Ian F. Hunt

Cinematographer and Filmmaker

By

English – Discuss how emotions are portrayed in three literary texts

Discuss how emotions are portrayed in three literary texts


Discuss how emotions are portrayed in three literary texts

Of Mice and Men

Of Mice and Men

A comparison of three modern literary texts, Chapter 4 from “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, the poem “Havisham” by Carol Duffy and the Alan Bennett monologue “A Cream Cracker Under The Settee” from the context of how the authors have portrayed the emotions of their characters to the reader.

Throughout each of these three literary texts a theme like a thread runs through each of them. These three texts share common themes, for recurring in all three texts are the emotions of the characters, their loneliness, bitterness, anger and frustration.

Firstly, considering the emotion of loneliness and the poem “Havisham” the emotion is best represented here in the lines “…Whole days / in bed cawing Nooooo at the wall…” and again “…Puce curses that are sounds not words…” The cawing at the wall tells us she has no one to talk to about her emotions, of her anger and frustration except to the wall and then from the line “…Puce curses…” that she utters are for her own ears as there is no one else to hear them. Rejected at the alter Havisham turns inwards creating her own world full of bitterness, anger and frustration all of which means that she would be unable to form a normal relationship with anyone, all factors leading to this incredible loneliness. Finally, it would also seem that Havisham lives virtually in isolation a “Spinster.” subsequently adding to her loneliness.

Cream Cracker - Thora Hird

Cream Cracker - Thora Hird

The theme of loneliness also runs like a thread through the play “A Cream Cracker Under The Settee” there are several references to how lonely Doris feels, the most telling are the conversations she has with her dead husbands through his picture “ …Now, Wilfred. / I can nip this leg and nothing…” and again “…Come on, Dad…” She also mentions that she no longer has contact with her neighbours’ “…Folks opposite, I don’t know them…” Then again with the loss of her only child in childbirth “…If it had lived I might have had grandchildren by now…”

There are many similarities with the Havisham poem and the characters they portray, for instance both women have no one, Doris’s husband died and Havisham future husband left her, they both have no close family and have since formed no real relationships. Therefore they both appear to share many of the same emotions of loneliness, frustration and bitterness.

Loneliness is also a recurring theme in ‘Of Mice and Men’ the author John Steinbeck returns to this emotion throughout the book, in which the majority of the characters share this emotion of loneliness the only exception being Lennie whose innocence gives him some immunity from feeling lonely. But he does experience loneliness once in the book and only temporarily when George goes into town with the other farm workers leaving Lennie behind. George similarly is the only other character in the book to not feel lonely as he has his best friend Lennie, but of course this comes to him after he is forced to shoot his best friend Lennie in the final chapter of the book.

Looking at each of the characters in turn we are able to see this recurring theme of loneliness. Crooks, lives in enforced solitude because of his disability and because he is black “…a back busted nigger…” For in this time and in the location that this novella is set, in 1930’s America and at the height of ‘The Great Depression’ segregation existed and white and black people did not mix by law. Crooks the sole black person of the farm has no one to talk to. He has no friends and all the other ranch workers automatically avoid conversing with him beyond what is necessary to their jobs.

“A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody, Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you. …I tell ya a guy gets too lonely, an’ he gets sick”

Crooks describes how lonely a guy can get and infers that it can effect their mental health “…a guy gets too lonely, an’ he gets sick” this can also be directly related to the subjective mental state of Havisham, whose loneliness in combination with her bitterness have certainly effected her mental well being.

Candy is feeling particularly lonely since the recent loss of his dog. The dog was Candy’s only companion and even though the dog was old and sickly he delayed the inevitable rather than lose his companion. After losing his dog Candy then seeks out Lennie just to have someone to talk to, for instance Crooks said “That you Slim? He called. Candy’s voice answered. Slim went into town. Say, you seen Lennie?”from this we can infer that Candy is so lonely that he feels the need to seek out Lennie for someone to talk to. Also from this quotation we are able to infer that even Lennie’s companionship is preferable to Crooks, due entirely to segregation, that is white and black do not mix. Candy also seeks out the companionship that Lennie and George has and is very keen to share in their dream of owning land, a farm that they can call their own, Candy imagines himself working on the farm and with Lennie and George and also hopes to have the companionship that he does not now have since losing his dog.

George and Lennie - Of Mice and Men

George and Lennie - Of Mice and Men

Curley’s wife is obviously lonely, seeking out the companionship of the other men on the Ranch using the excuse of looking for he husband Curley while all she really wants is to be able to talk to someone other than her husband. For her husband Curley does not really love her and there are no other women on the ranch that she can associate with and so she tries to interact with the other men on the ranch. For example in the novel she says to Lennie “…I get lonely. You can talk to people, but I can’t talk to nobody but Curley. Else he gets mad. How’d you like not to talk to anybody?” This is probably why she goes out to the barn where Crooks, Candy and Lennie are, having been left behind while the rest of the ranch’s men have gone into town. For she must have known that Curley would not be in the barn, she would have assumed that Curley would have gone into Town with the rest of the men. The rest of the men on the ranch are careful not to associate with Curley’s wife even to the point of avoiding talking to her as they know that Curley the bosses’ son would not like it. For Curley could therefore get them sacked from the ranch, returning them back into the large migratory and mainly unemployed workforce always looking for the next days employment and so they effective isolate her just to protect what they have. It is this enforced isolation that drives Curley wife to seek out the other men on the ranch at every opportunity just to have someone to talk to.

Of Mice and Men - Lenny and Curleys Wife

Of Mice and Men - Lennie and Curley's Wife

Further more, it is at this gathering in Crooks room that the main characters depicted in the novel of being the loneliest meet. Each feels that they have been deserted by the others who have gone into town and so they have independently gravitated to the barn and then inside Crooks room seeking companionship, or just someone to talk to. Each of them feels outcast from the other workers on the ranch for one reason or another. But even though they should have little in common with each other for they are separated from each other by a number of reasons for example their sex, their colour, age or combination of these, together they share this common emotion of loneliness and so rather than be lonely they discard their differences temporarily and seek each other out.

