Thursday, April 12, 2007

Redraft

Thank you for your help, I struggled when writing this for some reason. I don't really know anything about Uriah Heep I'm afraid, I pretty much included everything I have in my notes. Also I used "the reader" so much because I was unsure about using "I", is there any way I could make the essay more personal without using "I"?

Beggars of Britain Essay

Choose a non-fiction text which takes a strong stance on a social issue. Show how the writer makes you aware of his/her strength of feeling on the subject and discuss to what extent you were able to agree.

In his article “Beggars of Britain” Tony Parsons displays a strong stance against the social issue of begging. Parsons makes readers aware of his strength of feeling on this subject through his use of demotic language and informal register, tone, ideas, a personal anecdote, point of view and use of evidence. Readers are left feeling influenced by Parsons’ strong stance and cannot help but agree on some level with him.

The initial indication of Parson’s strong stance against this social problem is the alliterative quality of the title – “Beggars of Britain”. Parsons’ point of view is shown through the harsh, unpleasant sound of the title which sets the tone for his opinion which is to follow. The repetition of “beggars” in the opening sentences also makes the readers aware of this subject matter. The unpleasant imagery which is created in the opening paragraph by the mention of “beggars stinking of cheap lager with snot on their chin and a mangy mutt on the end of a piece of string” also shows Parsons disgust of beggars. This image becomes a motif and through this Parsons creates a constant reminder of his disapproval of beggars. Even after reading simply the first few sentences readers are left fully aware of Parsons’ stance on this social issue. However, at this point in the article readers are unsure of whether to agree with Parsons’ view as it seems unnecessarily harsh with no real explanation why.

As the article continues Parsons’ complete disapproval of begging is further displayed by his use of language such as: “cheap lager”. This is condescending and therefore suggests that Parsons feels he is superior to the beggars. However, through Parsons’ use of a minor sentence – “Lots of them” the magnitude of the social issue of begging is emphasised. Readers begin to feel a sense of understanding for Parsons’ point of view and can start to agree with his opinion on some level.

Parsons also uses extremely explicit language to show his sheer hatred for the beggars. He describes a gypsy beggar as an "obese hag", leaving us in no doubt as to her size, which he despises, and her ugliness. This explicit language makes readers fully aware of Parsons’ strong social stance on begging, as does the shocking language that Parsons uses throughout the article. Parsons use of the word “shagged” is perhaps to shock the audience, he feels they will revel in this language. When Parsons displays his point of view that these beggars “look like they could run a four minute mile” readers begin to partially agree with Parsons’ negative view of beggars as they too feel that many beggars could get a job if they only tried.

Parsons’ ideas in the article display his feelings on the subject of begging. Parsons feels that beggars “will be with us forever now” like a plague and this shows his hatred of beggars. Parsons’ main idea that “They have no shame” is very explicit and also shows his strong feelings of beggars. Readers can agree with Parsons when he states: “beggars where you live”. This engages readers as it suggests that begging happens all around and readers therefore agree with Parsons as they too feel that begging infects the places where they live.

Through Parsons’ continuous use of “ponce” his hatred of beggars is further displayed. The feminine connotations of this word show that Parsons considers beggars actions as not worthy. Parsons use of “Uriah Heep” as evidence, making reference to another text, shows a comparison between this character, the embodiment of misery, and beggars. It is clearly seen through this use of evidence that Parsons despises beggars, and by his use of a famous character readers gain a better understanding of his point of view and therefore agree with him more. Parsons’ use of harsh, alliterative language is continued throughout the article by his use of swear words: “shoebox full of shit”. This harsh language also shows his obvious disgust at beggars.

Parsons’ point of view that “The British have become a nation of nappy-wearers” is offensive and through this his feeling of beggars is further shown. By this statement Parsons is looking at the nation as a group and as being unable to do things for themselves. Therefore, at this point, readers do not agree with Parsons’ stance as they too are being included in his criticising and this statement seems too harsh.

During the article Parsons uses “American Psycho” as evidence to make readers aware of his strength of feeling of beggars. His use of this film shows that he feels in a similar way to Bateman, “the American psycho himself”, who is disgusted by beggars: “They inspire nausea and disgust in Bateman”. Parsons’ view that this is “perfectly credible” shows readers that he agrees with Bateman’s opinion of beggars. Although readers do agree on some level with Parsons opinion of beggars, Parsons’ use of this film to display his opinion is rather disturbing, and readers do not agree completely with Parsons and do not feel hatred this strong for beggars.

