Self Discovery Essay Conclusion Maker

You need to see what a Band 6 Discovery essay looks like before you can write your own. That’s why we’ve included one below. We recommend reading it carefully and breaking down what it does so successfully. How is the introduction structured? How does the student analyse evidence? And how do they bring it all together in the conclusion? Once you’re finished, apply the strategies you uncover to your own AOS: Discovery essays. We also have a detailed overview of how to write creatives in our Our Beginner’s Guide to Acing HSC English – Part 6: Writing Creatives.

Essay Question

‘An individual’s experience of discovery is determined by their context.’ To what extent is this statement reflected in your prescribed text and ONE text of your own choosing?


Band 6 Discovery Essay

The unique context of an individual is what defines their process of discovery and in so doing, shapes their perspectives on interpersonal relationships, personal identity and existential outlook. These ideas are exemplified in both Robert Gray’s poems, Diptych and The Meatworks, and Matthew Thorne’s short film, Where Do Lilacs Come From. We see in these texts that discovery can only take place when our context challenges us, whether it is a change in context or the confronting nature of situational context itself. Only then can transformation occur.

The contexts in which the interpersonal relationships of an individual take place are what fuel discoveries to occur. In Gray’s Diptych, elements of the persona’s family life are embedded throughout, in particular the ongoing tension between the persona and his father. The father’s dialogue, “Nothing whingeing. Nothing by New York Jews; / nothing by women,” provides insight into the personality and character of the father. The anaphoric repetition of the harsh, despairing “nothing” portrays the father in his limited relationship with the persona, denoting the disconnect between the two and the persona’s negative perceptions of his father as a result. However, the transformative powers of context are revealed after the character experiences the death of his father. It is only after this event that he discovers newfound feelings towards his father and reconsiders their past relationship.  His death provokes a newfound acceptance and nostalgic fondness within the persona. The accident, “my pocket knife slid / sideways and pierced my hand – and so I dug with that one / into his ashes,” is central to the persona’s final emotional discovery. The mixing of his blood and his father’s ashes symbolically unifies the two, highlighting the change in perspective that has occurred with this change in context. Therefore, it can be argued that an individual only truly discovers his feelings towards others when their relationship is challenged by a change in context. The experience of loss following the death of his father caused Gray’s persona to reflect upon their past relationship and in doing so, he discovers feelings of clarity and acceptance that replaced past feelings of resentment and hostility. In other words, contextual experience has the potential to re-determine one’s interpersonal relationships.


Similarly, Matthew Thorne’s film Where Do Lilacs Come From explores the transformative powers of context. Much like Gray’s Diptych, Thorne depicts a change in context, in particular one that challenges an individual’s personal beliefs, as a fast catalyst to self-discovery. The film follows Chris, an elderly man with Alzheimer’s disease, as he struggles with the strain his condition places on his relationship with his son, Michael. This is symbolised by the reoccurring large spaces which separate the two characters in each frame, implying their emotional disconnect. A tracking shot of Chris chasing his younger self down a long, brightly lit corridor symbolises his desire to rediscover his lost memories. The responder is able to gauge from this Chris’ perspective on his condition. Senility is a burden on his identity. However, at the end of the film Michael discovers he is able to reconnect with his father by showing him home movies. The movies, displayed as hand-held camera footage with a muted colour palette evoke the same sentiment of nostalgic fondness that changed the persona’s perspective in Gray’s in Diptych. The restorative experience of bonding is shown by a return to the metaphor of distance as the space between two characters is breached and the pair embrace. Not only does this show the characters re-discovering their love for each other, but the discovery they are still able to bond is a revelation within itself, one that allows Chris to view his Alzheimer’s in a new context. He is able to challenge and transform his personal beliefs of his condition, coming to terms with his ageing as he rediscovers hope. Therefore, not only can a physical change in context shed new light on interpersonal relationships, but the way in which an individual contextualises their unique experience within their own mental framework can transform one’s very identity.


However, a change in context is not the only determining factor of personal discovery. One’s contextual environment alone has the immense ability to provide incentive for internal transformation through the process of discovery. In Gray’s poem, The Meatworks, the persona’s existential contemplation of life and death is entirely due to his experience working at a slaughterhouse. The self-discovery commences at the start of the poem, as the persona reflects upon the other workers and their disregard for the lives of the animals. The compounded sensorial imagery of the passage, “Most of them worked around the slaughtering / out the back / where concrete gutters / crawled off / heavily, and the hot, fertiliser-thick, sticky stench of blood / sent flies mad,” establishes and sustains an oppressive sense of death. The use of alliteration in ‘s’ and ‘h’ creates a cacophony of emphatic sounds which combine to create a disturbing synesthetic response, illustrating the violent nature of death. It is this horrid setting that facilitates the persona’s inner discovery of existential turmoil, and with it a renewed appreciation for life in all its forms. The symbolic gesture of hand washing in, “I’d scoop up the shell grit and scrub my hands, treading about through the icy ledges of the surf”, illustrates the persona’s desire for purification following his change in perspective. The use of personification in the poem’s last line further conveys the persona’s changing belief regarding the lives of animals: “the ways those pigs stuck there, clinging to each other”. The persona discovers that in death, animals and humans are the same. This revelatory, existential experience perfectly exemplifies how the process of discovery is shaped by an individual’s contextual environment. It shows the true transformational power of context to shape an individual’s outlook and their very understanding of life.


