Patrick Carlyon’s article ‘Where the Hell is Everyone?’ is a detailed account and discussion on the Black Saturday bushfires. It looks at the events during the destruction of Marysville, a regional town north-east of Melbourne. Towards the beginning of the article we are given a brief history of Marysville. It tells us about he things and the people in the town, its history dealing with the threat of fires and the luck they’ve had in avoiding them, it tells us about the timber mills that used to exist there and even gives us a bit of insight into the local fire department.
Carlyon uses a sort of timeline throughout the article. Commentating what was going on at different time. He begins at eleven in the morning, talking about the elderly men at the local bowls club. Carlyon constantly relays the perspectives of victims as the story unravels. The stories of the victims consistently bring copious amounts of emotion into the article. These stories really set the mood of the whole article. The times he mentions people dying or being close to death, the destruction that the fires caused, and the pain that the families went through it creates quite a solemn and glum mood.
Carlyon writes with authority, his direct use of facts, statistics, specific dates, and first-hand accounts from people that lived through it all give the reader a sense of understanding of the events and doesn’t cast any doubt. His language throughout the entire article commands a lot of power, it’s clear that, while trying to write an objective and accurate depiction of the events surrounding and including the fires, there is a sense of passion in the way he writes. He also paints very strong pictures in what he says, he talks about the fires sounding like planes and trains, he talks about people suffocating in the smoke, he makes sure the reader is able to clearly picture the scenes he is talking about and he ensures the reader is able to sympathize with the victim’s stories as best possible.
The article is very effective in making the victims human. Carlyon takes great care in the way he speaks about each victim, giving us information about who they are, sometimes giving us part of their background and even going as back as to talk about when certain people were married. He wants the reader not only to learn about what happened but gain an awareness, and awareness for the dangers that fires pose and awareness for the people out there that have been affected.
Overall Carlyon has presented an article that strikes at people’s heart and pushes them to sympathise with the people, learn about everything that really happened to the people surrounding the fires rather than just the obvious physical destruction. He has created an article that will resonate with the people that read it and have an impact on the way they view and understand the Black Saturday fires.