To compare how the authors manipulated the audience.
In the extracts ‘To Dream of Stars’ by Peter M. Ball and ‘State of Wonder’ by Ann Patchett, it is
evident that both authors attempted to manipulate the readers, however, the fundamental difference
is the subject matter and the ways and methods in which each author uses to manipulate the readers.
In ‘To Dream of Stars’ Ball presents a subject matter of curiosity, an innate human trait that has
been cultivated for hundreds of years, and in order to present this idea of curiosity, Ball uses a
young child, John Flamsteed, ‘three days shy of his twelfth birthday’ as the vehicle to drive his
perspective. Ball utilises the metaphor of the ‘Royal Observatory’, a man made structure, to
symbolise the curiosity that is found in human nature and as the main catalyst which ultimately
influences John to take the risks to satisfy his craving of curiosity. Ball’s perspective on curiosity is
that it is a powerful feeling that can provide vast amounts of knowledge and information, however,
humans must go to great lengths and take risks in order to satisfy the consuming feeling.
Ball utilises a range of methods of manipulation in order to push his perspective onto the reader.
Ball employs visual imagery ‘tower…dominating the horizon, a crooked silhouette against the
twilight’ to tell us that the tower will play a big role in the story as it stands out against the ‘twilight’
showing its power and ‘dominance’. Another use of visual imagery ‘the length of the tower twisted
like the four-joined finger of a great and alien hand’ creates an ominous feeling, that the tower may
be dangerous. This is reinforced when John’s father orders him to keep his ‘Eyes off it’ and that ‘It’s
evil … and dangerous’. John, an obedient and religious boy, does what his father orders, however,
the curiosity built within him and the ‘sight’ drags his heart to the tower, ‘The sight of it pulls at his
heart, luring him as though he’s been hooked on a silvery strand of twine wrapped around the
tower’s domed tip’, this wonderful use of simile and personification locks in his feeling of curiosity
and his urge to find more about the tower. Furthermore, John discovers the sheer danger of the
tower through the rumours and folktale of the people of the town, ‘yellow texture of the tower
comes from tiles made of dragon bone, that its twisting mass is held upright by prayer and dark
magic’, this allusion to magic scares John being a child of God, however still the power of curiosity
forces him to ask more questions, which in the end is still does not ‘satisfy his thirst for
comprehension’. Finally in an attempt to completely cure him from his curiosity John traverses to
the tower as his ‘compass’ through the night, another simile again showing its power. When he
reaches the tower, he ‘examines the pale shingles’, ‘They feel like the smoothed edge of a
predator’s incisor, noble, deadly and beautiful’, this use of simile affirms his feelings...