reckon we’re not Aussies. Are we Aussies, Mum?’

Mum was silent. Nan grunted in a cross sort of way, then got up from the table and walked outside.

‘Come on, Mum, what are we?’

‘What do the kids at school say?’

‘Anything. Italian, Greek, Indian.’

‘Tell them you’re Indian.’

I got really excited, then. ‘Are we really? Indian!’ It sounded so exotic. ‘When did we come here?’ I added.

‘A long time ago’, Mum replied. ‘Now, no more questions. You just tell them you’re Indian.’

It was good to finally have an answer and it satisfied our playmates. They could quite believe we were Indian, they just didn’t want us pretending we were Aussies when we weren’t. [pp. 38-39]


1.    How has the composer used language to represent people, places and situations in the extract? Identify AT LEAST TWO language features used in the extract and explain how they are used.


Write approximately 100-150 words.

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