English language


Comparing texts non ficiton sample answer:

Steinbeck and King both explore the relationship of the life of a writer to the life of others around him. They consider both the physical resources, and also the more abstract needs of a writer. Both write from a first person perspective, but while Steinbeck’s text is in the form of a diary, King’s text combines memoir and advice, so also has a direct address to the ‘you’ of the reader. These differences in text type affect the structure, so that Steinbeck’s diary is quite unstructured, following an almost stream of consciousness as different ideas occur to him. However, in the extract from On Writing King structures his text around what might be the most important furniture for a writer: the desk.

The desk is a common element of the writer’s life in both texts, but in King’s it is much more important. He talks about the ‘massive oak slab’ he ‘dreamed of’ for years; the physical dominance of the desk reflects its dominance in King’s idea of a writer’s life. This physical dominance is emphasised by the later metaphor of the ‘T.Rex desk’ – the image of the predatory dinosaur has connotations both of ridiculousness, but also of danger. In contrast, the extract from Steinbeck’s diary has a simple ‘drafting table’, and the chair seems to be more important – the ‘fantastic chair’. Furniture is


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