Author Archives


The History of Advertising

Five thousand years ago, the Babylonians hung symbols over their shop doors depicting what kind of trade went on inside and, voila, the first advertisements were born. Advertising may have become more prevalent over the years, but wherever communities and commerce exit, so too does advertising.

‘Water is Wet’ and the Language of Advertising

Despite what people say, advertisers know that language (and images) work at both the conscious and the unconscious level, and a person unaware of advertising’s claim on him or her is the person least well equipped to resist its insidious attack, no matter how forthright they may sound. Therefore, the purpose of a classroom study of advertising is to raise the level of awareness about the persuasive techniques used in ads.

An American Revolution

Unseen Text: Chevrolet Volt Text Type: Print Advert Guiding Question: How do visual elements such as font, layout and image impact the reader of this advert? Paper 1 will consist of two texts: if you are a standard level candidate, you can choose which text you would like […]

Money and Muscles: Men in the Mass Media

In 1999, Children Now, a California-based organization that examines the impact of media on children and youth, released a report entitled Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity (see below for full article). The report argues that the media’s portrayal of men tends to reinforce men’s social dominance. The report observes that: the majority of male characters in media are heterosexual; male characters are more often associated with the public sphere of work, rather than the private sphere of the home; non-white male characters are more likely to experience personal problems and are more likely to use physical aggression or violence to solve those problems.

Prose Study: The Vegetarian by Han Kang

Han Kang’s The Vegetarian is one of the most internationally well-known Korean novels. It is not a story about a vegetarian per se; rather, it is a work that investigates what constitutes suffering. It tells the story of Yeong-hye as related through the eyes of three members of her family: her husband, her brother-in-law, and her sister In-hye. The story begins when Yeong-hye, seemingly from out of the blue, tells her husband she will no longer eat meat and proceeds to throw all the meat in their house away.

Prose Study: The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami

In these stories, a man sees his favourite elephant vanish overnight; a newlywed couple suffers attacks of hunger that drive them to hold up a McDonald’s; and a young woman discovers a little green monster who burrows up through her backyard and can read her thoughts. You never know what is going to happen in one of Murakami’s stories – or even which reality you’re going to find yourself lost inside.

Drama Study: Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet

Glengarry Glen Ross is a Pulitzer prize-winning play by David Mamet. It tells the story of a group of salesmen working for a dubious real-estate firm. Head office has a shock in store for the men: a new sales competition is being launched. The top prize is a new Cadillac car. But, in a week’s time, anyone who’s not performing will be fired.

Prose Study: Border Town by Shen Congwen

This short novel, written in 1934 by Shen Congwen (1902 – 1988), opens a window onto life in China before the communist revolution of 1945 – 1952. The setting is Fenghuang County, an idyllic rural area in the far west of Hunan Province. Here Cuicui lives with her grandfather, who operates a ferry boat across a river outside the small provincial town of Chadong. The boat connects the two ‘worlds’ of Shen’s story: his idealised countryside scene is tucked away in a forgotten part of the world, seemingly locked outside of time; but the town is a gateway to China’s interior lands and forces of modernity are slowly creeping towards their sleepy rural paradise…

Stereotyping Poverty

Find out about poverty myths, learn the social, political and economic reasons that trap people in poverty, and discover both texts that perpetuate false poverty stories, and progressive texts that call for a change in the social narrative about this modern taboo.