The Dressmaker- Study Guide

Attached below is a study guide for The Dressmaker. You will need to read this and familiarise yourself with this information prior to viewing the film.

Dressmaker Study Guide-2jkz4qg


We will be using the document below to frame our investigation into this text:

The Dressmaker – directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse-2ip2j7h


Remember- It is essential that you view each of these texts repeatedly prior to your Semester 1 examination and prior to any assessments which might require you to respond to these texts.

Genre Study- The Western Genre

The next module of work concerns studying a particular genre. We will study two films; High Noon and The Dressmaker. High Noon can be considered a film in the Western genre. It depicts the ‘Wild West’ in uncompromising terms. The Dressmaker is more a revenge drama which borrows from the Western genre and is a more contemporary film set in Australia.

Year 12 Westerns Booklet-trwsuy

The booklet above will give you an introduction to the genre. Please read this carefully and annotate in as much detail as possible.

Themes of Westerns-2cap9yn

Read the resource above to introduce yourself to some of the dominant themes of Westerns.

Dressmaker Study Guide-2jkm3u0

Here is a study guide to The Dressmaker. There is plenty of information on both films on the internet and you’ll need to ensure you conduct detailed research on both the Western genre and the films we’ll be studying closely.


Murderball Resources

The next text we will study in Year 12 ATAR English is the documentary film Murderball. The text follows the USA quad rugby team as they prepare for the Athens Paralympic Games. The chief protagonists are Mark Zupan (a USA quad rugby player) and Joe Soares (the coach of Team Canada who once played quad rugby for the USA). We will explore the text for constructions of masculinity, how disability is constructed within a sports’ narrative and how we are positioned to respond to hegemonic masculinity, particularly in the treatment of the female characters who appear- briefly- throughout the text.

Please note that this text is studied for Section B (Responding) of the ATAR examination and it is a text you will be expected to know in significant detail. While we will watch this documentary in class (and analyse it), you will also be expected to watch this text through in your own time and build your understanding through independent research.


Here are a range of resources which will compliment your study of this course text:

Murderball Study Guide-rc7fev

Murderball Initial Close Analysis-2krd9z4

Murderball Review-1odsj35

Murderball Focus Questions and Ideas-27f6zkp

Murderball Feature Article-19ebs1i

Murderball Article-1rt50i9

Murderball Documentary Study-2kn67eg

Murderball and Masculinity-1gcl8kt

Murder Ball Visual Analysis-26pkh0x

Challenging Normalcy – Masculinity and Disability in Murderball-117yhdp


Please note that Murderball is available to view on ClickView. A link to the text is below:


Section A- Comprehending- Modelled Response

Here is a modelled response from today’s lesson.

Please note the following:


  • Structure- Opening two sentences offer a thesis statement and a reading of the image. There is a clear reading/interpretation of the image.
  • The body paragraph starts with a topic sentence.
  • There is a clear attempt to link the conventions explored in the response.
  • The response is succinct and coherent.
  • It offers a clear and consistent reading.
  • Key words from the question are used to reinforce the main reading of the text.
  • There is an attempt at using sophisticated language.
  • The annotations in black show where the assessment criteria has been met.
  • The annotations in green are where I’ve explicitly linked conventions and reading of the text.
  • The annotations in red are where I’ve analysed the text in a sophisticated manner.

The image can be downloaded. It uses the modelled response from the archive (October 2017) as its basis which in turn was taken from the ‘Good Answers’ guide.

Please make sure you understand the assessment criteria and that you practice the structure in advance of your assessment on Friday.

Come and find me if you have any questions.

Image Annotation

Please note the modelled image analysis above.

Things to note:


  • I’ve not only identified the ways in which the image has been constructed, I’ve explored HOW each convention MIGHT have been used to construct the image in a specific way.
  • In a short answer response, I wouldn’t be able to write about ALL of these image conventions. I would need, as part of my planning process, to identify which 3-4 conventions work BEST to answer the question in a clear and concise manner.


In tomorrow’s lesson, we will look at how the question might be answered.

Under My Thumb- Rolling Stones

Under my thumb
The girl who once had me down
Under my thumb
The girl who once pushed me around
It’s down to me
The difference in the clothes she wears
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb
And ain’t it the truth babe?
Under my thumb
It’s a squirmin’ dog who’s just had her day
Under my thumb
A girl who has just changed her ways
It’s down to me
Yes it is
The way she does just what she’s told down to me
The change has come
She’s under my thumb
Ah, ah, say it’s alright
Under my thumb
It’s a Siamese cat of a girl
Under my thumb
She’s the sweetest, hmmm, pet in the world
It’s down to me
The way she talks when she’s spoken to
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb
Ah, take it easy babe
It’s down to me, oh yeah
The way she talks when she’s spoken to
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb
Yeah, it feels alright
Under my thumb
Her eyes are just kept to herself
Under my thumb, well I
I can still look at someone else
It’s down to me, oh that’s what I said
The way she talks when she’s spoken to
Down to me, the change has come
She’s under my thumb
Say, it’s alright
Say it’s all
Say it’s all
Take it easy babe
Take it easy babe
Feels alright
Take it, take it easy babe
Songwriters: Keith Richards / Mick Jagger
Under My Thumb lyrics © Abkco Music, Inc
When listening to this song (released in 1966), consider the following:
  • How is gender constructed in the lyrics of this song?
  • What words are used to describe women in the lyrics?
  • What is your personal response to this song?
  • Has anything changed in over half a century since this song was released? Out of interest, view ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones for a construction of masculinity… Quite an interesting contrast between the two songs…
  • It’s worth considering both the context of production and the context of reception for a text like this.


Image Analysis

For your next assessment, next week, you will need to respond to two questions; one on narrative fiction, and one question on image analysis.

Here are the things to look for in analysing images:

  • Symbols
  • Depth of Field
  • Framing / composition
  • Rule of Thirds
  • Diagonals
  • Gaze
  • Proximity
  • Body language / posture
  • Setting
  • Light and shade
  • Juxtaposition / incongruity
  • Parody / irony

Here is a link to the images we explored in class: Image Analysis_Gender-10mj02t

How to Arrive at a Thesis Statement

Arriving at a thesis statement/writing an effective thesis statement requires a lot of preparation, planning and thinking before you’re able to write one.

The screenshots below take you through this process:



In this image, you can see that the question has been deconstructed and that I’ve STARTED to apply my chosen text (The Road) to the question.

I’ve started to think about what my essay might be about…



In this image, I’ve applied the text more directly and gathered my evidence base together. I’ve chosen a few RELEVANT quotations and made sure that I’ve applied my question deconstruction to my annotations. Please note that I’ve referred to ‘the ways’ and my annotations in green demonstrate my thinking around the ‘attitudes’. I’d already defined ‘particular groups’ as parents- motherhood and fatherhood.



My final image is two versions of my thesis statement. Both work equally well but you can clearly see that they have been constructed out of my planning, my collection of evidence and my question deconstruction.

Make sure that you use these processes in planning for your next in-class assessment, your Semester 2 examination and your terminal examinations in the summer.