Tag Archives: Naples

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.

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.


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.


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.