Novel when the professor got stuck in the snow

Two men were sitting opposite one another in an otherwise empty railway carriage. The first was hidden behind a large newspaper while the second, a man of indeterminate age who went by the name of Smee, looked out at the landscape as the train made its way through the countryside. The carriage was warm, but the trees were bare, and ponds were freezing over. Ducks could be seen walking on water. I wonder if it will begin to snow, thought Smee. It certainly seems cold enough.

This moment of idle conjecture was brought to an end by a series of snorts from behind the newspaper, followed by a Ptchwwfffff. The paper was folded, to reveal an exasperated face. “Take a letter for me, Smee.”

“Certainly, Professor.”

Smee opened his computer. His fingers hovered over the keyboard, waiting for the words to flow.

After a little academic chin stroking, the Professor began. “To the editor of The Daily Telegraph of London: Sir, I find it quite extraordinary that you have allowed your newspaper to be used as a forum for the propagation of poppycock. Today you published an article by Justin Welby, the – quotes – Archbishop of Canterbury – close quotes – in which he discusses his – quotes – faith – close quotes. This is a man whose entire life revolves around his belief in fairy stories. If this piece had appeared on your world-renowned funnies page it would have been in some way understandable, but to treat it as serious comment defies common sense. You might as well have told your readers that there is a goblin with a purple face. With all best wishes, Richard Dawkins – brackets – Professor – exclamation mark – exclamation mark – exclamation mark – exclamation mark ...” The Professor thought for a while longer. “... exclamation mark. How many exclamation marks are we up to, Smee?”

Smee counted. “That would be five, Professor.”

“Hmmm ... Four would not be quite enough, and six excessive. I am resolute that five is the correct amount. Close brackets. The end. Put it in one of those email things of yours and send it off, would you?”

“Certainly, Professor,” said Smee. What a mind, he thought. What a brilliant mind.

The Professor closed his eyes and began to make having-a-nap sounds, and with each man occupied in his own way, neither noticed the first snow begin to fall. It was powdery, hardly snow at all, but before long the flakes were coming down large and thick, and there was no getting away from it.

Winter had arrived.


The train juddered to a stop, rousing the Professor. “What is the meaning of this?” he thundered. He blinked for a while, until the world came into focus and he deduced the root of the problem. “Ptchah. One little snow flurry and the country grinds to a halt.”

Smee pulled an expression that indicated agreement with the Professor’s comment.

“Remind me, Smee,” said the Professor, “where are we going?”

Smee checked his notes. “Upper Bottom, Professor, where you are due to give a talk at the village hall to the All Bottoms Women’s Institute on the subject of ‘Science and the non-existence of God’. It’s not until tomorrow afternoon, so I’m sure we’ll get there on time.” As Smee spoke, he wondered where this confidence had come from. Far from being one little flurry, the snow was now so thick that the landscape had all but vanished.

The public address system clicked into life, and a voice filled the carriage: “Dmmf a vmmph whmpf crumph a sthmph wpff tmphf mmpff hmpff.”

“Are we in Wales, Smee?”

“No, Professor, we are in the very heart of the English countryside.”

“Then why is the conductor speaking in Welsh? Proud language as it is, it hardly seems appropriate.”

“It wasn’t Welsh, Professor, it was just a rather fuzzy-sounding announcement.”

“Are you telling me that was supposed to be Her Majesty’s English?” he raged. “It was an inaudible disgrace. I shall be writing one of my letters about this. Could you understand a word of it?”

What type of text is it? What is its title? Website address?

This is an extract from the fictional novel "When the professor got suck in the snow" written by Dan Rhodes.

Who are the primary and secondary target audiences? (age, gender, ethnicity, interests ect.)

The primary audience are people who are from Britian (there are references to british culture in the passage, "Her Majesty’s English") who are probably athiests, as the main protagonist refers to religion as fairy stories. Professor, the leading character, is considered a man of science and goes around disproving religion. Those people will also love humor and references to popular culture (mainly british refernces). Any gender would read this novel.

What is the text’s primary purpose and secondary purposes?

The text's primary purpose is to deliver a humourous story of fiction, which features characters who are in a fictional world much like Britian. Its primary purpose is to deliver the message about the internet and how much we can trust it. The other message is about religion and science, which explains for the Professor. His role in the story is to challenge religion with science.

What contextual aspects of the text are important?

The novel was published on the author's blog in 2014 but was officially published on 2015. This was because the author wanted to get this book out faster and publishing houses were refusing to publish the book due to the fear of getting sued. In the book the character Professor Richard Dawkins is based on the real life Professor Richard Dawkins. The author claims that he named the character Richard Dawkins, Professor Richard Dawkins as the Professor wouldnt mind it as he is a defender of satire and free speech.

What important language/ linguistic devices contribute to the text’s purpose?

As seen in the passage language is important for the characterisation of the characters. The professor is seen to be using informal and authoritative language when he talks, showing that he is a proud, egoistic man. Smee, the professor's helper, is seen to be using mainly formal language. The use of formal language shows that he respects the professor and thinks highly of the professor. There is the use of imagery in the novel to describe the surroundings for the readers to imagine and feel that they are part of the story, spying on the main characters ("It was powdery, hardly snow at all,").

Is phonology important?

Onomatopoeia is also used in the passage to show the annoyance (“Ptchah") of a character or surprise. The technique, onomatopoeia, is also used to let the audience imagine the sounds of the engines or any other sound producing object.

Is syntax important?

Syntax is important expecially when the characters are talking. The author seperates the speeches of the two characters into seperate paragraphs, so that when read it is easy to distinguish which of the two characters is currently speaking. The lengths of the sentences are also important as shown in "Winter had arrived". This compound sentences makes it more dramatic

Is grammar important?

Grammar is important to show the character's personalities. When the grammar becomes more lax and informal it shows that the character is more comfortable and relaxed. Smee is shown to use proper grammar to show that he respects the professor and wants to leave a good impression. Grammar is especially important when refering to the characters. The correct use of pronouns is important so that we as an audience knows which of the two men are being referred to.

What about pragmatics? (author's adgenda)

The author's adgenda is to deliver the message that people shouldn't believe everything online. That people might get more ignorant instead of more open minded in this current age of the internet.

Is typography important?

In the novel a plain font is used for clear reading. That plain font is also used so that the audiences focuses on the story.

Visusal images, charts and graphics?

There is a visual image at the cover the book. Other than thats the book is devoid of any other images. Usually books cartered to an older audience do not have much images in them unless it is a chart or diagram, which the text is refering to. A novel generally keeps a constant format throughout to ensure it is uniform and doesnt distract the reader from the story.

Other striking features?

There are some themes which could be picked up from the extract of the novel. Such theme includes science, religion, power and more. Novels usually have themes in them, which are sometimes talked about throughout the whole novel.

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