Analysis of 3 texts on Childhood

Authors Avatar by kimberlytan96gmailcom (student)

Texts A, C and D are linked by the theme of childhood, with a particular emphasis on how food reveals, or affects, children’s relationships with their parents. While the son in the spontaneous conversation transcribed in A has the ulterior motive of using food as a way to ingratiate himself to his father, C, in comparison is more formal and discursive in nature, focusing on the topic of the relationship between the change in modern eating habits and family relations. On the other hand, D as a literary text uses the theme of food to develop the characters and reveal their relationships with each other, as can be seen in the awkward relationship between the children, Kay, John and Robin and their parents, Gerald and Ingeborg, who is manipulative and controlling. A is a moving text as it develops in adjacency pairs, whereas C and D as crafted texts are static as readers receive it in its final form.

In A, the relationship between father and son is shown to be close, as seen in the son’s repeated use of the informal mode of address ‘dad’. More importantly, however, is how the conversation reveals the son’s concealed intention of winning over his father through the use of food to get a skateboard deck, as seen in his interrogatives (‘d’you wanna cup of coffee’, ‘what about a biccy’), which the son uses to manage the topic of conversation, finally leading to the subject of a skateboard deck (‘…you said that I could have a new deck for me birthday’). However, the initially friendly conversation soon turns combative as the father sees through his son, becoming the more dominant speaker through his use of negative declaratives (‘yer not havin a new one’, ‘no way (.) no chance’, ‘I’m not falling for that’n neither’) in his refusal of his son’s request. The combative atmosphere is also reinforced by the father’s scornful use of slang (‘on yer bike’) as well as the son’s sarcastic words of gratitude (‘well thanks a lot’).

In terms of lexis, the informal atmosphere established can be seen through the frequent use of colloquialisms (‘for God’s sake’, ‘on yer bike’, ‘net’). As the son is initially trying to find favour with his father through the use of food, the first half of the conversation is unsurprisingly in the semantic field of food (‘biccy’, ‘kitkat’, ‘coffee’). The son also tries to persuade his father to get a new skateboard deck through the use of various adjectival phrases (‘completely wrecked’, ‘all scuffed’, ‘really good’), with the former two describing the condition of the deck and the latter, a laudatory phrase, trying to convince his father of the reasonable price of  a new deck. In contrast, the father’s steadfast refusal of his son’s request is seen in the negative adverbs (‘no’, ‘not’, ‘neither’), while his annoyance at his son can be seen in his expression ‘for God’s sake’.

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In terms of syntax, text A as transcribed speech is organised in adjacency pairs, with question and answer pairs (‘d’you wanna cup of coffee erm (.) okay (.) that’d be nice’) and statement and corroboration pairs (‘y’know you said that I could have a new deck for me birthday mmm (.) deck’). The conversation itself has disjuncture present (‘huh (.) well I would (.) if I got enough pocket money’) and the use of simple conjunctions such as ‘but’ and ‘and’ (‘yeah (.) but I use it all the time an it’s completely wrecked’, ‘yeah but…an’ it’s only thirty ...

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