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Discuss The Similarities And Differences Between 'Billy Cart Hill' And 'Remembering Aunt Marie', Focusing On Language, Narrative Structure And Content.

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Introduction

Discuss The Similarities And Differences Between 'Billy Cart Hill' And 'Remembering Aunt Marie', Focusing On Language, Narrative Structure And Content. 'Unreliable Memoirs' (by Clive James) and 'Remembering Aunt Marie' (by Grace Nichols) are both popular autobiographies written by well-known authors. We were asked to compare two random autobiographical extracts from the books and discuss the language, narrative structure and content of each. Billy Cart Hill, from the book 'Unreliable Memoirs' is one of many of Clive James' memories of growing up in Australia and getting into trouble. Remembering Aunt Marie is more descriptive but is just as amusing. Remembering Aunt Marie is Grace Nichol's memory of how she almost got into trouble by stealing her Aunt Marie's rosary, but luckily escaped by playing on her Aunt's Catholic faithfulness. In Billy Cart Hill, there is a woman, Mrs Branthwaite, who has a perfect garden which James describes 'like the cover of a seed catalogue,' so when James makes a train of 'Billy Carts' and they destroy the poppies by crashing into them, Mrs Branthwaite has to be taken away, speechless, by two police officers and the children scatter in all directions. ...read more.

Middle

I think this is because James uses exciting words like 'disastrously' and 'skidded' unlike Nichols's description where she doesn't use any outstanding words. The language used in Billy Cart Hill is significantly more exciting than the plain descriptive language used in Remembering Aunt Marie. Clive James puts rhetorical questions and suspense to good use in his book, he uses them so well that they create an exciting sense of tension, - 'Why did I ever suggest the Irene Street turn?' and 'I should have left it at that but got ambitious.' I think these sentences make the reader wonder, what's going to happen next? Likewise Grace Nichols also takes time to build up suspense - but in a different manner, 'I got the chance one day...' Nichols uses a lot of description, which makes the reader ask, what is it building up to? Also she uses certain words like, 'impatiently' and 'rushed,' this creates tension as well. Another technique Clive James uses is personification. ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, despite the fact that both extracts are popular and high quality, I prefer Billy Cart Hill (by Clive James) to Remembering Aunt Marie (by Grace Nichols.) I like Billy Cart Hill because I feel more drawn towards his style of writing; I think this is because he uses a larger range of language skills such as similes, metaphors and hyperboles, while Remembering Aunt Marie uses straightforward language skills which are still enjoyable but not as exciting. My preference is also due to the narrative structure and content of the two extracts, - Billy Cart Hill goes almost straight into the main story whereas Remembering Aunt Marie takes a long time to set the scene very descriptively. Also, I think James has chosen to talk about an exciting subject, which I would rather read about, because although I can relate easily to Remembering Aunt Marie, I do not think she has chosen a very interesting topic to talk about. However, Billy Cart Hill does have some flaws, one of them being, that because he describes the poppies so carefully from the first paragraph, you know what's going to happen - the poppies get destroyed! ...read more.

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