4 Awesome Discovery Related Texts
For Year 12 students, ‘Discovery’ is a term that is anything but unfamiliar. You’ve likely been told (repeatedly) about how you will need to analyse two texts relating to discovery, then hand you an endless list of books longer than any novel itself. It’s incredibly overwhelming to many students —- how can you be expected to analyse a type of discovery if you can hardly get through the list?
So, let’s break this down together.
Understanding Your Assignment
The purpose of the AOS Discovery Module is to help you understand abstract concepts. The individual modules help you assign meaning to these concepts from various angles, such as short answer and essay formats. As you embark on your discovery journey, you’ll develop the skills to look at your protagonist’s journey, be it physical or emotional, through various lenses.
Discovery encompasses the individual’s intense emotional experience while learning something for the first time or rediscovering something long-forgotten or even concealed. Uncovering an old family secret, falling in love, deciding to drop out of Uni to pursue a larger dream or ending up on an unexpected travel journey where the protagonist learns to handle foreign cultures — each of these possess their own discovery journey.
The Board of Studies divides the concept of discovery, generally, into two spheres – discovery and rediscovery. These forms of discovery can be internal and external; that is, an individual can discover something within themselves through challenging their own beliefs, pursuing a new way of life or understanding themselves on a deeper level. The discovery can also be something about the world around them, such as different cultures, ideas and lifestyles.
On another note, discoveries are not always positive; they often take us outside our comfort zone to places that may cause us to question the ‘facts’ of our worlds, or deep truths about ourselves.
Selecting Your Theme & Format
Discoveries are impactful; they’re stories worth telling. When you choose your own discovery sources, you’re choosing your own adventure. Your options are nearly endless, as you can choose from a plethora of sources including novels, spoken poems, plays, film and more.
While blockbuter films are generally a less credible source than classic literature novels as your primary source, choosing a novel with a film adaptation can serve as a strong supplement to your source text. It can also provide inspiration for interpretation based on the filmmaker’s version of the story.
Forming Your Direction
For Year 12 students, it’s important to understand how it will impact you beyond the end of the year. Why there is no need to limit the impact; if you have career aspirations, you can use this project as a springboard into internships and courses for your desired field. Thi all students will create a report, but you can create something more meaningful and useful to carry with you. So there is no need to get bored of your studies when The Board of Studies have given you the opportunity to create something special.
For many students, this feeling of truly endless opportunities can be quite daunting. It can be easier to pick your theme before narrowing down to a specific text. You may even consider starting a few pieces of work to find what captivates your interest. We recommend starting with the below:
Novel by: Paulo Coelho
This is for you if: Around the World in 80 Days was your favourite childhood book, you live for the latest globally-themed Ted Talks and or are on a mission to be the next self-made trillionaire to rival the likes of Richard Branson and Elon Musk.
What’s the Story? The novel follows Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd and his journey to find the ‘greatest treasure in the world.’ He embarks on a trip to Egypt, where his recurring dreams about finding the treasure took place. His discovery is not a physical treasure, but the compilation of small discoveries he makes along the way as well as a deeper understanding of his true self.
In one of the most significant parts of his journey, Santiago also comes across an old king, Melchizedek. He teaches Santiago about Personal Legends, or what one wants to accomplish in alignment to their spiritual purpose — a calling that awakes a deep desire and passion to create something larger than themselves. Santiago’s understanding of his Personal Legend, though a conceptual discovery, proves to be the greatest treasure he could ever unearth.
Key Quotes by Coelho: “That’s what alchemists do. They show that, when we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”
“The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Want to read more? Get hooked on the first few pages here, free!
To This Day
Spoken poem by: Shane Koyczan
This is for you if: you might identify with bullying-related memoirs, are thinking of exploring psychology field at University (particularly adolescence), or binged the first season of 13 Reasons Why in less than a week.
What’s the Story? This poem is based on personal events of Koyczan’s youth, specifically dealing with bullying and the long-term effects it had on his life. The discovery themes include a sense of self, tolerance of others and emotional resilience. Initially released on YouTube, Koyczan had collaborated with more than 80 animators. The project has expanded to include a TED talk, an iPad app, novel and website.
Koyczan recounts his own experiences with bullying and the experiences of a mother who has struggled with self-image since childhood and an orphaned man struggling with ongoing depression and suicide attempts. These are Discovery stories not contained in a single chapter, but the entirety of their lives. Koyczan also explores the passively responsible roles of bystanders and challenges the concept that bullying is simply ‘kids being kids.” It teaches us how truth, although not always comfortable or convenient, can still possess profound beauty.
Key Quote by Koyczan:
“I’m not the only kid
who grew up this way
surrounded by people who used to say
that rhyme about sticks and stones
as if broken bones
hurt more than the names we got called
and we got called them all
so we grew up believing no one
would ever fall in love with us
that we’d be lonely forever
that we’d never meet someone
to make us feel like the sun.”
Love topical news? Watch the original video (with beautiful animation) that went viral in 2013.
Life of Pi
Novel by: Yann Martel
This is for you if: you’re interested in understanding and caring for animals, pursuing religious studies or have watched every season of Lost with baited breath.
What’s the Story? After selling their family zoo in India, Pi, his family, and a few of their animals sail for Canada. Their ship is wrecked and Pi ends up on a lifeboat with a hyena, zebra, orangutan and 450 pound Bengal tiger he named Richard Parker. Through a series of events on the boat, the majority of the journey is Richard Parker and Pi alone — a man and a tiger for making an unlikely bond on a boat. His will to survive is what tides him over (pun intended) while he waits for rescue. He questions what is real in life, and what is only real in his head — and makes us question if there is truly a difference between the two.
The majority of the discovery takes place in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, as Pi and Parker learn to survive symbiotically, even when Pi temporarily loses his vision. In addition to his personal experience, the novel also addresses religious discovery. Before leaving India, he experiments with Hinduism, Catholicism and Islam.
Key Quote by Martel: “Life is so beautiful that death has fallen in love with it, a jealous, possessive love that grabs at what it can. But life leaps over oblivion lightly, losing only a thing or two of no importance, and gloom is but the passing shadow of a cloud…”
Beyond the award-winning novel, you can enjoy the critically acclaimed movie. Watch the trailer for Ang Lee’s film here.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Novel by: Mark Twain
This is for you if: you’re interested in American or Civil Rights history, are considering a gap year between Year 12 and Uni or simply live for sarcastic humour. If you read The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, this novel is one of the original spin-offs of the original tale.
What’s the Story? This American classic is a mandatory read in most of their high school curriculums. Written in the immediate post-slavery era, it dives into the deep divide between races. When a young boy growing up on the Mississippi River runs away from home with by a black ex-slave, their ‘social norms’ are disrupted.
Despite the dark politics of the era, Twain writes with a light, humour that is refreshing compared to most cumbersome texts of his era. Finn’s coming-of-age discovery was written as a ‘boys’ book’ but is a perfect subject for all students attracted to adventure and questioning social norms.
Key Quotes by Twain:
“Right is right, and wrong is wrong, and a body ain’t got no business doing wrong when he ain’t ignorant and knows better.”
“What’s the use you learning to do right when it’s troublesome to do right and ain’t no trouble to do wrong, and the wages is just the same?”
Applying Your Discovery Your Long-Term Goals
Next year at University, you’ll have the freedom to design your own schedule filled with courses that pique your interest. Many of these students have never chosen the direction of their studies, often ending up changing direction with each semester. The discovery project allows you to not simply explore a text, but explore what interests you become passionate about pursuing long term. In the process, you may just discover something new about yourself.