Using the Appraisal framework developed by Martin (1996, 2000) and White (2005), this paper analyses the Appraisal resources drawn on by one group of senior secondary school students in Australia when responding online to teacher prompts about a postmodernist narrative. Appraisal analysis can reveal the extent to which affective, ethical, or critical stances are being negotiated in literature-based online discussions, and is used in this paper to examine how these evaluation resources are drawn on in a curriculum context where critical literary approaches are espoused. The analysis suggests that, while Australian students may be being provided with more postmodernist texts, and more flexible modes of negotiating meanings around those texts, they are still not yet able to take up those interpersonal positions that draw on knowledge of text construction either from a linguistic or a literary criticism perspective. The paper concludes by suggesting the value of Appraisal analysis as a diagnostic tool in English/Language Arts curriculum in Australian and other cultural contexts.
© Walter de Gruyter