These activities aim to facilitate a shared understanding of the concept of cultural perspective and to provide the context necessary. The cultural perspective of a text can influence its structure, language, imagery, purpose and more to affect the chosen audience, fulfil the author’s purpose or reflect a viewpoint. The text is in the context of the author’s experience. The perspective of every person and of every culture is unique and no two people or cultures experience the same event in the same way. To fully comprehend a literary device, it is important to understand the cultural perspective from which it was created.
1. Discuss with students the following concepts:
- controversial issues
- fact and opinion
2. Have students analyse a story or event from the perspectives of different characters. For example, students could rewrite a fairy tale such as Hansel and Gretel from the witch’s point of view. Discuss how the same scenario can be different depending on which character is telling the story .
3. Examine with the students how the retelling of a story can further change if it is set in a different culture or time period.
- Would the witch’s house look the same?
- Would the house be made of the same food?
- Would the house be in a forest?
- How would the story change if it were set in the current era with modern technologies such as artificial light, mobile phones and cars?
- Would children still use breadcrumbs to mark a trail?
- What if the witch was from a different culture than the children and it was just a misunderstanding?
- Would the children be able to return to live with the father who abandoned them?
- How would the language in the story change?
4. Ask students to choose a period between 1900 and 1999 and to research events or issues that were occurring in Australia during their chosen period. Then have students rewrite Hansel and Gretel to reflect this era.
- Possible topics are feminism/women’s rights, Indigenous rights and freedoms, the environment, immigration/the ‘White Australia’ policy/refugees, LGBTI rights, and war.
Make sure characters are using the correct language, dress, technologies, food and so on for the chosen period.