Oaxaca - Non fiction analysis
Oaxaca is a piece of travel writing, which reviews a location called Oaxaca in Mexico. It appeals to those who are interested in travelling, which would more likely be a slightly older audience who would be financially able to visit the location. The fact that the article is written in The Guardian newspaper, suggests that the target audience for this piece of writing is those who are more mature and educated. They would more likely be interested in culture as the text reflects their interests. The purpose of the text is to persuade the reader to visit the place, and advise them of activities that they could get involved in and places they could visit. It also informs them of the opportunities in Oaxaca and gives them the benefit of O’Connor’s visit.
The tenor of the text is semi-formal for the reason that there are phrases which are quite informal, such as ‘Time for a quick lunch’ and ‘If that hasn’t put you off’, but there are also more formal words such as ‘indigenous’ which wouldn’t be used in everyday language. The informal phrases make the text more chatty, and the over-all semi-formal tone helps the reader to build up a level of trust with the narrator, making the writers view of Mexico seem more reliable, yet still being formal enough for her view to be taken seriously by the reader.
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Proper nouns are used for detail, and make the writers writing seem more genuine, as well as statistics and numbers such as ‘...who lived here from about 500BC to AD600.’ This gives the text authority, making it stand out to the reader, resulting in the response desired by the writer, in this case, interesting the reader to visit the place and take part in the experience.
O’Connor also uses foreign terms in her article, such as ‘quesillo’ and ‘Zócalo’, which suggests that the reader should already have some level of familiarity with the place as it is subject-specific jargon. It could also be a way of persuading the reader to visit the place, as that would be the only way that they will find out what these terms mean. The foreign terms also create a sense of reality and a more realistic atmosphere, as it is more believable and creates a sense of place.
Cliché’s are used, for example, ‘a quaint town of cobbled streets’ and ‘cactus covered hills’. The clichés provide us with things that we would expect if we were to actually visit Mexico, therefore making it more interesting and exciting, because the reader would actually be surprised if they visited Mexico and weren’t ‘serenaded at dinner by a wandering mariachi band’ or something of the sort.
Parenthesis is used to shorten explanations and make the article seem more interesting. ‘...a bag of fried grasshoppers (chapulines – the local speciality) or…’ is one example of parenthesis used in the article. This makes the text seem more conversational whilst simultaneously providing the reader with information.
The use of imperatives like, ‘Sit for long enough…’ ‘Head for one of the covered markets’ and ‘Start your day with a coffee in the Zócalo’ make the article more personal to the reader, as well as making it more helpful and friendly. It is almost as if the writer is providing the reader with friendly advise by talking to them on the same level.
The article is written in a second person perspective, therefore directly addresses the individual using second person personal pronouns such as ‘your day’ and ‘know that you are’. This makes the text more conversational and makes the reader feel more involved. It also makes it seem as if the reader is already ready to go and the writer is informing them about what to do when they get there.
O’Connor is talking directly about herself to the reader and vice versa, making it seem as if the individual reading has almost found a friend in her, therefore being able to trust her judgement and advice.
The discourse structure of the article is that it is written in chronological order, starting with the morning and working its way through to the evening of the same day. The writer hasn’t chosen to write about activities that the reader can get involved in over a number of days, but chooses to set it all on one day, which adds pace to the article and keeps the reader interested as it sounds lively and appeals to the target audience. The fact that it is actually written from day to evening, rather than from the evening to morning, makes it more real for the reader and involves them further because it would be as if they are taking part in the activities, resulting in the reader wanting to actually visit the place in reality.