Analysis Of An Article

1304 words - 6 pages

Analysis of an Article

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 ...view middle of the document...

This idea of “risk” has warlike connotations, a theme which is echoed
throughout the article. For example, in the first paragraph, Amelia
Gentleman reports that the girls’ choice of clothing could result in
“conflict with the law”, and “could seriously damage their academic
future”. The noun “conflict” and forceful verb “damage” emphasis the
seriousness of the issue and causes the reader to empathise with “the
twins.” The writer attempts to place the reader in the girls’ shoes by
giving their personal experiences. The article begins with a very
personal account of how an ordinary choice could result in much more
than a fashion disaster but rather “a question of life and death.” For
example, the lives of two French journalists are in danger of being
killed by the Army of Iraq “unless the legislation is revoked.”

The lexis used in the article is emotive, such as the noun “abuse” and
adjectives “frustrated” and “threatening”. These appeal to the
readers’ emotions. The pre-modification of words such as “radicalism”
with “rising” and “damage” with “seriously” also emphasises the
seriousness of the situation. The vocabulary is quite sophisticated,
as expected due to the type of newspaper and is from a war semantic
field, containing words such as “direct breach”, “expulsion”, “army”,
“law” and “extremists”.

Direct and indirect speech is evident and by interweaving direct
quotations, the writer vividly recreates the personal experiences of
ordinary people. 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. However, it is stated later in the article that Samia
declined to give her surname.

Furthermore, the woman in charge of the...

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