ANALYSIS OF TWO PIECES OF WRITING
AT THE MORGUE – Helen Garner, True Stories 1996
This article is written in the first person’s point of view. The style is informal, almost chatty in spite of the morbid topic it deals with. The author uses this style to tell the reader a story, like telling a friend an experience. The author’s feelings and thoughts are freely expressed. This helps to put the reader into the author’s shoes, to see through her eyes and feel through her heart.
This article is a narrative. It does not aim to analyse the topic. It describes the author’s experiences at the mortuary and the resulting disturbing thoughts she had.
Descriptive language is used to give graphic details. This paints vivid mental pictures in the reader’s mind. It contributes to the feeling of personal involvement of the reader. All the author’s observations are described in detail. Words used are simple yet effective.
The article was an enjoyment to read. It provides an insider’s view of what goes on in the mortuary, where not many people can access. It deals with a subject which people do not usually seek information on but are nonetheless intrigued by. The style lessens the formality of the subject, which makes it less scary to deal with. The descriptive language is effectively used. The expression of the author’s feeling and thoughts encourages empathy from the reader with the author.
BASICS TRAINING – Deborah Hope, The Australian Magazine 1999
This article is written in a more detached style than the previous one. It is more formal, very factual, and has a rather clinical feel. It tells the story like a newspaper article.
It is a narrative as well, although the style is very different. The second person’s point of view is used and the effect is clearly different from the first article. It does not have the personal touch the first article gave. It spells out facts without arousing feelings or thoughts from the reader. It does not aim to persuade. It is more intent on imparting information rather than giving the reader a better understanding of the subjects it deals with.
The language is simple, but the article is full of quotes and long dialogues. Sentences are fragmented with too many quotes. ( E.g. Having enrolled in both a commercial art course and other study, Jason is “on the up and up”…)
The dialogues seem to make up at least 80% of the article. This makes the article drag and it becomes tiring to read after awhile.
The style does not encourage empathy from the reader. It is alienating, and the reader reaches a sense of nonchalance as a result. As I read on, I start to read with more indifference because I start to think “it’s not really any of my concern, it’ll not happen to me anyway”. The author does not try to engage any feelings of sympathy from the reader. Although both articles are about the same length, this second article is more boring because the author does not link the subjects to the reader or the community.