In the extract “Adolescence” from Bob Geldof’s autobiography “Is That It?” there are numerous issues such as sex, peer group, fashion, music and religion raised in the extract. Geldof uses strategies and techniques that positions me as a reader to respond in a certain way to the issues represented in the text.
One way that Geldof positions us to respond to fashion is by the technique, point of view. It is through first person’s point of view where the secret thoughts of a single character are transposed. And that happened through Geldof’s point of view. While the point of view is through Geldof’s eyes, we can see that he appreciates fashion according to its role model and wore different sorts of clothing’s right throughout the text. Not only does this text uses point of view to respond to this issue, but also with the use of short syntax. By using short syntax, it is trying to make a point to us whereas long syntax’s is used to change the setting. To illustrate my point, here is an en example taken from the fifth paragraph, “At fourteen I liked clothes. I wore shirts that has different coloured collars with a tab button. I wore denim shirts with a false polo-neck beneath the open shirt collar.” The words in this extract are vivid and simple. We are positioned to see that he seeks new fashion according to its current role model.
Selection of detail is another method where we are positioned to respond to the issues right throughout the text. The selection of detail such as “denim shirts” “false polo-neck beneath the open shirt collar” “plastic belt with a huge tin buckle” etc, shows us that he is going through his adolescence life where he starts to like clothing’s and he becomes more of a person in his prime, getting involved with politics and reading. We are positioned to see that he is going through the time of intellectual expansion into a mature one.
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He uses descriptive words to create the characteristics of adolescence in him. “I felt sorry for his loneliness, but I did not want to be with him. I wanted to be with my friends. There is no point in a forty-years-old trying to come to terms with someone who is fourteen or fifteen.” This shows that he is fonder of being with his peer group rather than his family. He believed that peer group is more essential than family. And not only is he selfish but he also tend to be self-focused “My father is irritated by my reluctance” and that is what the adolescence character’s are like. We are positioned to make out that it is true, what he is going through is his adolescence experiences.
Sex is another issue in the text that helped to create the humour in the start to get us as readers into reading the text. In Ireland, there are restrictive social environment with regards to sexual expression, so sex was a competitive event in those days, and most of them carried their only condom which was smuggled in like it was a good luck charm. At break, the boy’s talk would always turn out to be sex and it was peer pressure to belong to the crowd even if it means lying or pretending. But it was ironic that sometimes, they had to hide something because the people wouldn’t believe them. Geldof was one of the people that had to hide something from everyone else because no one at school would have believed despite the fact that he had his first time with Mrs Armstrong. We are positioned to see that sex symbolised manhood and that it was bloodthirsty.
The last issue represented in the text is the church. Geldof hated the church with a passion. They were almost his natural enemies. Geldof tries to make fun of the priests and the churches by mocking them with stupid questions like “What sort of fish is it?” Not only did he mock them, but he also talked back to the priest and this shows that he is brave however, not respectful. When the day you are born the church seeks to own you, which was the reason that Geldof hated the church.
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We are positioned not only to see that the church is a symbol of control and Geldof’s attitude is presented negatively on it but also that he liked the way of freedom and independence.