Text 9 Great British Bus Journeys, David McKie

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David McKie & Contextual Factors
David McKie joined the Guardian
newspaper in 1965 and became a political
reporter. He later became the paper’s
deputy editor eventually becoming the
newspapers chief writer. His most recent
book is ‘Great British Bus Journeys’ in
which he describes his travels on buses
around Britain. Reviews describe him as a
digressive writer, constantly ‘rambling’ as
he depicts a strong passion for the British
countryside as shown clearly in text 9
“barely seeming to notice the gorgeousness
of a journey they do everyday”. The book
was based on his retirement plans to travel
around the British Isles by bus and to write
and record his experiences. His book was
short listed for a 2007 travel writing award.
Text 9 covers the part of the journey to and
from Clitheroe.
Clitheroe is a town based in the borough of
Ribble Valley, Lancashire, England. It is
often used as a base for tourists. The most
well known building is ‘Clitheroe Castle’,
which is argued to be the smallest ‘Norman
keep’ in the whole country. It is one of the
oldest buildings in Lancashire.
David McKie works to restore and
reclaim Britain to its glory,
complimenting and embracing
some of Britain’s most
‘unfashionable’ and
unacknowledged towns. McKie
rescues these cities and villages
from their embarrassing
reputation, and the deprecating
attitudes towards them.
Text 9 is an extract from this
modern, non-fiction travel book,
aimed mainly at Guardian readers
who possess the same level of
professionalism and education as
this experienced and successful
journalist. Therefore some readers
may have simply bought the book
because of the enjoyment they
gain through McKie’s writing and
their familiarity with ‘The
Guardian’, whilst some may chose
to purchase it because of their
interest in travel writing.
Context of Production and
Reception
Form and Structure
The text is written in a first person nonfiction narrative and follows a
chronological sequential order,
consisting of four paragraphs. It is an
extract from a non-fiction, factual book,
written to mainly inform and describe
whilst showing aspects of persuasion.
The extract consists of three main
elements, narration, description and
dialogue.
The piece is most likely aimed at a
Western audience for intertextuality is
used, mentioning successful western
novels such as “Lord of the rings” and
“Hound of the Baskervilles.”
Furthermore, one can assume that the
text is aimed at a reasonably welleducated reader, due to the mentioning
of “Great Expectations” Charles Dickens,
and the word choice throughout.
Grammar
The piece is written in a formal register
and in the present tense, avoiding the text
being distinguished with spoken speech.
The writer creates a sense of immediacy,
giving the reader a sense that they are
travelling with the writer...
“gives us all a huge benign smile.”
There are a range of sentence types used, varying from
complex with syntax including a number of subordinate
clauses “This must be as blissful a summer day, in
September, as we have had all this year, and perhaps,because
the summer, such as it was, is dying, the most cherishable of
all.” The large amount of commas used creates flow and
reflects the speed and flow of travel and its constant
continuation. Formal, standard grammar is used in
line 9 ‘all of whom have been …’
Word Choice
The lexis is sophisticated, using uncommon and formal adjectives and nouns “voluptuous” “endeavour.”
A clear contrast is shown, when the writer quotes others who talk using non-standard forms “Omigod” perhaps
mimicking their socialect. The piece is descriptive and informative, using a variety of positive pre-modifiers to
describe the setting in the first paragraph “alluring” “green” “Pleasant” these all depict a positive attitude
towards the countryside. Intertexuality is used when making reference to novels, stating that the countryside
was a major influence and inspiration to the authors. This gives the sense that he is directing his text at higher
educated Western people, who can relate to the novels and the writers enthusiasm. The use of the dynamic
verb “texting” reinforces the idea that the text is aimed at Westerners, most likely the English. This is portrayed
for he exudes a sense of patrionism and British pride, “Its another ride that reminds me what a beautiful
country Britain can be.” In order to engage the reader, the writer uses interrogatives “do you really need
anything more?” He is almost patronising the reader, and enforcing the idea upon them that the countryside is
exactly what they need. Furthermore an imperative is used “Do not miss” conveying the fact that the writer has
almost assumed the reader will visit ‘Clitheroe’. Moreover the writer creates humour, in order to entertain the
reader “youngsters talk before they get down to serious business, like texting” The use of the bathos (anti
climax) creates humour, for it is unexpected and slightly mocking the youth.
Figurative Language
David McKie’s use of positive pre-modifiers show his optimistic thoughts of places
seen on the bus route 210 through Clitheroe. “Pleasant villages and alluring
pubs”
The use of the metaphors “voluptuous” and “tortoise pace” helps create a
distinct image of the river, and walking pace of the old man. More specifically
the word “tortoise” emphasises the age of the old man aswell as his speed.
The use of alliteration also creates a vivid image of Clitheroe to the reader, by
showing the magnitude of the height in which the town is located. “The town is
set on a hill with higher hills ranged about it”
The author’s use of interrogative highlight the positives about Clitheroe “If
you’ve got Clitheroe, the town seems to be saying, do you really need anything
more?”
