Viewpoint(s) & Perspective(s)

Help, tips and assistance for students. This blog is part of a range specifically for students and can be found, along with others, under Student GCSE Blogs.

For the purpose of this blog, I’ve only used a ‘section’ of each article as an example. In an exam you will have the ‘full’ article to analyse. Your question will be worded like this…

For this question, you need to refer to the whole of source A together with the whole of source B.

Compare how the writers convey their different ideas and perspectives of being kidnapped.  In your answer, you could:

  • compare their different ideas and perspectives
  • compare the methods they use to convey their ideas and perspectives
  • support your response with references to both texts.

TEXT A – John McCarthy talks about the moment he was taken hostage

‘Back in 1986, it was my first big adventure, going off to the Middle East, working as a journalist for a television news agency. The civil war in Lebanon had been running at that point for around ten years, and was one of the world’s big stories. So I was excited about being given the chance to go and work there with our Lebanese camera crews for a month.

While I was there, there wasn’t much fighting going on. It was a peaceful period of the war which gave me the chance to learn the ropes as a field producer without too much anxiety. And then a number of Westerners started being picked up and no one knew why. So it seemed like a good idea to get out of town until the situation became clear again.

TEXT B – Press ganged, 1811

Twenty-two year old Robert Hay was a ship’s carpenter who had made one voyage aboard a British merchant ship. We join his story as he walks through a London neighbourhood:

“I was, when crossing Tower Hill, accosted by a person in seamen’s dress who tapped me on the shoulder enquiring in a familiar and technical strain, ‘What ship?’ I assumed an air of gravity and surprise and told him I presumed he was under some mistake as I was not connected with shipping. The fellow, however, was too well acquainted with his business to be thus easily put off.

He gave a whistle and in a moment I was in the hands of six or eight ruffians who I immediately dreaded and soon found to be a press gang.

In this question, you must make a clear statement in response to the question about the two texts/articles (comparison similarity or differences), then detail the methods/techniques used by the “authors” to convey their viewpoint. Use range connectives (conjunctions).

Statement+method+explain+link to Q+evidence+effect+meaning or inference

Suggested Q4 answer – comparison of viewpoint, requiring analysis

Both sources retell their experience of being kidnapped and held against their will.  In Text A, Hay, a ship carpenter, recalls his abduction through an interview giving first hand details. Speech marks are used to indicate when Hay begins his first-person narrative “I was…”. This is effective because it helps the reader then experiences Hay’s kidnapping into slavery firsthand. This is similar to Text B in which John McCarthy retells his account of being taken hostage; he begins “Back in 1986”. McCarthy’s extract is also in first person and uses speech marks.  This could be to indicate that his recount is told by a third party possibly in a newspaper as part of an interview.  Because they are both true stories retold after the event both articles are written in past tense. This is important as it emphasises the lost years both captives lost, for example McCarthy remembers it was ‘my first big adventure’ and Hay was a ‘Twenty-two year old’. This would evoke a sense of empathy for the captives; the senseless and terrifying act.

Hay’s recount of the event includes emotive language such as ‘gravity’ and ‘dreaded’ this clearly shows he felt the seriousness of his situation. The effect is a reader will understand he knew he was helpless.  Whereas McCarthy uses down to earth language listing a series of nouns common with everyday living such as ‘girlfriend’ ‘phone’ and ‘mum and dad’.. the list of extended nouns reminds the reader McCarthy wasn’t a person of interest but actually could have been anyone. The use of language helps set an ominous tone for the reader; one of helplessness. Both clearly feel regret but were unable to stop the kidnappings.

This is a simple sentence frame to help you:

The author in text A clearly feels (link to question) this is seen in (method), the author used (XXX) seen (evidence) because (ensure links to question). This would (discuss effect) and could suggest (meaning or inference).

Thank you for reading.


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