How do the Articles In the Retail Temple(TM) and Darkness at the Heart(TM) contrast?
The two articles ‘In the Retail Temple’ and ‘Darkness at the Heart’ are both taken from well-known newspapers (The Scotsman and The Mail on Sunday) and they both focus on largely the same subject: the ever-increasing rise in spending mania.
The texts contrast because they are written in a very different way. ‘The Retail temple’ is written in the first person and therefore presents a very subjective and opinionated read. The other however is written in the third person, and thus reads in a much more objective and formal manner. ‘In the Retail Temple…’ has also a very different tone to ‘Darkness at the Heart’ which casts a very serious and sombre mood, paradoxically to ‘In the Retail Temple’.
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Another apparent difference is the way in which each article is written. ‘In the Retail Temple’ contains many examples of emotive language and forms of wit, whereas ‘Darkness at the Heart’ is written in a much more reserved and cold manner. A further contrast is with the figurative language in ‘in the Retail Temple’ and the very literal language in ‘Darkness of the heart’. The two texts also differentiate in that they are targeted at different audiences. They are therefore also written with a different purpose as they are targeted at different people.
In the article ‘in the Retail Temple…’ the author writes in first person. This can immediately be told by the article’s title: “How I see it “, where the author uses a personal pronoun to give the idea that the article will be an individual and opinionated text. All the way through the article’s first person outlook draws the reader in whilst ‘converting’ them to his personal opinion: “…I am none the wiser as to why we have all this money”.
In ‘Darkness at the heart’ however, the author writes in third person, which keeps the article cold and informative.
The tones of the two articles are another point this essay will explore. In ‘Darkness at the heart’ the tone is very serious and critical. This can be seen in phrases such as “Against the most sombre international background of the decade” and “This collapse in savings is storing up big trouble”. These two phrases convey a very solemn tone which is successful in warning the audience but also in making them frightened, therefore engaging some emotion which is useful in keeping the reader’s attention.
On the other hand the tone of ‘In the Retail Temple’ is very different. “Despite a Christmas which saw spending go through the roof, most of this gawping, shuffling peoplescape is here to spend even more”, in this sentence the author is using a very light hearted and informal attitude which involves the reader as well as making it easy for the reader to relate to. The humour which is present in phrases such as “If recession is stalking these halls and shop floors, it is proving as elusive as Bin Laden”, is also very entertaining and quickly beckons the reader into wanting to read on.
The next contrast explored is the use of emotive language in the articles. ‘In the Retail Temple’ contains many examples of this specific technique such as in the phrase “Over sharp-elbowed Essex girls”. The use of this rhetoric language makes the article manipulative whilst keeping a certain underhand subtlety. This serves to make the reader completely engaged to the article and also puts great emphasis on exact points and opinions of the author. The emotive language in this article is used in a positive way which creates a feeling of jocular importance to the issue of the spending obsession.
In contrast, the use of emotive language in ‘Darkness at the Heart’ is much more condemning and ‘dark’. For example in the phrase “it does seem that our confidence extends little more than today’s bargain sale” the author uses a big idea (people’s confidence nowadays) and links it to a small and trivial event (the bargain sale). By doing this he cleverly manages to scare us into thinking ‘his way’ and makes us realise the importance of what he is describing.
The purpose of the articles is another differentiating factor. The ‘Darkness’ article is written in quite a factual manner, quoting potentially anecdotal statistics such as “economic downturn has continued to fall … just 5% of household income” and “sales on the high street up by a year ago”. The style of writing is also very formal and objective which makes it clear it is meant for a serious audience, one which is genuinely interested in articles of this kind, for example businessmen, stockists and retail managers.
Then again in the ‘Retail Temple’ article, the author makes his writing accessible to many different audiences, whist including reliable facts (“Heather Hudson-Oldnall tells me: ‘sales in the first three quarter of the year were up bye eight percent…'”) to back up his opinion.
The final difference in the articles the essay explores is that of figurative against literal language. The first article, ‘In the Retail…’ uses figurative language to emphasise a point and to involve the reader, from the very title: “In the Retail Temple Worshipping Frantically” which is a figurative metaphor to describe how shopping has become like a modern day ‘religion’. The religious theme continues all the way through and is presented in words such as ‘illumination’, ‘bedlam’, ‘stoical’ etc.
In the example “…try to quantify that figure , call it two FA cup final crowds, one and a half times the British Army, more than half the people in Iceland-it is a lot of people.” the author uses figurative language to emphasise the amount of people that were at Lakeside Shopping Centre in one day. This technique both impresses the reader and makes them think seriously about the article’s message.
In the other article, figurative language is present in the full title (“Darkness at the heart of consumer spending spree”) which is a pun on a famous book – “The Heart of Darkness”. The title also includes sibilance in “spending spree”. Apart from this first example, there are few others in the text which excluding its figurative heading is vastly more literal than the first.
The use of factual and largely literal language makes of the article a very formal and informative read, at the same time as bombarding the reader with emotions such as guilt and fear of the future: “We are happy to splurge out on ‘big ticket’ items in the store on foreign holidays in winter, while personal pension provision is running woefully short of that required…”.
To conclude, I believe that the article ‘In the Retail Temple worshipping frantically” is much more successful in conveying its point whilst engaging the reader, and making it easy for them to relate to the subject matter through clever rhetorical forms of language such as wit, pre-empting, lists of three and powerful emotive language.