frank Hurley essay

1344 words 6 pages
Maya Martin-Westheimer
English Advanced assessment task 3
“Discoveries may be challenged and questioned and their worth reassessed over time”

“He who never made a mistake never made a discovery.” – Samuel Smiles
Throughout history, discoveries are constantly being challenged, questioned and their worth reassessed. As a result of texts’ questioning nature, responders gain a deeper insight into the subject matter which heightens or lessens their credibility. This is evident in Simon Nasht’s documentary Frank Hurley-The Man Who Made History (2004) and Hannah Kent’s historical fiction Burial Rites published in 2013. Via the use of literary and filmic techniques, notably narration, montage, point of view and embellished retelling, each
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Nasht places a archival photograph into the Papua New Guinea scene which shows the exterior of the Garrick Theatre with posters for ‘Pearls and Savages’ in its window, highlighting acceptance during Hurley’s time towards colonialism. The documentary argues that although Hurley was culturally insensitive, it was a relocation of the cultural ignorance naiveté of the colonialists and their dominant perspective at the time. This insight is afforded by rediscovering a subject matter in a new context.
The challenging throughout Burial Rites allows contemporary readers to understand the unjust punishment of gender in Northern Iceland 1829, giving contextual insight during the rediscovery of the story of crime and punishment, although the guilt is ultimately upheld what we reassess is the severity of the punishment. Kent conveys this throughout her novel through the juxtaposing characterisations of Agnes Magnusdottier and Sigga (Sigrídur) Gudmundsdóttir. Sigga is given clemency in a patriarchal justice system in which male bureaucrats dominate the local economy, religion and politics due to her beauty and compliant demure whilst Agnes who is described as a ‘witch’, ‘untrustworthy’ and a ‘murderous’ is sentenced to die regardless her level of involvement. The rediscovery and examination of the context surrounding Agnes's last year leading to her execution is