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IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 5

IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 5

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris

Q5. In ‘Explorers, or boys messing about?’, how does the writer create tension and drama?

In your answer, you should consider:

  • the portrayal of the explorers;
  • the description of their trip;
  • the reactions of others to their trip;
  • the writer’s use of language techniques.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

In this newspaper article, the writer describes a dramatic event involving a helicopter crashing into the sea. The portrayal of the explorers and the reactions of others to their experience create drama by showing how lucky they were to survive.

The men’s experience is extremely dramatic due to the severity of their crash. The subtitle briefly summarises this accident, creating tension by piquing the reader’s desire to find out how it happened. The verb “plucked” shows the men’s vulnerability, and the onomatopoeic word “crash” creates a dramatic image in the reader’s mind. Throughout the main description, active verbs are used to create a dynamic impression of the event: for example, “plunged”, “scrambled” and “ditched”. The difficulty of the rescue also contributes to the tension. There is a ship “180 miles away” and a rescue helicopter is “driven back” due to bad weather. Although the reader knows that the men are rescued in the end, there is still tension as the writer details the huge rescue operation.

By portraying the adventurers as immature and ill-prepared for their trip, the writer creates tension via the reader’s shock and disbelief that the men took such a hazardous risk. The metaphor throughout the article that the men were simply “boys messing about” creates the impression that the men were irresponsible in taking on such a dangerous challenge. The writer also suggests that the men were complacent about their trip. Quoting the adventurers’ website with sarcastic irony, the writer notes that the men described their helicopter as “trusty”. Following the failure of the helicopter, this description is clearly naïve; the language is also casual and flippant, suggesting that they did not take the trip seriously.

The adventurers’ foolishness in undertaking such a dangerous trip in an inadequate vehicle is further highlighted by experts’ reactions towards the disaster. These reactions create further drama as they show how close the men were to death. An Antarctic explorer is quoted as saying that it was a “miracle” that they survived: this is very strong vocabulary, suggesting that most other people would not have been so lucky. A helicopter expert states that he would not have used the helicopter that they did for such an expedition. This expert view is juxtaposed with a quotation from the men’s spokesperson, stating that the flying conditions were “excellent”. This contrast in views implies that the men were not well-qualified to undertake such an expedition.

Newspaper articles are principally designed to inform readers, rather than simply to entertain them. In this article, although the reader knows from the beginning that the men were rescued, there is tension and drama in their closeness to tragedy and in the fact that the men perhaps should never have embarked on the expedition at all.

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HKDSE Paper 2 Writing model essays 香港高級文憑試英文寫作卷二模擬作文

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IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 4

IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 4

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris

Q4. How does the writer of ‘Explorers, or boys messing about?’ engage the interest of the reader?

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

In this article, the writer engages the reader by creating tension and drama in the description of the adventurers’ accident. The writer also appeals to the reader’s emotions by emphasising the cost of the incident.

The description of the men’s accident engages the reader by creating tension and excitement. The subtitle provides a dynamic description of the event. The onomatopoeic word “crash” creates a sense of drama, and the unusual verb “plucked” suggests that the men were helpless, vulnerable and in terrible danger. This sense of danger is continued throughout the description. Active verbs are used to reflect the dramatic and urgent nature of the incident: the helicopter “plunged” into the sea, the men “scrambled” onto their liferaft, and a boat began “streaming towards the scene” to rescue them. The sibilance in the latter phrase contributes to the sense of drama and excitement, drawing the reader into the story.

Further contributing to the drama and encouraging the reader to disapprove of the trip, the writer suggests that the adventurers were incompetent. The suggestion in the headline and throughout the article that the men could be considered “boys messing about” suggests that they were immature and irresponsible. One expert calls it a “miracle” that they survived, suggesting that their successful rescue had nothing to do with the skill of the men themselves. A helicopter expert expresses surprise that they would use the helicopter that they did. The technical language used by this expert – “the R44” – contrasts the men’s complacent description of their helicopter as simply “trusty”. The reader is likely to be shocked by the suggestion that these ill-prepared men could embark on such a dangerous trip.

