AO2: Q) How does the writer convey his thoughts and feelings about his visit to Naples in Italy in the passage? By Aaizah Tahir 11M


A) This extract is a travel writing written by Bill Bryson, called “Neither Here Nor There”. The genre of this piece of text is non-fiction with the themes of travelling and beauty of simplicity of life in Italy. The tone of this passage is skeptical. The language is colloquial and engaging, with a simple vocabulary, including compound and descriptive words. The purpose of this passage is to entertain the reader and inform the audience about Italy. The audience consists of young adults, adults and tourists wanting to know about and/or visit Italy. This extract explains and describes in detail of what the writer sees as he wanders in the strets of Italy, and his thoughts and emotions while travelling and seeing the sights.

The tone of the author in this extract is skeptical and somewhat cynical. This can be seen by, “I awake to a gloomy day”, “Naples looked even worse”, “the worst of these districts” and “yet i feel safe enough.” These display the conflict that the writer feels about whether he likes the place or not. He describes the “shady square” and that there were “unattended children” who wore ” filthy shorts”, but then he tells the reader how despite all that, he feels safe. This reflects the writer’s attitude and gives the impresssion of a reasoned piece of writing. It also informs the reader of the writer’s view on Italy.

Then, the writer says, “there were no sign of happy fishermen”, “more people selling lottery tickets” and “dirty underpants, half a bar of chocolate.” This portrays the very colloquial and engaging language. The author explains and paints a picture of all that he saw or encountered on his trip to Italy in a simple, yet interesting manner. The colloquial language engages the reader, creates interest and makes it easier for the writer to get his point across. The reader gets impressed with all the information, and also makes the reader feel more at ease with the writer.

Furthermore, the writer has incorporated multiple figures of speech for effect. Firstly, he has made use of personification. Point in case, “wispy haze… taken away in the night”, “tumbling fog”, “slicing rain” and “stray smile”. The writer makes his point by describing something with something totally unrelated. This sparks interest in the reader, helps the reader understand the point being made and it also sustains the reader’s interest as it is easy to read.

Secondly, the writer has used simile, shown by, “washing hung like banners”. This clarifies and enhances the idea of the alleyway and is very effective, the aptness of comparison helps make a point.

Then, the writer has made use of alliteration. For example, “banners between balconies” and “stray smile”. This adds emphasis and reinforces the meaning of what is being said. It creates a highly emotive picture.

Finally, the writer has irony shown by, “Yet, I felt safe enough.” This is ironic as throughout the passage, the writer says how the streets are dirty and full of rubbish and there was theft but still, he feels safe. This makes the writer’s point distinctively and engages the reader through his words.

Next, the writer has used words like “obscured’, “hill sides”, “waterfront”, “menacing-looking”, “derelicts” and “blunder”. This shows the simple vocabulary used in the passage including compound-words. The writer also uses triples, “mean, cavernous and semi-paved”. All of this helps the reader read and understand the text written, easily. It engages the reader and puts them more at ease.

Finally, the writer uses sarcasm such as “pettier crimes like car theft”. This is a very powerful device and with a humorous touch, shows that the writer has negative feelings towards the crimes in Italy.

In conclusion, the writer has used various linguistic elements and techniques such as simple vocabulary, figures of speech and sarcasm to add effect to the passage. By this, he engages the reader, sustains the audience’s interest, makes his point distinctively and creates a highly emotive picture.

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 or 03365287335 Happy reading!

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