As the chapter plays out these differences resurface when Crooks asks Curley’s wife to leave “…You got no rights comin’ in a colored man’s room. You got no rights messing around in here at all. Now you jus’ get out, an’ quick…” and Curley’s wife responds “Listen, Nigger” she said. “You know what I can do to you if you open your trap?” this exchange of words causes each character to remind themselves of their differences and so the brief period of companionship, the respite from their mutual loneliness is over as they leave Crooks to be once more alone in his room. This completes the cycle for this section of the novella. Crooks is alone as usual in his room at the beginning of this section and is once again alone at the sections end as each of the other protagonists leave his room. This is an example of how the author has structured the text using these cycles to reinforce the message of loneliness to the reader.

Havisham and Pip - Great Expectations

Havisham and Pip - Great Expectations

Bitterness is strongly represented in the ‘Havisham’ poem in just the first few lines of the first stanza “…I haven’t wished him dead. Prayed for it / so hard I’ve dark eyes for pebbles…” the omission of words from this line (ellipsis) could be “A day has not passed by that she did not wish him dead”. Havisham is very single minded in her desire to see him dead in fact she “Prayed for it”. Her bitterness turned to hate, the anger and frustration at being unable to extract her revenge on her bridegroom becoming hatred for all men “Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon”.

The bitterness that Doris feels as she approaches the autumn that is, symbolism for the final years of her life and still with all her plans remaining unfilled including those for a family. “If it had lived I might have had grandchildren now. Wouldn’t have been in this fix. Daughters are best. They don’t migrate”. The audience will almost certainly feel that Doris’s life is full of regrets’ and feel, that is emphasise with her and share in her pain over the loss of her child. But this may change when Doris plans her revenge on Zulema.

Doris is bitter about the treatment of the elderly, the ever present threat overhanging Doris the threat of her being institutionalised by a report from her carer Zulema in recommending that Doris be placed into ‘Stafford House’ for her own safety a care home for the elderly.  Zulema says “I have to report on you. The welfare say to me every time, “Well, Zulema, how is she coping? Wouldn’t she be better off in Stafford House?” Doris’s bitterness turns to revenge as she finds the focus and title of the story a cream cracker under the sofa and plots her carers demise by getting her sacked from her job.

“I’m going to save that cream cracker and show it her next time she starts going on about Stafford House. I’ll say, ‘Don’t Stafford House me, lady. This cream cracker was under the settee. I’ve only got to send this cream cracker to the Director of Social Services and you’ll be on the carpet. Same as the cream cracker. I’ll be in Stafford House, Zulema, but you’ll be in the Unemployment Exchange.”

Audience sympathy felt for Doris, this poor old lady who’s had a difficult life with the loss of her child and the predicament she has now found herself in, may well switch from being one of sympathy to one of abhorrence as Doris plots her revenge on Zulema.  Doris’s bitterness is further explored as she recounts her impression of the people who she imagines inhabits a care home like Stafford House. Linking what she thinks are the old fashioned names of the elderly inhabitants she expects to see in the care home, at the same time imagining herself in the same light and in the care home as her own name Doris fills the requirement.

Cream Cracker - Doris collapsed on the floor

Cream Cracker - Doris collapsed on the floor

“…They don’t get called Doris now. They don’t get called Wilfred. Museum, names like that. That’s what they’re all called in Stafford House. Alice and Doris. Mabel and Gladys. Antiques. Keep them under lock and key. ‘What’s your name? Doris? Right. Pack your case. You belong in Stafford House.’

A home. Not me. No Fear…”

The theme of bitterness, frustration and anger continue through to the end as Doris mentally gives up on what has become the struggle that is life and with the final words given in bitterness, anger, frustration and possibly with relief. “…Never mind. It’s done with now, anyway…” This is also portrayed to the audience through the staging of the play; the opening scene starts off in lightness with the final scene fading to a blackout.

In ‘Of Mice and Men’ Crooks appears the most bitter. His bitterness stems from his position in American society, in this time of segregation his colour and race alienates him from the predominant white society. His bitterness quickly turns to frustration and anger when he speaks to Lennie in his room “This is just a nigger talkin’, an a busted-back nigger. So it don’t mean nothing, see

Crooks clearly feels that he has either a low or no position in society and his negative emotions overflow with bitterness, anger and frustration. He tries to seek some personal revenge on society by attacking Lennie’s trust in George with the words “I said s’pose George went into town tonight and you never heard of him no more.” Crooks pressed forward some kind of private victory. “Just s’pose that,” he repeated.

Candy’s bitterness stems from his passiveness, unable to take the lead, assume and independent position due to his age and his relatively lowly position on the ranch as a swamper. This combined with his disability which prevents him from full acceptance by the other men on the ranch, making him seem to be a lesser person in both their and his own eyes. This is a sign of the times, a less tolerant society than we have now, where the disabled, non whites and women were seen as second class citizens. Candy briefly breaks free from his passiveness when he becomes part of Lennie and George’s dream of owning their land. This is expressed most clearly when he confronts Curley’s wife initially.

Of Mice and Men - Lennie being restrained

Of Mice and Men - Lennie being restrained - crushing Curley's hand.

“…He was the master of the situation. “I might of knew.” He said gently. “Maybe you just better get along an’ roll your hoop. We ain’t got nothing to say to you at all. We know what we got, and we don’t care whether you know it or not. So maybe you jus’ scatter along now, cause Curley maybe ain’t gonna like his wife out in the barn with us “bindle stiffs.’.

Once more Candy asserts his recently re-acquired self esteem while demanding Curley’s wife to go from Crook’s room. “You better go home now,” he said quietly. “If you go right now, we won’t tell Curley you was here.”

Curley’s wife’s bitterness however stems from what she perceives was her missed opportunity to be an actor in Hollywood Films, which she believes would have become true had her mother not prevented her doing so. “…I tell ya I could of went with shows. Not jus’ one neither. An’ a guy tol’ me he could put me in pitchers…” She is also bitter because of her enforced loneliness, which is caused by Curley forbidding her from talking to the other men on the ranch. She is frustrated in her attempts to talk to the other men of the ranch by the men themselves who know that Curley does not want them to talk to her. He backs this up by threatening them with his boxing prowess or the threat to their job should they disobey his demands.

