Reader Positioning

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  • Topic: Poetry, Narrative poetry, The Reward
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  • Published : March 17, 2013
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Reader Positioning

Narratives encourage us to feel a particular way about the events and people in them. They often encourage us to align ourselves with one character in a narrative and not with others.

To align ourselves with a character means to be on their side or empathise with them. They might encourage us to feel sorry for character or admire them, disapprove of them or fear them. This is called reader positioning: narratives position reader to adopt particular feelings or attitudes.

Two ways narratives position us are through:

* the information they give us (what they tell us)
* the language they use to give us the information ( how they tell us)

It is not intentional and we can’t always tell what writers intend.

Emotive Language

Is language that appeals to feelings. Two texts on same subject can evoke different feelings depending on emotive effect of words used.

* The lion killed the zebra.

* The aptly named king of the jungle, its magnificent muscles rippling with power, sprang upon the much-needed source of food, dispatching the life of its prey with efficiency.

* The savage beast ripped apart the throat of the gentle creature which had only moments before been grazing peacefully with its family.

First example- emotive?
Second example-
Third example-

Activity

Write 3 sentences describing one of the following events.

1. A dog bites someone.
The fierce animal leapt onto the young boy with all his might and tore off a part of the innocent boy’s leg. 2. It starts to rain.
I feel a trickle of water on my arm, then another, then another and just like that, it begins to pour with rain. 3. A fly is sprayed with insecticide.
The fly flew from tiny bits of fruit left on the kitchen table to the coffee stain from this morning. It did not even notice the lady holding the large can of insecticide above it and one minute the fly was picking at the coffee stain and the next it was drenched with something wet that smelt like metal.

1st sentence: unemotive
2nd and 3rd sentences: sway reader’s opinion but in different directions.

“The Death of Ben Hall”

Emotive Language Examples| Attitudes encouraged|
Through dazzling days and moonlit nights.The outlaw stole like a hunted foxBlistered feet. But his friend had read of the big reward.Swift light blows.Shadow swolled him deep.His soul was stirred with greed.And false was the whispered word.Score of troopers.Silver steeped in blood.| Like a glamorous lifestyle, a life that many would have wanted.This was a very bad person that had committed many robberies. His closest mate felt greedy and wanted to get the reward by taking his friend in.The rumor was untrue. It was very dark. He was very materialistic.Says that there are more than 1 or 2 troopers but many troopers.Drowned in blood.|

“How Gilbert Died” by A.B. (‘Banjo’) Paterson
* Narrative poem
* Death of John Gilbert, another bushranger and member of Ben Hall’s gang. * Died not long after Hall.
* There is a mystery in the title, which is turned into a puzzle in the first stanza. Read the first stanza and discuss what you think the puzzle is.

There’s never a stone at the sleeper’s head,
There’s never a fence beside,
And the wandering stokc on the grave may tread
Unnoticed and undenied;
But the smallest child on the Watershed
Can tell you how Gilbert died

Now read the poem and work out:
* The answer to the puzzle in the title about what was so special or unusual about the way Gilbert died. It explains the way that Gilbert died. * The answer to the puzzle established in the first stanza. There were 2 outlaws and and they were riding somewhere, they were criminals and so they had a two thousand pounds reward if anyone found them.

For he rode at dusk, with his comrade Dunn

To the hut at the Stockman's Ford,

In the waning light of the sinking sun

They peered with a fierce accord.

They were outlaws both --...
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