Parsons’ strong stance on begging is shown further when he uses sarcasm as a weapon: “no home, no job, no shame”. Parsons’ personal slant is epitomised with this comment, making his highly negative view of beggars obvious. Parsons further criticises beggars through his use of a harsh, mocking tone: “everybody knows you are going to piss it away”. Both of these comments are very tough on beggars and show clearly Parsons’ extremely strong opinion of this social issue. Parsons’ forthright point of view that “I don’t buy it” further reinforces this and harsh as his opinions may be, readers cannot help but admit that these thoughts have entered their mind on occasion.

Parsons’ use of a personal anecdote describing when he “used to give” is another technique which the write uses to make readers fully aware of his strong stance on beggars. His claims that “the people disgusted” him shows how he previously felt conditioned to give to beggars. Parsons’ feelings that his “concern has simply been exhausted” shows how he now refuses to be made to feel guilty. Parsons’ veracity is to be admired by readers as they can relate to being forced into giving to beggars. Readers at this point really agree with Parsons as they can understand his hatred of beggars – they too have been conditioned into giving. Although readers do not hate beggars quite to the extent that Parsons does, they have been influenced into having negative opinions too.

When Parsons simply puts his point of view across that he has “grown to truly hate them” his sheer hatred of beggars reaches its plateau. Parsons’ strong stance against beggars is further shown by the language use: “professional leeches”. Through this metaphor Parsons suggests that beggars suck away money from people. This unpleasant image displays Parsons’ unpleasant view of beggars. Readers agree with Parsons’ hatred at this point as although his view of beggars is cruel, he does acknowledge that there are some people who genuinely need to beg, those in Africa “with deformed legs crawling”.

In conclusion, in Tony Parsons’ article “Beggars of Britain” the writer makes his strong stance against begging clear to readers. Through informal language use, tone, ideas, a personal anecdote, point of view and use of evidence Parsons’ strength of feeling is made aware to readers. Although readers do find Parsons’ view of begging harsh they cannot help but agree with his negative view of begging to some extent as they too just expect beggars to waste their donations away. However, it would seem that Parsons’ has rather overstated his opinion. Readers completely agree with Parsons’ advice to “walk past them” and it cannot be denied that we too have, and do, say “No change, we say, no change”.


SS

4 comments:

Chris said...

Two quick ideas (I've been doing hard manual labour all day and dinner calls, beguilingly):
About Uriah ( and anything/one else you don't know about) - Google them! You can find oout just about anything that way.
And as for not wanting to use "I" - at the end you refer to "we", and that is fine, as it includes both yoruself and any other reader. It's neater and more elegant.

I may come back to this later - or I may fall into a deathly stupor. Watch this space!

Chris said...

However, through Parsons’ use of a minor sentence – “Lots of them” -
- You could also mention how a short (non) sentence like this effects a change of pace, which keeps the writing interesting and highlights what he's saying here.

Parsons use of the word “shagged” is perhaps to shock the audience, he feels they will revel in this language. When Parsons displays his point of view that these beggars “look like they could run a four minute mile” readers begin to partially agree with Parsons’ negative view of beggars ...-
- I've taken out this big chunk because it has some nasties in it.
I feel that "shocking" his readers suggests a different reaction from when they "revel" in the language. If you think it could do both of these things, or either of them, you should say so. I'd say he is being deliberately demotic to create a reaction - but it could be to suggest that he's one of the lads, on the reader's side, not superior. You simply need to take the time to explore your ideas rather than condense them.

Why do you use the verb 'displays"? Seems an odd word in the context. Surely he reveals or states his POV. And try not to split infinitives - I know I'm old fashioned, but they still give me a pain ...;-)

You quite often use passive forms - "it is seen" rather than "we can see". Generally this makes for weak writing. Use active verbs as a general rule.
eg:Through Parsons’ continuous use of “ponce” his hatred of beggars is further displayed. The feminine connotations of this word show that Parsons considers beggars actions as not worthy....

I'd say: Parsons further betrays his hatred of beggars by his continuous use of the verb "ponce" in describing their activities. This is a strange word, suggesting effeminate behaviour on the beggars' part, presumably because he thinks they are acting a role.
(don't confuse 'feminine' with 'effeminate' - they have different connotations!)

Now I suggest you look very critically through the bits I haven't commented on and see if you can find further examples of the things I've criticised. Doing it yourself will teach you more than if I do every paragraph.

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