Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Informal and Formal texts

This week in class we were going to write an Informal and a formal text. I chose the topic: The 2012 US Presidential Election. To make it easier to see the contrasts between an Informal and a formal text, I am Writing about the same topic in both texts.

Here are some points you can try to look for in the texts and see if you see the differences.

  • Complex structure 
  • Objective
  • Full words
  • Third person style
  • Not a personal writing style

  • You can write almost anything you want
  • Colloquial
  • You can use simple and oral expressions .
  • Contractions/abbreviations
  • Empathy/emotion
  • You can use more subjective opinions 

The 2012 US Presidential Election
Till now, there have been three debates between the main candidates in the US Presidential Election 2012, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, and the last debate was finished Monday night the 22 of October. Mitt Romney is representing the Republican Party, and Barack Obama are representing the Democratic Party and has also been the President of the US for one period now, which is equal to four years. The states are split and Romney and Obama has almost half of the states each on their side, and some states are tilt- states. So who is going to win?

The Republican Party is considered as a conservative party, and they want free markets and a less federal state. They are also against gay marriage and abortion, and they support the death penalty.

The Democratic Party is considered as a liberal Party, and they are generally supportive of gay rights and they are also supportive to death penalty which they have in common with the Republican Party.

It is hard to describe in a short way what the parties mean about different cases in foreign policy, as Iraq, Iran, and the Middle East etc., but they have different opinions, and according to NRK´s article this is Romney’s weakest point.

In the first debate they focused on domestic policy, neither Obama nor Romney delivered a particularly “hard-hitting zinger or one-liner” according to an article in US news. Polls immediately following the debate showed that Romney was favored, and a lots of people thought Obama did a bad first debate according to the same article.

In the second debate where the audience could ask questions about domestic and foreign policy, sources say that Obama had improved, but Romney still won according to CNN.
In the third and last debate which took place yesterday, the topic was foreign policy which is considered as Romney’s weakest point, but according to NRK Romney gave Obama a hard fight, but this time Obama clearly won.

According to a research by CNN forty eight percent said that Obama won, while forty percent said that Romney won. Fifty three percent of the people, who have not decided yet who they want to vote for, said that they would have chosen Obama in this debate, while Romney only got twenty percent saying that they would have voted for him in this debate.

It seems like both candidates stands strong, but that Obama has improved. So who is going to win is still unknown.

http://www.nrk.no/nyheter/utenriks/valg-usa-2012/1.8368299 - NRK article


The Informal text: 

Till now there have been three debates between the two main candidates for the US election 2012, Romney and Obama. Mitt Romney is representing the Republican Party, while Obama is representing the Democratic Party. Obama has also been the President of the US for four years now which I believe is really good for the country! The states opinions are quite split, and both Romney and Obama have half of the states each on their side, and some states are tilt states.

The Republican and the Democratic Party have some different and some similar opinions. It´s hard to describe exactly what the main differences in their opinions are, but to be short the Republican Party are against gay´s marriage and gay´s rights, while the Democratic Party are supportive to gay´s rights and marriage. It´s easy to see why the Republican Party are being called conservative when they are holding on these old traditions like being against gay marriage and abortion like they were in the old days. Now that we have equality status between men and women, and we are so obsessed with it, why are we going to be so conservative?

A similarity is that both The Republican Party and the Democratic Party are supportive to death penalty, which I´m not so sure about. Even though lots of people have done horrible things, no one has the right to take their life from them. They may have killed somebody else, and therefore they are being punished because they have no right to take another person’s life, so the parties are kind of speaking against themselves when they say no one has the right to take other person’s life, while they are taking sentenced peoples life.

In two of three debates people has said afterwards that they think Romney has won, and that in the first debate Obama did bad, but in the second one he had improved. In the third debate when the topic was about foreign policy which is Romney’s weakest point, Obama won clearly. Even though foreign policy is Romney´s weakest point, he gave Obama a hard debate, but in the end it was Obama who won.

So who is going to win is not easy to say, but after the last debate it seemed like Obama did very well, but nothing is decided until the real election! 