In conclusion the authors for all three literary texts have employed a variety of literary techniques in expressing the emotions of the characters they have portrayed. The shared themes of the emotion of loneliness either expressed through the loss of a loved one for example by death or betrayal. The shared themes for the emotions bitterness and frustration from still being alive while a partner is not, as in Doris in the ‘Cream Cracker’, for Candy in his old age, Crooks as an outcast or the loneliness as described in Havisham from being jilted, left alone while the betrayer still seemingly enjoying life possibly with another. The themes were revisited again and again particularly in ‘Of Mice and Men’ emphasising the loneliness of the protagonists and also providing a humanising face to the troubled America of those times, with its drifting, lonely workforce travelling across America in search of the next employment.

The structure of each of the texts also has bearing on audience or a reader’s consumption. For example in the monologue ‘Cream Cracker’ which was produced as a play for television the audience is drawn into the idea that as the staging of the play follows the days cycle from morning to night and the light level drops towards blackout, it also seems to parallel Doris’s life as if her life is coming to an end as the day passes into night. Another example is in the cycles of loneliness as employed by John Steinbeck in ‘Of Mice and Men’ as the protagonists’ start out lonely and are then returned to their loneliness as dreams fade.

Miss Havisham - Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations

Miss Havisham - Charles Dickens novel Great Expectations

Finally, in the ‘Havisham’ poem each of the stanzas assumes a different significance to the reader. For example the first stanza appears to be full of bitterness, the second, loss and denial, the third love and eroticism turning to violence and the fourth stanza is for revenge. The reader is drawn through all her emotions from being jilted at the wedding “Beloved sweetheart bastard” the loss turning to bitterness and then hatred and finally to her craving to enact physical revenge on all males “…Give me a male corpse for a long slow honeymoon…”

By

English – Short Story Assignment

Short Story

Weekend with the Pharaohs – a short story for Level 2 English

This is a True Story

Thank god it’s Saturday. What a hard first month it had been. Working eight hour days in the blistering heat, the sweat pouring from my forehead and running into my eyes making it difficult to see and then dripping into the machinery, definitely not good with all the electricity running through it. That however was not the end of my woes, my overalls carefully tucked into my boots to stop the sand fleas from attacking my ankles and sucking the blood from the exposed flesh. Then there is the sand, I gave up wearing contacts after the first day, sand gets between the contact and the eye, not a good idea to wander around Cairo without being able to see. Welcome to Egypt, land of the Pharaohs.

Today is going to be different. Today is the start of the weekend and there’s no work until Monday. There’s a knock at my hotel door. That’ll be Ammina the floor maid with my laundry I thought, she always delivers it personally in the hope of a tip (baksheesh). I struggled in my first week before I learned how much a very small amount of money went to making the wheels run more smoothly, for example an Egyptian pound left on my pillow each day gave me a spotless room, clean bedding everyday and a bathroom full of soap and towels. “Morning Ammina how are you today”. “Good morning sir, I have your laundry, shall I take your laundry bag”, “Yes of course you can, remind them not to add any starch to my wash, OK,” I said, passing her the bag that I’d placed earlier behind the door. “Yes sir no starch, the front desk asked me to tell you that your driver is waiting in the lobby”, “Thanks Ammina, see you tomorrow”.

Better get ready I thought, my guide is here already. I’d arranged the day before for a personal guide on the advice of the girl on reception, after she described the usual tourist excursions as “whirlwind trips in a crowded bus to the sights but with the bus drivers relatives waiting at each stop to ply you with the usual souvenirs and touristy rubbish”.

Lift or stairs I thought as I left my room, taking the lift would cost me a tip but do I want to walk down all those stairs? The lift it is then, as I walk down the corridor I can see that the lift door is already open and the lift attendant seems to be waiting for me, I thought “I’m sure there’s some kind of network of spies keeping an eye on me”. “Morning” I say to the lift attendant as I enter. “Lobby sir? he says” I nod in the affirmative and he tends to the operation of the lift. It’s one of those old ones where you have to pull the outer door closed then the inner door and then pull the lifts lever to start the lift moving, forward for up back for down. As we travel down the lights blink on and off and a bell sounds as we go past each floor, finally we come to a halt as the attendant pushes the lever forward.

“The lobby sir”, we shake hands the small domination note passes swiftly from my hand to his, it’s a daily occurrence but I never seem to have to wait too long for the lift ever since we started this routine.

Sidney Greenstreet - AKA Mahmood

Sidney Greenstreet - AKA Mahmood

As I step from the lift I see this figure dominating the lobby with his massive proportions. Wow! I thought, that must be my guide, as I looked him over I immediately thought of Sidney Greenstreet, straight out of his role in the film Casablanca. He stood at least six feet tall; corpulent, wearing a white suit, only slightly dusty from the desert sands; he wore a white fedora with a black band and carried a long straight walking stick and the final touch, he was smoking an enormous cigar. I caught his eye and he turned to face me, “Mr Hunt” he says, “that’s me” I replied. “My names Mahmood Sajit but please call me Mahmood” he said. “My names Ian” I said, I knew he wouldn’t be able to pronounce it correctly no else had so far and sure enough he pronounced my name as “Einz”, I knew better than to try and correct his pronunciation, so I just nodded. “My car and driver await us outside” he said and beckoned towards and then starts moving himself towards the main entrance. I follow him and he says “Of course you know you are staying in the very famous ‘Shepherds Hotel’ where your ‘Winston Churchill’ also once stayed while in conference with President Roosevelt and Stalin”. I gave him a nod to indicate that I was impressed by his knowledge of my Hotel; I’d known this as soon as I had arrived as there is a plaque in the lobby above the check in desk celebrating this meeting of world leaders.

