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A Passage Taken From the Film ‘Trainspotting’ Essay

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The passage is taken from a film ‘Trainspotting’, and is therefore a scripted piece. In a situation like this situation in ‘real life’, there would undoubtedly have been interruptions on numerous occasions; however, being a scripted piece, there were no overlaps; the entire passage is in the form of turn taking. In ‘real life’, we all know that we should turn take, but we often break this rule. People break this rule when they are angry, when they are enthusiastic about the issue, or if they want to add to what the other person is saying.

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Another feature of the passage illustrating that this is a scripted piece, is the fact that there are no self-clarifications. The dialogue is more carefully and logically structured than if it was spontaneous speech.

To understand the nature of this passage, one must first understand the context of the piece. Spud is an unemployed ‘bloke’ going to an interview, unbeknown to the interviewers that he does not in fact want the job. Previous to the interview, Spud had taken ‘speed’, which meant that in the interview he is behaving completely inappropriately. An interview should be held formally, and while the two men and the woman interviewing Spud try to keep this business formal, Spud makes three crucial mistakes. Firstly, he is acting as if they were ‘mates’, by using very chatty language; secondly, he says approximately 100 words, explaining that he had lied in his original application, but how he thinks that it was alright because it apparently was not important; and thirdly, because he has taken ‘speed’, he is talking extremely fast, with few pauses for breath, which suggests to an interviewer that he is nervous, and creates the effects that the ‘speed’ would have had on him. An example of all three of these things, is when Spud says

“No, actually I went to Craignewton but I was worried that you wouldn’t have heard of it so I put the Royal Edinburgh College instead, because they’re both schools, right, and we’re all in this together, and I wanted to put across the general idea rather than the details, yeah?” (Spud)

Throughout the passage, Spud sets the agenda, and even when the interviewers ask questions, |Spud’s answers change the direction of the speech. An example of this, is when Spud says that he loves all people, including beggars, and then the conversation continues:

“Homeless people?” (Woman)

“No, not homeless people. Beggars, Francis Begbire – one of my mates. I wouldn’t say my best mate, I mean, sometimes the boy goes over the score, like one time when we – me and him – were having a laugh and all of a sudden he’s fucking gubbed me in the face, right.” (Spud)

This shows how Spud is the one who sets the discussion topic. The original question from Man 2 was about what attracted Spud to the leisure industry, and from that, the conversation moved onto one of Spud’s ‘mates’. Spud setting the agenda, shows that Spud has the power, which is not in keeping with the stereotypical interview. Normally, the interviewer would have the power, not the interviewee.

Spud begins the dialogue, aswell as ending it. He has the most words, and he speaks most frequently. Although having the most words and speaking most frequently does not alone guarantee the power to that character, along with setting the agenda, it is clear that Spud has it. He uses many declaratives, and many rhetorical questions, especially in his first speech, which is also evidence that he has the power. Examples of declaratives are

“No problem. Whatever you say, man. You’re the man, the governor, the dude in the chair, like.” (Spud)

Apart from just being a declarative, this is also a classic example of the informal language used throughout the passage by Spud. Words such as “man” and “dude” are informal and chatty, and not in the correct context to what an interview should be.

An example of rhetorical questions used by him, are

“People get all hung up on details, but what’s the point?” “Does it matter?” “What’s important is that I am, right?” (Spud)

After his first ‘outburst’, Man 1, the interviewer, tries to obtain the power, by addressing Spud as Mr Murphy, which is very formal, and by using an interrogative.

“Mr Murphy, do you mean that you lied on your application?” (Man 1)

In reply to his question, Spud replies,

“Only to get my foot in the door.” (Spud)

This is not what Man 1 would have been expecting his answer to be. Most likely, he would have expected him to try and ‘wriggle out of’ having to say that he lied on his application. However, Spud does not do this. He out rightly admits that he lied. He is brutally honest, and because of this, Spud retains the power. This recurs periodically throughout the passage, and each time Man 1 tries to gain the power, he fails.

At the end of this passage, Man 1 uses a declarative statement to end the interview,

“Thank you Mr Murphy. We’ll let you know” (Man 1)

If the interview had ended here, then it would have ended with Man 1 having the power. However, after this, Spud goes on to say,

“The pleasure was mine. Best interview I’ve ever been to. Thanks.” (Spud)

Because of this, Spud makes it seem as if the interview was ended on his terms, so he once again has the power, meaning that he had it throughout the entire interview.

In summary, Spud has the power throughout the interview, all the while, the interviews are trying to gain it, which is what an interview typically entails. Using many techniques, the writer has made it so that Spud keeps the power right the way through the passage. Spud sets the agenda, and makes it impossible for the interviewers to be impressed by his antics; which is overall, exactly what he wants.

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