The use of dialect shows the authenticity of the people living in the town.
“Omigod, I’ve lost my signal.”
Text 5: ‘Walpole and Otranto, a
traveller in Southern Italy’ By H V
Morton
H.V Morton
● Henry Morton was born 1892 in Birmingham
●He was a journalist, and edited the Daily Mail, The Evening
Standard and The Daily express
● He served in World War One
● After leaving journalism he wrote many travel books
including ones on the Holy Land and Palestine. Places that
weren’t often visited
● His travels led him to write several notable books between
the 1930s and 1960s
About Otrantro
●Otranto is a city in southern Italy on the Adriatic coast
●This part of Italy was remote until the construction of a highway
● It’s most famous for Castello Aragonese , which is the setting for Horace
Walpole’s novel The Castle Of Otranto
● In 1480 a Turkish fleet invaded the town and killed 800 Christians who
refused to convert to Islam
They were eventually repulsed from the city
It would have been unlikely that any of the readers had visited Otranto because travel
was exclusive until the 1960s, so there are a lot of descriptions and noun phrases to
give visual descriptions.
‘Stoney earth’, ‘deep green sea’, ‘ancient castles’
He also uses figurative language and personification to Contribute to the visual
imagery
‘The olive trees shimmered’
The verb shimmered suggests something valuable like a jewel
And ‘The old streets struggled up a hill’
There are also some literary phrases like
‘Vague outlines pencilled against the sky and tipped with snow or cloud’
Morton uses emotive language to describe the events
of the invasion. He describes the ‘powerful’ Turkish
fleet which make us empaphise with the locals.
He uses the word ‘massacring’ Which comes from
old French and means slaughter, carnage and
butchery
He also quotes a priest’s reference to the victims as
‘martyrs’-People who suffer persecution and death
for refusing to renounce a belief.
‘If you wish to see how we remember the eight
hundered martyrs’
The use of present tense direct speech gives the
reader a sense of being there
To make his account more authentic, Morton includes
words used by the locals such as ‘sacco’ and ‘fuedo’ and
native dishes ‘pesce spada’
He also describes how the Italian pronounciation is
meant to sound ‘In Italy the accent is on the ‘O’ not
the ‘trant’ .
The text is personal as Morton constantly uses ‘I’
and there are clear statements of personal opinion in
the text
‘I thought Otranto the most beautiful little towns I
had seen’
And exclamatory sentences
‘How beautiful are the colours in the south of Italy’
Form +Structure
 The opening paragraph sets
the scene, and has a lot of
imagery, “it was the sirroco
that dry and hateful wind”.
 The use of past tense
narrative resembles the
style of the novel.
The rest of the paragraphs
zoom further into the detail
of the place “view of this
lovely emerald indigo sea
and the white coastline”.
As well as giving a
description of the history
“The Castle of Otranto
was one of literature’s
happiest chances”.
GRAMMAR
 The use of the dynamic verb
“plunged” emulates Mortons
excitement and the start of a
new journey.
 Loan words: used by the
locals “sandolino”, “khamsin”
reflecting the
 Prepositions: “beneath”,
“above”, “behind” are used
in this paragraph to give a
sense of location and
setting.
Sentence Level
 Exclamatory sentence “ How beautiful are the colours in the
south of Italy” emulating the beauty of the nature that the writer
is experiencing.
 Syndetic listing: “olive oil, lemon, and origano” shows
the writers enjoyment of the food and culture.
 Declarative: “I thought Otranto one of the most
beautiful little towns I had seen”
RURAL RIDES
-William Cobbett
William Cobbett
Born in Surrey in 1763.
He ran a newspaper: The Political Register – openly criticised the
government.
His paper was mostly read by the working class
Cobbett fled to America, in a bid to avoid another spell in prison
which he soon returned and continued to publish anti-government
articles.
During the time in which Cobbett wrote ‘Rural Rides’ there was
Political, economical and social unrest in Britain (1821-26)
Cobbett travelled the British countryside, to discover the state of the countryside’s
economic well being, as he aspired to be a member of parliament.
He was a radical journalist, politician and agriculturalist. His political views were proParliamentary reform and he was widely against the industrial revolution.
Rural Rides…
Cobbett toured Britain on horseback and wrote
down his observations, which he published in
his newspaper which later went on to become a
book ‘Rural Rides’
The tone of the text…
Cobett was trying to persuade his readers to believe his
political views, through the use of
hyperbolic lexical choice like “greater”. (line 1)
Cobbett’s use of repetition emulates natural speech as it
resembles a political speech and
emphasises his point. (line 58)
His use of Italics stresses and emphasizes his point.
‘…acknowledging your errors.’ (line 45)
The use of metaphors “It was a sheep surrendering up
the dogs into the hands of wolves.”
(line 29) -The land owners are taking the land away from
civilians and giving it to richer people.
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