Running with the Bulls — Language Analysis

Running with the Bulls — Language Analysis

Running with the Bulls — Original Text

Cascais, along the coast from Lisbon, Portugal, has been described as a ‘picture-postcard perfect little beach town’. Its scintillating colours amazed me when I arrived. The orange roof tiles shone like fire in the midday sun; the stately buildings stood resplendent in their smart coats of colour wash. Best of all, the twisted shapes of the walkways…

Take me to the original text
Take me to the mark scheme

Question 2

Re-read the descriptions of:
(a) the town of Cascais in paragraph 1, beginning ‘Cascais, along the coast …’;
(b) the atmosphere and the events as the ‘Running with the Bulls’ is about to begin in paragraph 3, beginning ‘The bull run takes place …’.
Select words and phrases from these descriptions, and explain how the writer has created effects by using this language.


First of all, the writer illustrates the small town at midday as a warm place. This is shown when he writes: “The orange roof tiles shone like fire in the midday sun”. A simile is used in this sentence, where the orange roof tiles were described as fire. This shows both the brightness and colourfulness of the roof but also emphasises the hot temperature of the town. The writer uses personification to express the sense of uniqueness, elegance and impressiveness of the buildings. These adjectives are often used to describe humans, are used to depict the buildings and show the reader that Cascais is a town which is immaculately cared for by its residents and is also unique in appearance due to the extraordinary pallet of colours on the buildings. Additionally, it shows the magnificence of the buildings. The colour wash is described as the “coats” of the buildings, highlighting how these special decorations had been put on and they were being shown off by the buildings. Besides these, “the twisted shapes of the walkways and the square were designed in shades of blue and grey to look like gentle waves lapping up to the entrances of the hotels and the fish restaurants”. The simile here describes the walkways and square at the entrances of the hotels and the fish restaurants as “gentle waves”, which shows the soft, soothing and relaxed environment of the small town on the beach, creating a calming tone.

In the third paragraph, the significance and unusualness of the bull run are both shown by the writer. The imposing grandeur of the scene is illustrated by the writer when he says ‘Hundreds of tanned men descended on the beach and started gesturing frantically, shouting “touro, touro!”’ The use of repetition creates a grand rhythm, foreshadowing the start of an significant event. By doing so, the writer encourages readers, making them eager to continue reading and find out how the event goes, allowing readers to immerse in the situation and anticipate the bull run. Furthermore, when the bull run started, the writer says: “A truck bearing five fairly menacing bulls drew up on the sand”. The word “menacing” alarms the readers by expressing the threat brought by the bulls and potential risks of the activity. At the same time, this description hugely differs from the calm and soft feelings in the first paragraph, the sudden change of atmosphere is surprising, which strengthened the idea that the bull run was unpredictable – anything could happen, and unusual from any other events in the world. Therefore, the significance and the unusualness of the bull run was emphasized by the writer.

Hope this helps! Please post a comment should you have any questions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *