Discuss the similarities and differences between the texts and their theme(s). Include comments on the ways the authors use elements such as structure, tone, images, and other stylic devices to communicate their puposes.
Death as the permanent ending of all life in a person has been treated as an enigmatic subject. As birth is marked by engaging pleasure, death sometimes is either celebrated as the beginning of a new life, or totally the contrary, is commemorated with condolence and pain. Through life, death is a monotonous experience that we live every day, and as a result, literature could not cast it away as an invisible theme.
Instead many pieces of literature have been fantasized by the theme of death, in which they try to discover new meanings and try to give it new boundaries. These two texts, “No one wore black” (Daily Mirror, Saturday, August 12, 1995) and the fragment taken from The Orton Diaries (edited by John Lahr, 1986.) are examples of how literates have been attracted and involved by the enchants of this phenomenon. These two text with a common theme, death and its celebration as a funeral, share many similarities and simultaneously are allotted as separate individuals.
The structure of the two texts is crucial, no only to the effect that is produced, but also, by the tone that both the authors are trying to generate. Firstly, in “No one wore black”, the interrelation of all the parts as a whole are dealt in a highly stylistic manner. Although the text’s target is to function as a descriptive journalistic report, the author writes in such way that it seems to be a rhythmical composition, sometimes rhymed, expressing experiences, ideas, or emotions in concentrated imaginative and powerful style than that of disseminating news. He strictly structures it in a poetic form in which paragraphs are more like verses since they only are composed by one sentence each.
It is separated into individuals segments yielding a more rhythmic flow through the text and creating a more strait forward statements. Meanwhile, the other text is organized in a prosaic way with a much more ordinary form of written language lacking rhyme or meter. It certainly lacks sensibility of eloquence. However, the sentences here are similarly arranged in a short manner. The text contain short sentences that are direct, straight and not interrupted. For example, in line 3 and line 5: “I couldn’t get flowers” and “the funeral is at ten” express a simple idea. Likewise, just as in the first text were the author introduces it with: “The children were in sneakers and carried daisies”.
The manner of writing, in these two texts, that show a certain attitude on the writers, consisting in the choice of words and the phrasing, is totally unparallel; the subject of death is addressed in different ways. First in “No one wore black” the author’s tone in certain cases is very optimistic, while in others, is tragic and dramatic. As it was mentioned before, the position that the author takes is that of a “funeral to be a celebration of the child who had danced and laughed and loved…” (line 4-6). He even describes that “the order of service was printed in purple and decorated with butterflies and flowers” creating an atmosphere of great beauty conditioned with perfect satisfaction, happiness and delight. It can also be appreciated when there is an allusion to paradise: “along the village lanes where the curly-haired child should have been learning to ride her bike. Through the sundrenched gardens where she should have shouting and laughing with her friends.” (line 30-36).
The reference to ‘paradise’ made here suggest a continuity of Sophie’s life after death, nevertheless, it is also increases the tragic mood, since it is described as the place of how it should have been and how the child should had enjoyed her life. Moreover, the narrative doesn’t stop to characterize more the suffering and great undergoing of pain, and its best described in when it’s said, “But Sophie had been cruelly snatched from among them and there was no escaping the grim reminder of the bell.” (line 15-18). Simultaneously, the author doest abandon totally his descriptive and factual writing when he firmly reveals that “Sophie…was found strangles at Llandudno, North Wales, 13 days ago after disappearing from the tent in her uncle’s garden” (line 41-44), with a more crude and insipid language. However, the authors tone doesn’t give up his tendency to take the most hopeful and cheerful view of matters and retakes the optimistic tone by saying “Heaven must have been missing an angel” (line 71-72).
