Compare two texts from the Anthology, which present different views about what we should eat.
Text 9 is a newspaper article by John Torode on ‘Why we should all eat red meat’ that vibrantly explores the issue of eating red meat and with a ‘meat lover’ perspective fighting a passionate argument against the ‘bad boy of British culture’ reputation meat has. John Torode is a well-known celebrity chef and his picture endorses the article with a sense of knowledge and character smiling for ‘the culmination of his love of beef’. This article is written to reach out to the general public, more so to the health conscious and the skeptics to persuade and guide through to a new way of thinking towards eating red meat and food in general. A very similar purpose is seen throughout text 11, the Vegetarian Society websites ‘Seven simple steps to going- and staying- vegetarian’ which aim to guide prospective vegetarians to the ultimatum of ‘you are vegetarian’ through the use of enabling and reassuring lexis.
In text 11 the text is clearly set out into seven steps that are structured to coincide, following an order to which a structured plan flows like a timeline- building up confidence and experience to the reader with the desired effect of easing them in to the direction of becoming vegetarians. This is almost like an instruction manual and by the text being set in steps it is easy for the reader to digest. In comparison the structure of text 9 does not use bullet points but instead is presented in prose, which allows for story telling. Even though the texts are structured differently they are both still informative, instructive and possibly persuasive.
Language techniques are chosen carefully to create these types of texts. For instance, Torode uses narrative and inclusive language. Torode begins by using first person pronouns: “When I first moved…” in his anecdote of his experiences with meat, this creates a personal, colloquial effect almost as if he is revealing himself to you making him more likeable and warm, and this is consistent throughout the text as he carries on telling us how he’d “been raised on the stuff” making him seem like a ‘down to earth’ guy who the reader can connect with.
Later on in the article Torode employs inclusive language: “Why? Because we eat too much…”, in this example Torode also uses rhetoric possibly with the purpose of persuading as it makes the reader think and is a transition to his argument to why this is true. To end the article Torode slips back into the more personal first person narration much like the formalities of a conversation. There is a change of direction in the text from the anecdotal and friendly tone to where he gets serious and then back to very personal and reassuring- this is all formed to be persuasive as the personal address is comforting and the serious facts are used to further persuade the reader.
The “Seven Steps” lack some of the fore mentioned techniques. What can be seen instead is a third person narrative throughout the article, thus making it sound less personal but more instructive and informative. The writer uses a brisk selection of lexis making the sentences and whole body of text shorter than text 9. Even though this text is significantly shorter it still manages to come across as concerned and helpful: “or borrow one from your local library”, here its almost like a whisper as if the voice is matched to someone friendly doing you a favor.
So even though text 11 is not as colloquial and expressive as text 9 it still uses language in a way that makes it seem slightly informal, neutral and relaxed for the effect of seeming reassuring and therefore persuasive. For example the personal caption under the picture of the woman also uses first person pronoun “I gave up meat…” and even uses informal language such as ‘veggie’ to seem relatable and also down to earth- just like Torode is trying to sound. This is seen in both texts as a technique to warm to the reader and draw their interest.
In text 9 we see a consistent use of expressive lexis which displays passion from the narrator as he tells us ‘we ate platters of it’ and ‘I loved it’. He tells us about “my love affair with beef” using an array of adjectives (“large, smoky, well marbled join of beef”) and alliteration (“succulent steak”) to entice the readers imagination and glorify meat in support of his argument of “Why we should all eat red meat”. Combined with the use of hyperballys and negative exaggeration (“cholesterol overdose”) when speaking of the opposing argument it radiates a consistent sense of passion backed up by authoritative facts. All in all creating a very impressive, persuasive argument.
How the Vegetarian Society’s ‘Seven simple steps’ does try to persuade and guide the reader is quite different from the ‘why we should all eat red meat’ article in terms of language use. As it is a step-by-step guide it doesn’t include a personal story or emotive language like in Torodes article. Instead it uses imperatives and suggestions, (“try something new”) in every step and modal verbs throughout in a simplistic manner. Perhaps because it doesn’t need to be as persuasive since it is aimed at the already prospective vegetarian and therefore it is not opinionated or overly patronizing in any way. The effect of this is that a calm tone is created and each step simply guides the reader- the persuasion is much more subtle.
Whilst language is chosen to include and instruct it is also chosen to discriminate against the opposition to eliminate possible doubts and reassure the reader, this is used in both texts. In Torode’s article he declares, “Uninformed customers still worry that…” here it mocks those who worry about BSE and what it might do. A superior stance is taken here in order to persuade. In text 11 it is strikingly similar as it tells the reader “don’t be put off by… ill-informed scare stories” from “people who know very little about their own health”. Both of these bias declaratives are used to- once again- effectively comfort and assure the reader.
Although not so inclusively as text 9, text 11 uses celebrity endorsement in the form of a picture of “Sir Paul McCartney” a ‘musician and vegetarian society patron’ almost like a figure head that is encouragement for readers to think that it is more acceptable to follow the views of what we should eat according to them because these famous people do. The rhetorical question posed by Sir Paul apparently, captioned below the picture is a touch to make the reader think, the words sound wise and are placed there to enliven such thoughts to the reader.
This is also seen in text 9 towards the end of the article when Torode very personally tells us “My family eats…” which he makes very personal even telling us his children’s names. Torode is using himself as a figure head to the views on ‘what we should eat’ as after all he is this celebrity chef and if it is good enough for his family- it should be good for us?
In conclusion the texts argue completely different views on what we should eat but the sought effect on the reader is very similar and this is why there are similarities in the way the texts both try to persuade. They are both different types of texts and therefore the language, tone and techniques vary- text 9 uses a more personal and complex approach in the form of a personal narrative to persuade the reader and create an impressive argument, whilst text 9 is a much more simplistic and subtle informative text.
They are both consistently persuasive and lead to the final purpose- of leading, encouraging and informing the reader through a set of steps or a structured narrative to a new view of what we as the reader should eat. Even though Text 9 is more opinionated both texts are still biased arguments with mainly the purpose of persuasion. I think both texts are very suited to their purpose and although look and are different they interestingly use language for a very similar purpose.
Courtney from Study Moose
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