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Aaqib Ahmed

Need Detailed Critical Feedback......

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:D

 

Alhumdulilah I've offered to help out my cousin with their english As coursework.

 

I need 10 people to give their feedback on the narrative below.

 

May Allah grant u jannah and give u immense happiness and blessings for helping me out.Ameen.

 

Thanks a lot for taking time out to help me,I'm very grateful for it. :D

 

"I require some help with my English (AS) coursework. I require feedback as part of my commentary which i have to do after. I need to ask around 10-15 people for critical feedback on my narrative.

 

A little background info: I decided to narrate a young boy’s journey from an eastern country to a western country. The central purpose was to achieve a text that is interesting, entertaining and where readers can learn something. The aim of the text was to describe a concise contrast between two contemporary societies. I have written a narrative text to be used as publication material ideally in a newspaper or magazine journal. Alternatively the text could be used as part of a resource pack for students investigating diverse cultures in subjects such as Geography and Sociology.

 

 

Heres the narrative:

 

 

I re-read Adam’s email:

 

To Yusuf,

hope ur prepared for Birmingham. The scrapbook,

guidebook & cameras I sent U should have arrived on Monday.

Try & read as much as U can, it’ll help. Can’t wait 2 see U on Friday,

Safe Journey mate!

Adam 

 

Indeed, I looked forward to leaving Baghdad. I printed Adam’s final email. Trimming it, I opened the thick, blue scrapbook he’d sent me and glued it in. All week I couldn’t concentrate, I was extremely excited about meeting Adam and seeing Britain for the first time. I was raring to go, but then I felt guilty at leaving Aunty, Uncle and my cousin Abraham behind. It was rather unfortunate they weren’t coming with me.

 

Friday morning - 6.15am Baghdad

 

The morning arrived and I rolled off the sheets, and jumping with joy. I peered outside and the darkness signalled to me that it was still early morning. I performed my ablution, grabbed my hat and sat next to Uncle on his cot. He smiled at me. The call to prayer had begun. As it continued, I pondered on the deaths of my parents 20 years ago. I missed them terribly. Me and Abraham had great fun with them- gallivanting in the rich streets of Basra, south of Baghdad. Uncle nudged me and I fell out of my memory. “Come Yusuf, let us start the dawn prayer” he remarked softly.

 

Having prayed, washed myself and checked my suitcase one last time, I joined my family in what we called the kitchen; a small, dark room consisting of a stove and cooking utensils. As I walked in, Abraham grabbed me into an Arabic hug. He was stronger than me and so squeezed me hard. “Have fun Yusuf and take plenty of pictures for me!” he said enthusiastically. I turned to Aunty and she hugged me too, very gently. She proceeded to kiss me three times as was the Arabic custom. Finally, I turned to Uncle, “I’m ready” I said. We walked towards Uncle’s car, a small silver Nissan he had inherited from my father.

 

Arrival at Birmingham International Airport

10.10am (British Summer Time)

 

As I walked down the cold metal steps, my eyes burned with curiosity. Large white buildings loomed in the distance. I entered the terminal and was amazed at people of all colours and sizes milling about. I noticed a sign calling out my name. Adam and his parents blissfully stood, waving enthusiastically. I approached them. “Welcome to England Yusuf. It’s great to finally meet you” Adam beamed elongating his words. He shook my hand firmly and pulled me into a light hug. “Great to meet you son!” a similar yet deeper voice boomed, “I’m Ben and this is my wife Jane”.

 

Arrival at Adam’s house

11.05am (BST)

 

“Wow!” I interjected as I got out of the car. “Everything is so big Adam!” “Yup, that’s why they call us Big Britain” he replied laughing into his hands. As we approached the house, I was bouncing with curiosity. The house rose into the sky and the front garden possessed a rainbow of flowers. Each house on the street sat close to its neighbour. We proceeded into the house. A light blue co-ordinated the wallpaper, carpet and picture frames.

 

“You must be hungry Yusuf. We’ll be eating lunch shortly” Jane told me. I walked into the living space and was overwhelmed. The TV was as flat as a newspaper. The table was tucked away into a corner and small dark blue sofas appeared enticing. I sat down next to Adam and felt like I was sinking. “What a beautiful living space” I commented. “This is nothing Yusuf” Adam smirked. “Wait till you see the Town Centre”.

