Essay, Pages 5 (1198 words)
I was inspired to write my fiction and non-fiction texts under the given intriguing topic of ‘Journeys’ due to my own personal experience with this topic and influence from novels I have read. My chosen fiction novel, the epic fantasy Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin published in 1996, enabled me to incorporate a large scale under the a journey, whether this be physically or spiritually. This topic illustrates a huge aspect of human life in general, and how a personality can be transformed by this, or how a transition can be made.
My chosen non-fiction novel is Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell, a memoir collection published in 1933, which highlights the recollections of Orwell living in a poverty-stricken Paris and is also paired with a travelogue told from the perspective of a homeless person.
This novel can shed a light on how different experiences of travel can transform a person into a new mind-set and to also inform the reader of poverty in general, which is emulated in my short story.
I chose to write a short story for both of my pieces as I believe that is what most easily could emulate the novels themselves and aimed it at an older audience that typically reads fantasy, with a genre incorporating ideas of adventure, high fantasy and drama. The structure of the books is linear, but time passes between sections, which is like how my pieces are structured. The main purpose of my stories is to draw focus to the importance of journeying within life, while also entertaining the reader within a fully immersive world as well.
To aid the grand scale of a journey, R.R. Martin uses a differing narrative style within the novel. Game of Thrones is told from a limited third person perspective (‘Bran thought about it’) and across the novel it is told from the viewpoints of over eight different characters. I chose to tell my story from three different viewpoints and from a third person perspective (‘Maria queried’) to fully show the scale of a journey and a fully-formed world that has its own characters that exist outside of the immediate narrative, including a prologue. Down and Out utilises a first-person perspective (‘I sketch this scene’) for the audience to fully immerse themselves within the subject matter of the novel, which I also wanted to show in my novel to immerse the reader.
Game of Thrones utilises unique neologisms within the text to distinctively describe the world that it is set in, such as ‘direwolf’, ‘sept’ and ‘weirwood’. I used a similar technique in combining words to make unique words that only exist within the world of my short story, such as ‘sundweller’ and ‘sandwinds’. The additional use of proper nouns for ‘Vongarden’ and ‘Spirit of the Garden’ solidify this as a recognisable world, similar to the one that exists within my stimulus text. R.R. Martin mainly uses lexical neologisms, which are newly formed words or words borrowed from other languages. The neologisms I have used contribute to the world-building of the piece and emphasise that my piece takes place within my own recognisable world. The use of polysyllabic words, such as ‘serendipitous’, ‘downtrodden’ and ‘calibrated’ appeals to an older audience, and also gives a voice of authority to the piece.
Down and Out uses several techniques to further enhance the starkness of the novel, such as the metaphorical ‘the Paris slums are a gathering-place’. The compound word ‘gathering-place’ creates a sense of claustrophobia and unease, and I adopted this sense of description by describing the heat as metaphorically ‘searing an irreparable glaze to the horizon’ and the sea as the specifically chosen verb ‘dazing’, creating an almost illusionary atmosphere. This clear depiction of weather also adds a distinct sense of place to my piece, allowing the reader to immerse themselves in the environment the piece takes place in. The common use of colloquialisms that contrast the description of the world in Down and Out was also a tone I wanted to reproduce, such as using profanity (‘little shit’) or informalities (‘or at least I find’), with the profanity appealing to a more mature audience. The lexical set of an urban lifestyle, such as ‘sprawling’, ‘apartment complexes’ and ‘populated’, is one I wanted to contrast with the smaller scale story occurring within the narrative, where ‘town’, ‘tiny’ and ‘little’ make for a contained and small lexical set, which also represents the dual nature of a small story that gives way to a more substantial realisation, such as the one shown in Down and Out.
The sentence structures of my fiction piece vary in length and mood, with the start of the piece featuring the holophrastic ‘Perpetually’ and the minor declarative sentences ‘She opened the door’ and ‘I warned you’. Towards the end, more sentence types occur, such as the complex sentence ‘Horizon-less, the sky was a cold black, and the dunes resided in their slumber’. The compound word ‘Horizon-less’ emphasises the stark blankness of the night, while the personified dunes are the night’s inhabitants. This atmosphere is enhanced by the polyptoton of ‘blood oozed out of her bloodless corpse’ which reiterates the adult themes presented here and also the cold brutality that this world can offer. This creates a sense that the world is alive and has certain characteristics to define it, such as cruelty and injustice, and reinforces that this is a world that exists beyond the immediacy of this short story. The contrast in sentence types from the start of the piece to the end represents the progression of the journey that is made throughout the story, which also alludes to the theme I have chosen to influence these features.
In my non-fiction piece I chose to break up the typical paragraph structure with shorter paragraphs that consist of a few sentences. These paragraphs draw attention to the message that is displayed within them, such as the ‘something changed that day’ and ‘slowly, but surely’. These last statements provide an end focus on their purpose which is to inform the reader on the progression that has happened within my personality – a personal journey. The additional use of anaphora in the last paragraph with the repetition of the word ‘slowly’ draws attention to the message the piece is trying to convey: that you must learn slowly in order to build yourself as a person. This being the last idea the reader brings away makes the piece thought provoking and inquisitive. I also aimed for my piece to invoke a sense of nostalgia, with adjectives such as ‘enchanting’ and ‘charming’ taking on a very optimistic tone in order to express my fondness of this time. I wanted to focus on this rose-tinted view of the past in order to draw more importance to the conclusion of the piece, which is me reflecting in present tense how this seemingly perfect past has affected me.
My two short stories both show clear influence from their stimuli texts, expressing a journey that is developed throughout them. The inspiration for these pieces is clearly rooted within the characteristics of my chosen texts, shown through a number of literary techniques.