Paper 1 – Textual analysis (SL)

The text that is going to be analyzed is a news article, which talks the about problem of the British society not willing to learn another language than English. The writer tries to convince the audience that learning more than one language is an advantage.

The audience in the article is every person in Britain who are not learning a new language, specially high school students, because it is not obligatory to them to learn another language. The writer tries to make a parody of highschool students (“Grammar? Pronunciation? Different alphabet? Spelling? Accents? Umlauts? Ooh, no thanks- don’t fancy that”) in order to make these students feel bad and ashamed of their decision and to make future students realize how lazy they are, just to have an easier education.

The writer also critisizes the society, due to the freedom that students have to not choose learning another language, making them “twilight subjects” because “you study them on your own, after school’s out”. He also uses the word “awful” to emphasize his negative opinion about not making mandatory the study of a foreign language.

In the second paragraph, the author  makes three rethorical questions to show how not choosing to study another language is disrespectful. He asks “what greater disrespect can there be than not speaking to others in their languages?” and “How can you hope to understand others while requiring them to speak to you in their English” to appeal to our own moral and ethics (ethos) for the audience to realize that is necessary to learn another language and to make ask themselves if it is the right decision to not study a foreign language.

In the next paragraph the author compares learning one language with skin colour, to show how ridiculous would be being forced to learn one language. Once again ethos is used, to make the audience think about the unethical that would be segregating every person by their skin colour and, therefore, their language. He also uses humour at the end by saying “Or your cage. That’s your lot” to make the text more appealing for teenagers and young people, that is why he also uses a lot of informal language, to atract the audience to have the right choice.

In the same paragraph there is another rethorical question (“where is the joy and the richness, if you don’t even have two to rub together?”) refering to the poberty of the language if you don’t have the knowledge of another one, as you are “condemned to occupy the same positions, the same phrases, all your life”. This lack of knowledge will make you plain and boring, where you can not progress correctly as a person, being “harder to outwit yourself, harder to doubt yourself” and even if highschool was easier, life is “harder to play”.

The idea continues in the next paragraph saying that “English will become deformed and opaque” because the language needs the complementation of a foreign language to make it richer, due to the words and variations from other vocabularies that could make the English one to change and be wider, in terms of content. He also critisizes another time the English society using the phrase “wildly irresponsible experiments”, being against the decision of not making compulsory the study of a foreign language. This is said in order to make the audience think that the law is not correct and that it should be changed before these “experiments on itself” make the English language to “become deformed and opaque”, aiming to the sense of fear of the english-speaking people to lose the language they know.

The critisism continues on the next paragraph, saying that if you don’t learn a foreign language “you are not making enough of your individual potencial”. Here, the writer uses the pathos technique, aiming towards the feeling that the audience could do better and that they are not using their abilities and faculties. It is not important to learn another language to “schmooze your foreign boss” or “order a beer or a room in another country”, but to give the most that you can give, utilising your potencial.

Once again the author attacks the English language to make them feel small and, therefore, liking the idea of learning another language. The writer uses logos (factual informations) to show the audience the reality of the “so-called ‘world language'”. He gives statistics about the percentage of people that use English as a first language and a percentage of those who don’t. This statistics show the minority that the English speakers are, and that is the effect that the author tries to make, the feeling of being small and the need of opening their minds to other cultures, to be part of the human society.

This is also what is portrayed in the image that is included on the article. There is this lonely fish in a tiny fish bowl, representing the English language in comparison with the another thousands of languages that exist in the world that are represented by the fishes in the other huge fish bowl. The fish that embodies the English community is not looking to the other fish bowl, ignoring the fact that there are many more foreign languages than English, being a close-minded society the english-speakers. This clearly links with the exposed in the previous paragraph, and also is on top of the place where this percentage is shown in the article.

In the final paragraphs the author appeals to the ethics of the audience once again, telling that “a desdain for, or lack of interest in, the others (languages) does not seem to me to be civilised” giving his opinion about not learning a foreign language. He uses the words “desdain” and “lack” to emphasize his opinion of being against people not learning another language. He continues with his opinion saying that “Foreigners will go on learning English, regardless. The British have an obligation, it seems to me, to reciprocate”.  Once again, connotation. He calls the audience to do their obligation of speaking a foreign language, because, even though the audience learns another language, the foreigners will learn English and this is the same difficulty for the foreigners than for the British. He asks for empathy from the audience.

