Kari Herbert, whose father was a polar explorer, lived as a child with her family in northwest Greenland in the Arctic. She was so fascinated by the place she returned there later as an adult to write about it.
The book from which this extract is taken is partly a memoir (a form of autobiography) and partly a travel book, giving the reader information about this strange and beautiful place, its people and its animals. She found that the way of life of the Inughuit people was changing under the impact of the modern world, but that they still retained aspects of their traditional way of life, for instance hunting for food and driving teams of dogs. A major part of the passage is an account of a hunt for narwhal whales. Hunting is a very emotive issue and many conservationists argue that whales should be protected. Kari Herbert’s feelings are divided on this topic. She sympathises with both the narwhal and the hunters, who face incredible danger. They hunt in kayaks – flimsy canoes – in water so cold that they would die quickly if their kayak overturned.
What can I say about language?
This passage has many purposes. The writer uses language in differing ways to fulfil these. She uses description to convey the beauty of the setting, gives us information about the Inughuit and the narwhal, dramatises the hunt, and gives us an insight into her own thoughts and feelings. Complete the following table to help you sort out these various strands.
Kari Herbert sympathises with both hunter and hunted, and this tension is shown in this passage. Complete the following table to highlight this aspect of the passage
Pharagraph by Pharagerph
"...spectral play of colour." This sentence shows a sense of immediate aroma. It is an imagery so give a strong sense of place and setting. "..butter-gold.." This text shows a sense of wealth
"..shifting light." is Poetical
"dead of winter" This is a metaphor...