The angle chosen by the writer emphasises the cost of the trip to the reader. Readers of the Guardian Newspaper are likely to be tax-paying adults; the reference to the “taxpayer” in the headline is designed to grab their attention. The cost is described vaguely as “tens of thousands of pounds”, showing that the writer probably does not know the exact cost, but still wants to cause resentment and anger in the reader. The writer also describes the scale of the rescue operation, further angering the reader, particularly in the light of the descriptions of the men’s incompetency. The writer gives details of the extensive number of vehicles and organisations involved in the rescue: an intimidating list showing the huge impact of the men’s disaster. This further irritates the reader, as they learn the reason behind the huge cost to the taxpayer.

By presenting the men as ill-prepared and complacent, the writer engages the reader in the article, causing resentment towards the fact that they have had to pay for these foolish men to be rescued.

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HKDSE Paper 2 Writing model essays 香港高級文憑試英文寫作卷二模擬作文

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IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 3

IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 3

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris

Q3. In ‘Explorers, or boys messing about?’ how does the writer portray the adventurers?

In your answer, write about:

  • the maturity of the men;
  • their preparation and execution of the trip;
  • the opinions of others;
  • the use of language.

You should refer closely to the text to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

The men in this article are portrayed as adventurous but immature risk-takers. From the opinions of others, the reader learns that they weren’t well-qualified for the trip.

The writer plays on the idea that the men were immature and irresponsible. The metaphor suggested by one adventurer’s wife that the men were simply “boys messing about” is utilised in the headline and throughout the article. They are described as a “helicopter duo” going on a “new adventure”, creating an almost sarcastic tone of heroism, as if they are children’s comic characters. Vestey, Brooks’s wife, states that she didn’t know “what the pair were up to”, showing almost comical motherly disapproval. The writer continues the idea of the men as children, by subtly suggesting at their immaturity. He quotes their website, which ironically describes their “trusty helicopter”; this phrasing is flippant, suggesting that the men were treating the trip as a joke. The adventurers are thus portrayed as immature and naïve.

In the description of the disaster, the writer presents the men as somewhat under-prepared for their trip. The verbs used to describe the rescue emphasise the helplessness of the men: they “scrambled” onto their liferaft, suggesting desperation, and they had to be “plucked” from the sea, making them sound small and vulnerable. Furthermore, in his phone-call to his wife, Brooks describes the emergency services as “emergency people”, suggesting that he wasn’t necessarily aware of who could help them. Although the writer acknowledges that one of the pair had an “emergency watch”, he also chooses to include that this watch was “a wedding present”, suggesting that it was only by chance – and because of somebody else’s concern – that he had this equipment. Thus the writer reinforces the idea that the men were not adequately prepared for the disastrous outcome of their trip.

Throughout the article, the voices of experts are included to further highlight the extent of the men’s foolish bravado in taking such a risk. According to the writer, experts believed that it was unwise to take such a small helicopter into this “hostile environment”. This emotive language shows that the Antarctic was an entirely unsuitable place for their so-called “trusty helicopter”. One expert is quoted as saying that he would not have undertaken their expedition. The author positions this immediately before a quotation from the men’s spokesperson, stating that the flying conditions were “excellent”. By juxtaposing these two views, the writer subtly implies that the men were not sufficiently aware of the dangers of their trip.

The writer portrays the adventurers as incompetent and childish. Their views are contrasted with those of experts, suggesting that despite their qualifications and previous achievements, they were not sufficiently knowledgeable to undertake this trip.

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HKDSE Paper 2 Writing model essays 香港高級文憑試英文寫作卷二模擬作文

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IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 2

IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 2

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris

Q2. What feelings does the writer of ‘Explorers, or boys messing about?’ try to elicit in the reader, and how does he do this?

In your answer, consider:

  • the men’s planning and execution of the trip;
  • the men’s social responsibility;
  • the writer’s use of language.

You should refer closely to the passage to support your answer. You may use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

In this article, the writer attempts to elicit anger and indignation in the reader. However, the tone of the article is also quite light-hearted, with some elements of humour.

By portraying the men as naughty children, the writer elicits humour but also anger in the reader. This extended metaphor is humorous, particularly when expressed by one adventurer’s wife. She suggests that they will “have their bottoms kicked” as a punishment: a tongue-in-cheek reference to their boyish enthusiasm for adventures. However, this humour is combined with the reader’s disapproval, as the writer highlights the terrible consequences of their naivety. The phrase “new adventure” is evocative of a childhood story, but the tone changes drastically with the emotive vocabulary describing their accident: there was nearly a “tragedy” when their helicopter “plunged” into the sea. This angers the reader by showing that their humorous childishness had terrible consequences.

