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How does Rees use Language to Make the Reader Empathise with Mary?

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How does Rees use Language to Make the Reader Empathise with Mary? In the story, Witch Child, Celia Rees uses many different components of language to make the reader empathise with the main character, Mary. Witch Child is a book, compiled of diary entries, written by a young woman called Mary, who lived in the 17th century. Rees uses empathy to make the book seem more personal, like the reader is the only one reading it. Empathy is also important, because it is when you understand and identify with somebody else's problems or emotions, and if the reader feels a bond with Mary then they are going to continue reading the book. It keeps the book gripping and stimulating. Celia Rees creates empathy in many ways, using a clever but subtle style. She uses factors such as sentence structure, emotive language and tone to provoke a feeling, similar to the one she has created for Mary. Rees's style means that without the reader realising it, they become hooked. In this essay, I will be finding out how she uses language to do this and will be including quote from the book. At the beginning, before the story begins we are given a little background information. This information is not true but we are told that the diary entries were found hidden and that they are a true story. Witch Child is in fact entirely fiction but this prologue helps with creating empathy because if the reader believes it is real then their emotions are also more likely to be real. ...read more.


The bond strengthens as the quote goes on. This is because with each clause she adds more detail, creating a more intense image and making your emotions more extreme and that therefore increases the level of empathy between Mary and the reader. In this quote you also start to get the impression that Mary is an outsider. This is because she has just boarded the boat she will be travelling on and is sat on her own looking through a case at this point; instead she could be meeting new people or exploring the boat. This is a theme that is carried on throughout the book. Rees carries on portraying Mary as an outcast throughout the book. The reader wonders why this is. It could be because Mary's grandmother was killed, or it could be to do with the fact that she has to cover up any signs of her supernatural background. The next quote shows the way she has to hide her abilities in order to try and fit in, 'I have seen his past. I have seen his future. I know how death will come to him and I feel the knowledge like a burden. Grandmother said never to reveal the manner of someone dying.' This quote continues both the witch and the not fitting in theme. It goes against the common belief that witches don't exist because it's saying she has seen an extraordinary thing, and has powers. It makes the reader wonder whether she is actually a witch or whether she was hallucinating. ...read more.


The words 'precious' and 'few' makes the items seem very dear and valuable to her and makes it sound like she's needy. They are all she's got, which makes her sound like she's alone. You also get the impression that she relies on them and this makes her sound vulnerable. The outcast theme is continued here because she is alone and has been rejected by the group. This is a depressing part because she has nothing positive in her life. However she values what she has and is not being a brat by saying that she wants more. The words 'all I have' also makes her sound weak. The reader understands Mary's feelings at this point because she sounds vulnerable and susceptible which makes her sound innocent and the reader is more likely to trust and feel close to her if they think she is innocent. The reader also feels empathy with Mary because she has been rejected by a group, which is what she has always feared, and this makes the outcome even more damaging. The quote again is written in an old fashioned/ unusual style. This time it is not the words used but actually the word order; 'so far lived' is an unusual way of arranging the words, the normal way today would be 'lived so far' or just simply 'so far'. Celia Rees uses many effects to get the reader to feel empathy, and they have all worked. She cleverly made choices so the reader was drawn in and made to feel a connection and friendship with Mary. From analysing quotes I have learnt a lot more than at first glance. ?? ?? ?? ?? Witch Child - Celia Rees Meg Stratton 8G ...read more.

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