The Lobby Shepherds Hotel Cairo

The Lobby Shepherds Hotel Cairo

As we exit the Hotel entrance the heat hits me, it’s only just turned 9.00am but already it’s too hot. The cars parked right outside, an old white Mercedes, a step up I thought from the usual black and white Russian built Ladas that make up most of the cars on the roads in Cairo. His driver leaps out and opens the rear passenger door for us. I step in and slide all the way across the bench seat making room for Mahmood; it’s a tight squeeze as he settles in beside me. The driver gets back in and starts the old Mercedes up, it clatters into life and soon settles down to a light drone as we pull into the slow moving traffic, joining the 24 hour traffic jam on the streets of Cairo. “First I must show you the Great Pyramid and if you would like to go inside I’m sure this can be arranged” he says. I immediately thought “that’s probably going to cost me extra”. The car squeezes its way through the traffic; the horn as usual appears to be directly connected to the brake pedal, sounding off every time we stop. I’m as usual faced with the dilemma, open the window to get some air but of course this also lets the dust in or just put up with the heat. I crack the window open just enough I hoped to let air in but not the dust.

We progress quickly through the traffic and we are soon on the outskirts of Cairo and there is the Great Pyramid, of course I’d seen it before, hundreds of times in films and on television but this was for real. From a distance it’s a perfect triangle shape but as you get close you can see the enormous building blocks from which it has been made, forming what seemed to be giant steps towards the sky. The topmost section still smooth with it’s covering of mortar, which in the distant past used to cover the entire Pyramid. Mahmood or as I had already mentally begun thinking of him as Sydney (that is Sydney Greenstreet) began to describe the History of the Pyramids, its construction and the robbing of its treasures firstly, by the Tomb raiders followed by the French and then the British.

The Great Pyramid and Phinx Cairo Egypt

The Great Pyramid and Phinx Cairo Egypt

As we walked across the burning sand away from the side of the Pyramid facing Cairo and the hundreds of white plastic chairs set up for that evenings light show the Son et Lumière we came to another entrance. A hole seemingly cut into the side of the Pyramid with a solitary guard leaning against the opening. As we approach the guard seemed to recognise my guide, they shake hands there is the usual passing of a small denomination note. Mahmood introduces the guard and we shake hands (everyone shakes hands in Egypt, again something I learned very quickly in the first few days). Mahmood says “ My friend will let you go inside the Pyramid, but be aware it is a difficult passage to the burial chamber, you must go up many wooden steps, in some places the steps are missing and for this a rope has been strung also the wooden guardrail is in disrepair, do you wish to go inside?” How could I say no I thought after such a build up, to say no would be to loose face, so of course but with some trepidation I go inside.

I’m inside The Great Pyramid, it’s dark even though there is a string of work lights going upwards and seemingly without end, that’s another surprise the steps go up, for some reason I thought the burial chamber was at the bottom of the Pyramid. The steps are wooden and poorly made, obviously added much more recently because of course the Pyramids are thousands of years old so the steps could not have survived all that time. Suddenly the way ahead appears much darker, it’s eerily quiet and the way up is blocked by a vertical wall of stone, then I notice the rope hanging in one corner, if I want to carry on I must climb the rope. Taking hold of the rope in both hands I begin to scrabble up the side of the stone block. In what seems to take forever and with the last of my strength I reach the top of the stone block. I stop for a breather before moving on and upwards. “Jesus” I shout out as I suddenly come across a group of what seem to be three locals going back down the way I had just come, they are talking rapidly amongst themselves and do not seem to notice me. Recovering from my fright I carried on and when I had begun to think that the climb would never end, I was there, at the end of the climb and in the burial chamber, the resting place of a great Pharaoh, a living God to his people. What a disappointment I thought it was just a small square dark chamber, without decoration or adornment. I stayed as long as I could until the dark and silence became too oppressing, besides which, it was becoming creepy being alone in the dark at the top of a Pyramid.

The climb down seemed to be much easier. The light seemed to be brighter and the way down therefore easier to see. A trick of the light or had I become acclimatised to the darkness. I was at the bottom and in all that time I’d not passed anyone else coming up the other way. The light was blinding as I stepped out once again into the heat of the desert. Mahmood appeared to be sitting in a deckchair with a cool drink in one hand and what appeared to be an even bigger cigar than what I’d first seen him smoking before in his other hand. I looked at my watch I’d been inside little more than an hour, incredible it had seemed like hours and hours. “An amazing experience was it not, did you feel the presence of the Pharaoh himself” said Mahmood. “It was certainly an experience” I said, but not one I’d like to repeat I thought to myself.

The Great Pyramid and Camel

The Great Pyramid and Camel

Mahmood leads the way again as we walk back towards the car. We pass the endless numbers of traders of souvenirs and those offering camel rides across the desert. A local holding the reins of a camel shouts out “Ten pounds to ride the camel”. Normally not something I’d be interested in but I thought ‘why not’ a once in a lifetime experience. I turn to Mahmood, “do we have time”? I said, “Yes, I will speak to the camel owner for you”, after a rapid and somewhat animated negotiation with a gesture or two from Mahmood’s cane a single Egyptian pound exchanges hands.

Arif the camel’s owner who seems to have no English which surprises me as most locals appear usually to be multi-lingual especially if they think they can sell you something. Anyway I’m introduced to the camel who seems to have zero interest in me as it lies in the desert sand yawning, I’m sure its seen it all before.

Arif then presses a white headdress and what appears to be a black headband into my hands and demonstrates through hand gestures that I should put it on. Suitably attired as a local, Arif shows me how to get onto the camels back and hands me a stick, presumably for hitting the camel it misbehaves. A camel is like sitting on a bag full of rocks. Then it stands up, first by the back legs nearly throwing me off forwards and then by the front legs nearly throwing me off again but this time backwards. Arif keeps a firm grip on the reins as we begin the circumnavigation of the Pyramids. It’s an amazing feeling sitting so high up, gently rocking backwards and forwards as we progress around the first of the Pyramids. I take a look back and Mahmood seems to have already found his deck chair and a glass of something cool again. As we travel along I can’t help but think of Lawrence of Arabia and visualising myself in the great mans shoes riding across the desert as the camel carefully takes each step. The sun has gone behind the Pyramid, instantly it’s much cooler, we are halfway through our journey already. But the respite from the heat is short lived as we turn the next corner and the sun is facing me in all its fury, its gone noon and it’s the hottest part of the day “time to find some shade and a cool drink I thought to myself”. We are soon back from where we had started from.

