HSC English Assessment Task – 4 (Essay)
Question: “A great speech not only moves an audience but is also worthy of critical study long afterwards.”
Do you agree? In your answer, refer to “Spotty-Handed Villainesses” by Margaret Atwood and “Statement to the Knesset” by Anwar Sadat.
Word Count: 840
Effective speeches are worthy of critical study far beyond their context if they are endowed with the ability to move an audience. By challenging the status quo, speakers can articulate insightful perspectives that may generate an improved world. Margaret Atwood’s Spotty-Handed Villainesses (Spotty) elucidates the need for a three dimensional depiction of women in literature.   Like Atwood, Anwar Sadat’s Statement to the Knesset (Statement) is also motivational and persuasive as it emphatically emphasizes the futility of war, and the need for reconciliation and peace in the Middle East. Both speeches present their viewpoints with exemplary rhetorical devices, generating textual integrity that transcends time, inspiring responders and being worthy sources of critical analysis.

Atwood’s Spotty is valued beyond her context and useful for analytical study as it portrays the need for change in literature, highlighting the restrictions imposed on women due to patriarchal structures. Atwood delivers her talk in 1994 to intellectual women readers at events and luncheons when the third wave of feminism has occurred and questions are being asked about feminism and the need for evolved depictions of females in literature. Atwood’s belief that women’s literary roles are fraught with out-dated polarities, is evident in the antithesis “When she was good, she was very, very good, / And when she was bad, she was horrid!” This narrow portrayal of women is innate to male-dominated societies as emphasized in the juxtaposition “Angel/Whore split so popular among the Victorians”. Atwood challenges the dichotomies of folklore, suggesting that updated, realistic...

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