VCE English and EAL, English Language, and Literature guide - units 3 & 4

Guide to research and literary criticism of current texts used in VCE English and English as an Additional Language (EAL), English Language, and Literature

Outline from VCAA

Page 22 of the VCE English and English as an Additional Language Study Design gives guidance on Writing about play

Explorations of experiences and traditions of play and playing in many cultures and through history.

Students could explore play as it is applied to games, sport, acting and make-believe, music, language and images. They could also explore concepts of collaboration and connection, digital vs analogue, rules and rule breaking. There is scope to consider the ways play and play acting can represent the ‘real’ world, and to explore issues associated with using play or play acting to minimise or mitigate against events or actions. "

Key Texts

Gay, Virginia, Monologue from Cyrano (A)

Key text:  Gay, Virginia, Monologue from Cyrano

Task: Students can play with looking forward with hope and joy to an unfolding future, exploring mischievous vocabulary and figurative language, or with looking backwards to events of the past with the same uplifting tones. The exploration of promise and faith can often go missing in contemporary writings; this mentor text provides space to experiment with that voice. VCE English and English as an Additional Language (EAL) Text List 2024 p.16

Others texts

The monologue speaks to the joy and giddiness of love

The Sun Rising

The Darkling Thrush

Virginia Gay is bringing Cyrano to the stage, but there's a few changes to the classic romance. She tells us why this time around, Cyrano gets a happy ending.

Some resources

Each of these is a sports memoir, some are sports fans, others write about the experience of playing sport


  • Football Melbourne Punch (Vic. : 1855 - 1900) 30 September 1858: p. 7.
    • a satiric, poetic, personal account of attending a very early Australian Rules football match
  • Dawe, Bruce Life cycle
    • satiric poem on the fervour of Australian Rules fans
    • see The Age 23 September 1967 p.22 (scroll to bottom of page)


Russon, Penni, ‘All That We Know of Dreaming’ (A),

Key text: Russon, Penni, ‘All That We Know of Dreaming’ (A), in the EBook (2015). Something Special, Something Rare  : Outstanding Short Stories by Australian Women

Task: Why do we dream? What role do dreams play? What power can dreams hold? This demonstrates how students could, within the short story form, use voice, imagery and figurative language to add depth and complexity when writing about play.  VCE English and English as an Additional Language (EAL) Text List 2024 p.16

Penni Russon in conversation with Zuva Goverwa In partnership with the VCAA, the Wheeler Centre presents a video series supporting the VCE English and EAL Study Design and Unit 3, Outcome 2, Creating texts area of study.

Roffey, Chelsea, ‘An Open Letter to Doubting Thomas’

Task:  The letter format invites students to consider the power of explicitly addressing an audience. Roffey’s use of tone, including the interplay of irony and mockery, models ways in which a writer achieves ‘voice’. Her use of allusion will open a world of opportunity for students to enrich their own writing by building on the ideas and philosophies of others. The personal style adopted with its effective use of understatement, humour and imagery demonstrates how appropriate debate can be instigated about contentious topics.  VCE English and English as an Additional Language (EAL) Text List 2024 p.17

Other stories

Ian Roberts

Tayla Harris

Black power salute

Black Power Salute 1968 Olympics

Winton, Tim, ‘About the Boys’ (A)

Key text: Winton, Tim, ‘About the Boys’ (A)

Task: Through imagery and figurative language, Winton explores what is offered to young men to replace ‘the coherence of tradition’. This allows the reader to envisage both the problem and its consequences. His writing models how to discuss social problems in a challenging and yet respectful way.

This text illustrates the language features students could use to create an informal, authentic voice to project authority into their own writing about the experience of childhood and the way young people’s play reflects society’s underlying beliefs and values. VCE English and English as an Additional Language (EAL) Text List 2024 p.17

Tim Winton laments the power of toxic masculinity on young menABC Interview