Ian Hunt with his Camel in front of the Great Pyramid Cairo Egypt

Ian Hunt with his Camel in front of the Great Pyramid Cairo Egypt

Mahmood’s waiting for me and suggests that I get a photograph taken of me on the Camel. After more negotiation another Egyptian pound changes hand and I pass my camera over to Arif’s nephew who appears to understand cameras. Arif’s nephew thoroughly enjoys working the camera and several photographs are taken. Then with handshakes all round we say our goodbyes and as we leave I pass a ten pound note to Arif as a thank you, after all it had been a well spent hour, a memory that will last a lifetime.

Back in the car which now feels like the inside of an oven, driving back to my Hotel and hopefully a cool drink? Mahmood suggest that we stop off and meet his nephew “an aspiring artist of great skill”. Here it comes I thought the hard sell, printed images of Pharaoh’s on papyrus, what appears to be recycled coke cans melted and cast into the shapes of the Gods and almost certainly postcards of the Pyramids. But I was wrong, there were pictures of the Pharaoh’s on papyrus but these were hand painted and inset with gold leaf. There were hand engraved brass plates and sculptures of the Pharaoh’s heads all done in exquisite detail, “how much”? I enquired. Mahmood immediately steps in and suggests to his nephew that the sum of one hundred and fifty pounds would be sufficient for the four paintings along with the two brass plates I had expressed an interest in. I didn’t argue as I would have happily paid much more.

The Veranda - Shepherds Hotel Cairo

The Veranda - Shepherds Hotel Cairo

Back at the Hotel, Mahmood joins me for a drink in the courtyard; I have my usual, a recent discovery from the very first week in Egypt. The drink served in a very British dimpled styled pint glass filled with ice, fresh fruit and lemonade complete with a very generous measure of Pimms. With a clink of glasses I thanked Mahmood for an excellent day particularly the climb inside the Great Pyramid. “I’m surprised” I said, “there was only the one small group of locals inside the Pyramid that I’d met on the climb up, I thought it would be full of tourists”. “It cannot be true” said Mahmood “you were in the Pyramid on your own, no one else came out of the Pyramid while you were in there” said Mahmood. “But there were three of them, I almost walked into them, too be honest they appeared out of nowhere frightening the life out of me” I said. “No it is forbidden for visitors to go inside the Pyramid, I thought you knew, which is why I had to speak to the guard, could it be that you truly saw the ghosts of the Tomb Raiders” he said. “Ghosts” I exclaimed. “They say that the ghosts are of the three Tomb Raiders who were sealed inside the Pyramid after setting off one of the many traps inside the Pyramid and now doomed to haunt the corridors of the Pyramid, still trying to find their way out” he said. I didn’t know what to say, could they have been the ghosts of the Tomb Raiders, or were they more likely something Mahmood dreamed up to add some extra spice to his repertoire of stories to frighten the tourists.

Mahmood obviously happy with my reaction to his Ghost theory said, “I will take my leave now and for tomorrow I thought we’d visit ‘The City of the Dead’, maybe we will see some more ghosts” Mahmood smiled, turned and lumbered away using his stick to clear a path through the tables and back into the Hotel. As I watched him leave, more Ghosts, I thought, I hope not, taking a long drink emptying the glass.

By

English – Assignment: Speech Evaluation and Review

Evaluation & Review

Actionade an Evaluation

To get the audience‘s attention I used the sound of my hand hitting the surface of the desk three times. Counting five seconds between each slap to show how little time seems to pass for the death of a child from hunger. “In our World – a child dies every 5 seconds from HUNGER”. I also made sure to scan the room catching the eyes of my audience to make them feel engaged in my speech and that I was addressing them personally. I wanted to put two key points across to the audience I pointed at one side and said “YOU can HELP them” and then pointing at the other side of the audience I said “ YOU can Make a difference” the pointing re-emphasised the idea that I was talking personally to each and everyone in the audience. To reinforce the message contained within the speech at the end of the speech I once again slapped the top of the desk again, repeating my message of the death of a child, one every five seconds.

I used emotive and loaded language throughout the speech for example HUNGER, CANCER and HELP. Using repetition of these words in particular “HUNGER” to both reinforce the importance and impact of these words and to make sure that they remained in the audiences’ memory long after the speech was over.

Imagery was used to engage the audience and to create empathy for the victims of hunger. “You’ve all seen the pictures – The walking skeletons – skin stretched across bone…” and metaphor for example “…sitting in the dust of despair…” The speech was also loaded with facts “… over Six million children die of HUNGER every year that is 17,000 children every day…” and again “… a child dies every 5 seconds…” and “…15 million people suffer HUNGER…”and each of these points made using an intentional rhythm, for example “…HUNGER makes them weak – they become at risk from disease – they live in poverty – there are no medicines and so they die…”.

As the speech was intended to represent the work of an actual charity and was therefore intentionally loaded with opinion and bias for example “… HUNGER is the single greatest threat to WORLD Health…”, is hunger really the single greatest threat to World Health, for as I point out in my own speech “…HUNGER makes them weak – they become at risk from disease – they live in poverty – there are no medicines and so they die…” (rule of three) from this you could say it is the fact that they have no medicines and this is the reason that they die rather than hunger alone being solely responsible for their deaths. It could also be due to the fact that they live in poverty or any number of other reasons but for the purposes of this speech an appeal for charitable donations HUNGER was presented as the sole reason for the deaths.

Question and Answer session.

The questions following the speech concentrated mainly on the facts contained within the speech and as these are unfortunately, the real facts I managed to answer these to hopefully the audiences’ satisfaction, but could possibly be answered with more conviction.  In fact I could have been better prepared to handle these questions.

*******************************************************

Review of “Argument for staying in Iraq”

Russell’s speech, a humorous yet sarcastic view of the conflict in Iraq and the benefits if that is the correct meaning that the conflict actually brought to the people of Iraq.

