Comparative Writing Assignment [2] (38 out of 50, 2001/2002)


This comparative writing assignment (38 out of 50, 2001/2002) can be opened in a print-friendly text document format here
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“Compare and contrast the presentation of and attitudes towards Corfu and Greece in the extracts below”


{Text A CONTENTS: Content – purpose – audience; Text-shaping factors; Simile, sibilance, lexical choices; Dramatic statements; Usefulness of linguistic approach.}
{Text B CONTENTS: Content – purpose – audience; Text-shaping factors; Textual phonology; Sentence structure; Usefulness of linguistic approach.}
{Text C CONTENTS: Content – audience – purpose; Transcript-shaping factors, spontaneous speech features; Lexical set; Use of modifiers; Importance of lexical choices.}
{Text D CONTENTS: Content – audience – purpose; Poem-shaping factors; Use of iambic pentameter and consistent rhyme scheme; Usefulness of literary approach.}
{EVALUATION: Comparative textual conclusion.}


{1.) 500 word article for a broadsheet newspaper’s Sunday Travel Supplement, designed to entice educated and sophisticated holidaymakers to visit Corfu; 2.) 250-300 word analytical commentary on article, justifying and explaining your use of language in the article.}

Text A, the beginning of Lawrence Durrell’s book Prospero’s Cell, contains his description of the island as it was when he lived there with his family in the 1930s. The purpose of this book will be to inform his readership of his experience of Greece. His readership would be those interested in geography and adventure – the complex language choices indicating an intelligent audience.[^]

The factors that helped shape the text are the fact that he lived in Greece, and possibly WWII – the publication date coincides with the end of the war.[^]

In presenting Greece, Durrell uses a simile by comparing Greece to entering “a dark crystal”. Regarding phonology, Durrell uses sibilance in the sentence: “Mirages suddenly swallow islands… deceives.” Coupled with his word choices, this gives the impression of uncertainty.[^]

Sudden, high-impacting statements are used for dramatic effect, such as: “Greece offers you something harder – the discovery of yourself.”[^]

Using a linguistic approach is most effective for this text, as by analyzing lexical choices and grammar one gains insight as to the authorial intention.[^]

Text B contains The Holiday Which? Guide to Greece and the Greek Islands consumer guide. Its purpose is to educate its potential holidaymaking readership as to the current state of Greece and Corfu.[^]

The text relates historical developments in Corfu – “Powerfully promoted by Edward Lear…” – which have shaped Corfu – these factors obviously influence this unbiased account.[^]

The phonology of the text is exploited with the use of the succession of powerful ‘d’ sounds: “littered with the debris of cut-price development…” These sounds are used to portray a negative picture of the effect of British tourism on the island.[^]

Long sentences intersperse short ones – “There is a hint of desperation… full set of clubs” in contrast with, “The bad publicity has had various effects” – which conveys the analytical feel of the guide. The format is usually to make a short declarative statement, followed by a longer bit of guide-based ‘spiel’, providing evidence for the assertions.[^]

Once again, I think it is most useful to adopt a linguistic approach – by analyzing the syntax and grammar of the piece, its underlying themes and messages can be discovered.[^]

Text C contains a part of an interview transcript in which a holidaymaker talks about a holiday to Corfu. The audience would have been the interviewer, and an audience who wanted to know what his holiday was like – a travel program, perhaps.[^]

Personal history and experience have shaped this holidaymaker’s relation. As befits spontaneous speech – which this appears to be – there are many pauses, fillers (“er”), and incomplete utterances (“(.)it’s absolutely (.)”). Certain, key words are stressed, such as, pitchgunsblack…”[^]

There is a seaside lexical set“bay… beautiful bay [alliterative plosives]…cliff… sea…” This is employed to aid his description of the Greek Islands.[^]

Many modifiers are used to build up a vivid picture of the various places: pitch blackbeautifulpeacefulbare-breasted females…”[^]

I believe that it is important to look at the lexical choices made by a person when one is analyzing speech, and here it is useful to note the modifiers/lexical sets employed.[^]

Text D contains 2 different sections of the poem Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage by Lord Byron. The audience would be educated poetry readers, Lord Byron’s purpose being to provide them with something to enjoy, appreciate, and mull over.[^]

The first stanza is strongly influenced by the political situation of Greece at the time, and its occupation by the Turks – “Immortal, though no more; though fallen, great!”[^]

The stanzas are largely comprised of iambic pentameter. All three are 9 lines long, with the rhyme scheme ABABBCBCC. This shows that Byron used a balanced, considered form to put across his political and poetic views.[^]

Mainly because this is a poem, a literary approach is most valuable – concentrating on the rhyme scheme employed and stanza meter.[^]

In conclusion, Text A paints a hyperbolic picture of the Greek Islands, conveying the idea that it is an unforgiving place through language choices that convey instability: “irregular, refracted…swallow…”

However, Text B takes a more objective, detached, factual view of Corfu. Through relating the history of the place – from major tourist hotspot, to shunned holidaymaker location – it emphasizes the fact that “much of” the island has not been ruined.