In conclusion, it is highly evident that an individual’s context, whether it be their physical environment, or the experience of a change in context, determines their process of discovery. Robert Gray’s poems Diptych and The Meatworks, and Matthew Thorne’s short film Where Do Lilacs Come From, all convey these ideas to a great extent. In these works responders come to understand how the relationship between context and individual experience define the discoveries which impact interpersonal relationships, personal identity and one’s very perceptions of existence. Only when our context challenges us can we discover, and it is the impact of our discoveries that define who we are and our unique, individual experience.


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The Key Concepts of the Rubric


Representation refers to how the composer’s choice of language modes, forms, features and structures convey key ideas and shape responses. These choices are influenced by a composer’s perceptions, perspectives, context and agenda. All aspects of a text are deliberately selected to shape and convey meaning.

Imagine if you were asked to compose an imaginative response about a re-discovery from the past. You would base your response on your experiences. The re-discovery could have been triggered by the sight of an old rope swing down by a river. You recall when you and your brother were small, and how you both loved to swing high over the river. You want the reader to be transported to the past and visualise and hear the laughter of the boys and whoosh of the swing as it flies higher and higher. Therefore, you craft evocative visceral and auditory imagery through metaphors, alliteration and onomatopoeia. You employ the elliptical form so that you begin and end in the present but your final paragraph features a rediscovery of how much you miss your brother.

When a composer represents the concept of Discovery he or she follows a similar process. Thus, you need to be able to identify the relevant language forms, features and structures that convey meaning, and provide specific examples from the text. The next step is to explain what meaning is conveyed about Discovery and how it is conveyed through the specific examples you have chosen. To elevate your analysis, discuss how you have been positioned to respond to what has been discovered and the consequences of the discovery. Finally, evaluate the effectiveness of the specific examples.

You need to consider how the concept and the process of discovery is conveyed through the representation of people, relationships, societies, places, events, and ideas in the texts you are examining, and how you are being positioned to appreciate the intended meaning of the text. Your own context, values and perspectives will shape your response and determine whether you discover or rediscover something about yourself the broader world.


You need to analyse the assumptions underlying various representations of Discovery. ‘Assumption’ refers to preconceived ideas and ways of thinking. You can uncover assumptions by considering the cultural and personal biases that every composer brings to the act of representation, and by questioning your own assumptions.


Our perspectives of discovery and what we learn from the discovery vary as they are shaped by our personal, cultural, historical and social context. The place that we live in, our cultural and historical background and our experiences influence our ways of thinking.

The Process of Discovery

Catalyst or Trigger:

Something or someone triggers a discovery. It could be curiosity or a shock or an object that has been lost.


Triggers a reaction: Spiritual, Physical, Intellectual, Creative and/or Emotional (SPICE)
Can be embraced or ignored
Can be provocative or unexpected


Planned discovery
Unexpected discovery


Assumptions challenged
New understandings
Or no change

The Reading Task in Section 1 of Paper 1 features texts that have been chosen because of their connection with the concept of Discovery. Your challenge in this section of the paper is to uncover the overarching concept related to Discovery and analyse how language and visual features have been used to convey this concept. To analyse a text:

  1. Ask what the text is saying about the human experience to discover the overarching idea or main message.
  2. Find the emotive words or salient images to uncover the meaning.
  3. Identify language features, exemplify, explain and extrapolate by discussing the meaning conveyed by the language features and textual details about what has been discovered and what impact the features have on the responder.
  4. Analyse how the form and structure of the text shapes the way that Discovery is represented and the meaning conveyed.
  5. Interrogate the composer’s purpose and intended audience. Question his or her perspective and assumptions.
  6. Question how the text makes you feel personally and why.

Please note the following when responding to questions:

  1. Ensure that you check what each question is worth. If it is worth two marks provide two language and/or visual features and the main idea in response to the question.
  2. ‘Ways’ and ‘how’ questions are asking you to analyse the language and/or visual techniques and the meaning conveyed. You should start with the idea being conveyed and then provide the examples and techniques. 
  3. The final question in the Reading Task is the most challenging. It is always worth the most marks and the questions could be:
    1. Evaluative: In your opinion, which text was most effective in conveying an idea about belonging?
    2. Comparative: How did two of the texts convey different ideas about belonging?
    3. Conceptual: How did two of the texts reflect the concept of Discovery?

