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Hurricane hits England by Grace Nichols and The Times by John Young

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The newspaper article written by John Young and the piece of poetry written by Grace Nichols both follow the same topic: when a hurricane hit England in 1987. Although both follow the same topic, they do not have the same style of writing. The newspaper article was written as a piece of information informing the public of the events that were unfolding— in England. The purpose of newspaper articles is to inform the world what is happening around them. However, the poem that was written about the events that unfolded in 1987 details an individual’s personal experience of the hurricane.

It describes how they felt at that time of the frightening ordeal using complex language and structure devices. A reason why the newspaper’s pattern of writing is different to that of the poem is because it is written only to provide a text that will be useful for today but in the future, it will not be considered important or contain any useful information. However, a poem is something that will penetrate you and have a long lasting affect for a lasting period and is designed to be read slowly, allowing the reader to absorb every word and try to find the meaning behind each line.

A characteristic, which is essential in every newspaper, is the title. In an article, a title is one of the focal points to draw in the reader, as its duty is to provide information on what the editorial is concerning. Another reason for the importance of a well thought out title is because it is read quickly and impatiently by the millions of readers who are deciding on what to read. This article is no different. Mr Young has inserted alliteration in to the title with the words “Countryside counts” this way it makes the title easier to read on the reader’s behalf.

However, the title of a poem is not the central point or a major factor of why someone would read it. The reason why this is done is so that the main or hidden message of the poem is not revealed until you inspect the poem closely. There are a number of reasons why a person would want to read a poem. The first one being is that it can be inspiring to the reader. By learning for example where others have made mistakes or how someone feels in certain situations. In this poem, the title details the subject of the poem, which is “Hurricane hits England”.

However, the author did not write this poem to describe the ruin that was taking place before her eyes. However, it brought back memories of her time back home in the Caribbean where hurricanes are a way of life. As well as this, she shares her feelings and emotions of having the same experience as she had when she was growing up only now it is in a different setting. Although the title is not as important as it is in the tabloid, still, it does have an element of it, which makes the poem eye catching for the reader.

Grace Nichols does this through alliteration with the words “Hurricane hits England”. Another contrast between the two pieces of writing is the layout. The layout of a poem changes from one to the next and each one sets out differently to convey a different message every time. But, in “Hurricane hits England” the poet has made sure that the lines are lineated. The reason why Grace Nichols has done this is because the beginning and ending of lines are very important to the meaning of the poem.

However, the layout of the article is what you would expect from a newspaper. The newspaper is written in columns. The reason for this is because it makes matters a lot easier for the reader as opposed to if it would have been written across the page therefore being an inconvenience to the reader. Something that is also a common phenomenon in a newspaper article is that there are many small paragraphs, some just a line or two long. The explanation for why this is done is so that it appears in appealing bite-sized chunks, which are easier for the reader to digest.

The editors and the writers always think of the easiest way for the readers to understand their articles is because this makes people buy the newspaper. The two pieces of writing both differ in many ways when it comes to language. The poem talks in an informal manner whilst the newspaper talks in a formal style. With regards to the poem, its use of various complex figures of speech such as personification- “gathering rage” are used to describe the building hurricane winds. This language creates an image in which the reader can envisage the situation more clearly and in a further dramatic fashion.

Rhetorical questions are used in the poem for the purpose of bringing the reader into the dialogue by making him think more about the unfolding drama, for example- “Tell me when you visit an English Coast? “, this question brings the reader back down to earth after the vague opening two stanzas. Oxymoron’s such as- “Blinding illumination” contributes to the confusion the poet feels concerning the destruction which is ensuing. There are many reasons why the article talks in a formal fashion, primarily so that it can transmit the point across regarding what is going on in the aftermath of the destruction of the hurricane.

Statistical data is incorporated through out the article, making the language more factual and down to earth in order not to confuse the reader. The author of the article lists various districts such as Essex, Kent, Norfolk, Suffolk and Northamptonshire, which encompasses a wide area of the UK struck by the hurricane. The mention of all of these different regions help to make every one of the readers aware of what is happening on their doorstep, thereby attracting their attention and bringing them closer to the article.

The article has repeated use of the word “responsibility” at the closing of the editorial, bringing clarity and an air of certainty to assure readers that the disastrous situation is being brought under control by the local authorities. Another point that is typical of media text is the structure of the article. In a newspaper article, the first paragraph is based around the simple questions of, Who? What? Where? How? And Why? These are questions that the writer needs to ask in order to start to write.

This is a typical way to start an informative report so that the reader can take as much information as possible from the piece of writing. The use of structure in the poem is exhibited in the way of a detailed personal account of someone’s experiences, which they felt they should write about. The poet starts by creating a confusing and chaotic image to the reader. Slowly, the poem becomes steadily clearer and reaches its climax towards the end with its main message and meaning remaining misty in the mind of the reader.

However, in the newspaper article, the structure is completely the opposite. The main points are placed at the beginning of the article in order to gain the attention of the reader who will then be likely to read the entire article, leaving the less significant details until the end. In conclusion, it is obvious to note the stark differences between the newspaper article and the poem. Although both texts are based on the same event, each writer has different motives and targets to achieve.

In the article, the writer bombards the reader with a large array of information ranging from statistical data, opinions and small interviews with the relevant authorities. This article sets out to inform in the most convenient way possible, making it clear to the reader by using simple but effective and essentially ‘to the point’ language. The structure is plain and it places the more important matters at the forefront, luring the readers into the article. With regard to the poem however, its language has been created along emotional lines with the motive of finding a deeper meaning to what has happened.

The narration is through the eyes of the writer, making the reader feel closer to the action. The reader is addressed directly by the rhetorical questions and this structure essentially makes the reader reflect more on what he is reading. Essentially, in comparison between these two different texts, the article gives us what we need in the most practical manner, eventually dying out to lesser significant bits of information. Whereas the poem sets out to convey a powerful message and this is achieved in the build up and clarified in the climax.

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