Q)How have the authors of passage one and two addressed their opinions about visiting a new place/country? By Zara Irfan


Passage A is an extract is an extract from the travel writing ‘Neither Here Nor There’, written by the writer Bill Bryson. Passage B whereas, is from the novel ‘Slum Dog Billionaire’, drafted by the author Vikas Swarup. Both of these writings are in their own way encourage able, the intended effect of the first one being expressive and entertaining, highly reflecting that of passage B, which is also very engaging. 

Rounding up all of the similarities first, the most evident similarity would be the theme of both passage A and passage B, which is ‘travel’. They are intended to systemize new experiences and exploration which can be evident in passage A when the writer says, “I had no map not even the vaguest sense of geography.” Passage B on the other hand says, “The Taj Mahal, I had heard about it.” These examples show signs of cluelessness.

Second, the audience of both the extracts is more or less the same as well, mainly for travelers, adults and young adults. For example, the first passage says, “Naples looked even worse after Sorrento and Capri”. Passage B correspondingly says, “The Taj Mahal. The eighth wonder of the world.” These basic lines show that these extracts are intended for people interested in travel.

Style is another one of the similarities visible as both passages are narratives and fervently descriptive at the same time. “Were obscured by a wispy haze and Naples across the bay appeared to have been taken away by the night,” (Passage A) and “Thirty minutes of brisk walking along the embankment brings me to an enormous red sandstone entrance gate.” (Passage B) provide backup to this statement. This creates a visual image of the scene unfolding in the reader’s mind and makes the work more appealing.

Apart from this, these extracts from ‘Neither Here Nor There’ and ‘Slumdog Billionaire’ revolve around a hefty amount of figures of speech. For example, personification like ‘tumbling fog’ in passage one and ‘swelling dome’ in passage two and alliteration like “purity of it’s perfection” in passage two have been used. Through this, color is added to the authors work and the writing becomes much more interesting to read as well, attracting readers like bees are to honey.

Another similarity would be the obvious humor highlighting the stories. They are both coincidentally comical and sarcastic at the same time, which makes the readers feel light and focused on reading ahead. Humor can be spotted in passage A when the writer says, “unattended children, often naked from the waist down, in filthy T-shirts” and in passage B in the following words, “glimpse of a dead body floating on its surface.”

In both extracts statistical and factual intel has also been provided to the reader, the exact words of Bill Bryson in passage B being, “the pettier crimes like car theft (29,000 per year)”, and of Vikas Swarup in passage B, “TAJ MAHAL ENTRY FEES: INDIANS RS.20”. This technique is a clever way to make the writer’s words seem much more believable and at the same time backs up their stance accordingly.  All in all, it also provides the reader with knowledge, understanding of an idea and a chance to discover fresh information.

Moving on to the differences, both these passages carry different content. Even though they both are themed as ‘travel’, the narratives are about two deflecting places and specific experiences. For example, the first one talks about a visit to ‘Naples’ (“I purchased a ticket on a slow ferry to Naples”) and the second passage talks about the Taj Mahal- a place in India (“That is the Taj Mahal, idiot”). Varying contents provide the readers with a wide range of variety and new concepts to view.

Language, at the same time, is also a bit different. Despite usage of an ample amount of figures of speech and literary techniques, passage A is conducted through a rather formal tone. The author, for example, says, “where the old rascal used to have guests who displeased him.” These words show that they are not used in casual, normal conversations whereas in passage B the language is in fact conversational and semi-formal. Vikas Swarup uses lines like, “That is the Taj Mahal you idiot.” This creates an image of informality and makes the story easy to read and comprehensive.

Attitude of passage A and passage B is somewhat in neglect to each other. In passage A the attitude remains skeptical throughout, even till the very end. For example, the author uses words like, “mean, cavernous, semi-paved alleyways,” for the streets of Naples. The writer of passage B, however, has a fluctuating attitude. He is being expressive in a way where he keeps a good balance between the negatives and the positives. He says, “Taj Mahal rises in all it’s beauty and splendor.” This way we can say that passage A brings about a biased opinion and uses an attacking stance, forcing the readers to agree whereas passage B at the same time creates a light flow and somewhat calms the reader with its factual and expressive nature.

Now wrapping up everything, both these passages share similar traits in being resourceful and expressive by using many literary devices. They also share the same theme and humor. However, clear differences can be jotted down as well on first look, for example their content, language and attitude varies immensely.

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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