Two 1789s, Which One is Better?

As shown above, I’ve compared pages 19-22 of the novel, The Pale Assassin, by Patricia Elliot, with a textbook called The French Revolution (Heinemann History Study Units) by Peter Mantin. From both texts, I took out the sections that had to deal with the first year of the French Revolution: 1789. When comparing the sentence types in the passages, I noticed that the book had way more sentence variation than the textbook. Peter Mantin describes the history of the French Revolution in short and brief sentences, compared to the beautifully structured sentences of Patricia’s. Because The Pale Assassin centers around a fourteen-year-old noble, you can sense an overall tone of scary or being worried. Also, because the reader is supposed to sympathize with the protagonist, the dialogue was tinged with a little royal bias and child-like innocence. On the other hand, the textbook is objective, teaching you the timeline and events that happened in 1789. Speaking of teaching, since all you need to learn about the French Revolution is the facts, the textbook barely includes any figurative language, other than prepositional phrases that give a sense of date and time. This contrasts the rich words and language in the book — appositive phrases, prepositional phrases, and personification. As well as literary devices, Elliot uses a big range of vocabulary to paint the picture her book depicts. I was disappointed to find out that the textbook did not do this too, as a non-fiction source should be the text that would give you the most detail. But alas, The French Revolution is only meant for you to learn the gist of the history of France, unlike the novel, a historical-fiction genre tale.

Not surprisingly, the two texts have very limited similarities. Both of the passages are about 1789, the period of the first turning points in the revolution. Both do show most of the facts, but this is because they take place in the French Revolution. What more can you get out of it?

 

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