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Pole to Pole is a piece of travel writing. It has also been made into a television show. The author of this piece of travel writing is Michael Palin, and it is about his journey from the North pole to the South pole. Michael Edward Palin, CBE (born 5 May 1943) is an English comedian, actor, writer and television presenter best known for being one of the members of the comedy group Monty Python and for his travel documentariesIn Pole to Pole, Michael Palin encounters several different people during his journey; these meetings were particularly memorable to him. Particularly the meetings, with Lyuba-Day 41 on board Junost- and Doctor Baela- witch doctor, day 108 in Zambia-.
Palin meets Lyuba as he is travelling between countries on a boat, whereas he meets Dr Baela when he has just entered Mpulungu, but has been in the continent, Africa, for quite a long time. The use of language in these sections is effective because Palin portrays his attitude towards women. He does this by using a superlative to highlight his meeting with Lyuba. Palin also reinforces that he does not take Lyuba very seriously when he uses alliteration, “lovely Lyuba”, when he calls Lyuba “proprietress of the bar” he then implies a certain attitude towards women. This is because of the use of the word proprietress, meaning lady of the bar. This is also a contrast to Palin’s usual persona as Palin doesn’t normally criticize or seek to be sexist/ politically incorrect.
When Palin visits Dr Baela he exaggerates the encounter by being dramatic. He also demonstrates that Dr Baela is weird and sort of unrealistic, when using emotive language such as “evil”, “shadow”, and “spirits”. This is because some people do not believe in such things as spirits and after life. When Dr Baela says what he thinks is wrong with Palin, Palin uses the word “concludes” in a sarcastic manner, this then suggests that Palin sees the meeting as a joke and does not take it seriously, as well as how strange he feels the meeting is. Therefore Palin does not take either of the encounters seriously.
When Palin met Lyuba and Doctor Baela, both of these meetings were surprising and quite unexpected. These meetings were unexpected because Palin does not expect these people to act like they do, as well as being surprising. “Strangest encounter”, by using this Palin shows that his meeting with Lyuba was not just strange, but more than strange, this highlights the fact that he was not expecting this encounter with Lyuba, which is a contrast to life no the ship.This is comparable to Palin’s meeting with Doctor Baela, this is because Palin was surprised and didn’t expect Doctor Baela to act the way he did. “Only adds to the confusion.”
By saying this Palin shows that he is confused, but he didn’t expect to be confused. “More seriously than I expected.” This quote also adds to the fact that Palin didn’t expect the day to go this way. I think Palin’s intention was to make both of these parts quite comical and laughable when he is with Dr Baela the incident begins comical but changes, I also feel that he was putting a strange and peculiar approach to the encounters. As reading this I would feel my response would be, that it was very different and an unforgettable experience. Therefore these encounters were both surprising and unexpected, this is because Palin did not expect the witch doctor to act the way he did which links in with the fact that he didn’t expect Lyuba to act the way she did.
When meeting Lyuba, Palin uses a lot of sarcasm and humour in his language which is really effective, which differentiates this from the language Palin uses to make Doctor Baela sound completely silly, but also intimidating and that what he does is pointless. “If there’s nothing more normal in the world than sharing a water-logged packing case with a Russian Barmaid.” When Palin says this he says this in a very sarcastic way, saying “if there’s nothing more normal” he is being sarcastic that it actually is normal as well as being humorous and playful. This has an effect on the reader because it adds humour to the situation.
“Which will ‘drive out’ any evil influence” By using the quotation marks either side of ‘drive out’ Palin shows the intention of making Baela sound pointless and useless. Using sarcasm and humour in the language makes Baela sound very unprofessional, and makes the reader feel that Baela is making a fool out of himself but everyone around him believes him although he talks a lot of nonsense, where as the language that he uses when he meets Lyuba then presents her to be quite intimidating, which adds to the affect of the flirting.
I think when Palin is with Baela; his intention was to change a serious situation into a disappointing and peculiar one, as opposed to when he is with Lyuba and changing an awkward situation into a humorous one. I feel he does this because the reader may loose interest
Palin uses a lot of description during these encounters with Lyuba and Doctor Baela. When Palin first sees Doctor Baela, he describes him extremely well, corresponding to his meeting with Lyuba when he uses very descriptive language. “He has pouting lips and big lazy eyes. He wears a head-dress of genet fur, a pink tunic with his name on the back and a pair of welding goggles.” By using this Palin describes what Doctor Baela looks like, in a very understandable and clear way. “Nonchalant British lounging” Using this in his diary entry for when he met Lyuba, Palin adds to the formality and description. Being this descriptive, as the reader I feel that this makes the situation clearer and more understandable similarly to when Palin is describing Doctor Baela. I feel that Palin’s intention was to show the reader really what was happening and to add to the fact that these situations were quite awkward.
Overall I feel that these two meetings would be particularly memorable to Palin, I feel this because when someone goes through a long period of time not knowing where they are, not seeing friends or family, being some place different everyday, I would expect this to be quite emotional and that every different person he
meets he would then remember because it is all a big opportunity and experience which he would like to gain the most out of.
I chose Lyuba and Doctor Baela because they both are not the usual conversations or meetings you would have with a complete stranger, I also feel that these encounters will be quite unforgettable because Lyuba acted really flirty, quickly where as Doctor Baela acted quite rehearsed and quiet when it came to chatting. Therefore I feel that these meetings were particularly memorable to Palin’s journey.