I chose this theme because I think it´s very recent, because of the soon coming election in the USA. I think this topic is very interesting because the debates between Romney and Obama is fun and interesting to follow, especially since they both have a good chance of winning! I think the topic is important to the society because the election in the USA is important to the whole world since USA is considered as a super power. So some countries may be affected by who will win the election.

As told before, I have written a formal and informal text with the same topic, but of course some difference in the writing style.
In the formal text I have written it like an article, I have used an objective language by not using "I think" or "I believe" or  using my own opinions. I have also mentioned in the text where I have found information by using "according to...».
For example I have written a sentence like this:..but they have different opinions, and according to NRK´s article this is Romney’s weakest point.
Here, I have written my source, and shown that this is not my opinion, but an opinion from an objective article. If this had been a informal text, I could have written like this: but they have different opinions, and I think this is Romney’s weakest point. Here I have used my own opinion.
Here I have written a sentence where I have written "it is" instead of "it´s": It is hard to describe in a short way

In the Informal text I still have the same topic, but I have changed the writing style to more a "letter to the editor" kind of. I have used more of my opinions, a simpler language with easier sentences, and much more "I think" and used more oral writing.
For example in this sentence I have used a very informal way of writing because I have written what I think, and not used a reliable and objective source: "Obama has also been the President of the US for four years now which I believe is really good for the country!"
In this sentence I have also written it´s instead of it is: It´s hard to describe exactly...

Monday, 22 October 2012

News from Australia and South Africa!

This blog post is in collaboration with the blogpost I wrote I while ago, Social and Cultural conditions and values, because now we have worked in the same groups and found a news story each of us. We have one news story from Australia, and one from South Africa.

Kellidi Shark Warning- More sharks now?

The news article/story I found is from Kellidie Bay in South Australia. Kellidie Bay is usually a popular place to fish and to do water sports, but now there has been sent out caution warnings to people who use the spot, because of sighting a great white shark!
A recreational fisher Matt Williamson was out fishing in September when the great white shark started to nudge his boat. He said that the shark first started to give his nine foot tinny small taps before it swam off, but then it came back again. He tells that he made phone calls to other fishers in the area to warn them about the great white shark.

Another local, a farmer, says that he had never heard about a shark in this area before, and no one other can remember have seen a shark. They say that the shark has never been seen before, and they may never see one again, but they are very sure that the amount of sharks has increased over the last twenty years. Maybe we´ll have to be more aware of sharks in countries like Australia in the next twenty years? Anyway they will certainly be more aware of sharks in Kellidi Bay now!

Also in South- Africa there is a swimmer which recently won bronze medal in the men's 100-meter butterfly in Paralympics, who got his leg bitten of by a shark while saving his younger brother! While they were out swimming Achmat Hassiem (the oldest) first saw the shark, and told his brother to swim to a boat nearby while Hassiem splashed the water to distract the shark. The shark bit his leg right of, and now he uses this happening as a motivation to swim fast in the Paralympics and other competitions! So it seems like shark attacks are quite common!

Here are the links to the two articles.

South Africa as Norway is interested in Felix Baumgartners jump and I found an article about that.
He is renowned for the particularly dangerous nature of the stunts he has performed during his career.
Felix Baumgartner jumped from “the top of the world,” 39km up in the air, Sunday. Felix broke three new records this day. He was the first breaking the sound barrier, highest jump and highest balloon flight.

The 43 years old man said he always liked to see the world form above and used to climbed trees when he was younger. Felix worked more than five years for this jump and made his childhood dream come true. Felix jump form 39.044 meter and achieved a top speed of 1342,8 km/h. That corresponds 373 meters a second. The free-fall was last 4 minutes and 20 second long.
Watch highlights from the record breaking jump from the edge of space: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHtvDA0W34I

Baumgartner is known for dangerous skydiver and a BASE jumper. In 1999 he did the opposite of his new breaking record. He has also the shortest BASE jump in history. He jumped 29 meter from the arm of Cristo Redentor (statue in Rio de Janeiro).