It is also important to note the use of imperative language through-out all the extract, giving orders to the audience, beign direct to the audience. This language is used in order to call the audience to make a change. The pronoun “you” is used very frequently to make the audience feel like it is something personal with the reader.


IB Writing Task


In previous classes we have studied about Mass Media and its technique of omitting information, bias and more. The task consists in writing a short story, blog, speech, opinion column, about this topic in less of a thousand words. I picked a blog entry because I could write directly to the audience, making a sense of empathy. It is a fictional situation , but a very interesting story that is supposed to steal the audience attention, as a result of the possibility that it could happen (a car crash).

The task starts with “yesterday I lived a tragedy”, creating curiosity in the reader and accomplishing to get them interested on the task. This accident described in the task, makes an introduction of how the media can be, reaching the limit of ignoring the health of a agonising man and then defame a person’s reputation. I also tried to use as much description as I could, to make the situation more grotesque and for the audience to make an image in their heads.

The idea of this task is to invite the audience to not believe in everything they see in T.V and to inform themselves to have more than one point of view, because maybe there is someone being hurt without the audience knowing that, perhaps by collateral damage.



Yesterday I lived a tragedy. I was walking down the street at night to my favorite place in this city (my home) when I heard a sound that I recognized as the tires scraping the street. The strong smell of rubber reached my nose. I looked over my shoulder and I saw a red sport car drifting and crashing against a parked car that was just ten meters from me. I stood there paralyzed. My heart beats started rising. I took my phone and called emergencies, while I ran to the car to see if that the individual that crashed was okay, which I doubted. When emergencies answered, I told them what happened and where it happened. They said they would be there as fast as possible. When I reached the car, my stomach begged me to escape, the pestilence was disgusting. I supposed that the smell was not a good sign. I peeked through the window and I saw in horror how the poor man inside was indescribably deformed. I told him to hold on as I unfastened his seatbelt. My hand was red from all the blood dripping from his left arm, which had a serious and deep cut. I ripped some of my shirt and pressed the wound. He screamed out of pain, but he did not move. I repeatedly checked if he was breathing. After a few minutes I heard a large vehicle, perhaps the ambulance, parking near me. I told the man to hold my ripped shirt while I sought for help. I went out of the car and looked for the vehicle that had arrived. I could see the vehicle, it was clearly a van, but the darkness of the night would not let me see if it was the ambulance. It doesn’t matter anyway; everyone who could help was favorable. Two guys got out of the van, and approached me. There was something strange. One guy was holding a camera and the other one a microphone. “Journalists” I thought. They passed by me, ignoring me, going to the destroyed car. “They are going to help” I said to myself. That was what I thought.
When I reached the vehicle, I saw both guys interviewing the injured guy. His bloodshot eyes displayed distrust and awe. At the same instant I saw that, I raged and almost attacked those guys. “Hey! You can’t do that! He is hurt, if you want to help leave those cameras of yours in the ground!” I yelled at them “Don’t you see that he is fighting for his life? I’ve been here with this man since he crashed, helping him to survive, trying to stop his bleeding!” They looked at me with a face that showed both anger and fear. Some seconds later, the ambulance arrived accompanied with the police. An hour later the deformed man was being carried to the hospital. The police asked me a lot of questions such as my name, my age, my studies, what happened, what I did, etc. Before I left the place I glared both journalists. I arrived to my house and went to my bed. After this accident, although I felt tired, I couldn’t sleep, but, after some hours, I fell asleep.
At the beginning of this blog I told you that I lived a tragedy, if you thought it was the accident, you are wrong. I woke up next morning and turned the T.V on. A journalist was talking. It was the same journalist that was at the accident. “A young man almost killed an innocent victim of a car crash. Police said that he was just a high school student, without any medical experience or studies. He used a piece of his shirt that infected the victim, but fortunately doctors at the local hospital could save him right on time. Here is footage from this incident”. They showed a video of me. “I’ve been here with this man since he crash, trying to stop his bleeding! Leave those cameras of yours in the ground!” I said in the video. It switched again to the journalist, “Maybe it is some kind of mind disorder? Let’s call a psychologist…” I turned off the T.V. I could not believe it. This is why I hate media; it always changes something to make news more interesting. They made me look like a crazy guy who almost killed a man. I did not even know if the information given about the “victim” was true. I called the hospital and asked for the “victim”. They said he could not speak properly, but that he was fine. I asked if he had an infection. They told me that he in fact had one, but a slight infection that only caused him itchiness.
They weren’t lying after all, but they over exaggerated everything, just to have more viewers and a better rating. First, they go into an agonizing man to interview him (which I find seriously ridiculous), and second, they make my image deteriorate. What would people think about me when they see me in the streets? I couldn’t even think about it. This is the problem with mass media. News stations are biased. They don’t show the whole story or another point of view. If they interviewed the “victim” he would probably thank me for all my help and calling the ambulance. There are lots of people who watch news and who believe everything in them, and, even if you don’t feel like it, you are ignorant by just believing the news. You must search for more sources to inform yourself to be truly knowledgeable. Maybe someday you will be in my position and you will understand me. Please listen to me, be Media Smart.

