Love in the time of mobiles (my bold)
excerpt from the Sydney Morning Herald.
So, you are holding out against the mobile scourge? Give in. They are here to stay. And, as Lauren Martin writes, the changes they have wrought affect everyone.
In the West, dumping the ex by text message has become the chic way to end a relationship. In the United Arab Emirates, it's the sheik way to get a divorce. Truly. While Islamic law says men must declare the end by saying "I divorce you" three times, a court in Dubai set a precedent for allowing the sentiment to be delivered via text message over a mobile phone.
The no-fuss bust-up plan got the blessing of a senior Malaysian cleric, too, though a prominent female politician there is campaigning against it.
Mobile phones are changing everything, everywhere. Seduction, school, families, fashion, friendships, churches, crime, courts, language: it's everybody's lifestyle now, whether you've got one or not.
Now, the Deconstruction
Single word analysis :
Scourge. The word itself is a strong one, usually meant to imply something unpleasant, unliked, in fact hated by some. Looking at its context in the article, it is coupled with the idea of "holding out", which implies that there may be people who are resisting the change being wrought by mobile phones so much so, they think theyre a "scourge". When you look to the next line, this group are shown to be out of touch told to give in, in fact.
This is not meant to be a serious directive to mobile phone haters (as the rest of the article points out many negatives, as well as positives, of mobile phone ownership), more an indication of how common mobile phones have become in our society. It is also an attempt at a light hearted beginning the dramatic "scourge" is a deliberate exaggeration of the concept being expressed.
The first sentence (most likely by a sub editor trying to attract the readers attention) reveals the purpose and cultural concepts inherent in the article. It starts with a rhetorical question, which develops deliberately exaggerated conflict and tension to attract the reader it creates the impression of a bunch of people in bunkers, holding out against the evil mobile phone. The tone suddenly changes with the deliberate juxtaposition of "give in" a recognition of defeat, and a call to retreat from the bunker. "They are here to stay" reinforces the idea of defeat, as well as the current reality of mobile usage. Then the composer is revealed, to add a person for the responder to connect to. After this, the reader is being asked to take an interest in the article, with the expression "affect everyone".
The cultural assumptions behind this can be gleaned the following way : there must be a group of people who consider mobile phones to be bad and useless to them, otherwise those people would not be mentioned. This implies that there has been, and still could be a conflict in society between the non mobile users and mobile users. This is a continuation of many of the science and invention - related battles held throughout history, as characterised by many writers. The composer is not taking the objectors seriously, as this is not a story about them necessarily. They are being used merely as a tool to generate humour. The composer is showing the belief that mobile phone usage is an inevitable part of society, and that the readers of the Sydney Morning Herald would be interested in such a topic (especially when prefaced with the title "Love in the time of Mobiles". In this sentence, the structure is :
1. Conflict 2. Juxtaposition 3. Resolution 4. Purpose.
Whole text. This is an article that reveals the proliferation of mobile phones, and the way they are affecting one of human beings most important emotional activity love. This article reveals the direct effect of inventions onto the emotional life of people.
It uses light hearted, flippant language in describing divorce (as highlighted in bold), to reflect her intention of showing how mobile phones have degraded important relationship moments. The "no fuss bust up" approach to divorce to put at the beginning to attract the reader with humour in this case, the hypocritical and heartless actions of some Islamic people the "Other" in Australian culture the person who is not European, Christian, "like us". After this is the serious material, which is the bulk of the article social analysis. The analysis here is not too serious the use of alliteration sets up a light tone for the rest of the article.
This same approach to analysis can be used for visual texts as well. Everything can be analysed in detail.
However, it is very easy to miss the forest for the trees. It is not possible for you to do this style of analysis for every piece of writing, nor is it necessary. You do need to find important passages of all your books, films and novels and do this style of analysis, using research and hypothesising to gain your answers. Then, find a happy medium between close, detailed analysis and whole text analysis.
Finally, in the new HSC and other exams, remember to make the close analysis direct and serve your vision of the text.