Thursday, July 14, 2011

Annas story

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Anna’s Story

Anna’s Story written by Bronwyn Donaghy describes Anna Wood’s short life, by taking an ecstasy tablet at a rave. Bronwyn Donaghy interviewed her friends, family members and numerous professionals in order to write the story. The techniques used are to convince the reader to believe drugs are dangerous and harmful. Structure and selection of detail effectively manages to influence the readers such as, parents and teenage children. The book also informs the reader about factual information, referring to drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Both techniques in the text, influences many readers and brings the audience closer to the event, which makes the story emotional and personal. This response encourages the reader to keep reading.

The structure of Anna’s Story has a substantial effect on the audience. Personal anecdotes are used to reflect people’s opinions on drugs and their relationship with Anna. Each of Anna’s friends all state that they are her “best friends”. The author interviews many people who were close to Anna and others not so close. Each person has an individual chapter. This collection of short stories has a similar structure as narrative styles of writing. This effects the reader because it makes the individual story sound confidential and private; this compels the reader too continual with the text.

Pictures are a major part of the structure of Anna’s Story. They represent Anna as a loving and smiley child who seemed a happy, anti drug person. However this characterisation I believe is wrong, and the pictures create an illusion. The effect on the reader from the pictures appears she wouldn’t be interested in drugs and seems a waste that she died at such a young age. References to Alice in Wonderland are also apparent throughout the book. It appears that they use Alice in Wonderland as an example because Anna made a wrong decision when taking the ecstasy tablet, a similar situation with Alice in Wonderland, when Alice makes a naïve assumption of what she is told to eat or drink.

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“However this bottle was not marked “Poison”, so Alice ventured to taste it, and finding it very nice… she very soon finished it off. “What a curious feeling”! Said Alice.”

(Alice in Wonderland,

Lewis Carrol).

This quote shows how naïve Alice was and did not know what the liquid inside of the bottle was but still drank it. However Anna on the otherhand, knew that an ecstasy tablet was dangerous, but still took that risk.

Another important aspect of the book that contributes to the structure is the section devoted to just drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. Donaghy has used very factual terms when describing drugs. Professionals comment on the short and long term effects from excessive drug use, alcohol intake and continual smoking. This section in the book is located in the middle and at the end. As a reader, this part of the book was uninteresting and is similar to an authority figure speaking to the reader. The author has zero tolerance towards drugs, and states very clearly that they are harmful, and convinces the reader to adopt the author’s point of view.

Narrative styles of writing I think are present in Anna’s Story. Descriptive language is used in the text, which often appears in short stories; this creates emotion from the reader. Characters are described in great detail, so that the reader is able to relate to them, in a personal way.

“From his firm, dry handshake, to his wrinkling, twinkling eyes, his ambling gait and his chipped front toot, Tony Wood is everyone’s favourite image of a Aussie battler.”

(Tony’s story pg. ).

This quote describes Tony Wood in great detail. The quote above is the first sentence of his story, and the reader has already created a figure that is similar to Tony Wood.

Also located at the back of the book are Anna’s personal letters, poems and essays written by Anna in the last two years of her life. Spelling and punctuation had been corrected where possible; otherwise each piece appears as she wrote it. It is believed that only two of the letters mention drug use, however Anna’s most common interest was boys. It appears to me that the letters were placed in the book to show Anna’s personality and her relationship with friends, family and also her interests.

Another technique that Bronwyn Donaghy has used, is selection of detail. This technique influences and convinces the reader, for example; Anna was supposedly a gentle and loving person who everybody liked. This use of selection of detail makes the readers believe Anna was not interested in drugs, which makes them adopt the authors opinions and attitudes towards drugs. The main characters in Anna’s story are her friends and her family. Each character is portrayed by the author’s point of view. Not all

information on the characters is present, some aspects of the characters has been deliberately ignored, edited or added information that is not needed or is untrue.

“Anna had always been attracted to underdogs, to people who needed her friendship because they had problems.”

(Angela’s story pg. 18).

I believe none of Anna’s close friends had major problems in their family life, but were experimenting with drugs for no other reason than fun. However Anna’s family thinks otherwise, and blames Anna’s friends because she died.

Sympathetic characters are usually people that the readers can relate to and who embrace what they stand for. I found Alice (Anna’s sister) a sensible young adult who seemed intelligent and wise. However antipathetic characters, such as George and Chloe are disliked because they are portrayed as drug users and were supposedly a bad influence on Anna, this makes the readers have a negative response upon the characters and reject what they stand for.

The use of structure and selection of detail in the text influences the readers to adopt the author’s point of views. In Anna’s Story, Anna is portrayed as an innocent, loving, outspoken, and considerate child and was admired by all. The text describes Anna’s short life by her family members and her close friends in a collection of short stories. I believe certain aspects of the book have been ignored and the truth has not all been revealed. As a reader, I believe Anna took drugs on social occasions to have fun, and to experiment with something different. In today’s society it is still much the same, drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are a part of many teenagers lives and are associated with having fun, and being socially accepted. Hopefully, Anna’s Story has influenced many teenagers and made them aware of drugs and alcohol and the effect they have on themselves, their family and also the community.

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