Atonement Questions

  1. Being very stereotypical, if Briony were a boy, the main conflict would never happened, because girls tend to gossip a lot more than boys, so he would probably not read the letter sent by Robbie, and, if he read it, he wouldn’t tell Lola about this letter. Maybe, instead of being a nurse, Briony would go to war to find Robbie (if the conflict happened).
  2. In some extent, because it shows the cruelty of war from both Briony’s perspective in the nursery team and from Robbie’s perspective how he lives and what he finds there. We can see all the suffering that people have with all the injuries and wounds and the dead bodies found in war. But we know that this is a fiction story written by Briony herself with research she did about the war and its facts(she was a nurse though)
  3. There are some parts of the book that are pretty disturbing or macabre. An example of this is Paul Marshall’s dream, were he dreams that he has intercourse with her sisters. Although it is a weird dream, it is relevant of the story, because it foreshadows what we will know at the end of book: he was the one who sexually assaulted Lola. Another disturbing part is when Briony reads the letter that Robbie gave to her, because she keeps thinking about “the word” that appeared here, she even writes about this.
  4. If the story was told from Cecilia’s perspective we would hate Briony, due to the fact that she made Robbie go to jail, and to war and die. We would see a very sad story were she is waiting for Robbie, a tragedy were they never meet again. If the story was told from Robbie’s perspective, the book would be a constant hate against Briony, specially in war, were he has to fight and suffer against all adversities and against a fatal wound. If the story was told from Lola’s perspective, the novel would probably know if she knew who assaulted her, and depending of this, it could be the constant feeling of guilt of not telling the truth (if she knew who was the one who attacked her) or a constant lament of what happened to her. If the story was told from Briony’s perspective only, we would probably think that she was hero, sending a degenerate to jail, but, later in the story, we would find out that she was not a hero, but the villain of the story… Epic plot twist.

Atonement- Discussion Questions

3) Briony denounced Robbie so forcefully, because of what she saw besides the fountain, where she thought that Robbie was obliging Cecilia to undress. She was very confused because of this incident. Then, when she reads the letter that Robbie gave her, she thought that Robbie was a sex maniac, without knowing that that letter was a mistake. She also discussed about this letter with her cousin Lola and she haves the same conclusion as Briony. Briony’s perspective and lack of information is the crucial factor that makes her denounce Robbie.

8) The ending is surprising, because first you can see Robbie in Cecilia’s home, and you think that they will be happy ever after, but then, BOOM! PLOT TWIST! They both died, Robbie in the war, and Cecilia drowned. This also means that Briony never apologized for what she did in the past and that Cecilia never met Robbie again. This is why Briony writes Atonement, to make a happy ending for her sister and Robbie, her she apologized Cecilia and where all conflicts were solved.

Narrative Technique

Practice 1

“The Gods Must be Crazy” by Jamie Uys is narrated in third person, where the actions are told by a person outside the story that knows everything (omniscient). This narrator also talks directly to the reader (direct narration) by using the word “you” and telling a story like a father tells his son or daughter. We can also see that no dialogue is used and, instead, the narrator tells the conversations and actions that happen or happened (present and past). This form of speech is called reported speech. The last fact about the narration is that the tense that predominates is a present tense. This means that the actions are happening while the narrator is telling the story. There is also some parts where the past tense is used, but, how I wrote before, the present tense is mainly used.