The dramatic description of the disaster shocks the reader, and further angers them that the adventurers took such a dangerous risk. He begins the description with the phrase, “The drama began,” preparing the reader for the exciting description of the event. Action verbs are used to reflect the speed and urgency of the event: the helicopter “ditched” into the water, the men “scrambled” into their liferaft, and the rescue boat “streamed” through water to find them, for example. This tense description highlights to the reader how much danger the men were in; when combined with the knowledge that they were naïve and perhaps under-prepared, the reader is angry that they took such a life-threatening risk.

The reader is also informed about the cost of the rescue operation, and is made to feel indignant since the cost is personal to them. In the headline, the intended reader – likely to be a taxpaying adult – is told that they will get the “rescue bill”. This metaphorical language – the image of a physical “bill” received by members of the public – makes the reader feel irate about having to pay for the men’s failed adventure. The writer also emphasises the scale of the rescue operation, for example by listing the several organisations involved in the rescue: “the Royal Navy, the RAF and British coastguards.” The writer also provides shocking statistics, such as that the ship that went to rescue them was “180 miles away”. The writer highlights the effort gone to and the expenses incurred, to remind the reader of the financial consequences of the men’s trip.

The issue of the cost to taxpayers makes the reader feel disappointed in and irritated by the men. However, the final image of the article is that of the men being punished like naughty children, showing that the writer wishes to entertain the reader as well as anger them.

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IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 1

IGCSE Set 1 Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris Model Essays Question 1

Edexcel English IGCSE: Explorers, or boys messing about? by Steven Morris

Q1. In ‘Explorers, or boys messing about?’ how does the writer portray the idea that the men were being irresponsible?

You should write about:

  • the portrayal of the maturity of the men;
  • the men’s previous experience;
  • the implications of the disaster;
  • the writer’s use of language techniques.

Refer closely to the text to support your answer, and use brief quotations.

Edexcel English IGCSE Model Essay by an Expert

In this article, the adventuring men are portrayed as immature and complacent about their abilities to carry out their planned trip. The scale of the rescue operation shows how irresponsible the men were to put themselves at risk.

The writer portrays the men as childish, showing that they were not acting like responsible adults. The headline quotes Brooks’s wife, calling them “boys messing about”. This extended metaphor of the men being described as cheeky children continues throughout the article, creating a humorous yet disapproving tone. They are described as a “helicopter duo” who are going on a “new adventure”, creating the tone of an adventure story for children. However, this child-like imagery quickly disappears with the emotive description of their accident: their helicopter “plunged” into “icy water”. The juxtaposition of child-like and emotive vocabulary highlights how irresponsible the men were to treat such a dangerous operation as a childish adventure.

Although the men have had experience of successful expeditions, the writer chooses to highlight their previous disasters, suggesting that they were not qualified enough to take on such a dangerous challenge. The first main paragraph of the article states that “their last expedition ended in farce”, showing that the accident referred to in the headline is not their first. The following paragraph briefly outlines their most recent accident. By listing their mishaps so early in the article, the writer creates an impression of the men as irresponsible adventurers who do not learn from their mistakes. Later in the article, the writer lists the men’s previously successful expeditions and their qualifications. However, since they have already been portrayed as irresponsible, this list suggests that perhaps the men had become complacent as a result of their previous positive experiences.

The angle taken by the writer emphasises the cost of the disaster, with a particular focus on the personal cost to the reader. The article appears in The Guardian newspaper, which is generally read by middle-class adults, who are likely to pay taxes. Therefore the reference to the “taxpayer” in the headline grabs their attention and reminds them of the cost of the men’s irresponsibility. Furthermore, the scale of the rescue operation is portrayed through statistics: it was a “nine-hour” rescue and a boat came to rescue them from “180 miles away”. This boat came “streaming towards the scene”, showing the crew’s dedication to rescuing the men, and their sense of urgency. By giving details of the huge rescue operation, the writer shows the serious implications of the men’s irresponsible behaviour.

The men are portrayed as silly, complacent boys who did not think about the possible implications of their actions. The men are lucky that they survived the ordeal, showing that their irresponsibility could have had tragic consequences.

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