Ordeal by Hunger Objectivity

Ordeal by Hunger Objectivity

For this Task I choose an excerpt from “Ordeal by Hunger the Story of the Donner Party”.   I feel this particular piece of Non-Fiction gives us an eyewitness account of the tragic events suffered by the participants of the 1846 expedition to California by the Donner Party.   The book is written by George Stewart who was a novelist and a professor of English at the University of California Berkeley campus.   Stewart wrote mostly fiction but ventured into some non-fiction historical work on occasion.   Mr. Stewart paints a very descriptive picture of the events as the search party reached the camp.   He tells us that as Mr. Cody and Clark reached the first camp, they witnessed sighting Jean Baptiste who was carrying a severed human leg. (Stewart, 1936)   Mr. Baptiste, upon sighting Cody and Clark, threw the leg back in the hole that contained the body of Jacob Donner. (Stewart, 1936)   Stewart give’s a description of the condition of the body like that of a modern day police report.   He describes facts like, the arms and legs are severed, the trunk is sliced open, and the heart and liver are missing. (Stewart, 1936)   The book was written in 1936 when writers did not use strong descriptive language like that.   I feel Stewart overtly described the scene to draw more attention to the story and sell more books. The descriptions didn’t need to be detailed to the point they were for the reader to understand the story.  
Stewart’s subjectivity was that of an author describing the story to sell books.   In another paragraph Mr. Stewart describes the words of the (housewife) who had claimed Mr. Baptiste was sent to borrow the food referring to the leg like it was a piece of meat purchased at a modern day grocery store. (Stewart, 1936) He could have communicated the story with less gore but he didn’t.   In those few paragraphs I felt like I was listening to a carnival barter trying to sell me a ticket into the tent behind him to see the bearded lady.

My approach to a student who...

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