Practice 3

Who’s gonna save the world, tonight? That’s the question that came to my mind. My master and I watched a lot of television and comics when we were younger. He was so motivated to be a hero like Superman or Batman, but while the years passed, the motivation started vanishing. He grew a lot slower than me, but I kept the the dream of, one day, becoming a hero. Today was a normal day: playing, eating and sleeping. It was all normal until I heard my master talking by the phone. I don’t remember what he said exactly, but the words “heroes”, “don’t”, and “exist” were in the sentence. I don’t know why, but my dreams nearly crushed. Maybe is because I’m just a dog. The day continued and my master left to work as always. After long hours I went to the door to wait for him, but he didn’t arrived. One hour passed and he didn’t arrived. Then I realized. My master was in problems. I ran as I fast as I can. I didn’t know where I was going. I saw more dogs in front of me running the same direction as I. I followed them. I saw him thrown in the ground. I saw his car. I pursued it as fast as I could. The other dogs followed me and helped me (they didn’t say anything, maybe it was the adrenaline rush they were having). After some minutes the car crushed. I think we save the world tonight.

Blow Bugle Blow Analysis

This poem by Alfred Tennyson is about how warriors are fighting far from their city, while the aristocracy is in complete peace, being disrupted only by the echoes of the bugles that are being played by the warriors, asking for help.

Tennyson uses varied words that are emphasized more than others, giving ideas of what is happening in the poem. “Blow” and “bugle” both refer to the sound that is played before a battle, thus giving us the idea of war. These words combined with “echoes” show us that the war is taking place far from the elite, but close to the lyrical speaker, so we presume the war is taking place in the time the lyrical speaker is talking. Then, the word “dying” is used in the end of every stanza, making an allusion to the death of the soldiers and the end of every stanza, to emphasize the cruelty of war. The word “wild” is used more than other words too, to highlight the animal state that humans can obtain by fighting. Every word shown here has an important role in the sound of the poem, but this will be seen later in the analysis.

The tone of this poem is a calm tone that at every ending of a stanza gets disturbed. This is to make the opposition between the calm lands where the war is not taken place and the chaotic battlefield where warriors are dying and fighting for their homeland.

The title connects with the poem by being part of the refrain “blow, bugle, blow”, that represents the sound normally played before battle that is heard far away from the war, just an echo. The title also anticipates what the poem is about, because bugles normally are played in wars.

The theme of this poem is “an ignored cry for help”, where the warriors beg for aid from the upper classes, but getting ignored by them. Tennyson tries to express the feelings of a warrior or someone who is in war and the frustration of not getting any help from the ones who send them to fight.

This poem has both final and internal rhyme. The internal rhyme is always used in every first and third verse of every stanza. In this verses the lyrical speaker tells us about the aristocratic place that is not fighting. The intention of this rhyme is to give a sense of order and calmness to the poem, also to contrast the chaos of war given in the next verses. The final rhyme also supports the change of calmness to chaos by using soft word sounds in the second and fourth verse of every stanza and using heavy word sounds in the fifth and sixth verse of every stanza.

The poem starts with two verses that represent the majesty of the castle where the high classes live, talking about the “splendor” that “falls on castle walls”, personification that shows the big and prestigious walls that shield the people. The words “The splendor” are in capital letters, emphasizing the grand castle that stands proudly after many years. This verse is linked with the second verse with an enjambment to produce an effect of movement, slow movement of the snow slowly melting on the old summits that are still standing after many years. Then it keeps on describing the calmness of the place, telling us how the sun light, probably of sunrise, “shakes” across the lake, refering to the subtle vibes that can be seen on water. In verse 4, the lyrical speaker complements the lake with a cataract that can be seen that “leaps in glory” implying that this cataract is majestic, just as all the castle, giving a sense of peace. Its important to note that in all of this four verses alliteration is used with soft sound like “castle walls” or “long light… lakes”, making a slow pace of the poem, trying to portray the calmness that the kingdom haves. Then, the peace is suddenly disrupted by the “wild echoes” of the bugles. This are wild echoes, because there in the battlefield, the warriors are just like animals fighting for their own existence and using only their animal instincts, also showing the cruel fight between two sides. Alliteration is used again, but this time using strong sounds (“blow, bugle, blow”), to make a faster pace and to portray the chaos of war, far from the calmness of the kingdom, where the only thing that is not in peace is the sounds of the bugles, the ones that ask for help to them. In verse 6 this is clearly shown, by supplicating to answer, but the only thing that is heard is people “dying, dying, dying”, repited various times to give emphasis to this, because the most tragic thing about war is death. This is also the refrain of the poem, repeated at the end of every stanza, once again to show the cruely of war. Then the stanza finishes with a stop, a dramatic stop as a result of the death of people.