You need to write comprehensively (two pages is desirable), and discuss the form and features of the texts supported by detailed textual references. It is like a mini section III essay! If you are asked to evaluate which text you consider to be the most effective, you must analyse the texts you have rejected as well as the text you have chosen. You could use the following scaffold:

  1. In the first sentence or two introduce your thesis that is connected to the overarching concept related to how Discovery is represented in the texts. 
  2. Then launch into an analysis of the first text. Focus on the ideas first and then the language features that conveyed the meaning. You do not need lengthy quotes. E.g. In a sentence where you are using evidence from the text and analysing the use of language and the meaning conveyed, begin with the meaning, and then provide the feature and the example.
  3. Compare and contrast the texts in relation to how they represent the concept of Discovery.
  4. End with an evaluative statement that links back to your thesis. 

‘Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass’ Anton Chekhov.

The act of writing for the HSC is a carefully planned attack on the question using powerful language and a skilful structure. 

To engage the reader in the act and process of discovery you need to become an observer of places, objects and people. You need to incorporate sensual details that paint the setting, make the characters original and authentic and invite the reader to engage with the content. Sometimes the minutiae of everyday life are fascinating, such as a grandfather’s antique compass whose polished brass casing is dinted with age.

To enrich writing:

  • Have an overarching concept or message linked to discovery through the stimulus.
  • Show don’t tell.  Avoid too much information and focus on appealing to the senses through evocative descriptions.  Remember our most powerful tool is our imagination!
  • Focus on the details of a setting – create an authentic place.
  • When you create a character think about his or her back story. Avoid retelling their past. Create a single statement that captures their past, such as: ‘As he shaved he traced the fine scar on his chin that his father’s belt buckle had caused. It was a potent reminder of the man he would never become.’
  • If you are using dialogue make it authentic. Start a new line when a new person speaks. You do not have to include how they say it, such as ‘he said…’
  • Develop a strong, distinctive voice.  To achieve this it is advantageous to write about what you have experienced so that your writing comes from the heart.
  • Choose and control your use of a range of language features to engage and influence an audience.  Listen to the sound and rhythm of your language and aim for lexical density!
  • Use powerful verbs rather than too many adjectives. Verbs can be nuanced and polysemic (convey more than one meaning).
  • Plan your structure: the opening and the conclusion – a circular structure can cure a failure to produce a strong conclusion!
  • Employ a variety of sentence beginnings and sentence lengths.
  • Vary paragraph lengths – don’t be afraid to use a single sentence paragraph to make a dramatic statement.
  • Use a range of poetic devices.
  • Create tension and contrast.
  • Perfect the art of the first and last lines

Imaginative response possible structures

Linear: sequential telling of the story

Cyclical or elliptical: Starts and ends in the same place but the ending suggests that there is an epiphany or realisation. The start and end mirror each other.

Flash back: Moves between the present and the past. Could be from more than one perspective.

Fragment: A moment in time in a narrative, such as the moment that self-discovery occurs.

Parallel: Two story threads running at the same time in your response from different perspectives. The stories usually merge or connect at the end to make a unified narrative.

In Media Res: Starting your response in the middle action.

In Section III of Paper 1 of the HSC examination you are required to compose an integrated critical response that synthesises the ideas and concepts of your prescribed text and texts of your own choosing, demonstrating a deep understanding of the concept of Discovery and how it is represented. To arrive at this level of understanding ask the following questions:

  • How do you view the notion of Discovery?
  • How do the texts invite you to experience Discovery?
  • How do the texts represent the process of Discovery using form, structure, language modes, forms and features?
  • How do your perception and assumptions about the Discoveries compare with that of the composers you are studying?
  • How and why has exploring the concept of discovery broadened and deepened your understanding of self and your world?
  • What lines of argument have you developed as a result?

In your answer you will be assessed on how well you:

  • demonstrate understanding of the concept of Discovery in the context of your study
  • analyse, explain and assess the ways Discovery is represented in a variety of texts
  • organise, develop and express ideas using language appropriate to audience, purpose and context

Responding to the Area of Study Question 3

  • Respond immediately to the question or statement. You could agree or challenge it. The question must drive and shape your response.
  • Develop a thesis or concept that relates to the question or statement and sustain this line of argument throughout the response.
  • Use your prescribed text/s and texts of own choosing to support or challenge your thesis or concept.
  • Give a brief overview of the composer’s context and the composer’s perception and representation of Discovery, values and attitude, and how this shapes the underlying assumptions in the body of the response.
  • Focus on how a text shapes meaning; therefore, discuss and compare HOW this is done in all of the texts.
  • Integrate your discussion of the ideas and the textual features and details of your texts using your thesis to shape the analysis.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of how you are positioned by texts.
  • Select the texts of your own choosing that you are enthusiastic about and that connect and contrast with how the concept of Discovery has been explored and represented.