He jumped from buildings and bridges all around the word. He is also the first to cross the English Channel in free-fall. He is also known for jumping into the second biggest cave in the world, Oman.
Watch more stunts form Felix here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmqrZqzn3GQ
I mean this guy is like a hero. I don’t understand how he dares all this stunts. He entertains and break records whit his own life at risk.

To a reporter he said - “I hate it if someone calls me a thrill-seeker or an adrenaline junkie because I am not. I like the whole planning”. He also told reports – “When you’re standing there on top of the world, you become so humble… The only thing is you want to come back alive”

Seconds before he jumped, he said "I know the whole world is watching now. I wish they could see what I can see. Sometimes you have to get up really high to see how small you are. I'm coming home now”

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Comparing of two short stories

This week in english class we were supposed to compare two short stories in groups of three. We chose to compare the two short stories "Sun-Powered Car" by Robert Burton Robinson and "Homework" by Jim Schicatano.  Here we have compared the plot, characters, setting, dialog, the conflict, point of view, resolution, theme, and length. 

Sun-Powered Car - a short story by Robert Burton Robinson

Are the plots much of the same? What happens to the main characters in both of the short stories?

In "Sun-Powered Car" the plot is about Malcolm who is working at a TV- station as a news reporter and is a little bit depressed about his job because he has worked there for twenty-five years and never got a promotion. He walks into a diner, and sees Ned and his two sons driving an old car with a solar panel on the top of it. He talks to the waitress Helen, and she tells about Ned inventing the car with a solar panel. Malcolm thinks that this is very interesting, and wants to make a news story about it, and decides to talk to Ned. He talks to Ned, but it becomes a disappointment when he finds out that the car is not solar panel driven, but son pedal driven. Anyway he decides that he want to make a news story about it. 

In "Homework" the plot is about this school boy, Jason, who is arguing with mostly his father but also a little with his mother about whether he should do his homework or not. They argue about this because Jason doesn't see the point of doing his homework which is so boring, and his parents think it’s important that he does his homework so he could get a good future life. They are also discussing who of Jason and his father who had the toughest childhood. In the end when they start becoming finished with the arguing, we are told that Jason’s mother and father both order food and snacks from their robot-servant, and they set on a hologram play with actors. In the very end when Jason has decided to obey his parents, after getting grounded and yelled at, and do his homework, he walks into his room, and then we are told that all he has to do is to plug a cable into his back head, and wait for two minutes while his homework are being downloaded to his brain. He finds this terribly boring and an awful waste of time, while his parents are so tired of working four hours a day, and getting served by robot servants etc. What a hard life?

The Characters
The main character in "Sun-Powered Car" is Malcolm, and the two secondary characters are Ned and Helen. Malcolm works at a TV-station as a news reporter and seems a little depressed and he says himself that he has given up his dream of sitting in the anchor chair. Ned is a man at the diner which is a farmer, and has invented a special car. The other secondary character Helen is a waitress at the diner, and she knows Ned and his sons quite well. 

The main characters in "Homework" are the boy Jason, and his father. The secondary character is Jason's mom. Jason is a boy who doesn't want to do his homework, and would rather play with his dog. Jason's father gets mad at Jason for not doing his homework as he should, but seems lazy himself. Jason's mother is just complaining about Jason not doing his homework. 

What do these characters have in common?

They don't have much in common we think. Malcolm in "Sun powered car" seems like a person who likes to work, but Jason and his father in "Homework" doesn't seem like they like to work at all, they actually seem quite lazy. The secondary characters in both short stories doesn't really have much in common either, but they have some similarities because both Ned and Jason's mother are a bit passive, but Ned speaks more at the end of the short story, and Jason's mother speaks and the beginning. 

In the short story “Sun Powered Car” the action takes place at a diner in a small town. The man Malcolm is stopping by to eat lunch, and meets the farmer Ned and the waitress Helen. The action in “Homework” happens in their own house, and Jason’s mother and father gets mad at him for not doing his homework.

What do these settings have in common?

In our point of view they don’t have so much in common. In “Sun Powered Car” the setting takes place at a diner as we said and in “Homework” it happens in their house. The first story, “Sun powered car”, is probably in our time zone, but the second one we think may be in the future because in the end of “Homework” we can read that Jason are doing his homework by downloading them to his brain for two minutes, and his parents are watching a hologram with actors while they are served snacks by a robot servant. The settings are also different because in “Homework” there is kind of an internal conflict in the family inside the house, while in “Sun powered car” the conflict or action takes place outside where Malcolm meet some strangers.