 

Shortly afterwards, Jane reappeared holding two steaming trays. “Lunch is served” she announced. “Fish an’ chips” Adam and I said in unison. The fish was long and white, unlike the small black fish I was used to eating. I bit in and sweet butter wrapped my tongue, dissimilar to the spicy flavour back home. Next I tried the chunky chips, twice as big as small thin fries served in Iraq’s cafes. I found it odd eating on a table using a fork and knife, something which we rarely did back in Baghdad. We ended the meal with tea. “This is amazing” I told Adam and his parents as I sipped the tea. “Iraqi tea is served in very small cups, without milk. But this, it’s big and tastes rather sweet with milk.” We continued comparing our nations whilst Jane put the dishes away.

 

The Bus stop

1.15pm

 

“Now” Adam revealed, “I’ve arranged for us to take the bus to the local gallery.” Unlike the small black cramped rickshaws I often rode on in Baghdad, I was confronted by a tall, bulky red bus. The doors hissed, momentarily startling me. As I walked on I was surprised to see the inside of the spacious bus resembling a house-like atmosphere. Thick red poles snaked in different directions and the seats faced the road, giving me a sight I was not used to seeing in the rickshaws.

 

Birmingham Local Gallery

1.50pm

 

We entered the “Time Exhibition”. Ahead of us lurked a long, thick black telescope. I peered in one of the holes and witnessed how planets orbited the sun. A fusion of coloured planets whizzed past me.

 

Next we tried the run-clock. “Can you run faster than time?” the small board challenged. We each took a strap. “Let’s race” said Adam. Suddenly a green light flashed above us and we surged forward. My legs moved faster and faster, blood roaring through my veins. “TOOOT” a klaxon exploded. We both finished six metres after the clock. Gasping, we walked out of the exhibition. “That was really exhilarating for my first ever exhibition” I beamed.

 

Adam’s room

4pm

 

“Tada!” shouted Adam. “This, my friend is a Playstation. You can play any game you want” I knelt down and marvelled at the small black box. “Let’s start with racing” Adam suggested. Time crept by whilst Adam led me through his game collection. The local Iraqi store offered black and white games, which were nothing like the vibration, sound effects and multi coloured sensations I experienced when playing with Adam.

 

Saturday morning

11am

 

Yusuf sat on the stairs pondering about Baghdad. He felt slightly isolated without the call to prayer awaking him in the early morning. “Morning!” Ben greeted him. “Hi Ben” he responded. “We’re going to Town Dad, see you soon” shouted Adam and we walked out of the house.

 

Birmingham Town Centre

11.30am

 

As we approached the Town Centre, a market emerged on my left. Assortments of fruit and vegetables were densely arranged. The shouts of owners, trying to persuade customers to buy their food was drowned out by the heavy surge of vehicles constantly driving past. A rather noisy and crowded market compared to the serene and open fruit markets situated on the outskirts of Baghdad I thought.

 

As we strolled ahead, a chubby bubble shaped building towered infront of me with small silver mirrors stuck on to it. Such bland creativity wouldn’t blossom effectively in Baghdad Centre I reflected. As I continued browsing, people emerged from all directions, armed with a selection of bags. The spirit of adventure warmed my blood, bringing a cherry glow to my face. Shops and stores were squashed together in long rows, twisting around roads and hotels, inviting customers in. A sight in contrast to the stores lavishly spread out in Baghdad centre.

 

“Welcome to Bull Ring Shopping Centre” a computerized voice greeted us.

We visited shops selling clothes, music, games and I lost count of the other things I saw. Everything you needed seemed to be packed all into under one roof. The day stretched on and feeling exhausted we sat, placing our bags on the floor. “Wait here” Adam told me. He emerged, a few minutes later holding two small bags in his hands. He thrust one infront of me. “What’s this?” I enquired. “Open it” he instructed. Inside was a large, puffy, golden brown pasty, something which I rarely purchased from the Baghdad stores. I bit in and layers of soft cheese covered my tongue. “This is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted!” I exclaimed, allowing the pasty to explore my mouth.

 

Adam’s House

12.25pm

 

In the hallway, Adam and his parents surrounded me. “It’s been wonderful to have you here son” beamed Ben. “Yes, we hope you’ve enjoyed your time” chipped in Jane. “Thank you” I replied, “I’ve had an extraordinary time. Birmingham is such a vibrant city and discovering new things has really widened my horizons.” I hugged Adam and Jane for the final time and proceed towards the red Rover, waiting in the road. I climbed in, anticipating my journey back to Baghdad.

 

 

:D

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PropellerAds

Well, we can start off with these suggestions:

 

“I printed Adam’s final email. Trimming it, I opened the thick, blue scrapbook he’d sent me and glued it in.â€

 

This says that you are trimming the email AS you are opening the blue scrapbook.

 

Try this:

 

Having printed Adam’s final email, I trimmed it and opened the thick (no comma) blue scrapbook he’d sent me and glued it onto (a, the first, the) page.