Russell made use of several literary techniques in his speech including metaphor “The people of Iraq have been left in darkness” and then there is his use of varied sentence lengths another literary technique which helps keep the audience interested. The use of imagery for example “Blood will run and death will commence” and again in “Don’t hide in darkness enter the light, let your voice be heard”.

He used personal bias and opinion to get his message across; making each statement that on the face of it appears positive to in fact be negative for example “The people of Iraq cannot cope. They need our friendly faces, our guns and our tanks” the true meaning behind his words would be “they do not want us, nor our guns or our tanks”. “Without this support the infra-structure of Iraq will surely collapse” of course the infra-structure was in fact bombed out of existence by the allied forces during it’s campaign of “Shock and Awe”. Russell made use of simple and personal language to deliver his speech, appealing to a wide audience.

His speech seemed to be received by the audience in the manner that Russell intended for it to be received. He wanted the audience to see that he was pointing out the negatives that the war on behalf of the Iraqis had brought them, insecurity, a poorer standard of living and the destruction of their infrastructure and services. That the meddling of the allied forces in Iraq and the conflict against Saddam Hussein had actually damaged the lives of most of the people of Iraq and destabilised the whole region.

Russell did not really appear to be addressing only the audience in the room directly but his speech would seemingly work well for a much wider audience, for example on radio or television where it could be well received by for example, anti war activists or even those who were undecided on whether the war in Iraq had been necessary.

Question and Answer session.

Russell seemed surprised by the questions that his speech had initiated and on the whole seemed to be relatively unprepared with answers. But managed to cope and supplied answers that satisfied his audience.

He on the whole delivered his speech well in and in an authoritive manner but did lose the plot a couple of time during the speech most probably due to the irony contained within his own speech. On the whole though a good presentation and generally well received by the audience.

By

English – Assignment: Write a Speech on behalf of a Charity

Actionaid

This is an appeal on behalf of Actionaid

  • CLAP –  That’s 1 dead
  • CLAP –  2 dead
  • CLAP –  That’s 3 dead
  • In our World – a child dies every 5 seconds from HUNGER
  • According to the World Health Organisation – HUNGER is the single greatest threat to WORLD Health.
  • HUNGER the killer that’s greater than any disease – greater than CANCER.
  • HUNGER the single greatest contributor to child mortality.
  • Today, more than a billion people are hungry – over Six million children die of HUNGER every year that is 17,000 children every day
  • HUNGER makes them weak – they become at risk from disease – they live in poverty – there are no medicines and so they die.
  • You’ve all seen the pictures – The Walking skeletons – skin stretched across bone – sitting in the dust of despair – waiting for the relief that never seems to come.
  • In Malawi – Emergency Food Aid was needed by 5 Million of its 13 Million HUNGRY inhabitants.
  • Yet all is not lost – with our continued HELP and the HELP of others Malawi produced a record breaking harvest in 2006 and again in 2007 and now sells more food to the World Food Program and the United Nations than any other Southern African country.
  • HUNGER is not just limited to the African continent – in fact Asia has more than twice the number of people who just do not have enough food.
  • It is an unacceptable fact that there is no region in the World that does not have this problem – those people who live in poverty and live with the risk of starvation. This includes the developed countries where it is estimated that as many as 15 Million people suffer HUNGER.
  • YOU can HELP them. (POINT)
  • YOU can MAKE a difference. (POINT)
  • Save a child from HUNGER today – sponsor a child through Actionaid for less than 50 pence a day, that’s less than the price of a packet of crisps a day – save on calories and more importantly HELP save a child’s life.
  • Not only will you HELP save a child but your continued sponsorship will HELP us to fight poverty. Enable farmers to buy tools, irrigate their fields and grow more food – bringing an end to HUNGER for an entire village.
  • Remember in just the short time that I have been talking to you over 30 children have died from HUNGER.
  • CLAP that’s another one.
  • CLAP and another.
  • CLAP and another.
  • Act now – and save a child from HUNGER today – see our website for details – actionaid.org.uk

Thank you

By

English – Assignment: Response to non-literary material

Section A

1.0 How does Bryson’s use of fact and opinion help us in our understanding of his experience in Bournemouth during his previous and present visits?

Firstly, the extract from “Notes from a Small Island” is written in the first person narrative, which instantly creates a personal tone and so I would expect this extract to be written from Bryson’s personal viewpoint which helps engages the reader. It is also by definition most likely to be biased because this is Bryson’s personal viewpoint.

Opinion and bias dominate Bryson’s description of Bournemouth in comparing his first introduction to Bournemouth in 1977 and his return. He expresses regret at the loss of some of the shops and their departments including the fact of the loss of Beale’s book department and the fact that the food hall at Dingles has also gone. But of most importance to him is the loss of the “…elegant little bakery, taking the worlds best sugar doughnuts with it…” and a good example of Bryson’s bias with this personal opinion on what he considers to be the best doughnuts in the world and most probably an exaggeration. The implications here are that not all changes are for the better. Definitely a biased opinion from Bryson here but in counter argument he does mention some positive improvements such as shopping arcades being ‘nicely tarted up’ and to a positive aspect of the differences between his previous visit in 1977 and now ‘…there wasn’t a scrap of litter to be found…’ which compared to his previous visit “…whereas in my day Christchurch Road was an open-air litter bin.”

Bryson uses facts to ensure that the part of his book which is intended to be used as a Travel guide uses accurate names for each of the locations he describes so that travellers will recognise the locations from his descriptions, examples include “…Pleasure Gardens…” and “…tourist information centre on Westover Road…” Other examples include his expectations of “… English answer to Bad Ems or Baden-Baden – manicured parks, palm courts with orchestras, swank hotels …” and the facts are “…Sadly, I have to report that almost none of this awaited me…”

2.0 What is the purpose of facts, opinions and implied meanings in the Brittany Ferry advertisement?

Firstly, an advertisement is designed to persuade the reader to buy the product and/or service. The Brittany Ferry advertisement is very persuasive, by using many examples of the positive points to using Ferry Travel, by highlighting only the positives aspects to ferry travel compared to the negatives aspects associated by the alternative of using air travel. For example “…had become disillusioned with the hassle of air travel…” this is using opinion of the “…Mead Family…” to imply that ferry travel does not have the same hassles that the air traveller experiences. The Brittany Ferries advertisement also avoids mentioning any of the positive points of using air travel in particular the dramatic difference in the speed between the two modes of travel. For example Ferry Travel to Spain is described as an overnight journey yet by using air travel you could do the same journey in just a few hours.

