Commentary for AS level English Language
English Language-‘The War on Emo’ commentary
‘The War on Emo’ piece was written for an audience of teenagers, most likely between the ages of 15-19, and was a direct response to an article featured in the Daily Mail about the ‘dangers’ of emo. The author of this particular article wrote about the recent resurgence in the ‘emo’ movement and the dangers it poses to teenagers, particularly young, teenage girls.
Style models such as articles from the music magazine ‘the NME,’ and the newspaper ‘The Guardian’ were used. There were various notable features used in each of these style models which I have tried to emulate in my piece, for instance the use of subtle humour and obviously persuasive techniques.
The purpose of the text was primarily to persuade, yet the secondary purpose was intended to argue. I aimed for my text to be of a suitable style in order to be published in a music magazine such as Kerrang! or the NME, where the readership is similar to that of my intended audience.
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When writing this article, I encountered a few problems, mainly the difficulty in trying to get my point across without going on a rant and attacking the author of the piece in the Daily Mail. I wanted my text to be based on fact rather than opinion, while
simultaneously criticizing Ms. Sands article. I attempted to expose the flaws in her writing, yet I found it difficult to do this subtly. I also had a little trouble in trying to create new expressions for the term ‘emo.’ I wanted to make the language I used inspire very real images of an ‘emo,’ and in order to do this, I had to chose the right adjectives that would successfully inspire these pictures in my audience’s mind.
One of the main changes made to my piece was to the structure of the article. I decided to switch the opening paragraph of my first draft with the second paragraph. Therefore in my final draft, the opening paragraph is a definition of the word emo, which was originally the second paragraph. This change means that the audience are given a rough outline of what the rest of the article will be based on, and also gives them a little background knowledge.
Given that my target audience are teenagers, it seemed more appropriate to make my article quite informal, almost chatty, in order to appeal to them. After reading my first draft, my language appeared to use a fairly formal register, probably more suited to an audience of adults. Therefore, I decided to change the register used to more informal, yet still using Standard-English and spelling. Words like “personally” and “in conclusion” were changed to “for me” and “so” respectively.
A common feature of persuasive writing is to use emotive language, something that was lacking in my first draft. As a result, I chose to include this element in the last paragraph of my final draft; a good example of emotive language. “If their self-harming really is a cry for help, then we cannot turn our backs and ignore them when they need us most,” makes my point of view very clear and also evokes emotion and sympathy for emos in the reader.
Parallel structures were also used in this text in order to reinforce my point. At the start of the article, I say that Ms. Sands is attempting to corner emo teenagers, and once again at the end. This technique assists in bringing the piece to a close, and also emphasises what people like Sarah Sands are trying to do to teens that are slightly different to everyone else.
The use of first person plural helps to create a bond with my target audience, making them feel as though we share the same views and opinions. This will hopefully persuade them to see from my point of view and reject the ideas of Ms. Sands, something that I have been attempting to do throughout.
After reading over my first and second drafts, I noticed that there was a shortage of rhetorical questions and other persuasive techniques such as lists of three. I opted to add a few more rhetorical questions such as “however, where is the evidence to suggest that every single one of those teens wore band t-shirts and skinny black jeans?” This technique forces the reader to think about what I am saying, and coming to the conclusion that it is unreasonable to assume that all emos self-harm.
I also added more lists of three because they help to strengthen my point by the use of repetition of a particular idea. “She tells me she is happy, has never even considered self-harming and her ‘emo’ dress sense seems to be more linked to fashion than depression,” is a list of three that highlights the inconsistencies in Sands article, and ultimately persuades the reader to dismiss her article as absurd.