Victoria's family supper

[Episode 13 | 1888 : Victoria]

Alexandra's father is talking with his Irish tradesman who is instructing him to hide a dead cat in the roof of the house for luck. Victoria calls her father for dinner. At dinner, Victoria's mother is talking about her 'at home' invitation and who has accepted. She pauses to check Miss Müller's arrival and comments on the appropriateness of her work.


The Australian curriculum: English

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The Australian Curriculum: English aims to ensure that students:

  • learn to listen to, read, view, speak, write, create and reflect on increasingly complex and sophisticated spoken, written and multimodal texts across a growing range of contexts with accuracy, fluency and purpose
  • appreciate, enjoy and use the English language in all its variations and develop a sense of its richness and power to evoke feelings, convey information, form ideas, facilitate interaction with others, entertain, persuade and argue
  • understand how Standard Australian English works in its spoken and written forms and in combination with non-linguistic forms of communication to create meaning
  • develop interest and skills in inquiring into the aesthetic aspects of texts, and develop an informed appreciation of literature.

English activities [3]

Activity 1: Foreshadowing
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Subtheme(s): Customs and traditions; Language and scripting
  • As a class, view the clip and pause it after Victoria's father says, 'I'm the luckiest man alive to have a daughter like you.'
  • Ask students to think about the most important pieces of information given by the filmmaker in this clip so far. Have students predict what might happen next, and give reasons based on clues or information from the text: 'I think X is going to happen because Y.'
  • Have students look up 'foreshadowing' in the dictionary. What does it mean? As a class, discuss this literary device and how writers and filmmakers use foreshadowing to suggest and tune readers into events that have yet to occur.

  • Ask students to think of examples of foreshadowing in a variety of texts: television shows, novels, picture storybooks. The opening scene of a television show often foreshadows what is to come, with hints given in many different ways. Look again at what students have highlighted in their predictions and how they have supported them with evidence from the text.
  • Remember that two key elements in the story of Victoria are superstitions and the money problems of Victoria's father. Ask students to discuss the purpose of this foreshadowed information and have them answer the questions on Student Activity Sheet: E13.3.
  • Have students write an outline of what they think will happen next in the story. This should include these foreshadowed elements.


Activity 2: Family
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Subtheme(s): Gender roles and stereotypes; Relationships
  • For this activity, turn off the volume for the clip and have students view the dinner table scene from the beginning. This will provide the opportunity to study non-verbal language. Focus on the characters' thoughts and feelings and how they are conveyed visually as a narrative device, rather than through words alone as they would be in a written text. As a class, discuss how a filmmaker might do this by using the camera and non-verbal language, including facial expression, gesture, stance and movement.

  • Discuss with the class the relationships between characters in a story and how important these relationships are in setting the scene and telling the story. Have students think of some fictional families and discuss the relationships between key characters.
  • Ask students to closely observe the relationships between the characters, looking at the way this scene has been shot and the body language used.
  • Review the dinner scene in the clip. List all characters present at the table: mother, father, Wesley, Victoria and May. Students should use the Student Activity Sheet: E13.4 to identify the main relationships between the key characters in this scene and give reasons why they think so.


Activity 3: Scripting a scene
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Subtheme(s): Art, music and literature; Language and scripting
  • Have students select a favourite character from another television series, film or book. Ask them to write a 30-second movie script about a dinner at this fictional character's home, or at their own home with the fictional character as a dinner guest.
  • Make sure that students think about this scene and address questions such as: Who will be there? What will they look like? What is the setting? Who is the central character? How will the characters react to each other? What will they talk about?

  • Divide the class into smaller groups and have them perform their play to the class. Remind them to consider body language, acting, voice, intonation and how constructed dialogue conveys meaning.


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