prison for parents is no solution to the problem, acceptable in extreme cases
2.3 Stylistic devices (pp. 17-18)
a) Analyse the stylistic devices and their effect on the reader. Look for alliterations and assonances. In 11.6-15 and 1.26 the passive is used. Can you explain the effect?
assonance "hail" and "jail"
Emphasis, connotation "hail" = old fashioned greeting in contrast to negative connotation of "jail". This device distorts the minister's reaction to the sentence since it suggests a more enthusiastic welcome.
alliteration "anger" and "as"
Emphasis: the open vowels might reflect an outcry.
alliteration "to tackle truancy"
Emphasis: harsh sound
l.9 l l.12-13 l.15 I.26
"Magistrates [. . .] were told" "a parenting order [...] was taken out against Amos" "Amos [. . .] was prosecuted" "her mother had been jailed"
The use of passive voice hints at anonymity. Mrs Amos' opponents remain unknown. The use of the passive voice stresses Amos'
helplessness facing the law. This arouses sympathy in the reader.
b) Examine the way the journalist presents the different views on the sentence. Can you detect a bias? Follow the steps below.
Step 1: First look at the groups of advocates and critics of the sentence. Compare their status and their approach.
High-ranking officials like the education secretary and the chief education officer only see the general aspects of the Amos case. In their mind, the prison sentence sets a warning example for all parents whose children do not attend school regularly. They do not know the family and completely ignore the difficult circumstances of a single parent raising five children.
Persons who reject this harsh sentence focus on the individual case because they know the family. This group includes the girls' teachers and headmaster. They affirm the family's outrage and see it as justified. Thus the reader's empathy with the family makes him side with the opponents of the sentence.
Step 2: Then look at the use of direct and reported speech.
In the presentation of views disagreeing with the sentence, direct speech (i.e. quotes) predominates, thus creating a more direct appeal, whereas the advocates' statements are mostly given in reported speech, thus revealing a distance.
Sfep 3: The text offers the reader detailed information about the case. What effect do the details have on the reader? Fill in the list below.