 

OR

 

I printed and trimmed Adam’s final email and opened the thick blue scrapbook he’d sent me and glued it onto the page.

 

OR

 

I printed and trimmed Adam’s final email and opened the thick blue scrapbook that he’d sent me. I glued it onto (a, the first, the) page.

 

“I was raring to go, but then I felt guilty at leaving Aunty, Uncle and my cousin Abraham behind. It was rather unfortunate they weren’t coming with me.â€

 

If you’re going to use one “my†try it in front of “Aunty†instead of in front of “cousin†or leave it out completely.

 

Try this:

 

I was raring to go, but I felt guilty for leaving Aunty, Uncle and cousin Abraham because they weren’t coming with me on my adventure. (trip) (journey)

 

OR

 

Although I was raring to go, I felt a sense of guilt because I was leaving my Aunt, Uncle, and cousin Abraham behind. I would have liked to have them accompany me on this adventure.

 

OR

 

I was raring to go, but because they weren’t coming with me, I felt guilty for leaving Aunty, Uncle and cousin Abraham behind.

 

 

“…jumping with joy. I peered outside…â€

 

Remove the period and replace it with a comma.

 

 

“As it continued, I pondered on the deaths of my parents 20 years ago.â€

 

You can’t ponder ON something but you can ponder SOMETHING such as:

 

As it continued, I pondered the circumstances of my parent’s deaths, which had occurred 20 years ago.

 

-----

“Me and Abraham had great fun with them- gallivanting in the rich streets of Basra, south of Baghdad.â€

 

Try this:

 

Abraham and I had great fun with them while gallivanting in the rich streets of Basra, south of Baghdad.

 

-------

 

“Uncle nudged me and I fell out of my memory. “Come Yusuf, let us start the dawn prayer†he remarked softly.â€

 

Try this:

 

Uncle nudged me and I woke from my reverie. Softly he said, “Come Yusuf, let us start the dawn prayerâ€.

-----

 

“…Abraham grabbed me into an Arabic hug.â€

 

Try this:

 

Abraham grabbed me and gave me an Arabic hug. [a traditional (Arab hug? – Arabian hug?)]

“He was stronger than me and so squeezed me hard.â€

 

OR

 

He is stronger than I am and he squeezed me tightly and said, “Have fun Yusuf and take plenty of pictures for me!â€

 

“We walked towards Uncle’s car, a small silver Nissan he had inherited from my father.â€

 

Try this:

 

We walked toward (no “sâ€) Uncle’s car, a small silver Nissan that he had inherited from my father.

 

AND? What happened next?

 

How about - We got into it and drove off to the airport. I was on my way.

 

There is a space in the time-line – the trip to the airport – the airport – taking off – the flight – the landing - etc.

 

Your friend gets in the car and the next thing we know he’s getting off the plane.

 

Much can be made of the missing time. His feelings about leaving, his reservations if any, his anticipation, was this his first time on an airplane, and whatever else he thought and felt.

 

“As I walked down the cold metal steps, my eyes burned with curiosity.â€

 

Eyes don’t burn with curiosity. Eyes can burn with hatred or burn with vengeance or burn with desire but not curiosity.

 

Try this:

 

….my eyes were wide with curiosity.

….my eyes brimmed with curiosity.

….my eyes were full of curiosity.

 

 

“I entered the terminal and was amazed at people of all colours and sizes milling about.â€

 

Try this:

 

I entered the terminal and was amazed to see people of all colours and sizes milling about.

 

 

 

 

I’ll answer any questions you and he have, so ask away.

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:D/peace

 

You've changed the whole narrative,lol. :D

 

Na,seriously,thanks a lot for your help,means a lot.

 

I did ask for "critical feedback" so that will do. :D

 

I'm very grateful for the time you put in to help. :D

 

Thanks again. B)

 

:D/peace

Edited by Aaqib Ahmed

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I have this feeling that the writer hasn’t actually been to Baghdad; there are too many mistakes in the description. I will not comment on the literary side, rather, my comments will be on the content side:

 

I joined my family in what we called the kitchen; a small, dark room consisting of a stove and cooking utensils.

 

Kitchens in Baghdad are neither small nor dark. The family usually gathers in the kitchen and it's one of the most important rooms in the house. The average kitchen size is 4 X 5 metres, hardly small in British standards.

 

 

“Wow!†I interjected as I got out of the car. “Everything is so big Adam!â€

 

The first thing that would strike an Iraqi when seeing Britain is that everything is sooooo small! tiny dark rooms, small windows, small houses, low fences, small gates, narrow streets. Oh, and don’t forget the driving on the right side of the road thing, in Iraq you drive on the left side. A very astonishing thing would be the old airport! compared to Baghdad International Airport, even the airport seems small even though it's actually much larger (maybe the only thing that is actually larger).

