Q. Study the two passages and compare and contrast the writers’ views on taking risks and how each writer uses language to communicate their opinion effectively. Written by Rafia Sajjad.

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The theme of both the passages is same that is taking risks. In the first one, Humar decides to climb “Nanga Parbat” even though he was aware of the fact that it would be suicidal especially because of the bad weather. Suspense is one of the main elements of this text. In Passage B, divers dive for lobsters as this is a seafood on the Mosquito Coast of Nicaragua. This job is considered to be dangerous. This makes people wonder how many people would have died while searching for this creature.

Passage A’s content includes Humar climbing Nanga Parbat and later being trapped in the middle of his journey. He stayed in the snow hole he dug for several days, his rations running low. He even radioed the base camp for his rescue but the first few were not able to help due to the weather conditions. Later on in the passage, a helicopter returned and made an attempt to save Humar, which was successful. This passage consists of suspense and the reader empathizes for the climber as he had been through so much. Passage B tells us about the local people in Central America diving in deep water in search of lobsters. They are supplied with equipments that would help them through their search. Unfortunately, most of the divers did not return. Miskitos believed it was due to curse Liwamair. Because of this, people refused to dive in order to risk their lives. Readers would sympathize as they now realize that lots of lives had been taken during the search.

The purpose of Passage A is connative as well as informative as it consists of statistics like “8126 meters”, “14800 feet”, etc. We get to know about Nanga Parbat and Humar as well. People then empathize and think about what they would have done. Passage B is also informative and touches a bit of description as the second paragraph describes the deck for instance: “the wooden null was scuffed and battered.” The reader visualizes everything and now has a crystal clear image of the scene.

The audience for Passage A is adults as children would not understand the big figures and might get scared after reading about the risks of alpinism. Also they would not understand the vocabulary used in the passage. Alpinists all around the world have now recognized the dangers. The audience for Passage B is mainly adults because the elderly usually deal with these kinds of situations.

The style of Passage A is a bit narrative and connative as they affect the readers emotionally and empathize as well. Readers try to put themselves in his shoes for instance: “Humar fully expected the next day to be his last, but his uneasy sleep was broken by the sound of a helicopter…” makes us visualize everything in our minds. It is narrative in a way that the author writes about it just like telling a story. Passage B has a descriptive and an informative style. For example: “The wheelhouse windows had cracks repaired with bandages of plastic tape.” Readers now imagine the windows in the condition described. It feels like everything is right before their very eyes.

The attitude of Passage A is compassionate as Humar got detached from all his family and friends. This makes us feel sorry for the alpinist who got stuck in the middle of nowhere. For example: “he spent another night in his sleeping bag that was threatening to become a coffin of ice.” Passage B is more straight-forward as it is direct to the point and very detailed. For example: “The Liwamir is a pale-skinned mermaid who lurks in the depths of the sea.” This informs the reader of new terms and ideas.

The tone of the first text is intense as well as pensive as readers feel the urge to know what happened next for example: “Humar was reading thousands of emails from his fans and consulting with his team about further attempts.” People who read the extract would want to know what his future attempts were. Passage B, on the other hand, is rather melancholic because the author wrote about deaths and the hardships the Miskitos went through. For instance, “Divers were slowly poisoned by the foul air they inhaled from the bottles…”

A lot of F.O.S has been used, mostly being alliteration, in both the extracts. Like, from Passage A: “remained relentless”, “steel ice screws”, “dazzling day”, etc. passage B consists of similes like: “stacked on a deck like paper cups”, alliteration: “calamitous condition”, “crevices and crannies”, etc. Alliteration reinforces the meaning and adds emphasis. Simile clarifies the idea for reader. There is repetition of words like: “closer and closer” (Passage A), “deeper and deeper” (Passage B). This is also adds emphasis.

The linguistic features include a) sentence structure: both the passages have a variety of sentences that are simple like, “Occasionally a diver drowned” (Passage B), “This is show business, not alpinism” (Passage A), compound like: “he could neither ascend nor descend and so dug himself” (Passage A), “… packages of food and bundles of spare clothing…” (Passage B).b) vocabulary is neither heavy nor simple. Words like “precipitously”, “top out”, etc. are used in Text One. Text Two has words like “meager”, “drudgery”, “regime”, etc. Statistics have also been in the extracts that impress the reader.

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