Text C suggests an idyllic setting, with a tumultuous underbelly – this is demonstrated by the juxtaposition of “beautiful bay” and “soldiers with guns”. It starts and ends with positive descriptions of the places the holidaymaker has visited, with a small, disconcerting image of violence in the middle.

Text D, on the other hand, is a finely-constructed piece of poetry, putting across a political viewpoint on the Greek situation at the time.[^]

2. Using the material in Question 1 to form the basis of your content, complete the two tasks below:
i.) Imagine that you are a journalist working for a broadsheet newspaper.
You have been asked to write a 500 word article for their Sunday Travel Supplement.
Your brief is to encourage a more educated and sophisticated holidaymaker to visit Corfu.
Remember to give your article a title.
ii.) Write an analytical commentary that justifies and explains your use of language in the article. (Aim to write 250-300 words.)



Lord Byron, the renowned poet, realised the startling beauty of Corfu as early as the 19th century. In an attempt to encapsulate the power of his feelings he wrote,

“Yet are thy skies as blue, thy crags as wild;
Sweet are thy groves, and verdant are thy fields,
Thine olive ripe as when Minerva smiled,
And still hid honey’d wealth Hymettus yields;…”

One might consider that a comparison of Corfu’s beauty to a goddess’ smile is merely good use of ‘poetic license’. However, Lord Byron’s feelings have been vindicated by a source close to The Guardian, who has recently holidayed there.

“It’s very peaceful… we went to… this beautiful bay here… along the sea”, he confirms. This from a notoriously detached and cynical member of our holiday-inspecting team!

The Holiday Which? Guide to Greece and the Greek Islands also acknowledges the natural popularity of this opulent holiday destination, “the proliferation of vast new hotels and coastal resorts to the point where the island now welcomes over half a million British visitors a year.” Edward Lear and the Durrell brothers were great believers in extolling Corfu’s values, and thought Corfu to be “the greenest and most luxuriantly beautiful of all the Greek islands.”

To visit such an awe-inspiring place can be a life-affirming experience for some people. We here, the team behind The Guardian Sunday Travel Supplement, highly recommend this location for all potential holidaymakers who want to broaden their horizons and experience life. As Lawrence Durrell once said, the Greek islands offer you “the discovery of yourself”.[^]


I immediately – and relevantly – name-dropped ‘Lord Byron’ in order to arouse interest in intellectual readers. This should encourage the more sophisticated and well-educated potential holidaymakers to read the remainder of the article – Lord Byron acting as a kind of celebrity endorsement for them.

The use of the impersonal pronoun ‘one’ is something that I hoped educated readers would relate to, as it is a ‘high-brow’ term – upper-class people like to use the third person, as it gives them a sense of controlled detachment.

Quoting praising comments from a “notoriously detached and cynical” staff member lends credence to Byron’s poetry, through the implicit juxtaposition of ‘praise/cynicism’.

Further allusions to ‘Edward Lear and the Durrell brothers’ will leave the reader thinking that I must have a good academic background, thus making it more likely that they’ll respect my opinion of Corfu as an ‘awe-inspiring place’.

The profound philosophical statement – “the discovery of yourself” – will appeal to those in the midst of an intellectual mid-life crisis, as well as those who are interested in broadening ‘their horizons’.

Use of double-barrelled [‘compound’] pre-modifiers, “awe-inspiring”, “life-affirming”, serve to emphasize the suitability of Corfu as a holiday destination.[^]

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Forty-year-old father of three wonderful children [William, Seth, and Alyssa]. Works as an Assistant Technical Officer in the Sterile Services Department of Treliske Hospital, Cornwall. Enjoys jogging, web design, learning programming languages, and supporting Arsenal FC. Obtained a BA degree in English from the University of Bolton in 2008, and has continued to gain qualifications in a diverse range of subjects thereafter.

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Posted in A Level English [A2]

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