The First Day: Unseen Non-Fiction

For your English exam you have to write about a couple of media texts which you have never seen before.

Today, because it’s the First Day, take it easy and just write about one.

Click on the link below and read the article ‘Fastest Lady on Two Wheels’. Answer questions A1 and A2.

This should take you about half an hour.


Then you can have a mince pie, or something.


One thought on “The First Day: Unseen Non-Fiction

  1. Look at the first column of the article (to ‘That’s why I’ll ride it’).
    A1. What are Petronella Wyatt’s thoughts and feelings as she prepares to ride the TT course?

    Petronella Wyatt’s seems to feel very insecure and worried about riding the course. She has no confidence in herself. ‘In what insane moment did I agree to road test the TT course?’ This quotation shows that she is regretting that she agreed to test the course as she now can see the dangers ahead. ‘On the right, a seemingly bottomless ravine. This is the mouth of death; these are the jaws of hell’. By Wyatt’s describing the drop as the mouth of death-you can tell she doesn’t have faith in herself and ticking through her mind the whole time is the thought of ‘will I survive’.
    Also the way she comments ‘An American writer once compared riding a 1000cc motorbike round a hairpin bend to ‘diving into a pool and suddenly realising it has been emptied. He had it easy’ illustrates how difficult and frightening the task will be for her. It seems to be completely out of her comfort zone and this unsettles her.
    ‘If I fall off, there isn’t even any ground to hit’. The word ‘even’ shows her desperation and shock that she will just keep falling and falling until she plummets into the sea. Wyatt’s will be left helpless.
    “I’ll ride that one,” I say. “But that’s a 1907 bike,” protests Simon. “It only goes up to 25mph.” “That’s why I’ll ride it.” She seems to think that by having the older bike, that it will be her chance to escape the sticky situation she has got herself into. Wyatt’s seems very pleased with her suggestion and she seems even happier that it can only go up to 25mph as she has only driven a bike that goes up to 10mph. Her confidence is lacking and anything she can think of to get out of doing the race test she will try and do.

    You can tell that she has no clue what she has got herself in for as she turns up in a leather skirt and kitten heels. Her common sense seems to have gone out the window which illustrated that she is obviously not in the right frame of mind.

    Look at the rest of the article (from ‘Milky is having none of it’).
    A2. How does Petronella Wyatt get across to you what it is like to ride the TT course?

    Petronella Wyatt starts off a nervous wreck expecting the worst. ‘I notice that the starting line is opposite a graveyard’. She repeats this phrase twice which shows her aggravation and upset as she sees it as a sign that she is going to die. You can also tell she is petrified as she starts writing in shorter choppier sentences. ‘I am instructed to punch him if I become nervous. He has evidently never taken a course in logic. In order to punch him, I would have to let go of the straps. If I let go of the straps I will fall off and break open my head.’ Wyatt’s uses very blunt sentences which makes us feel worried for her as it is straight to the point and could realistically happen.

    Her use of metaphors gives us a good understanding of what it’s like to be driven on a bike going that fast. ‘My head flies forward as if it has been severed by an axe.’ The words ‘severed by an axe’ are very aggressive and strong, it makes you feel her pain and feel a wave of sympathy for her.

    ‘Sweat is trickling down my arms. Another graveyard flashes by.’ All she can think about is death and the consequences of what could happen to her. The word ‘trickling’ is very slow and calm; it’s like the count down to what could be her last few minutes alive.

    Once they get to the mountain, Wyatt’s describes the feeling as flying. ‘We are going so fast we are flying three feet above it. “Where’s the bloody ground gone?”.’ Her adrenaline is starting to set in; she seems to feel weightless and free with nothing stopping her going off the ground. This obviously unnerves her as she then asks where the ground has gone; she isn’t able to comprehend what is happening. Even though a few minutes later she is back on ground, she still doesn’t feel at all comfortable. Wyatt’s is then convinced that she is going to black out. By writing this phrase in such a short sentence, it gives a feeling of tension and suspense. What will happen to her?

    ‘Then suddenly, I feel a massive surge of adrenaline. It has finally happened and I want it to go on forever ‘. By the time her ride is coming to end her adrenaline finally sets in and she feels amazing. Wyatt’s wants the feeling to never end. Unfortunately it was only at the end that she enjoyed the ride to its full potential but she described the sensation as, ‘being on top of the world.’

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