The sales approach begins with the title “A holiday ferry-tale” using a malapropism of Fairytale to identify a holiday with Brittany Ferry’s as being just like a being in a Fairytale with its associated imagery of an idyllic holiday just like a fairy tale. The advert reinforces this malapropism towards the end of the advertisement by stating “…Trégastel was spectacular with its fairytale-like pink granite coast…” Of course the reader could also view this negatively; their promise of a perfect holiday experience could also be just a Fairytale.

Several literary techniques are used in the advertisement, there is an example of the rule of three, “The Ferry was fantastic”, “the whole family loved the live cabaret”, “the children’s entertainment was a real hit” all of these quotes also using hyperbole in their descriptions of ferry travel. There is the use of hyphenated language including; “…tired of the run-of-the-mill package holidays…” and “…great-value holiday option…”

Like all advertisements there is the factual contact information, telephone number and website address, there is also a competition to win a holiday, using the imperative, attracting the reader and encouraging them to apply and most importantly supply their contact information, this is most likely for future contact from Brittany Ferries, offering holiday offers and other incentives to use their services.

3.0 How does the Brittany Ferry advertisement use its choice of layout, presentation and language to persuade you to go on holiday with them?

There’s a strong bias shown throughout this advertisement in favour of ferry travel, where Brittany Ferries describes air travel when compared with ferry travel as having ‘inconvenient check in times’ and likening air travel using the simile  ‘…herded like cattle…’ and with the added problems of ‘…baggage limitations…’. There is no mention of sailing delays, bad weather cancellations or seaman and dock workers strikes in this advertisement.

Although this is in effect a Ferry service they have also associated themselves to being similar to a cruise service by a quote from the Mead family stating “…The Ferry was fantastic – MV Bretagne was more like a cruise ship…” there by association raising the level of service that a potential customer would think they would be getting, this positive visualisation of an opulent cruise ship rather than the usual visualisation associated with a car ferry, that being, open cold decks swaying with every passing wave, everyone feeling seasick and just waiting for the journey to be over.

In the Brittany Ferry Advertisement they have chosen to use an artistic impression of their holidays rather than by just showing their holidays in photographs, this is done to invoke the reader into visualising what they want the reader to see, which in this case they have done by creating imagery of a sunny childhood holiday.  They’ve achieved this through the use of strong summery colours, the reds, yellows and gold, the golden sunsets and idyllic farmhouse scene of quote “…pretty gíte…” locations. All these images are symbolic of the best in childhood summer holidays. This choice of imagery evokes and enhances the advertisements association with its holidays being like a Fairytale.

The layout of the pictures themselves appear at first to be out of order; the first picture is of a location in France, their destination with the heading “REAL FREEDOM France offers an authentic holiday experience”, this is followed by a picture of the Ferry sailing away into a sunset “TRAVEL IN STYLE Cruise direct to the best parts of France and Northern Spain” but which could visually represent the end of the holiday and the third picture is of a car being packed up “PACKING UP No baggage limitations at all”, again visually representing the journey home but the heading seems to refer to the start of the journey. But by making the first picture the one showing the idyllic holiday location and making it larger then the others this directs the reader’s attention to this picture over all others and again creating this visualisation of the Fairytale holiday.

There is a simplicity to the language used, the rhythm used is always upbeat “The Ferry was fantastic”, “the whole family loved the live cabaret”, “the children’s entertainment was a real hit” other examples include, “…like a cruise ship…”, “Travel in style” and “Real freedom”.

4.0 How does choice of language and structure interest the reader?

Bryson’s style of writing creates the feeling that he is guiding you on his travels, in this case around Bournemouth, pointing out changes for good and changes that in his opinion are not so good.

Bryson also uses humour to great effect to engage the reader and share his view of Bournemouth and its changes from when he was last in Bournemouth. For instance he describes one new building as “…decorated with a curious glass and tubular steel edifice that looked like a bus shelter for giants”. Another example of where Bryson uses humour is where he describes the Pleasure Gardens as, “…provide shoppers with a tranquil green place to rest on their long slog from one side of the centre to the other…” and in the same sentence “… though of course, if it weren’t for the parks there wouldn’t be the long slog. Such is life”.

Bryson makes use of different sentence lengths to engage the readers’ interest by personalising the text, for instance just looking at the example above, where he describes the Pleasure Gardens a sentence of over seventy five words in length followed by a sentence of just three words “Such is life” where he is basically making a very personal statement.

Bryson also makes use of his observation skills in for example in his description of the offices where he used to work likening them to a Dickens novel “…untidy stacks of paper, gloomy lighting, two rows of hunched figures sitting at desks…” His writing creates imagery of “…cadaverous figures…” from which the reader will immediately visualise a scene from Dickens novel ‘A Christmas Carol’ and Scrooge’s offices as described in Dickens novel with the ‘Echo’s’ equivalent of Bob Cratchit sitting at a desk scratching away with a quill pen in a freezing cold and dark office heated only by the burning of a single lump of coal in the fire grate. The reason why Bryson invokes this imagery is for the reader to be able to visualise themselves being in this environment so that they will have a better understanding of how he felt when he worked there.

Bryson uses language to engage the reader by being informal and by seemingly addressing his comments and descriptions directly to the reader. His rhythm varies and can be very downbeat at some times, for example when he describes the changes that have been made between now and his previous visit to Bournemouth, “…elegant little bakery, taking the worlds best sugar doughnuts with it…”.

5.0 For what purpose is bias used in Bryson’s description of Bournemouth and the Brittany Ferries’ advertisement?

Bryson’s use of bias is used to engage the reader hinting at his own and in some instances his very personal views one example of which is his views regarding officials who for instance, “…some councillor or other force for good realised the profound and unhealthy implications of placing Lower and Pleasure in such immediate proximity to each and successfully lobbied to have Lower removed from the title, so now you have the Upper Pleasure Gardens and the mere Pleasure Gardens…” you can almost feel some of Bryson’s exasperation as he describes the thought processes and actions of minor officials in this case Bournemouth’s councillors.

