AO2: How does the writer convey his thoughts and feelings about his visit to Naples in Italy in this passage? By Zara Irfan 11 E.

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Entitled as ‘Neither Here Nor There’, this extract has been endorsed by the writer Bill Bryson, the purpose behind it being to entertain the reader while being expressive side by side as well. The language used is semi-formal, going in a smooth flow, making the writer’s words seem conversational and easy to read. The audience includes travelers and mainly young-adults and adults since the extract is a travel log and the tone holds a humorous and jolly pace. The attitude, however, is skeptical (somewhat under tension) regarding the fact that the author is in a new place, facing foreign problems. The style can be described using two different elements; description and narration. Furthermore, the theme can be recognized as ‘travel’ or even ‘new experiences’.

Coming to the actual body of the narrative, this extract holds various techniques to woo the reader into reading it. The first and foremost detectable feature can be the mass of the description the author has used and how he has coupled words with adjectives, creating the best example of imagery. For example, the author has used the lines ‘obscured by a wispy haze’ and ‘I would blunder onto some shady square lined with small but decent hotels’. This adds color to the writings and allows the reader to be attracted to the passage.

Carrying forth with the last given example (‘square lined with small but decent hotels’), use of alliteration can be spotted as the writer is playing about with the letter ‘s’. Relating to this, associations/connotations have also been made by the writer. For instance, the author in the third paragraph says, “mean, cavernous, semi-paved alleyways.” These words- specifically the word ‘mean’- hold more meaning to them. Hence, it is safe to say that both persuasive techniques make the readers hold on to the passage. Alliteration adds emphasis and associations bring about readers response in various ways.

Thirdly, different forms of figures of speech have been used. Personification can be highlighted when the writer says, “tumbling fog”. Another place where we can find an example is in the same line, the continuation being, “creatures from beyond the grave stumble.” This makes the reader visualize the scene in a more comprehensive manner and makes the writer overall more attractive. Euphemism is another figure of speech used. The writer uses the word ‘overplump’ instead of fat when describing the women he sees, which makes the situation more pleasant and polite to read.

Besides all of this, the writer’s work is full of sarcasm and humor. The extract has been wrapped up with a comical touch as the writer says at the end, “all they would get was some dirty underpants.” Another example can be seen in the third paragraph, “streets were full of overplump women and unattended children, often naked from the waist down.” Humor generally is a technique to enhance one’s writings and to make it seem more engaging, and as in this case here, the author has been successful.

Exaggerations, overstatements and hyperboles have been repeatedly used throughout the passage. This is evident in these exact words of the author, “I felt as if I had wandered onto another continent.” The usage of these makes the writer’s words clearer and more understandable by the reader. It also adds complexity and a flavorful touch to spice everything up, upholding drama at its best.

Providing us with facts and statistics, the author produces substantial evidences to back up his own words. For example, “has the highest population density in Europe”, “70,000 families even live now in cramped bassi’s” and “the pettier crimes like car theft (29,000 in one year).”

Use of several vernacular words is also highly prominent. ‘Scippatori’ and ‘bassi’ are some words which prove this point. These words are informative and give an overview of different cultures, making the reader indulge in the authors words even more. It creates a base of interest and is highly profound in attracting attraction.

In conclusion, the writer has been highly effective and efficient in proving and describing his experiences, using enhanced techniques such as figures of speech, persuasive tricks and statistical information for back up. Being highly descriptive, majority of the reader’s would find Bill Bryson’s work exclusively entertaining and humorous at the same time.

About froebelianwriters

I am an English Language teacher teaching O'Levels Edexcel and CIE A Levels at Froebel's International School, Islamabad. I am also working as a Subject Specialist Literacy consultant for the same school. Writing and reading has always been a passion and I try my utmost to instill these habits and hobbies in my students as well. I can be reached/contacted at fabbas227@hotmail.com or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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