Volcano Vesuvius In Pompeii Analysis

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Prose Comparison - European Baccalaureate 2016

Both prose pieces revolve around a common event: the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius in Pompeii. On the one hand, Passage b) recalls the eruption from the present time - an article published in The Guardian - whereas Passage a) narrates the incident in real time - an extract from the novel Naples ‘44. However, these two pieces of prose do not appear to concern themselves with the same eruption. Passage a) relates to the eruption during the Roman Empire in 79AD, whereas Passage b) relates to the eruption in 1944.

This contrast in setting is also reflected through the respective speakers. In Passage a), the author, Norman Lewis recounts his experience directly, through the form of a diary. In comparison, Passage b) is an article recounting the author’s visit with her daughter to Pompeii, to “see the destruction for [them]selves”.

This difference in speaker is moreover intensified
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There is an absence of the specific actions of Norman Lewis, or any others during the actual eruption, a removal of humanity from the eruption, leaving only the mere description of the scene. This allows the reader to transport the scene to any time, any place, allows the reader the freedom to imagine himself observing this scene with Norman Lewis.

This contrasts to the literary story-telling aspect of Passage b). Here, Harriet Green evokes the day spent with her daughter and the knowledge they gain from the visit. This is intensified by the vocal running style Harriet Green employs - “But there was more to see”, “In the evening, back on our terrace”. Yet, this colloquial, verbal style contrasts to the last line, standing out on its own: “A more perfect way to teach history to a young child, I cannot imagine”. Despite the potential ‘heaviness’ of this periodic sentence, it serves to increase the tension until the

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