The second stanza starts with an exclamation, not like a shout but like something that intrigues the people of the kingdom that is introduced in the first stanza. The sounds of the bugles are heard thin, not strong, weakend by the war, but clear, showing that the kingdom is hearing the bugles asking for help. Then, in verse 8, it says that, although the sound is getting thinner, it is getting clearer and going farther. This depicts that while the time is passing, the warriors are getting fewer in numbers, getting “thinner”, and the ask for help is getting stronger and clearer. Then it calls the kingdom “sweet and far”, obviously because it is not the battlefield and they are living normally, while far away from there is a battle, called in this verse “cliff and scar”, taking place. It is called like this, refering to the abrupt and dangerous that a cliff is, because just like in a cliff, the deaths are abrupt just like this cliff. The “scar” implies both to the scar that it will leave to the ones fighting the war and to the scar it will leave in history. In verse 10, the kingdom is called “Elfland” allluding to the place where elfs live. This is also a metaphor, because elfs are one the most respected races in mitology, giving them the status of inmortal and obviously better than men, this clearly refering to the people living in this kingdom, the elite of the homeland of the warriors that are fighting in the war. Surprisingly now there is a response to the bugles that were heard before, saying that their horns faintly blowed. In this four verses alliteration is certainly used to, just like in the first four verses of the first stanza, slow the pace and give again the sense of peace that was disrupted previously by the bugles. The poem once again gets chaotic by the bugles asking for help, trying to get a stronger response from the kingdom than the fainlty blowing of their horns. The warriors now feel a little hope due to the reply of the kingdom (“let us hear the purple glens replying”). Purple glens refer to how the warriors see now their kingdom, like a magical place with purple land and valleys, also refering to the Elfland mentioned before. With this renewed peace they once again play the bugles hoping for aid, while more and more warriors are dying. Just like in the first stanza, the end of it haves an alliteration that makes the pace faster and gives a sense of chaos and of war. The stanza finishes with the refrain, ephasizing the people that are slained in war.

In the last stanza, the lyrical speaker talks to the kingdom calling it “O love”, evidently portraying the patriotism that is seen in every warrior and in every inhabitant of this kingdom. He tries to call for help, telling that their people are dying “in yon rich sky”, refering to the battlefield and the colorful sky, probably the colors that are seen in sunrise. In the second verse he keeps telling that people are dying everywhere and we can assume that this war is being lost, because of all the lost they had. The mention of the hills, the fields and the rivers are to show how the calm nature is disrupted by this war that is killing a big quantity of people. Then it continues saying that the echoes of the bugles are heard by everyone and that it will affect a lot of people and that it will become history, knowing that it will “roll from soul to soul”, giving the perception of infinity. This idea is reinforced in the next verse that says that it will grow “for ever and for ever”, refering to the time this war will prevail in the mind of the people. This two repetitions are called diacopes. The alliteration used in this verses once again slows the pace, but in contrary with the other “calm verses”, this one is a little more chaotic that the other ones, beacuse this verses talk more about death and not about the calmness and perfectionism of the kingdom. For the last two verses, we can see that the help never arrived, because once again the wild echoes of the bugles are played, animalizing the echo. We can also assume that this war is over, because the answer of the echoes “dying, dying, dying” is the end of the poem, and therefore, the end of the war that we can not know if it was victory of defeat, but we can be sure that blood was spilled and that lives were taken.