Target Audience
  • Readers of newspapers/magazines that live in more favourable conditions

Tone
  • At the beginning, callous, “inured” and distanced
    • “What might have appalled us ... no longer impressed us much.”
    • Admits it himself - “this sounds callous”, “the ghoulish manner of journalists”
  • “Revulsion” for the dying and sick
    • “a mixture of pity and revulsion”
    • “The degeneration of the human body ... is a disgusting thing.”
  • Death described dispassionately
    • “same old stuff”
    • No rage, no whimpering, just a passing away — that simple, frictionless, motionless deliverance from a state of half-life to death itself. It was, as I said at the time in my dispatch, a vision of ‘famine away from the headlines, a famine of quiet suffering and lonely death’.”

  • At the end, more personal (and less distance)
    • Pities them: “they aspire to a dignity that is almost impossible to achieve”
  • Curious of the man’s identity
    • “I had to find out.”
    • Regrets the fact that he never “found out what the man’s name was”
  • Shocked at the smile
  • Futility - the man will never read the article, even though it is written almost in dedication to him
  • The unknown man’s smile moves him while the hardship of the others do not
    • “In those brief moments there had been a smile, not from me, but from the face. It was not a smile of greeting, it was not a smile of joy — how could it be? — but it was a smile nonetheless”
  • Tone changes from almost indifferent to hopeful/hopeless
    • “I resolved there and then that I would write the story of Gufgaduud with all the power and purpose I could muster”
    • “the only adequate answer a reporter can give to the man’s question”

Purpose
  • To shock people
  • To give readers insight into how a journalist, as opposed to readers, see suffering and hardship and how they are obligated to report harsher and harsher news
  • To emphasise the distance between the journalist and the people in the feeding centres
  • “I owe you one” - a dedication to the man who smiled
    • Language is amiable to close the distance between them

Techniques
  • “The search for the shocking is like the craving for a drug” - Simile, on the addictive nature of the journalistic process
  • “She was rotting” - hyperbole
  • “The shattered leg had fused into the gentle V-shape of a boomerang” - figurative language

By Lily, Eli and Qing