Depict the strength - Sample Essay

The Daily Mail generally uses very emotive language, maybe to depict the strength of ‘our’ army, and possibly because the audience is somewhat reliant on this quite influential writing to aid them in the formation of their own opinions. There are copious numbers of examples to be found to support this argument. They are found when the journalists have taken it upon themselves to add their own views to the situation and used an adjective or particular verb to add to the atmosphere and power of their writing.

For example, the usage of words such as ‘massive’, ‘struck’, ‘huge’ and ‘mass’ all give a striking image. However, the reason for their choice is well planned. Words such as these have been chosen to conjure an image of superior strength and power. Instead of using ‘very big’ they’ve used ‘massive’ and ‘huge’, which although in theory means the same thing, creates a very different image in the reader’s mind, and this is exactly what they authors want. Another trick these authors for The Daily Mail use is using words with a ‘double-entendre’.

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These can draw on either common word associations or previous knowledge. Here we have a mixture of both, creating a continually persuasive piece, confirming the ideas of ‘our’ superiority. By using words like ‘thundered’, ‘mass’, ‘crash’ and ‘loaded’ we are given an amazing picture of the scale of the force involved. ‘Thundered’ suggests the power of the elements, something far greater than man. ‘Mass’ implies the might of animals, swarming their prey. ‘Crash’ we associate with accidents, something fatal and something that happens at speed and with force, that is completely destructive.

‘Loaded’ entails this supremacy of limitless power, especially applicable to missiles. Another important word is ‘blitz’, a word that draws on previous knowledge of the Second World War. The idea being that ‘blitzkrieg’ was complete relentless, uncompromising annihilation. Obviously, this is not what the allied forces should be aiming for, but the idea of overwhelming force is very raw. Whereas The Guardian uses far less emotive language, in fact, it is based on almost solid fact.

When slightly biased language is used, it is to this time to emphasise the relative weakness of the Iraqi troops, and their understandable helplessness. For example, ‘demoralised’ gives the impression of completely despondent soldiers and how powerless they feel. Notice how there is no contrast at this point to the coalition forces. Similarly in this article we have historical words in this article too. ‘Armada’ is very reminiscent of one of the most powerful naval fleets of all time, and clearly sums up the force of the naval fleets.

Interestingly, this is one of the only references to the coalition forces in this article. The other references are limited and generally less potent. Possibly The Guardian’s view is that ‘our’ power is wasted somewhat. Usage of words such as ‘vast’ are often associated with barren expanses, which could be interpreted as wastes of space. This is certainly the message given by the cartoon. The cartoon delivers the message of the most one-sided war yet, and couples it with the irony of ‘reality-TV’ and ‘skinhead’ viewers.

The idea being, as the war seems to be having little physical effect on the country due to its ‘one-sided-ness’, that people could ‘evict’ Saddam Hussein. This commentary is very blunt, and leaves the reader, besides amused, questioning the process of the war. It is actually quite socially damaging also, the ‘skinheads’, and the paper takes a risk in its publication. It is also quite cleverly stating that this will be the World’s most watched and immediately understood war, with all the live coverage and general ‘hype’.

The Daily Mail on the other hand makes a cutting and jibing comment about the preparedness of ‘our’ troops. This is questioning the practical side to the war, making a rather sharp blundering comment, but quite subtly reinforcing The Daily Mail’s stance of ‘our’ troops being superior with the idea of control and command still be implemented although faced with a minor crisis and our ability to continually perform. The Guardian uses quite complicated syntax structure, often forming their paragraphs out of one single sentence.

The Daily Mail uses several sentences per paragraph, possibly to make the read seem faster and punchier (the style seeming to have been adopted throughout the piece especially within the graphic and the list. ) The focus is quite different between the articles, The Daily Mail focusing on ‘our’ superiority ‘despite’ all the problems encountered with very little emphasis placed on the humanitarian aspects of the war. The Guardian, on the other hand, focuses mainly on facts and the weakness of the Iraqi forces and ‘our’ overwhelming, possible waste of power.

The Guardian offers far more background information, with a few more quotes than The Daily Mail. This is obviously a detail tailored to the audiences of either paper; however, it is too dangerous for a generalisation to be formed about the audiences apart from possibly what their tastes might be. As a gross generalisation, might however be that readers of The Daily Mail would prefer to read of ‘our’ power and ability and focus on that, unlike The Guardian’s readers who may prefer a wider range of aspects to be covered.

Speech is quite a misleading aspect, and can be very misrepresentative, however, what does matter where it comes from. Providing it comes from someone who has the power (and will) to implement his or her speech then it is probably a worthy source, and this is something that both papers have picked up on. All speech has come from military or political officials, good sources, but possibly a little one-sided in their views (note they are both part of the same hierarchical structure.)

The Guardian uses a little more speech, but this is easily balanced by the fact that there is far more text and far more subjects tackled in the article. Likewise, numbers, technical terms and official titles can show the precision and knowledge of a newspaper and credit their sources. These are all used in both articles to great affect and credit the sources and facts well. All in all, we can see the articles are fairly compliant with our expectations. The Guardian and The Daily Mail have different focuses and priorities and express these in very different ways, graphically and through language.

There are many minor details in the ‘innuendos’ of each word that could be explored, but this would possibly be too fussy and complicated for the essay. The layout of each paper is designed to compliment the needs of the text and the audience. Every point is carefully considered and executed to meet the demands of the paper, and this is what makes them sell: a definitive style and a well-targeted audience is a complete package. An analysis of the approaches to the breaking news of the war in Iraq, taken by two different newspapers, exploring the use of language, style, content and media features in both.



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