 

 

I sat down next to Adam and felt like I was sinking. “What a beautiful living spaceâ€

 

Again, ALL rooms in Britain are small compared to rooms in Baghdad (and in Basra). Rooms always seem small, dark and damp. Plus, they always seem too crowded with furniture, in Iraq rooms are very well lit with large windows and the furniture is usually lost in the size of the room; some people strip the furniture to the bare basics to add more space. It's also worth mentioning that in Iraq wall paper is almost never used and the wall are usually white, also to add more space and light.

 

 

The fish was long and white, unlike the small black fish I was used to eating. I bit in and sweet butter wrapped my tongue, dissimilar to the spicy flavour back home. Next I tried the chunky chips, twice as big as small thin fries served in Iraq’s cafes.

 

The writer definitely hasn’t been to Iraq, has he forgotten the masqoof? So large that one fish would feed a family, it’s also white and does not have spices in it. It does taste differently though because the fish in Iraq is freshwater fish from the river not saltwater fish from the sea, it’s also greasier. As for potato chips, well you are sooo wrong, the chips are in no way small and thin.

 

 

Unlike the small black cramped rickshaws I often rode on in Baghdad, I was confronted by a tall, bulky red bus. The doors hissed, momentarily startling me.

 

 

So wrong again, in Iraq the busses are also red double deckers with automatic “hissing†doors. However, you can say that he was amazed that the buss was well maintained, as opposed to Iraq where they didn’t maintain them unless they actually broke down and wont start.

 

 

“Tada!†shouted Adam. “This, my friend is a Playstation.

 

That is actually insulting, what makes you think that Iraqis don’t know what a playstation is?

 

 

The local Iraqi store offered black and white games,

 

Oh yeah?

 

 

As we approached the Town Centre, a market emerged on my left. Assortments of fruit and vegetables were densely arranged. The shouts of owners, trying to persuade customers to buy their food was drowned out by the heavy surge of vehicles constantly driving past. A rather noisy and crowded market compared to the serene and open fruit markets situated on the outskirts of Baghdad I thought.

 

The fruit and vegetable markets in Iraq, whether on the outskirts (A’lwa) or inside the city, are by far more crowded and noisy. The thing that first strikes you when you go to such a market in the UK is that you don’t smell the fruit and vegetables! Believe it or not, in Iraq you can smell the cucumbers (as an example) miles away (ok, that’s an exaggeration, but ALL the fruit and vegetables smell stronger in Iraq it makes your mouth water). Another note that the fruit and vegetables in the A’lwa are sold in large quantities, i.e. the least amount one would buy is 5 or 6 kg. no one goes to the a’lwa and buys a pound of tomatoes, you fill the trunk of your car. The third thing would be that in the a’lwa the fruit and vegetables are not washed, they come directly from the farm to the market.

 

 

with small silver mirrors stuck on to it. Such bland creativity wouldn’t blossom effectively in Baghdad Centre I reflected.

 

That is also insulting, why would one think that creativity wouldn’t blossom effectively in Baghdad centre? They are extremely creative; having a different style doesn’t make them less creative. Besides, such buildings don’t work well in Iraq’s climate; architects have tried it and found that the old fashion ones work better.

 

 

A sight in contrast to the stores lavishly spread out in Baghdad centre.

 

Wrong again, the shops in Baghdad centre are far from being lavishly spread out; they are actually very small (as small as 4 square meters in area). The ones lavishly spread out are not in the centre – so actually you have more than one type of market.

 

You could mention, however, that the small shops in the centre are indeed stores, they have no window, just a great big door that opens and the merchandize is stored inside during the night then during the day the merchandize is arranged outside the shop where the people passing by can look, smell and touch the merchandize and bargin with the shopkeeper the old fashion way for every single item they choose. The markets in the centre are also very specialised, you have the fabric market, the gold market, the spice market, the book market, the copper market…etc.

 

 

 

Hope this is useful.

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A couple notes you can add. If he went there in the summer, he can be surprised that it rains in the summer becouse in Iraq rain is strictly only winter. He can be surprised that they keep the carpt during the summer becouse it's customary in Iraq to remove carpet in the summer and put it back in the winter - an annual ritual.

 

Woden floors are not known in Iraq, all floors are tiled with mozaic or ceramic. Most Iraqi reactions are: "oh, that's nice - but how do you wash the floor? won't the wood rot?"

 

Supermarkets are not know in Iraq. Also, pharmacies (such as boots) do not develop films.

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