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"Muslim Schoolgirls risk careers for their symbolic headscarves", Article Analysis

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Article analysis (1,275words) The broadsheet newspaper article titled "Muslim Schoolgirls risk careers for their symbolic headscarves", written by Amelia Gentleman reacts to the new law in France prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols. This article highlights the calamity faced by Samia and her sister in having to choose between a symbol of huge significance (the headscarf) and something as equally vital as their careers. The youth of the girls is emphasised as they are just starting secondary school and "They have to choose what to wear for the first day of term this morning". The deictic "This morning" points to how close to the present this is and highlights the immediacy of the issue, which makes it more vivid, appealing to the reader. The addition of the "skull caps, turbans and large crucifixes" appeals to a wide audience and causes the reader to empathise for all suffering at the hands of this ban. The general tone of the article is serious, which is to be expected due to the seriousness of the topic. Primarily, the article is informative and gives a balanced viewpoint, as it's from The Guardian; a balanced, liberal paper more in favour of the "worker". ...read more.


This adds weight to the argument. The article doesn't address the reader directly, but within the quotes from the girls the personal pronoun "You" is used; "Imagine how you would feel". This involves the reader and provokes sympathy. The writer's selection of quotes reveals her own opinion, as she has only included quotes from the girls as oppose to the other viewpoint. The Muslims are also seen as more co-operative, as "many Muslim organisations have called for calm in order to avoid intensifying French antipathy to the country's five million Muslims." This indirectly suggests that as there is such a huge population of Muslims it seems ridiculous to ban something so central to a faith: a religious symbol. Also, the alliteration in "called for calm" makes it more memorable, as does the contrast between the word "calm" and "antipathy". Even at the end of the article, Samia co-cooperatively declares, "If the director of the school tells me to wear a beret, I'll wear a beret instead." Naming and representation also leads to audience positioning. For instance, the two girls are given by their first names only, perhaps in an attempt to personalise them with the reader and to emphasise their youth. ...read more.


In the final paragraph, the use of alliteration in the quote by Nora Tarifoult stating that wearing the veil is not a "Reflection of rising radicalism but simply a sign that second generation immigrants were more confident about displaying their religion" makes it more emphatic and memorable. Also, the fact that the active, forceful verb "she insisted" is placed in the centre of the quote, makes it a more forceful argument. The fact that "Hotline" is used emphasises the seriousness of the situation as this word is usually associated with very serious matters. In general the text is cohesive through the use of conjunctions and sentence structure. In the beginning of the article, there is a repetitive sentence structure. It begins with "They will be making more than a fashion statement", followed closely by "They will be in direct breach of a new legislation", the veil and other religious symbols "Will no longer be permitted" and anyone wearing them "Will be sent home". The imperative makes the sentence seem more forceful and definite. "Repeated breaches will result in expulsion" and "politicians insist they will enforce the law" also follow the same pattern. The modal verb "will" adds force and the repetition of sentence structure emphasises the harshness of the law. The article on a whole is informative but persuasive. ...read more.

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