GCSE English question 2 - past paper

Homes and crops wrecked, but relief sweeps Queensland in Yasi's wake

The headline concisely conveys the information about the events described in the article: the homes and crops were wrecked by the cyclone in Queensland, Australia. We learn from the text that the cyclone was given a name 'Yasi'.

The headline consists of two parts, divided by a comma accentuating two opposite feelings the people of Queensland have.
The first part is very dramatic. We learn about 'homes and crops wrecked' by the cyclone. The word 'wrecked' is very effective because it implies total destruction of places where people lived and crops which gave people income. This is linked to the text informing us that 'cost of damage is ... about A$3.5bn'.

The second part of the headline conveys the opposite feeling. The author informs us that 'relief sweeps Queensland'. The juxtaposition of the words 'wrecked' and 'relief' builds the dramatic effect and even deeper sign of relief when we learn that people of Queensland woke up 'with collective sense of relief' because no deaths were reported. This is also a relief for the reader.

The title also plays on the double meaning of the words 'wake' and 'sweep'. The residents of Queensland literary woke up to learn about the cyclone and to realise that the region will have to clear. This suggests that the survivors will have a great deal of work to do and will need a lot of money.
The picture shows the situation in the morning. It is dramatic and absolutely contributes to the people's feelings and information in the article. The house is damaged; it cannot even serve as a shelter. Debris is all over the place and this is the link to 'sweeping up' meaning from the title.

To the right, a mother and her son look very tense. They cling to each other; the boy’s face seems to be resentful, whereas the mother looks at the house, away from the camera, perhaps she is not keen on talking to media. It may also suggest that even though she is happy that they survived, she is, however, worried about the future. Many houses 'would be barely habitable' unless the wrecked 'was cleared', we read in the article. And that probably reflects the two feelings we find in the title.


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