Develop a personal response to how Discovery is represented and how the texts’ exploration of the concept has broadened and deepened your understanding of self and your world.


Elevate the style of your writing through the verbs! They drive your argument.


  • represents
  • proffers
  • advances
  • ascribes
  • affirms
  • promulgates
  • evinces
  • opines
  • posits
  • expounds
  • substantiates
  • clarifies
  • challenges
  • amplifies
  • confirms
  • espouses
  • predicates
  • enlightens


Create cohesion through connectors!

  • in contrast
  • is analogous
  • conversely
  • alternatively
  • in comparison
  • nevertheless
  • furthermore
  • similarly
  • additionally
  • moreover
  • correspondingly

Suggested Scaffold for an Integrated AOS Response

  • The question must drive and shape your response.
  • Your thesis or line of argument must be developed and sustained.
  • Integrate your discussion of the ideas, context and the textual features and details of your texts using your thesis to shape the analysis.
  • Choose your textual evidence wisely.
  • Select texts of own choosing that connect and contrast with how the concept of Discovery has been explored and represented.
  • Your personal response to how Discovery is represented and how your way of thinking has been challenged is valued!

It is always best to allow the question or the statement provided to shape your response; however, a scaffold has been included if you need the support. You do not have to start with your prescribed text. This is just a suggested framework!!


  • Immediately address the question or statement and introduce your thesis or line of argument in relation to Discovery that challenges or supports the question.
  • Provide two or three supporting ideas that support your thesis. One idea could be related to the process of discovery: type, catalyst, individual’s response and how this is contingent on an individual’s perspective. The second idea could be about the ramifications based on the response to the discovery, such as self-discovery and new understandings. Introduce these ideas through your prescribed text and the text of your own using.
  • End with a strong statement that links the two texts and relates back to the question.

Paragraph 2

  • Connect to the question or statement through the first idea. The topic sentence needs to pick up on a key word used in the last sentence of the introduction to form a bridge between the paragraphs.
  • Briefly discuss the prescribed text’s composer’s context and times and perspectives, and how these influence the representation of Discovery.
  • Discuss how the form, genre and structure convey discovery.
  • Use quotes that are analysed in terms of how they demonstrate the ideas about discovery.

Paragraph 3 (This could integrated with the previous paragraph)

  • Now move to your related text and link the opening topic sentence with the last line of the previous paragraph. State if the text challenges or supports the question or statement or how this text further illustrates your thesis.
  • Describe the context and times of the text, and the composer’s perspective and their relevance to the text. Refer to the genre, form and structure and how they contribute to the exploration of Discovery.
  • Use quotes that are analysed in terms of how they demonstrate the ideas about discovery

Paragraphs 4 – 5

  • Zoom in to focus on the key idea related to the beginning process of Discovery in your prescribed text such as the type of discovery – rediscovery, new or planned discovery, etc. - through one or more characters or persona. Analyse and account for their response and actions.
  • Use the question or statement and your idea that develops your thesis to discuss those aspects of the text that are relevant.
  • Layer in references to context and values.
  • Integrate an analysis of the act of representation – how the textual features and details convey the aspect/s of discovery. Use quotes from the text, but don’t use lengthy quotes that are not explained or linked to your discussion. 
  • Make connections with the related text if relevant.

Paragraphs 6 – 7

  • Link the topic sentence to the previous paragraph and focus on the key idea related to the beginning process of Discovery in your related text through a character or persona.
  • Use the question or statement and your idea that develops your thesis to discuss those aspects of the text that are relevant.
  • Layer in references to context and values.
  • Integrate an analysis of the textual features and details that convey the aspect/s of discovery. Use quotes from the text, but don’t use lengthy quotes that are not explained or linked to your discussion. 
  • Make integrated connections with the prescribed text.

Paragraphs 8 – 10

  • Introduce the second idea in your topic sentence that sustains your thesis in response to the question through a further analysis of the prescribed text.
  • Refer to the consequences of discovery – self-discovery/transformation/new understandings through characters or the persona.
  • Use quotes and integrate your discussion of the textual features and details. Make connections with the related text.

Paragraphs 11 – 12

  • Introduce the second idea in your topic sentence that sustains your thesis in response to the question through a further analysis of your related text and the characters or persona. Link to the previous sentence in paragraph 10.
  • Refer to the consequences of discovery – self-discovery/transformation/new understandings through characters or the persona.
  • Use quotes and integrate your discussion of the textual features and details. Make connections with the prescribed text.


  • Conclude by returning to your concept or thesis and what you have discovered. You must link back to the question or statement.

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