From a Game of Polo with a Headless Goat
Read with insight and engagement, making appropriate reference to texts and developing and sustaining interpretations of them. Warm up: Which phrase or sentence engages the reader’s attention the most in the opening few paragraphs? Explain how/why – which features of the language have a particular effect on the reader – analyse language techniques. Which sentence in the text seems to sum up how the writer is effective in using language to entertain the reader?
Travel writing is autobiographical and aims to describe events, experiences, emotions in different locations and their impact on the writer. It is written to entertain, as well as to inform. Many of the techniques associated with autobiography are also used in travel writing. The ways in which locations are described also relate to the ways in which setting and atmosphere can be created by a writer of fiction eg a novel. Audience: People read travel writing for a variety of reasons. List them… How does this text create a relationship between the reader and the writer?
How are you drawn into the narrative of events? Subject: Despite the misleading title, this text is clearly based on a donkey race, rather than a game polo with a headless goat! Levine travelled the world for a television series, in which she uncovered unusual and wacky sports around the globe. Purpose: To entertain To inform 2. AVI List the attitudes and ideas that Levine communicates in the text about the donkey race. How does she feel about it? How does this come through in her description of the people and the events? What does she seem to value about these kind of sports?
Are they just completely ridiculous, or does she seem to enjoy the vibrancy, fun and humour associated with the events? Does she enjoy the culture that surrounds the race – energy, excitement, joy, freedom, exuberance? 3. SFL Structure How the events are narrated in three sections– the “three” races – The donkey race The spectator race The writer’s race to get the best pictures. How do you know when she is switching her focus from one “race” to another? Discourse markers? Temporal markers? Form Travel writing can encompass different styles and genres of writing.
How does she switch between the different styles/modes – description, dialogue, informational writing, narrative, commentary? Underline examples of each one in different colours. Language Which techniques are used to convey a sense of drama and excitement – select words and phrases and indicate which technique is used and its effectiveness. Dynamic verbs Specific adjectives The five senses Blend of formal/informal language Jargon Imagery – simile/metaphor/personification Realistic dialogue First person – opinion and evaluation Sentence construction – simple, compound, complex
Conclusion –evaluation and summary of the major techniques employed and the reader’s response. To what extent is Emma Levine successful in communicating her feelings about the race? To what extent is the reader engaged in the events that she describes? Possible comprehension essay questions How does Emma Levine create a sense of drama and tension in this extract? How does Emma Levine convey the atmosphere of the donkey race in this extract? How does Emma Levine communicate her feelings about the people that she encounters at the donkey race?
How does Emma Levine use humour to gain the attention of the reader in this extract? Revision exercises: • • • • • Annotate your text and select 6 relevant quotations to analyse to answer each question Write a plan/structure using GASP, AVI and SFL – ensuring a clear focus on the question Practise introductions and conclusions Write out sample paragraphs Write a timed essay and hand to your teacher for feedback Linked writing exercises Describe a memorable moment on a holiday. Write a report on a sports match “Sport is essential for a healthy mind and body”.