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 ensure you answer the focus eg differences (comparison ‘could’ be 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 texts retell different stories of a kidnap. In source B Hay is powerless as he quickly realises the danger he is in.  He attempts to disguise his fear using emotive language such as ‘gravity’ and ‘dreaded’ showing he understood the seriousness of his abduction.  The verb ‘accosted’ identifies his view at being stopped as one of aggression.  The word choices convey how he understood the gravity of being taken and a reader would also sense he was helpless as he didn’t put up a fight.   In contrast text A McCarthy conveys his lack of awareness of the danger he was in. He uses language connected to happiness and anticipation showing the kidnap came as a complete shock. The trip was described as an ‘adventure’ and with the verb ‘excited’ both suggest he viewed the trip similar to a holiday and would return home soon. This is unlike text B, where Hay’s language conveys he knew his abduction would be for a long time.

This quick realisation is the difference between text A and text B. Both are taken against their will, but Hays understood his fate, whereas McCarthy is unaware until it’s too late.

In text B Hay shows a perspective of resignation with the use of language such as the adjective ‘dreaded’ which suggests a great fear or apprehension and ‘immediately’ showing the speed at which Hay’s was abducted. The reader can infer that Hay’s viewed his abduction as a harrowing experience. This is different to Text A, McCarthy who’s view continues to be one of a brief trip seen in the use of noun ‘a month’ and ‘peaceful’. Both indicate his perspective of Lebanon: it was tranquil and calm. Even when ‘westerners’ were abducted McCarthy’s view is still one of being untroubled as he comments on how they were ‘picked up’ almost as if they were collected by taxi. His perspective conveys a sense of dread from the reader as McCarthy didn’t sense the danger.

The pattern of language associated with glee and merriment are key in illustrating how McCarthy was oblivious to the peril his life was in, seen in “good idea”. This gives an impression that there wasn’t any real threat. Alternatively, text B, attempts to escape his situation seen in his language used such as ‘mistake’. This gives the reader an awareness of Hay’s attempt to talk his way out of the situation and evokes a sense of panic and fear for him and his life. Both texts discuss how the men were abducted, but they are different in their attitudes and thier perception of what was happening.


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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