Section 1 - C: The writer’s intention and attitude

Section 1 - C: The writer’s intention and attitude

  Critical reading requires the reader to recognize the writer’s intention and attitude. Much of the writer’s intention and attitude is communicated through the writing style, tone and genre the writer utilizes.
  Now read the following passages and try to recognize the writer’s intention and attitude as well as the tone used in them.

Black – Nosed Buddha
    A nun who was searching for enlightenment made a statue of Buddha and covered it with gold leaf. Wherever she went she carried this golden Buddha with her.
    Years passed and, still carrying her Buddha, the nun came to live in a small temple in a country where there were many Buddhas, each one with its own particular shrine.
    The nun wished to burn incense before her golden Buddha. Not liking the idea of the perfume straying to the others, she devised a funnel through which the smoke would ascend only to her statue. This blackened the nose of the golden Buddha, making it especially ugly.
1. The writer’s intention is:
 to inform to amuse to teach to criticize
2. The writer’s attitude towards the nun is one of:
 Sympathy Criticism Admiration Scornful
3. The tone of the passage:
 Complimentary Ironic Humorous Admonitory

What Energy Crisis?
    There is plenty of petrol in the pumps. Lots of gas in the pipes. The home fires are burning and the lamps aren’t going out all over Europe.
    Funny sort of crisis. Which is probably why we’re not doing enough about it.
    But although we can’t see it or feel it, the energy crisis is costing us a bomb.
    In eighteen months, the price of crude oil (which provides almost half the energy we use) has multiplied by five. And all our oil still has to be imported.
    The bill we pay is £3,500,000,000 a year. Ten million pounds a day. A sum so big, it can’t possibly be your problem.
    It is, though. That 10 million pounds works out at 20p a day for every man, woman and child in Britain. For a family of four, it’s a millstone of 5.60 pounds a week.
    You can’t shrug it off as a problem for the country to solve. Because the country is nothing more than every man, woman and child in Britain.
    Of course, in a few years, North Sea oil will help us pay our way. But we’ll still have debts to pay. And North Sea oil won’t last forever.
    We’ve simply got to Save It. Not just oil and petrol. But electricity, too, because oil generates a quarter of it. And the less coal and gas we use, the money they’re available to take the place of oil.
    What’s more, we can save it without a lot of fuss and bother. Just with reasonable care.
    Turn down a thermostat. Insulate a pipe. Clean out a furnace. Keep your car in time. You will save a few pounds for yourself, and millions for Britain.
1. The writer’s intention is:
 to describe to give instructions to compare to advise
2. The writer’s attitude towards the saving of energy:
 worry indifference deep concern detachment
3.The style of the passage is:
 chatty personal bookish argumentative

    By means of posters, advertisements, lectures and serious scientific books, people are taught how to avoid or cure flu, smallpox, a broken ankle and mumps; at the same time the major part of the world’s literature (which is not to be confused with world literature), almost all the films, magazine stories and radio plays persuade you in an indirect way to catch a much more dangerous disease than any illness, universally known under the name love.
    The main symptoms of the disease are these:
    1) The germ – a charming young lady in some cases, not so charming and not so young in others – makes the silliest and most commonplace remarks and you consider her wittier than Oscar Wilde, deeper than Pascal and more original than Bernard Shaw.
    2) She calls you Pootsie, Angelface and other stupid and humiliating names; you are enchanted and coo with delight.
    3) She has no idea what is the difference between UNESCO and L.C.C and you find this disarmingly innocent.
    4) Whenever she flirts with others and is rude and cruel to you, you buy her a bunch of flowers and apologise. If she misbehaves seriously, you buy her jewelry.
The overwhelming majority of novels, short stories, films etc. teach you that this dangerous mental and physical ailment is something glorious, desirable and romantic. Who are you to question the wisdom of this teaching? You are expected to take the lesson of these high authorities to heart and believe that the world is mostly inhabited by lovers who commit murders and murderers who fall in love.
    I suggest :
    1) Any propaganda inciting to love (in films, short stories, novels, paintings etc.) should be made a criminal offence. The author of such a piece should be sent to a desert island with his beloved for five years.
    2) Any person falling in love should be sent to quarantine in a similar way.
    3) Love should be abolished altogether.
1) The writer’s intention is:
 to persuade to amuse to discourage to teach
2) The writer’s attitude towards love is:
 Sceptical Pessimistic Optimistic Critical
3) The tone of the passage is:
 Argumentative Objective Humorous Ironical

    On the afternoon of June 4, 1990, Janet Atkins, a diagnosed victim of Alzheimer’s disease, sat with Dr. Jack Kevorkian in his 1968 Volkswagen van. He had connected her to his home-built death machine, which would give her a means to end her life. Kevorkian told his patient to ‘have a good trip’, as he pushed the button that would activate a powerful barbiturate and deadly potassium chloride into her bloodstream. She then died of a massive heart attack, her death reactivating an age-long debate over euthanasia and the right of terminally ill patients to end their own lives.
    Janet Atkins was fifty-four when she decided to end her life. Even though her doctor had told her she could still live a good life for another year, and in spite of the fact that she was still playing tennis, she made up her mind to die before Alzheimer “peeled her away, layer by layer,” as her husband, who supported his wife’s decision, described it. Janet, a vital and active woman, chose to die before her disease made life unbearable. At her death, she had already lost her ability to read books and play music.
1. What’s the writer’s intention?
2. What is the writer’s attitude towards the issue of euthanasia?
3. What’s the tone of the passage?

    Traditionally, mental tests have been divided into two types. Achievement tests are designed to measure acquired skills and knowledge, particularly those that have been explicitly taught. The proficiency exams required by some states for high school graduation are achievement tests. Aptitude tests are designed to measure a person’s ability to acquire new skills or knowledge. For example, vocational aptitude tests can help you decide whether you would do better as a mechanic or musician. However, all mental tests are in some sense achievement tests because they assume some sort of past learning or experience with certain objects, words, or situations. The difference between achievement and aptitude tests is one of degree and intended use.
1) What is the writer’s purpose in this passage ?
2) What is the writer’s attitude toward the subject of testing ?
3) What is the writer’s tone?
    Finally, the critical reader cannot help reacting to the opinions expressed in the passage at some points. The reader brings his own knowledge and background to the reading process: He forms his own ideas, compares them and adds to those of the writer. The reader’s ideas might be the same or quite different from those of the writer. This last but not least step is a necessary component of any critical reading comprehension syllabus.
    What is your own opinion on the issues dealt with in the above passages?
1. Egotism
2. Energy
3. Love
4. Euthanasia
5. Testing
    Do you agree or disagree with the writers’ views? Why?


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