Reading Assessment: Michael Morpurgo’s Use of Language and Structure to Create Drama in the Novel – Private Peaceful.

1252 words 6 pages
Private peaceful is a story which mainly follows the life of a boy named Thomas Peaceful (or Tommo as he is called by his friends and family) in the build up towards WW1. It talks of his family in their ups and downs including his Father’s death. We follow Tommo in the past tense as he reflects upon his time up to the trenches. In the extract of pages between page 153 and 155 (which is in the present tense), we see Tommo attacked by a gas cloud whilst writing to his mother. He is saved of his life by a German attacker (or “Fritz”). He is then given a bill of clear health upon inspection of how seriously he was hurt. He then goes to see all of his comrade’s bodies who were not so lucky and died in the attack.
In the extract, Morpurgo uses
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This means that we, as the reader also feel completely safe which therefore later makes us completely un-prepared for what happens next. The quiet can also make is nervous and give us false safety so that later on in the story if we feel safe then the tension still lingers causing us to be constantly on-alert.
Morpurgo uses a variety of different techniques when regarding his sentence structure throughout the extract. He uses short sentences at the start of the extract to describe Tommo writing to his mother. “I am writing to Mother- I haven’t written for a while and am feeling guilty about it. My pencil keeps breaking and I am sharpening it again... Nipper Martin is cleaning his rifle again. He’s always very particular about that.” In this extract, Morpurgo uses very little description and just talks of his immediate responses and thoughts. This gives the effect that Tommo is tired possibly and is not playing a massive amount of notice to everything which could add to his utter surprise and fear when the first cries of “GAS!” are echoed throughout the trench. Later on in the chapter, Morpurgo uses more complex sentence structure to add to the tension by giving the reader more information with no pause. This could be set out in long sentences to give the effect that Tommo cannot stop for breath because of the gas. It could also be because too

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