As for the other passage, the tone here is a monotonous pessimistic, with a tendency of sentimental carelessness. We are first introduced into a normal and a routine situation, just descriptive without any sensation or profound thought: “I made a cup of tea and shaved. Then I went out to try and buy some flowers. I had no intention of getting a wreath” (line 1-2). It is the same with the anterior described anterior, where it is also introduced with a very simple sentences, “The children were in sneakers and carried daisies” (line 1-2), expressing no emotion, or at least is not known until the reader doesn’t continue to read the passage. As the second text continues, the author achieves a fatalistic tone were he sarcastically expresses “Actually when I read the dreadful, sickening wording on the other wreaths: ‘To a dear Mum. At peace at last with little Tony'” (line 5-6).
At the same time, later on in the passage the sarcastic and superficial tone is taken by the author again: “My Aunt Lucy was upset because strict protocol wasn’t observed. ‘They’re all walking all wrong'”. This phrase clearly makes the reader to categorize the theme of death under a celebration that is institutionalized by the high social class. On the other hand, there is a piece of this fragment that can be compared side by side with the first text where the author states the woman’s last wish by saying “Her last wish was to be buried with Tony, my nephew who was drowned, aged seven, eighteen months ago…” (line 23-25). The description of Tony’s death is similarly a factual description of a crude reality, just as the one made in line 45 to line 48 in the first text, where the death of the child is delineated.
The two authors to communicate their purposes, they make use of various images. In the first text, the first image made is to ‘daisies’, wild flowers, which relate to the paradise image made later on, where the author creates this utopist atmosphere for the girl and mentions, “Through the sundrenched gardens where she should have been…” (line 33-34). Another image that creates the dramatic and tragic mood is the use of the bell. Through the first sentences of the text the author explicitly creates a feeling of optimism by describing the funeral as a celebration, but he then roughly introduces the feeling of pain and remembrance of grief when he states “And all the while, the terrible bell tolled” (line 10-11) and continuing “One low note, deep and soft like sadness; one higher note, harsh and sharp like pain” (line 22-24).
Simultaneously, in the second text there is another image made with flowers, since usually in funerals flower represent revival and are used to decorate or lighten up the dull atmosphere. However, in this passage the lack of flowers at the beginning of the passage emphasizes the environment of grief. Also in this passage the image of paradise is made when it said “Several women were at their garden gates as the cortï¿½ge passed” (line 16-17). The image of garden reminds us the garden of Eden, and the gate refers to the doors of heaven. It clearly explains how this woman is passing from one life to the next one.
Another way which the writers communicates with the reader is by the use of stylistic devices. The use of these figures of speech are essential more in the first text than the second, since the in “No one wore black” is written in a more poetic way. To begin with, the author creates rhythm by the use of alliteration and repetition: “…the child who had danced, and laughed and loved…” (line 5-6) or in “…soft like sadness; …harsh and sharp…” (line 22-24). A further device of rythm is the triple effect that the author produces when he lists word in group of threes: again in line 5 to 6 “…danced, …laughed, …loved” and also when he describes how the family had dressed, “…in bright yellow and white and red…” (line 8-9).
There is also a slight use of smiles in which one thing is likened to another, for example when the author says “So they came dressed as if for a family picnic” (line 7-8) and again in line 22 to 24 “One low note, deep and soft like sadness; one higher note, harsh and sharp like pain”. In the other hand, the second passage is not surrounded by stylistic devices, better, the author decides to make his language simple and descriptive. The only element that sometimes is also used in poetry is the overuse of adjectives. For example here the author uses adjectives to make the scene much more explicit: ” I read the dreadful, sickening wording…” (line 5) or “very young and hearty” (line 21).
Seen through comparison and contrast, it can be said that ‘death’ is given a new way of delimitation. Firstly because, the authors have a totally different attitudes to this phenomenon. On strictly denotes it as a celebration, while the other describes it as an institutionalized ceremony, in which is not the feelings of grief, suffering, pain or even happiness in some cases, is included. By this commentary describing the ways in which both the authors use elements such as structure, tone, images and stylistic devices, the reader can get a better approach of the theme, and at the same time find the purposes which the writers are try to communicate. As for this theme, related to death and its commemoration, it clearly shows how this mystery has been set up with new boundaries in the means of its discovery.