Emilia Kettle Journalism

Week Five: Themes and Genre conventions (Greg)


Tone & style of genre:

Theme: The main subject around a conversation or a topic often spoken about.

Genre: A category a piece of work can be placed in.

Tone is the attitude that is shown across the entire piece of writing and tends to be shown through word choice. Style is the way something is writing, such as the syntax could be a certain way which also affects the tone. Genre is the category a piece fits into , for example a book based in space with aliens would fit in the science fiction genre because it is based around space.

We put this to use by writing a piece based of the genre fear after looking at professional pieces based around fear:

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

I believe there is a theory that men and women emerge finer and stronger after suffering, and that to advance in this or any world we must endure ordeal by fire. This we have done in full measure, ironic through it seems. We have both fear and loneliness, and very great distress. I suppose sooner or later in the life of everyone comes a moment of trail. We all of us have our particular devil who rides and torments us, and we give battle in the end. We have conquered ours, or so we believe.



‘A cream Cracker Under the Settee’ from Talking Heads: Alan Bennet’s 54 Classic Monologues by Alan Bennet

Doris and Wilfred. They don’t get called Doris now. They don’t get called Wilfred. Museum names like that. That’s what they’re all called in Stafford House. Alice and Doris. Mabel and Gladys. Antiques. Keep them under lock and key. ‘What’s your name? Doris? Pack your case. You belong in Stafford House.

A home. Not me. No fear.

You can see that these extracts are different in terms that one is serious and dark whereas the other is comedic and the darkness of it is less obvious. The darkness is hinted through the use of words like ‘devil’ from the first extract meaning you know it revolves around some sort of evil and fear. But the second is more of a hatred towards the fact they have this fear. I used both these pieces to create a dark piece that has some hidden meaning to it but still creates a sense of fear.


My piece:

Life is a gift, it’s something we are all giving yet is also taken. No matter how old or young, every species has the same experiences. In ways death it-self is not a fear but rather the fear of not knowing what comes next.

The rain hits the ground like a bullet kills. No bright colours can be seen, just an ocean of black, of darkness. Silent falls around as the mahogany coffin is carried by his closest and dearest. The skeleton figured vicar, speaks humble words, as the coffin is lowered down.

Funerals are simply a celebration of death. We all fear and loath the idea of never returning. Of being trapped in the world of darkness and loneliness. But no one knows what’s next. We only know that your entire life is a build-up to the inevitability of death.

You can see that it is focused on the fear of death and the darkness that surrounds it. Its more inspired by ‘Rebecca’ because of its darkness and also the link of the same fear, being death. If I were to finish this then I would have made a piece of someone dying, this being a way of accepting or overcoming their fear. This piece has everything I wanted an opening to a book based in the genre of fear to have, darkness, someone scared and a sense of realism. I feel with my overall tone and style I was able to make the theme come through in a simply but not over the top manner. But if I were to re-write it then I would re-think my choice of syntax.

 Choosing the best form to explore your theme and narrative:

Theme is a specific subject or setting used to create an idea of what the entire piece is about. Narrative is the way a piece is written, such as a poem or a story are different forms of narratives.

We explored this by first looking at professional pieces based on the theme crime. One being a report by Ernest Hemingway of a crime and the other being a the book ‘In cold blood’ by Truman Captoe .

CHICAGO- Anthony D’Andrea, pale and spectacled, defeated candidate for alderman in the 19th ward, Chicago, stepped out of the closed car in front of his residence and , holding an automatic pistol in his hand, backed gingerly up the steps.

Then he says to me, as we’re heading along the hall towards Nancy’s room, “I’m gonna bust that little girl.” And I said, “Uh-huh. But you’ll have to kill me first.” He looked like he didn’t believe he’d heard right. He says “What do you care? Hell, you can bust her too.” Now, that’s something I despise. Anybody that can’t control themselves sexually. Christ, I hate that kind of stuff. I told him straight. “Leave her alone.”

Both of these pieces are based or real life events, however one is written for a newspaper report and the other is book based around the facts gathered over the crime. You can see that Hemingway  is very descriptive and writes his reports as if they were story’s, given a reader a bigger idea of the picture. Unlike Captoe who writes to the point with very little description and a piece that’s very dialogue driving.

We tried to keep the idea of writing a piece based of an article by turning it into two different forms of writing. I based my own of an article about fear from The Guardian, one being an opening to a story and the other being a poem.

He’s body squirms in his sleep, trying to escape the nightmare his in. Heart banging against his chest, as the memory’s flood back. As he relives the nightmare.

Two young boys, kicking their football around, near the road. Nether had any worries. Both oblivious to the dismal parts of living. But within that second of playing and kicking the ball, one was gone. Taken by the sudden emergence of a speeding car. Just like that a child’s worrisome life became one of nightmares  and regret.

The man was being shaken by his scared wife, trying to escape. Body jolting up, awake, alive. Every night the same routine would take place, he would re-live his nightmare from his distant childhood. She would try to get him out of his hell.

Every night the same,                                                                                                                               the car would take the innocent soul,                                                                                                 and fear would consume the other.                                                                                                     His life controlled by his fear.                                                                                                                 By the villain no one can run from.                                                                                                   From the unknown itself.                                                                                                                 Humanity’s greatest battle,                                                                                                               Death.                                                                                                                                                            We all know its there and around us,                                                                                                 but no one can defeat it.                                                                              

My pieces are both different due to the different in use of narrative, however they both follow the same article and therefore theme. I decided to write a poem because I wanted to write a dark piece that was relatable and still tells a story. The poem itself does express all of the aspects I wanted it do however I do think I could have told the story better to how it affects the man know and just everyone. The opening to the book did have the quick description and telling of the story, especially with the nightmare which I wanted to be quick to resemble just how fast a life can change. I also think that the way I wrote it shows that I was inspired by the way Hemingway wrote and so wanted to try that in the style of a book. If I were to finish this piece then I would have gone more in-depth on how effects the relationship between the married the couple, and the husbands entire life as a whole.