Brittany’s Ferries’ uses bias to persuade the reader to switch primarily from air travel and package holidays from air travel companies to ferry travel and their package holiday offers. There’s the “…they discovered routes that saved them miles of driving, petrol, tolls and overnight stops…” surely if they had flown they would have arrived very close to their eventual destination and so would not have driven miles, bought petrol, have incurred tolls or overnight stops. There are many other examples of bias, most promoting the advantages of ferry travel as apposed to air travel examples of this include “…The journey was without stress” another was “The choice of food on board was excellent too” and “…convenient sailings…” with “…high speed service…” and finally “…forget about baggage limitations…”

6.0 Comparing the two non-literary texts

Comparing the two non-literary texts we are able to identify that Bryson piece is intended at possibly two types of reader, the traveller who is researching a location or indeed an idea for their own future travel and holiday requirements and is therefore looking for travel ideas, places of interest and sights to see, or alternatively Bryson is writing for a reader who is just reading primarily for entertainment purposes. Bryson’s humorous take on a travel location achieves both these goals, describing the locations for the potential traveller and the funny descriptions for the reader looking for entertainment.

The Brittany Ferries advertisement by comparison is aimed primarily at young families. Although there is a carrot for the adults as well “…There are also some great-value golf breaks on offer too, for the enthusiast…” It targets it’s customers by describing the details of a Fairytale family holiday “The Mead family”, their travel plans and the details of their accommodation. “The Meads really enjoyed their new holiday experience” in the start of final paragraph is a closing statement designed to close the sale and get the reader to consider using their service for their next holiday.

Looking specifically at the tone of the two non-literary texts in comparison they couldn’t seem to be more different. Brittany Ferries emphasises the positive aspects of their offering throughout their advertisement mixing a passive voice with the active voice of the Mead family.  Bryson is much more cynical in his tone sometimes almost disparaging in particular to the changes he sees between his former and current visits to Bournemouth, although still with this humorous take used in his descriptions and as it was written in the active voice that is the first person narrative, with Bryson’s personal view of everything he describes in his book, this helps the reader identify with the authors travel and personal experiences.

Section B

“Cosmetic Surgery” from The Hospital Group

The advertisement is designed purposely to be both persuasive and subjective

Opinions and superlatives proliferate in the advertisements top section examples of which include “whole new you”, “an excellent experience” and “industry leading standards” all designed to catch the readers’ attention. In the bottom section there are even more examples of opinion, superlatives  and certainly bias including the whole description of their bespoke service for example “The world’s top surgeons, hand picked for their exceptional skills & technical ability”, which could also be interpreted as hyperbole as the Hospital Group is unlikely to have access to all the worlds top surgeons and we can assume that it was them that decided who the top surgeons’ were and determined their level of skills and technical ability. This opinion is expanded upon with their next statement “Leaders in their field, with their own innovative, newly developed techniques”, again as no other external authoritive body is cited we are left to assume that this again is the sole opinion of “The Hospital Group”.

The advertisement is actually two advertisements’ in one. The top half of the advertisement appears to target and is therefore biased toward a less sophisticated potential customer than the bottom section of the advertisement. They have done this by separating the top and bottom half of the advertisement visually by a change in colours used that is a white background for the top section and a black background for the bottom section. They have also distinguished the difference between the two service levels they offer by giving the premium service a name “Introducing The Platinum Choice” biasing this section of the advertisement towards the more sophisticated clientele.

The advertisement creates an emotive response in several ways and levels, the list of procedures identify parts of the body which a potential customer may be unhappy with and they offer to solve this problem for you and at the same time make you happy. This is underlined by the statement “…a whole new you…” The separation of the advert into two distinct levels that is dependent on the perceived sophistication of the customer. The top half will appeal to the average customer who will have a budget and for this reason they list medical procedures and their starting prices, in fact the prices listed are all sub £4,000. The bottom half of the advert meanwhile refers to a bespoke service tailored not only to their requirements but also to the customers’ ability to pay, with prices starting from £12,000. There’s also the use of locations to sell the exclusivity of the “Platinum Choice” that it London, Beverley Hills and Barcelona all considered premium locations, whereas the top half of the advertisement locations are much less salubrious for example; Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, Newcastle, Bristol and Norwich, hardly a select location amongst them.

The tone running throughout the advert gives the impression of authority, it does this in several ways, first there is the visual aspect of the advert with the main picture of the man dressed and therefore presented as being a Surgeon, very much an authoritive figure with a high status in society. The use of this authority figure also allows them to transfer some of this authority to the content of the advert, seemingly to present supposition as facts, taking the heading again as an example of this “…for a whole new you…” This impression of authority is enforced by the wording in the advertisement “Mr Mario Russo, Medical Director” the keywords here are Medical Director. Then again “The World’s top surgeons” and “Leaders in their fields” all add to this impression of authority, these terms, imperatives for the reader to act assuming they are indeed looking for cosmetic surgery surely they’d want the “The World’s top surgeons” and “Leaders in their fields” to carry out their surgery.

There is also an imperative for customers to call them in the top half of the advertisement “Call: 0845 626 727” whilst the bottom section of the advertisement just presents its telephone number without the imperative to call. This is another example of how this advertisement is designed to be perceived by two very different customers separated by we presume their level of sophistication or financial status, that is their ability to pay.

Facts are few, limited to the names, that’s is the name of the company “The Hospital Group” the name of the Medical Director “Mr Mario Russo” and the contact details, that is telephone numbers and website address. Although some information does seem to be presented as facts when in fact they are not “Leaders in their fields…” Although details of clinic locations are mentioned there are no specifics and so they provide too little information to be considered facts especially as all the contact information is non-geographically based. The telephone numbers all start 0845 and the website address is a .com, again this could be anywhere in the world the only exception is the telephone number for Ireland.

%d bloggers like this: