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AO3: ‘Visit to Naples’ by Bill Bryson and ‘Ram sees the Taj Mahal’ by Vikas Swarup by Subhan Bin Yousaf 11-E


Question: How have the writers of passage one and passage two addressed their opinions about visiting a new place/country?


The first passage is an extract titled ‘Visit to Naples’, written by Bill Bryson. The second passage, an extract titled ‘Ram sees the Taj Mahal’, written by Vikas Swarup. The first extract, extracted from the travel log diary ‘Neither here nor there’ and the second extract, taken from the book ‘Slumdog millionaire’. The intended purpose of the writers of both passages is to convey the journeys and the landscape and sights the subjects of both passages saw. Devices such as the likes of Imagery, Figurative language and Descriptiveness aid the two writers with their purpose.

Passage One is Narrative with a speck of descriptiveness accompanying this narrativeness. “I emerged from the hotel, a cold slicing rain falling”, In this example, the writer narrates his action in the first half of the sentence, then he begins to describe what he sees in the second half of the sentence. Passage two is similar to passage one, but the passage is descriptive with a speck of narrativeness accompanying this descriptiveness. “I pass through the metal detector, cross the red-sand stone courtyard with its arched gateaway…..Taj Mahal rises in all its beauty and splendor, shimmering in afternoon haze.”, Notice that in this sentence, One seventh of the sentence is narrative with the rest being descriptive about the Taj Mahal’s landscape. The intended purposes of writers of both passages is to emit conveyance of ideas using structure, but the only thing that differs in the works of both writers is the different ratio of descriptiveness and narrativeness in their passages, however, this difference still produces the same amount of interest for the reader to read this passage.

The purpose of the writer of passage one is to describe his journey and sights he sees. “I would blunder onto some shady square lined with small but decent hotels.” In this example, the writer explains that he would walk into shady spots which were encountered by small,decent hotels on both sides. Notice the writer describes to where he walks yet describe the thing he sees, in this case, small hotels. The purpose of the writer of passage two is congruent to the purpose of the writer of passage one, both passages describe the journeys of the protagonists of both passages as well as the sights they see. “Thirty minutes of brisk walking along the embankment brings me to an enormous red-sandstone entrance gate.” Notice how he describes his journey around Taj and describes the sandstone gate he sees. The purpose of both writers was to write in a way that when the reader reads the passage line by line, the reader could visualize themselves in the body of the protagonist, see through their eyes, walk their steps. Hence their purpose is achieved and the purpose to build interest for the passage in the reader’s mind, is also achieved.

One other common device used by the writers of both passages is the use of Statistics in the passages, “In the centre of Naples some 70000 families live”. In this example, the writer of passage one uses one of the statistics he knows about the city of Naples and writes it in his passage to convey this piece of knowledge to the readers, reading his passage. The writer of passage two, too has used a number of statistics about the Taj Mahal. “Taj Mahal, Eighth wonder of the World”, one of the many stats used in the passage. The writer of passage two also conveys this piece of info to the readers, reading his novel around the World, unaware about Taj Mahal’s history and importance. By using statistics in their passages, the writers teach some facts to the readers about the place the plot of the story is based in. By doing this, the readers become aware of what the protagonist might be facing or seeing, or taking a tour of, they become aware of what the places in the passages are actually like. These stats also enhances the general knowledge of the reader, either way, these stats maintain the will of the reader to carry on reading.

One other common device used by the writer of both passages is the use of Metaphors in the passages. “Plane of dead sea”- an example of a metaphor used in passage one. The use of this metaphor in passage one is to convey the concept of shores there. The shores are part of the dead sea and stretch over an unknown wide area of the Earth’s land. “Glitters in the sunlight” is an example of a metaphor used in passage two. To describe the reflection of sunlight from the dome of Taj, the writer uses the word “glitter” to describe this reflection. By using the metaphor in these passages, the writer explains a concept to the reader, by comparing it to unlike things to add in a bit of emphasis. The example “Plane of dead sea”, the word “Plane” replaces the concept of a huge, wide area. The example “glitters in sunlight”, the word “glitters” replaces the concept of reflection of sunlight. These metaphors help make the conveyance of concepts to be a bit of figurative. These metaphors capture the interest of reader and encourage them to read on.

One other figurative element used in the passage is the use of Personification. “Tumbling fog” is an example of personification used in the passage one. “Tumbling” is the word used to describe fog that arrives slowly and the writer uses this term in the passage to explain the patient arrival of fog. “Clouds drifting” is an example of personification used in passage two. The purpose behind using Personification is to compare unlike things to human like interaction. Personification adds in emphasis to the concepts conveyed in both passages. It helps the readers to understand the concepts conveyed in a better perspective which enhances not only interest but also their literary figurative use in writing.

One more figurative device used in the passage is the use of alliteration. “Steep and slippery steps”-an example of passage one, notice the use of words that begin with the same alphabets, used to describe a concept or visualize it. “Purity of perfection”, another example of alliteration used in passage two. This example is used to describe the concept of the timeline the protagonist had mapped out in his mind. Like said above, alliteration helps these writers to describe and visualize concepts effectively. These help add a bit of emphasis to the concepts. Alliterations can play the role of adjectives describing that concept. Hence, when the concepts are effectively explained with the assist of alliteration, the reader develops interest for the passage and maintains the will to carry on reading.

One other figurative device used in the passages is the use of Similes. “Hung like banners between balconies that never saw sunlight”-an example of a simile in passage one. The writer of passage one makes a comparison of the washed clothes left out hung to dry, to banners hung on the balconies of castles. “Turquoise sky like an ivory moon”- an example of a simile used in passage two. The writer compares the sky’s colour that day as if it looks like turquoise or like the colour of ivory. By using similes in the passages, both the writers emit a direct comparison of the concepts of the passages to unlike things, to add in not only emphasis but to place an effect of imagery in the reader’s mind. The reader becomes aware of the landscape of the place as he can visualize it while reading the passage. Using similes captures the reader’s interest as he has been explained the concept in more detail.

The audience of both the passages have something in common: similar interests with no differences. “The Vicaria, where I was now, is said to have the highest population density in Europe”, The writer of passage one writes this piece of fact  in the passage to be used by readers that might find this fact useful, such as tourists. “A group of prosperous Western tourists armed with camcorders and binoculars, listening to an elderly guide at the base of the dome”-the writer of passage two tells the readers of what to expect if they ever go to Taj Mahal. This fact can be useful for those such as the tourists. The audience of both passages can be anyone of any age, but the passages have actually been written to capture the attention of special interest groups, such as the tourists.

In conclusion, the writers of both passages have used common devices such as the use of  Statistics, figurative language, descriptiveness to achieve their goal: To provide the reader with an opportunity to visualize themselves in the shoes of the passages’ protagonists. Using these devices captured a reader’s interest, encourage him to finish reading the extracts. Hence both writers have used the similar devices to achieve a similar objective, successfully.


AO3: How have the writers of both texts conveyed their message about the negative use of social networking sites? Support your answer using brief quotations from the texts. By Amal Adil


The title of passage A is “It’s so over: cool cyberkids abandon social networking sites” and the title of passage B is “Social websites harm children’s brains”. Passage A has been taken from “The Guardian” and passage B from “Mail Online”. Both passages are trying to prove the harmful effects of social networking sites and how and why the excessive use of social media should be stopped. Both the writers have delivered the passages in an extremely effective way and have used detailed words to prove the negative effects of social media.

The tone used in passage A is slightly informal as the writer has used phrases like “ra-ra skirts” and “uncles wearing skinny jeans” to add a bit of humor to the text. By  making the tone informal from the first paragraph, the writer makes the text more interesting to read. In passage B, the tone is more formal and is also slightly negative as the positive effects of social media have not been mentioned. Passage A has used a bit of positivity by mentioning that tennagers/young adults have reduced the use of social media but in passage B, there is no positivity related to social networking sites.

The structure of passage A is a newspaper article and it is mainly for adults, young adults and people who read newspapers whereas passage B is from an online article which shows that it is mainly for young adults and people interested in the harmful effects of social media. As the passages are mainly directed towards young adults, they feel as if they need to stop or reduce the use of social media.

In passage A the author has used jargons such as “Facebook”, “Myspace”. Similarly in passage B, the author has used jargons like “Twitter”,”Bebo”. By using jargons, both the writers have added emphasis to the text and by using professional language, the passages become more believable and the reader feels as if the writer knows a lot about the topic.

Similarly, in passage A and B both, the writers have used a lot of facts and figures. For example, in passage A, “21% in 2007, 15-24 year olds” and in passage B, “More than 150 million”. By using facts and figures, the writers support their point of views believable evidence.

The vocabulary used in passage A is a little heavier than the words used in passage B. For example, “proliferation, “adolescent”, “exodus”. This adds more weight to passage A and as passage A was more informal, these words and a bit of formality to the text. But in passage B, the vocabulary used is easier than passage A, for example, “constant”, “instant”, “exposure”. As the tone in passage A is more formal, to balance the ratio of formality and informality, the writers have added heavy vocabulary where needed to make the text seem more authoritative.

Both the passages have used expert opinions to support their text. For example, the author of passage A has taken opinions from “Peter Philips”, “James Thickett” and in passage B, the opinions have been taken from “Baroness Greenfield”, “Jane Healy”. As both the writers have shared opinions of different people, both the texts become more believable to the reader at mentioning the person who said the dialogue makes the text more informative.

The theme of both the passages is same as both texts are mainly talking about the harmful effects of social media but the content is a little different. Passage A is talking about how “teenagers or young adults” have left social networking sites as the title suggests but passage B is talking about how social websites harm “childrens” brains. Both the texts are talking about different age groups which shows the reader that there are different point of views about social media’s harmful effects.

Both passage A and passage B have used humor in the text. For example, in passage A, “mothers investing in ra-ra skirts”, “uncles wearing skinny jeans” and in passage B, “small babies need constant reassurance that they exist”. By using humor, the authors have toned down the serious mood in the text and have made it more interesting to the reader.

The author of passage A has not used any inclusive language but the author of passage B has, for example, “We know how…they exist…”. By using this type of language, the author includes the reader in the text and grabs the readers attention. Even though passage A hasn’t used inclusive language, its tone is more informal which also grabs the readers attention.

Both the writers have a used a great deal of evidence to support the text and have used different techniques to engage the reader. Even though the tone and style of writing of both passages is different, both the writers have successfully conveyed their messages in different ways.

AO3: First Impressions by Misha Ahmad


The title of the first passage is ‘The first time I met George’ from meeting in Milkmarket by John Wickham. As you can see the title is very descriptive, thus describing the main storyline that stretches throughout the passage. The passage is written in first form ( the narrator remains un-named). The writer describes the first time he met George at school and his feelings towards him and then after when they end up as friends.

