Writing To Entertain – Commentary Essay
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The piece entitled ‘Let’s Talk About Sex…’ is a piece written to simply entertain its audience. The text is in no way formal or serious, as it is written for a men’s magazine and deals with modern issues in a modern way.
The readers of this text are intended to be predominantly male between the ages of 16 and 35. The ideal reader of this text would be a stereotypical man who is looking for a light read during his lunch break at the office.
The text itself is very euphoric, and arouses many emotions in the reader as he/she progresses through the article. For example, sympathy arises within the reader when they read the opening paragraph (“Tuesday, and I pace up and down the bar of my….”). Sympathy is created here as the audience can relate to what the author is experiencing, there is no one I can think of who hasn’t been set a task of which they do not know how to complete. Sympathy is also created in this paragraph when the reader discovers the author’s job severely lacks excitement. The sentence, “A couple of hours pass and I’ve had no progress, still behind the bar, still waiting for a customer to lighten up my day,” uses repetition to emphasise the boredom that I used to go through whilst stood at that bar. Once again, this allows the audience to connect with the text as most people have had a long, laborious day at work at some point or another. These negative emotions are short lived however, as excitement is created by the use of the metaphor, “Like a chicken in a slaughter house, suddenly realising it’s purpose in life”. This crude sense of humour is very ‘male’ and was used with the intention of capturing the right target audience. The text continues to exploit human emotions to capture its audience throughout.
The style of the text is obviously informal; it is designed to be the sort of read a man would want to bring him down to earth after a day in a busy working environment. I did this in several ways.
Firstly, I avoided using long and heavy sentences. All the sentences that I used were very pithy, having an intended meaning without dragging on. The use of short sentences and paragraphs makes the text very fast paced and snappy, so that the reader is not bogged down with thoughts about how a specific sentence is supposed to be interpreted and thus keeping the reader’s interest alive throughout the entire article.
Frameworking was especially important to consider whilst writing this text. The lexis used could not be complicated, as the target audience would not appreciate confusing words, which they may or may not understand. The use of much hyperbole was implemented to keep the excitement flowing, thus entertaining the audience further. You can see the use of hyperbole in the sentence, “With sheer determination, and the risk of handing in my coursework late, I give a mighty roar and run into the abyss.”
Semantics and Pragmatics were also used throughout the text. For example, in the sentence that I described above (“With sheer determination, and the risk…”), the obvious meaning is that I actually roared and ran into a smoke filled field of battle. The harsh reality of this is that I was actually telling myself to ignore the stigma’s attached to online dating, but the pragmatics of the sentence keep the article witty and humorous, which in my opinion are key aspects of writing to entertain. To look at another example of semantics versus pragmatics, you can observe the use of socialect in the text. Words such as ‘Whack’ are used to emphasise pace, slang such as ‘crap’ are used to connect with the audience’s way of speaking, and to make them feel more ‘at home’ with the text.
As I mentioned at the start of this commentary, the article is very euphoric. This was purposely done to help the audience to connect with the piece. For example, when I discovered that one of my contacts was nothing like what I had expected her to be, I made sure that I emphasised the shock I experienced in my writing. “Click the link and… Holy Crap! She’s Huge!”. I also decided to defy the laws of English language here and use a little graphology to replace them. Instead of using one capital ‘H’ for the word ‘Holy’, I decided to capitalise the start of each word to emphasise this shock.
Connecting with the audience is a major part of entertaining, so I made sure I did lots of it. To tighten the knot between reader and text, I decided to throw in a little sarcasm and irony (attributes which are constantly used by today’s comedians), just for good measure. Sarcasm is used to deceive the audience, and then surprise them with something they did not expect. A good example of this is clear in the sentences, “I get through the door of my 4 bedroom house and receive a warm welcome.” “Washing up needs doing you lazy arse!”.
Irony is used to get the audience to sympathise with what I was going through at the time. Everybody knows that when you type something as simple as ‘Online Dating Agencies’ into google.com, you’re going to get millions of results. But by ignoring this fact and doing it anyway, I could develop irony and make the reader of the text scream out aloud “you should of known that was going to happen!”.
I have many hopes for this piece of writing. Firstly, I obviously hope it gets me a good grade, but I also hope that it achieves its aim; to entertain, without being superficial. Unfortunately, due to a series of nasty illnesses on my part and some mix-ups with teachers, I was unable to accompany this text with the graphology I had planned due to time constraints. I had planned to set this article into a replica of a page in the best selling (and one of my personal favourites) men’s magazine; FHM. Despite this, I have thoroughly enjoyed writing this piece, and hope you have had as much pleasure in reading it.