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English (Year 12) - Course Concepts

Ben Whitten

What is mode?

Mode is the different ways we communicate, including listening, speaking, reading, viewing, writing and creating. Mode is also relevant in terms of the semiotics (meaning-making) involved in the resources associated with the listed forms of communication, including sound, print, image and gesture/body language.

The term “multimodal” will often pop up in exams and assessments, meaning that the text being referred to comprises two or more modes, e.g., print, image and spoken text, as in film.

How do I respond to a question regarding mode?

Questions in the English exam or assessments will often look at the significance of the mode of a text or the impact of the chosen mode. A film may provide more impact in terms of imagery and visual effects, whereas a print text may only offer language depicting imagery.

The following is a poster for the 2022 film Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde.

The poster has a variety of stand-out visual elements to take into account. The written text at the bottom of the poster, “Don’t Worry Darling”, obviously acknowledges the movie’s title. The interesting written text is in the middle of the poster; “silence means security”. The phrase's meaning is unknown to those who have not seen the movie or have not read the synopsis. The text may be referring to how there is security in not speaking out or providing opinions that differ from the people in the film.

The body language and gaze of the female subject compared to the male subject is interesting; the female looks deep in thought, perhaps concerned and looking into the distance. This juxtaposes the seemingly content male subject, unconcerned with what’s happening. The analysis here may be that the female character is aware of something happening in their universe; there is something going on that others are unaware about, hence why "silence means security".

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