Q) Explain how Barack Obama presents his experience of seeing his father through the eyes of his classmates. By Ali Ul Qudur


The title of this passage is, ‘Barack Obama’s Autobiography’. This title immediately shows the reader that this text is an account written by Barack Obama himself in the form of an autobiography.

The structure of this autobiography comprises mostly short paragraphs with five lines or less and the writer has used many quotations throughout the autobiography. An example could be of “My grandfather, see, he’s a chief”. This entertains the reader and makes them believe the writer’s point as this is a type of technique which makes the reader think that the incidents in the passage were not fabricated. Also in the sentence structure, the writer has used a variety of sentence structures. The most prominent ones are simple and compound sentences like ‘As the words tumbled out of my mouth, and I felt the boys readjust to me…’. This shows the reader that the writer is narrating an incident and has summarised it into a long sentence. This creates an effect as the reader understands the writer’s point. Also, the writer has organised the autobiography in such a way that the reader enjoys reading it as the order of incidents is very convincing.

Secondly, the purpose of this passage is to inform the reader and so that the reader is aware of the challenges in Barack Obama’s life. Apart from the challenges, in the end, he is also proud as his father was called to his school to explain the life of people in Kenya, Africa. However, this is also entertaining as the writer mentions that his father explained Kenya very beautifully. The writer writes ‘ describing the deep gash in the earth where mankind had first appeared’. This is entertaining and informative at the same time because the reader gets to understand the incidents which took place in Obama’s life and is entertained by how the writer has beautifully described the incident.

Furthermore, the language is slightly formal but colourful as the writer uses words like      ‘deep gash’ to describe the soil and ‘ thick oak desk’ which also describes a desk which may have been ordinary. It is slightly informal as there are a lot of quotations which are casual conversations between the friends. An example could be of ‘ cause the tribe is full of warriors’. The writer could have fabricated the autobiography by switching ‘ cause’ with ‘ because’ but he did not which is very interesting and grabs the reader’s attention. This does not make the passage boring.

Moreover, the Style of this passage is narrative as the writer explains the incidents of a day when his father was called. An example can be of the quotations which are generously used in the passage and when the writer writes about when his father came up and described the challenges Kenyans faced and their lifestyle. This results in the reader to be more engaged and develops interest as Obama is an influential figure. So, narrating incidents with quotations is a very convincing technique.

Moving on, the writer has also used many figures of Speech like ‘Words tumbled out of my mouth’ which is a personification and could be an idiom as it doesn’t make sense. Since this gives an inanimate object of human characteristics, it engages the reader and entertains him. This makes the reader realise that the passage is not bland and that he would like to carry on reading.

Also, This passage has incorporated many rhetorical questions like ‘What about after that?’ and ‘I mean, will you go back and be a prince?’. Even Though these questions are not being asked by the writer to the audience, it still is very effective as the writer can fully convey his message and his thoughts later on by answering them. Also, the reader develops interest as they build up curiosity and want to get the respective answers.

Continuing, the writer has used pathos and has emotionally engaged the writer as he wants the reader to be affected by what he says and wants the reader to feel the author’s feelings. He says ‘ I couldn’t imagine worse news’, ‘i spent that night…trying to suppress thoughts of the inevitable’ and ‘ Each time I remembered, my body squirmed’. This entertains the reader as he gets to understand the writer’s feelings at that specific moment in time. Many writers may also emotionally relate.

In conclusion, the writer has successfully narrated the incidents of his life in the form of an autobiography and has still managed to entertain the reader by using many techniques and colourful words which entertain the reader and make him greedy to read more.

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!

Comments are closed.