English language


Throughout this extract from his autobiography, Clive James uses exaggeration, humour, and careful structuring of the ideas in order to create an entertaining text for his readers, which builds towards the anticipated disaster of the ‘crash’.

James uses self-deprecating humour in describing his efforts at building a go-cart compared to the other children’s. While theirs are ‘like a diving aeroplane’ – a simile which emphasises their speed and grace – his is made from a fruit box and ‘old pram’ wheels. The contrast between the two descriptions emphasises how terrible his go-cart is. In terms of the structure of the extract, this establishes our expectations of James, so when we reach the end of the extract where he ‘thought’ he could ‘make the turn’, we realise that he is unlikely to be able to do so, and it is all going to end in disaster. 



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