Commentary: Lorna Sage, Bad Blood (2000)
In the passage ‘Bad Blood’, Lorna Sage writes about her painful childhood memories and school life. It consists of three paragraphs. First paragraph touches upon the narrator’s past experience with school. The second paragraph explores the relationship between narrator and Gail. The last paragraph focuses mainly on Gail. Lorna starts off the passage with an effective opening, as the first sentence “So the playground was hell”. The conjunction used to start off the sentence is a technique used by Lorna to grab the reader’s attention instantly and leads one directly to the situation. Lorna has also used a metaphor to refer to the playground as “hell”, putting emphasis on it being a very unfriendly and fearful place. This is rather ironic and contradictory as playground is commonly seen as something innocent and playful. We can therefore already from the beginning suspect a fairly gloomy and miserable text. This feeling is ensured even more by the diction that follows “Chinese burns, pinches, slaps and kick, and horrible games”. Listing here is especially significant as it is very direct, which reflects the pace of the aggression itself. These are not pleasant things, thus backing up the miserable feeling. The passage also tells us about an anxious little girl who goes to school for the first time. “Small people’s purgatory” and “the sheer ineptitude” clearly describes the experience of childhood and initiation in school as something horrible and negative. The words used such as purgatory, which is a place for suffering, and ineptitude, which means hopeless, enhances this negative mood. Purgatory is also always linked with hell, which suggests how unwelcoming school is. Lorna also used both repetition and comparison to put emphasis on how horrible school was when she compared the “pain of childbirth” to the “pain of being a child at school for the first time”. The word “pain” has been repeated, and the comparison here is...
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