The title of the second passage is ‘First day at school in Barbados’ from Growing up stupid under the Union Jack by Austin Clarke.The author was brought up in Barbados in the Caribbean when it was under British colonial rule. The passage is about the writers singular journey to a great uncertain world for the first time, referring to school. Line21: ” on my way to a new but uncertain world.”
Both passages have a common theme which is ‘first impressions’. As you can clearly see from their titles. Passage 1:”First time I met George”. Passage 2:”First day at school in Barbados”. The intended audience of both passages is a generalized approach to adults and young adults. The purpose of both passages is to entertain as they are both a mixture of descriptive and narrative writing. In  the first passage the writer moreover describes his first experience and ideas with a new friend, while in the second passage the author explains his feelings.
I believe in the first passage the writer uses a slight judgmental tone as he passes judgments on George on his first day for example line16: “George would be one of those boys who would get special treatment”. In the second passage the writer uses an optimistic and sentimental tone whilst describing his emotions like in line9: ” poor and ambitious mother”.
In the first passage the writer uses figurative language to describe his ideas for example in line22:” This seemed a monstrous piece of favoritism”. This is a hyperbole and metaphor which had an effect on the reader as a point is dramatically reinforced to arouse the feelings of the readers. A hint of vernacular vocabulary is used, line26: ” They put him to sit next to me” engaging the reader to the content.
In the second paragraph, the writer uses simple sentence structures which has an effect on the readers for example line5:” And nobody told me so far”. Also vernacular vocabulary and dialogues are used in the passage emphasizing points. For example line 11: ” Go long,boy, and learn! Learning going to make you into a man”. Line33:” You is a Combermere boy now!” The language also gives us an idea of the status of the black community back in 1944 in the Caribbean. The writer also grasps the effective use of imagery while he imagines the hypothetical future. Line43:” ride about on a horse in the sun, under a khaki helmet, dressed in a khaki suit, to drive some of my less fortunate friends and neighbors to work in the fields”. This adds color to the article and engages the reader.
In the first paragraph, after the forceful assertion of subjectly influencing the reader, by appropriate language and only presenting the writers own side of the story of the favoritism of George, the writer also makes the readers sympathize George, line 27;” he was crying from public shame”. The writer then lends George a lead pencil and teaches him how to use it. In the end of writer is effective in achieving his purpose of first experiences with a new boy, and how they ended up as friends.
In the second paragraph, whilst using effective description such as similies, line17: ” white as snow and ironed like glass” the writer is successful in evoking strong emotional response and in expressing how big of a deal it was for him to go to school and for his mother. Line6: ” that was a day of personal rejoicing for my mother”.
Both authors come effective in achieving their purpose in the end by using different linguistic techniques and presentational devices.

First Impressions: Compare how the writers of text one and two convey their ideas and experiences. By Raphael Kahlid


A3. Both passages are written in the first person form, and both are about the writer’s first day to a school. One clear difference is the level of complexity and clarity with regards to information which is more prominent in passage B, written by Austin Clarke, whereas; passage A, by John Wickham explores his own feelings and reactions relative to his age; this Is to allow the reader to empathize with the author in his experiences.

The first passage has an audience of young adults or older, similar to the audience of passage B, this is shown by the elements of a certain questioning and philosophy explored through the intricacies, or rather, the simplicity of friendship such as, “…whether the thing that we shared could justify its claim to the title of friendship,” or how the writer became friends with this character George after a simple gesture, as these may only appeal to those already well ahead in life and subsequently their experiences of friendship. Certain features of passage B would restrict its purpose of entertainment and deeper purpose of breaking (explored further) preconceived goals to the previously mentioned audience such as the rituals of entering school like the haircutting, “… sat me down on the throne of a chair… when I got up, my head was clean.” Despite being lower on the descriptive scale, passage A through its unique style and sentence structure, “I think now that there was also in me a little envy…” or “Now, before I use the word, I must, as it were, look behind my back,” along with the use of a named character of relevance to the story, has an effect on the reader to keep him spell-bound and thoroughly curious to discover the drama of the story better. The previously mentioned latter example is also a display of its unique, but not necessarily complex, form of punctuation, which adds to the previous effect of keeping the writer hooked.

Passage B is not lacking in any spell binding features, its usage of humor,” …whether the D inL2D stood for ‘dunce’” and a vernacular respecting the mentioned country of Barbados, “Not on your blasted bottom dollar!” achieves an effect of creating interest. Passage B, through its many descriptive sequences, “Delcina, the tallest, blackest and most beautiful woman…”,”The washing, white as snow and ironed like glass,” and its use of exaggeration, “New but uncertain world,” and similes, “looking like a small silver coffin,” and characterizing of the authors mother all serve the purpose of painting a picture of the authors autobiography.

I believe both these accounts given by the authors achieve their effect successfully, mainly to entertain, both in different ways, while adopting similar tones of frankness as seen by a hint of satire in the first passage and slang in the second. Both authors convey their experiences while allowing the reader to relate with them, seeing as a main content point is of school which has the intention of evoking nostalgia and longing which helps supports the ultimate effect of their individual autobiographies.