English Language, Commentry Appreciation

Topics: Face, The Passage Pages: 6 (2173 words) Published: September 11, 2009
Answer two questions
1 Read the passage below in which the writer offers her own strong thoughts and feelings about the American novelist Henry Miller and his writing.
(a) Comment on the writer’s style and use of language. [15] (b) In the style of the original passage, describe a well-known person or celebrity and their work. [10]
I first saw Henry Miller when I was fourteen. It was in Kensington Gardens, and he was playing baseball for a United States Army team. Whenever the ball was scooped up really high, Henry Miller would run to where he thought it was going to descend, stretch up his hands (he wore enormous gauntlets like a knight in armour) and scream ‘I got it, I got it, I got it’. The other players cleared a holy circle round him. In the sky – that sharp blue wartime sky – the ball seemed to halt for solid minutes. Henry Miller started screaming he had got it long before he could, let alone did, have it, and he did not stop until it actually fell – sometimes wide of him, sometimes plumb on his gauntlets. Not once, wherever it fell, did he catch it. Not once was he abashed by the failure. It seemed that in his mental world to assert he had the ball was as good – was the same – as having it. With hindsight I suspect some of the other players were deceived into inhabiting Henry Miller’s world: after the game they remembered only his assertion, and forgot whether it tallied with the facts. Probably Henry Miller had a reputation for catching – perhaps even among men who themselves sometimes caught the ball. In other words, Henry Miller is THE (not the typical but the noticeable) American in Europe: quintessentially, the American in Paris. When he turns writer (the character called Henry Miller is a writer, too – the books in which he is a character are his work), he wants to epitomize his emotions towards Paris. His emotions can be described as warm, human and from the guts. He does not believe in the discipline of art but writes in a near-automatic state, as though taking down dictation from his guts. He is confident the results will be valuable, because he has a deep faith in his originality. In his creative trance, he rolls the paper into the machine and, convinced no one else has ever brought forth any such idea, types.

Now and then a phrase splashes up (in the sheer gush it could scarcely, on the law of averages, help it) which does lodge in the mind – or, rather, which would, if it were not unfeelingly pounded out again by the next noisy phrase. As a tactician with words, Henry Miller is so clumsy as repeatedly to get himself into a rhythm which serves no artistic purpose in the first place and which he then cannot get out of: ‘the fumbling fingers, the fox-trotting fleas, the lie-a-bed lice, the scum on his tongue, the drop in his eye, the limp in his throat, the drink in his pottlé, the itch in his palm, the wail of his wind ...’, ti tum ti ti tum, etc. etc. (I’ve quoted only about a third) – I’ve known a train be more subtle. There might be a childish point if Henry Miller were evoking a train. But he’s not. Still, just as it’s possible to be a famous catcher without being able to hold the ball, it’s possible to make a reputation by writing like a train, provided you do it loudly enough. 5

8693/1/O/N/01 [Turn over
2 The speech below was delivered in 1948 by Jawaharlal Nehru, prime minister of India. In it, he describes how the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi, one of the founders of a modern and independent India, has affected the country.

(a) Comment on the language and techniques that the speaker uses. [15] (b) In the style of the original passage, write the opening of a speech (around 120 words) in response to a recent loss or disaster. [10]

Friends and comrades, the light has gone out of our lives and there is darkness everywhere. I do not know what to tell you and how to say it. Our beloved leader, Bapu as we called him, the father of the nation, is no more. Perhaps I am...
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