The Dialogue

Are the dialogues much the same in the two short stories or are they very different? Do they have many dialogues
 in the texts?

The dialogues in the short stories are quite the same, and they talk directly to each other, but in the text "Sun powered car" it is not much dialogue actually. The only time there is a dialogue is when Malcolm orders, when the waitress talks, and when Malcolm talks to Ned. "Sun powered car" mostly consists of Malcolm telling, but the author has put in some dialogue to make sure the story doesn't get boring it seems. In "Homework" the text mostly consists of dialogue actually! Jason and his father are mostly having a discussing about the homework, and are comparing how it is to be a child in their time, and how it was to be a child when Jason's parents were children. 

There’s not a big conflict in “Sun Powered Car”, but something we may be able to explain as a conflict is the conflict Malcolm has with himself and his job where he doesn’t get promoted. In “Homework” the conflict is about Jason who doesn’t want to do his homework, and doesn’t want to listen to his parents when they tell him to do his homework.

Point of view
The story “Sun powered Car” is written in 3rd person and so is the story “Homework”. Both of the stories remain in one point of view and they’re therefore easy to compare. In the first one the author is telling from Malcolm’s point of view and in the second one it’s told from Jason’s point of view. But even though we hear the stories from Malcolm and Jason’s point of view there is someone else telling us about their thoughts and experiences.

What becomes the resolution in the short stories? Does both end good or bad?

In "Sun powered car" the resolution becomes that Malcolm's day gets much better than he first thought because he finds a news-story which he can use. At the same time he finds out that the solar powered car isn't solar powered, but that Ned has just made the car so his sons can make it go by tramping on pedals. But it has a good ending because in the end Ned doesn't seem as much depressed as he did in the beginning. 

In "Homework" the resolution becomes that Jason has to do his homework and his mother and father can continue with their stuff. The little twist is that the homework Jason has to do is just to plug in a cable in his head for two minutes to download his homework to his brain! In addition Jason and his father were discussing which of them who had the toughest childhood! It ends well in a way, but not for Jason who has to do his terrible homework according to himself!


Do the short stories have some of the same theme? What are the differences and are there some similarities?

The two short stories has two different themes, in “Sun Powered Car” the theme is the sun-powered car which is quite special. We also think that some of the theme in “Sun powered car” is how little things you can discover in regular working days and how they can affect you in good ways. In the second one “Homework”, the theme is the boy’s homework and how things are in the time zone they are living in. We think some of the main theme is how the family in the future lives, and the irony in the text when Jason’s parents are talking about it being so much harder being a child in their childhood when they are sitting in their chairs watching a hologram play and getting served snacks by a robot and actually seem quite lazy. Also Jason the boy is talking about it being so much harder to be a child in his time, and complaining about his homework when all he has to do is to plug in a cable to his head and wait for two minutes while his homework are being downloaded to his brain, which seems even more lazy! So the theme can be how lazy we may end as in the future!

Both of the two short stories are pretty short, “Sun-Powered Car” has 1364 words and “Homework consists of 977 words.

In the end, here are some facts about the two authors who wrote “Sun-Powered Car” and “Homework".

Robert Burton Robinson
Robert Burton Robinson is from the United States. Robinson and his wife lives near Houston in Texas and they have three children and six grandchildren. He has worked over a lot of different fields over the years. He had for example a career in the music business but he has also been a milkman. Robinson loves spending time with his family, playing his guitar, watching movies and training yoga. He has written twenty-two short stories and one of them is “Sun-powered car”.

Jim Schicatano
Jim Schicatano graduated from Penn State University in 1984 with a bachelor degree in Science. He retired from his last job at Pennsylvania Senate Republican Cancus in 2010. He loves to write and has written countless short stories since high school. He has always taken writing really seriously and has also written some novels and a non-fiction book. Katinka, Ingeborg and I read “homework”.