What opinions do people have about homelessness? Is it like that of the journalist writing for the “Mail on Sunday”, or does it correspond more with that of fundraisers “Shelter”? This essay will compare and contrast the opinions of “Is he keeping the tourists away? ” and “Five faces of homelessness”. The anonymous journalist who is writing for “The Mail on Sunday” has the opposite attitude to the homeless charity “Shelter”. The journalist and the people interviewed agree with each other and say that homelessness is not society’s problem to sort out.
He or she also gives the impression that homeless people are vermin and that it is their own fault that they have nowhere to live. “…. Hounded by a plague of new beggars” – Line 13 The word “plague” suggests a link to the Black Death that involved rats, also known as vermin, who scavenge and steal from people. The journalist does not seem to understand that homeless people do not choose to be homeless and the charity, “Shelter” explains the truth about homelessness. Again, as in the newspaper article, we are not told the name of the author in the “Shelter” leaflet piece.
The attitudes coming across from “Shelter” are those of sympathy and support. Their aim is to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness and defend those involved. The leaflet is also more about the facts, rather than about people’s opinions. “All figures and statistics are correct at time of going to press” Using statistics in writing adds authority and truth to the piece and lets the reader know the truth and not just an opinion. The two pieces have two different purposes for readers.
The primary aim for the newspaper article is to persuade the reader into agreeing with the opinions of the journalist and the people interviewed. “… People come from all over the world to enjoy our history and it is being tarnished beyond belief… – Line 38 – Heritage Minister, Iain Sproat. As readers, we are told that Iain Sproat is the Heritage Minister. An important title that is authoritative persuades the reader into agreeing with his or her opinion and it reinforces what the journalist believes.
On the other hand, the main aim of the “Shelter” leaflet is to inform. Statistics are used to add weight to the truth, and victims are quoted which tells the reader what a homeless person has to go through. “My landlord threw me out when he found out I was pregnant” Another important aim of “Shelter” is to persuade readers into the truth about homelessness and to show that they are not criminals, but victims. “Squatters are vandals. Nearly a third of squatters are parents. They want to provide a clean and safe home for their children.
They don’t want to vandalise it – often they carry out repairs on un-used properties… ” – Point 4 The two journalists have contradicting ideas in their writing. The “Mail on Sunday” piece clearly explains to the reader how strongly he or she and the group interviewed feel about homelessness. The main ideas that I identified were those that the group felt that homeless people or “beggars” are a deterrent against tourism. “Who are feeding on the rich pickings of Britain’s tourist industry” – Line 30
This quote, along with many others, shows quite clearly that the journalist and interviewees are not bothered if people are homeless or poor, and only are only concerned about the observation of Britain and it’s industry. “Beggars making i?? 100 a day who threaten Britain’s visitors – and a i?? 25 billion industry” – Caption Also, homeless people are referred to as “ugly gangs” and “hordes” and described to readers as “vermin”. Another description that is made is that some beggars are “professionals”. “We were arresting six or seven in a week and found some who appeared to be professional beggars, taking advantage of the tourists”.
– Lines 89 – Superintendent Steve Green. In my view, I think that this generalisation is totally narrow-minded and is just one person’s opinion, which does not count for the rest of the population. I also noticed that the interviewee said that the Police were arresting beggars who “appeared” to be professionals. People were arrested on the assumption that they were harassing tourists. On the other hand, the “Shelter” leaflet describes the homeless as victims, not as “scroungers” or “beggars”. They offer support and sympathy for them and they give information and quotes from five victims.
“For three years I was sexually abused by my brother. My parents didn’t believe me, so I left to get away from it”. Does that sound like a woman who prefers living on the street to living at home being abused by a family member? The aim of “Shelter” is to inform and information warrants speaking the truth. “Shelter” also challenges the stereotypes that homeless people are given. Ten points have been written with the stereotype answered by a professional. “People sleeping rough are scroungers – they don’t want to work. Most people who beg do so as a last resort…
” – Point 1 I think that this “Shelter” article could make people feel quite guilty. It tells of the horrific things that can happen to people who sleep on the streets and make people wonder what it would feel like if it were their life, not somebody else’s. “… Women who sleep out are at greater risk of sexual assault and rape” – Point 3 The columnist for “The Mail on Sunday” seems to assume that the audience agrees with him or her. No alternative opinion is offered, in his or her opinion, homeless people are all beggars and cannot be differentiated against.
The reporter reinforces their prejudice against the homeless by emphasising alarming facts about the few that become beggars. “… Who have frightened, intimidated or harassed visitors”. – Line 77 The “Shelter” article is far more “reader-friendly”, in that bullet points are used which makes it easier to read and digest. Text is segregated to allow the eye to travel to important facts and pictures are also used to draw attention to the plight of the homeless. Also, a cynic is created to give the writing a sense of personality and to involve the reader further into the issue.
To persuade readers that Britain’s tourist industry is being damaged, the journalist uses imagery and lexis, which portray the homeless as vermin. He or she writes about tourist centers being “hounded by a new plague”, a clear reference to the time when rats brought the Black Death to Britain. The verb “hounded” has unpleasant connotations of homeless people hunting in a pack following the scent of the money or “rich pickings” brought by “unsuspecting visitors”. A semantic field of vermin is developed throughout the piece, and this is reinforced; the homeless begging for money are “pests”, and “scroungers”.
“Pouring in to… ” another reminder of the historical context of the first plague. The use of authority figures in the “Mail on Sunday” piece persuades the reader into thinking that they people in authority know more about the issue and that they should be believed. The tone of the piece is very formal which I think I a technique to make it sound more knowledgeable. On the other hand, the “Shelter” leaflet has a mix of formal and informal tone to it, and elision is used which makes the piece sound conversational.
Sentences begin with conjunctions and instead of describing things, informative language is used to gloss on facts and elaborate. The semantic fields of the two pieces are rather different. The “Mail on Sunday” journalist does not seem to have any sympathy at all for the homeless and gives them a bad name and implies that they are not human beings like everybody else. In comparison, the “Shelter” article oozes with sympathy for the homeless and portrays the councils and Government as unsympathetic and callous.
The two pieces are alike in the way that they both have many statements in the pieces to inform the readers and in the case of the “Mail on Sunday”; give an opinion of the journalist. The “Shelter” writers use rhetorical questions to bring the readers into the article and to question their opinions and I think that they are trying to make the readers feel guilty about their opinions. Again, to persuade readers, authority figures are used to reinforce what the journalist is saying. “Superintendent Steve Green” – Line 88 “Homeless Dave” – Line 93.