Theme: the subject of a piece of writing – a topic.
Genre: literary styles or conventions
Tone: the attitude and characteristics of a place, situation, piece of writing etc.
This week we focused on the theme of fear, and how you can use the idea of a fear to write an effective and well-written piece of work. To introduce us to these skills and new areas, Greg gave us some examples of well-known written pieces based off of fear. The first one was an organised crime piece written by Hemmingway, and the extract below is a small portion of the piece:
Reaching back with his left hand to press the door bell, he was blinded by two red jets of flame from the window of the next apartment, heard a terrific roar and felt himself clouted sickeningly in the body with the shock of the slugs from the sawed-off shotgun.
It was the end of the trail that had started with a white-faced boy studying for the priesthood in a little Sicilian town. It was the end of a trail that had wound from the sunlit hills of Sicily across the sea and into the homes of Chicago’s nouveau riche. A trail that led through the penitentiary and out into the deadliest political fight Chicago has ever known.
But it was not quite the end. For the pale-faced D’Andrea, his body torn and huddled, his horn-rimmed spectacles broken, but hooked on, pulled himself to his knees and looking with his nearsighted eyes into the darkness jerked five shots out of his automatic pistol in the direction of the shotgun that had roared his death warrant.
This piece is written in a journalistic form, and I find it very interesting how this piece both portrays fear in a rather implicit way, whilst still being an account of an incident, and still acting as an article for a newspaper, despite the use of description.
I wrote my own journalistic piece that I based off of a horror film called The Visit.
VISIT TO GRANDPARENT’S HOUSE TAKES A SINISTER TWIST
When siblings, Becca and Tyler, travelled to stay with their grandparents for a few days whilst their mother went away on a holiday, things took a dark turn.
Becca, and younger brother, Tyler, said goodbye to their mother as they boarded a train and headed deep into Pennsylvania farm country to meet their maternal grandparents for the first time. Welcomed by their grandmother and grandfather, all seemed well until the siblings noticed increasingly strange behaviour from the seemingly charming couple.
It wasn’t until days later that the children discovered that the couple posing as their grandparents were two individuals who had escaped from a mental asylum, and murdered their actual grandparents. This discovery was made when the two children were video calling their mother and she informed them that the pair of elderly people they were staying with were not her parents.
When the elderly couple became aware of the knowledge the children had gained, they began to physically threaten the children, and attempt to cause them harm on multiple occasions. It was at this point that the two children were concerned that they would not leave the uncharacteristically sinister farmhouse alive.
I have not finished this piece of writing yet, however if I were to continue I would ensure that I use the correct choice of words to thoroughly describe fear and to portray the unfamiliarity of the situation for the children, whilst still maintaining a journalistic approach.
Another piece of writing that Greg gave us to look at was The last night of the world by Ray Bradbury.
“No, nor do I, really; it’s just a feeling. Sometimes it frightens me, sometimes I’m not frightened at all but at peace.” He glanced in at the girls and their yellow hair shining in the lamplight. “I didn’t say anything to you. It first happened about four nights ago.”
“A dream I had. I dreamed that it was all going to be over, and a voice said it was; not any kind of voice I can remember, but a voice anyway, and it said things would stop here on Earth. I didn’t think too much about it the next day, but then I went to the office and caught Stan Willis looking out the window in the middle of the afternoon, and I said, A penny for your thoughts, Stan, and he said, I had a dream last night, and before he even told me the dream I knew what it was. I could have told him, but he told me and I listened to him.”
This piece intrigues me because the “end of the world” is a subject that I find interesting, yet I personally do not like the amount of dialogue in the writing, therefore I did write a piece on fear, but I did not use dialogue, instead my piece was written in more of a monologue form:
Anxiety. It’s debilitating, and often leaves you with a sense of emptiness, like something isn’t quite right, and more often than not, you have no clue what that something is. It’s like a tight knot you can’t untwist.
Anxiety feels like your mind is on fire, over analysing every minuscule thing. Sometimes it leaves you feeling restless and distracted, whereas other times it just leaves you feeling as though you are no longer mentally present. It’s like your thoughts are running wild in the jungle that is your psyche and you cannot tame them nor can you have them leave, because they make you, you. It’s an endless “meant-to-be” situation in your mind – you blame yourself for every little thing that goes wrong, and you tell yourself that you deserve these feelings and emotions, or in some cases, lack thereof.
It feeds paranoia and suddenly your conscience is telling you that those judgemental stares are directed at you. You push those closest away. You tell yourself that it is protection, but deep down you know it’s just the fear of being let down again. You push people away so that they can’t discard or leave you. That feeling in the pit of your stomach, the one that reminds you that you’re alive dissipates and you’re left wondering what exactly is wrong with you.
This piece is not fully developed and I would like to continue to update and improve it, however I like the tone of my writing here because it does not clearly state that it is a piece on fear, but there is an implicit meaning behind the words and phrases used that show it is portraying a genuine feeling of fright.
Overall this week I enjoyed exploring the theme of fear, and I was intrigued to delve into a theme that interests me. I feel as though I could improve on my writing in this area by ensuring that I choose the most suitable words for the theme I am writing about.
- The Hemingway Papers / Gunmen’s Wild Political War in Chicago. (2016). The Hemingway Papers / Gunmen’s Wild Political War in Chicago. [online] Available at: http://ehto.thestar.com/marks/gunmens-wild-political-war-in-chicago [Accessed 6 Nov. 2016].
- Bradbury, R. (2012). A Classic Ray Bradbury Esquire Story. [online] Esquire. Available at: http://www.esquire.com/entertainment/books/a14340/ray-bradbury-last-night-of-the-world-0251/ [Accessed 5 Nov. 2016].