How Does Bill Bryson Use Humour to Entertain His Reader?

1586 Words Dec 18th, 2011 7 Pages
How does Bill Bryson use humour to entertain his reader?

‘Notes from a Small Island’, written by Bill Bryson is a reflective travel journal comparing Bryon’s past views and opinions of Britain, his expectations and thus the reality of what he discovers it to have become. Bryson uses satire, humour, irony and sarcasm to generate a pace and lucid flow within his writing, and for the reader this can be thoroughly captivating and entertaining.
Immediately as the book opens, Bryson establishes an informal and incredibly comic register. We are readily exposed to his frequent use of each cities’ semantic field, colloquialisms and his unique writing style, which hence make the classification of this book as a travel journal, questionable yet
…show more content…
Bryson’s last visit to the UK was in 1973, and he remembers almost everything his last trip comprised of. Therefore, his expectations of the Britain he came to see were severely shattered, when he realised that it had hardly changed at all. ‘When we at last began to accumulate children, it turned out they didn’t like these books at all because the characters in them never did anything more lively than visit a pet shop or watch a fisherman paint his boat. I tried to explain how this was sound preparation for life in Britain’ This statement is highly ironic, as we see Bryson, as someone desiring nothing more than to return to the British Iles, his excitement at Dover and his constant reminiscing throughout the course of the book all prove so. This shows that however, upon arrival, Bryson was exceptionally underwhelmed by his use of irony to create humour. The use of the word ‘accumulate’ suggests the gathering of children, as opposed to the creating and bringing them up. As if children were objects or just popped out of nowhere and were collected as items; this is quite a funny way of seeing it, and as a reader we sympathise with Bryson when trying to realistically explain the dull and boring extent of British life. This is also reflected in his further choice of words, ‘they didn’t like these books at all because the characters in them never did anything more lively than visit a pet shop or watch a fisherman paint his boat,’ Children are renowned for