Practice Paper 1 - SL
Write an analysis on one of the following texts. Include comments on the significance of context, audience, purpose, and formal and stylistic features.
I stayed in Jamaica eight months out of the year 1853, still remembered in the island for its suffering and gloom. I returned just in time to find my services, with many others, needful; for the yellow fever never made a more determined effort to exterminate the English in Jamaica than it did in that dreadful year. So violent was the epidemic, that some of my people fell victims to its fury, a thing rarely heard of before. My house was full of sufferers — officers, their wives and children. Very often they were borne in from the ships in the harbour — sometimes in a dying state, sometimes — after long and distressing struggles with the grim foe — to recover. Habituated as I had become with death in its most harrowing forms, I found these scenes more difficult to bear than any I had previously borne a part in; and for this reason perhaps, that I had not only to cheer the death-bed of the sufferer, but, far more trying task, to soothe the passionate grief of wife or husband left behind. It was a terrible thing to see young people in the youth and bloom of life suddenly stricken down, not in battle with an enemy that threatened their country, but in vain contest with a climate that refused to adopt them. Indeed, the mother country pays a dear price for the possession of her colonies...
I do not willingly care to dwell upon scenes of suffering and death, but it is with such scenes that my life's experience has made me most familiar, and it is impossible to avoid their description now and then; and here I would fain record, in humble spirit, my conclusions, drawn from the bearing of those whom I have now and then accompanied a little distance on their way into the Valley of the Shadow of Death, on the awful and important question of religious feeling. Death is always terrible — no one need be ashamed to fear it. How we bear it depends much upon our constitutions. I have seen some brave men, who have smiled at the cruellest amputation, die trembling like children; while others, whose lives have been spent in avoidance of the least danger or trouble, have drawn their last painful breath like heroes, striking at their foe to the last, robbing him of his victory, and making their defeat a triumph... I remember one death, of a man whom I grew to love in a few short weeks, the thought of which stirs my heart now, and has sustained me in seasons of great danger; for before that time, if I had never feared death, I had not learnt to meet him with a brave, smiling face, and this he taught me.
I must not tell you his name, for his friends live yet, and have been kind to me in many ways. One of them we shall meet on Crimean soil. He was a young surgeon, and as busy, light-hearted, and joyous as a good man should be; and when he fell ill they brought him to my house, where I nursed him, and grew fond of him — almost as fond as the poor lady his mother in England far away. For some time we thought him safe, but at last the most terrible symptoms of the cruel disease showed themselves, and he knew that he must die. His thoughts were never for himself, but for those he had to leave behind; all his pity was for them. It was trying to see his poor hands tremblingly penning the last few words of leave-taking — trying to see how piteously the poor worn heart longed to see once more the old familiar faces of the loved ones in unconscious happiness at home; and yet I had to support him while this sad task was effected, and to give him all the help I could. I think he had some fondness for me, or, perhaps, his kind heart feigned a feeling that he saw would give me joy; for I used to call him "My son — my dear child," and to weep over him in a very weak and silly manner perhaps.
He sent for an old friend, Captain S——; and when he came, I had to listen to the dictation of his simple will — his dog to one friend, his ring to another, his books to a third, his love and kind wishes to all; and that over, my poor son prepared himself to die — a child in all save a man's calm courage. He beckoned me to raise him in the bed, and, as I passed my arms around him, he saw the tears I could not repress, rolling down my brown cheeks, and thanked me with a few words. "Let me lay my head upon your breast;" and so he rested, now and then speaking lowly to himself, "It's only that I miss my mother; but Heaven's will be done." He repeated this many times, until the Heaven he obeyed sent him in its mercy forgetfulness, and his thoughts no longer wandered to his earthly home. ..
An extract from the autobiography, The Wonderful Adventures of Mary Seacole (1857)
– Comment on the features of language and style used to present Mrs Seacole
– Comment on the importance of context, audience and purpose to your understanding of this text
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Home › Emergencies › Food Crisis in Sahel
Sahel region of West and Central Africa may face a serious food crisis in 2012.
Food Crisis in Sahel
“The humanitarian response must tackle the underlying causes of crises like this to prevent them recurring.”
Recent evaluations suggest 12 million people across West and Central Africa are facing a food crisis following erratic rains that have caused poor food harvests and water shortages. Oxfam is gearing up our response: we hope to reach one million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger with humanitarian aid.
In 2012 the Sahel region of West and Central Africa is once again likely to face a serious food crisis that could, if early and effective action is not taken, prove as costly to lives and livelihoods as the past food crises in 2005, 2008 and 2010, which affected more than 10 million people.
Yet early recognition of the coming crisis also provides an opportunity to avoid the mistakes of the past, enabling action months earlier than in previous crises. By investing now in earlier and more cost-effective actions, vulnerable populations can be protected from the worst impacts of the coming crisis at a much lower cost than if we waited.
The response should not stop at meeting emergency needs; it needs also to tackle the underlying causes of crises like this to prevent them recurring. By investing more in longer-term interventions to reduce the people’s vulnerability to external shocks, we can work to break the hunger cycle in the Sahel.
The situation in the Sahel
Early warning systems have identified a range of factors that are contributing to the coming crisis. Low rainfall and water levels, poor harvests and lack of pasture, high food prices and a drop in remittances from migrants are all causing serious problems.
According to national early warning systems, cereal production is down compared to the five year average, with Mauritania and Chad showing deficits of over 50% compared to last year. National food reserves are dangerously low, while prices of some key cereals have dramatically increased : prices of corn in the Sahel are 60-85% higher than last five year average prices.
Recent reports said over 5.4 million people (35% of the population) in Niger, some 1.7 million people in Mali, 1.67 million in Burkina Faso and 700,000 people (over one-quarter of the population) in Mauritania are estimated to be vulnerable to food insecurity. In Chad, 13 out of 22 regions could be affected by this food crisis: some 2.4 million people don’t have always enough to eat.
What Oxfam is doing
Oxfam is gearing up its work to address immediately the needs of the most vulnerable people. We're working to help communities increase their resilience to the coming crisis, we are getting ready to provide food assistance. Oxfam is targeting to reach one million people across Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Senegal with humanitarian aid.
In Burkina Faso, Oxfam is aiming to help 100,000 people access food, with cash for work activities, animal health and food programs for pastoralists communities, and assistance to refugees from Mali.
In Mauritania, Oxfam started to work closely with some of the poorest families mainly around the Gorgol and Brakhna regions and will be reaching 70,000 people this year. Our work is largely supporting pastoralist communities with activities such as food for cattle, cash transfers, the rehabilitation of wells and water and sanitation programs. We have also started a ‘co-op’ vegetable gardens program for 1,300 women by pumping water from a river.
In Chad, where Oxfam has been present for over 45 years, we aim to reach over 200,000 people for the current crisis with cash transfers, seed distribution, food for herds, and veterinary care.
In Niger, Oxfam and its partners have begun cash for work, cash transfers and water and sanitation programs.
While an early response to the coming crisis is crucial to protect people in 2012, Oxfam has warned that preventing future crises would require action to address the root causes and provide longer-term support for the poorest people in a region where 300,000 children die from malnutrition-related diseases in a ‘non-crisis’ year.
From the website website , December 2011
- Comment on the writer’s use of structure and layout in this extract.
- How does the writer combine image and language here to create a persuasive effect?