The 20-Mile Fall Essay

“The 20-Mile Fall” is an article that was written for Time Magazine describing the events prior and during Joe Kittinger’s record breaking jump out of a hot air balloon at over 98,00ft. The article portrays what thoughts and feelings he had as he attempted the jump and gave the reader a detailed account of how he had accomplished what he set out to do. Time Magazine is a very credible and popular magazine which has featured high profile people such as Barack Obama, Steve Jobs and O.J. Simpson.

To be written about in Time Magazine shows how amazing his accomplishment was and that the magazine felt it was worthy to have an article to tell the readers what happened. As the article was produced in 1960, Time magazine would also want to print an article about space exploration as this was this was the time of the space race so it would be of more interest to the public.The start of the article gives the reader some context about Joe and tells them what he is like.

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Th e use of a proper noun “Air Force” to describe him gives him credibility as being in the Air Force is well respected. In addition he use of premodifictaion “steel-nerved” shows that he is the best man for the job and creates a hero atmosphere around him. The use of a scientific semantic field, “altitudes”, “atmosphere” and “above sea level”, helps the reader picture themselves being there and is used to exaggerate his accomplishment, making it seem more amazing. This creates excitement as the reader is able to realise how determined and fearless someone has to be to pull of a stunt like this.

The graphology of the title “The 20-Mile Fall” which is bold emphasizes how far he had fallen and interests the reader as they want to know how he fell from such a height. There are also examples of journalistic features early on. The most obvious example is the use of the date at the top of the article which is common in journalism. In addition, writing his age in-between parentheses is also another journalistic feature that is uses all the time in newspapers and magazines.Military socialect “zero hour” is used to create excitement as it increases suspense and tension as he gets closer to taking off in the balloon. The article also pragmatically assumes that you know who Buck Rogers is as it uses coinage “Buck Rogerish” to describe his space suit. Buck Rogers was a character that travelled around space saving people as he went along.

This again ties in with the hero image that the article portrays him to be, as well as a space explorer like Buck Rogers.. This is further shown with “Being Joe Kittinger, he did not mention that in his radio reports” which portrays him as someone how gets on with things and wasn’t going to stop until his job was done. This is also a journalistic phrase.

Dynamic verbs are additionally used to create excitement and tension as they entertain the reader, reflecting the articles purpose. “Spin”, “soaring” and “unleashed” are all examples of dynamic verbs and create the tension for the reader. They also show how he isn’t in control Tension is further shown by the the use of cumulative prepositions such as “Up, Up, Up.” and “Down, Down, Down.” which show the reader how extreme the feat is and how he isn’t stopping. Journalism is further shown through the use of adverbial clauses of time “Before dawn on day.

..” and “Promptly at…” which help organise the article and show the chronological order it is written in.Count nouns are found throughout the extract and show the scale of what Joe is attempting.

Count nouns to show the hight he is falling from, such as “98,00ft” and “614 m.p.h” emphasise what he is doing and creates excitement as the reader is captivated by the height at which he is falling from. Again the Journalism is show by the extensive use of quotes and which give the reader a personal account of what he was feeling at a certain time. This helps the reader relate to Joe and understand his thoughts and feelings, as well as this being very common in newspapers and magazines.The article deploys lots of features of language to excite the reader and get them interested. The use of proper nouns and coinage compares Joe to a hero because of what he achieved.

This excites the reader as everyone likes to read about a hero. The article also uses dynamic verbs and quotes from Joe himself to add drama to the story, and make it more appealing to the reader. For this reason the story may have been exaggerated in some areas to make it more interesting to read.

The use of quotes and times are also examples of journalistic features which reflect the format the text is written in and the media type it is associated to, a magazine.


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