Messages in Bottles

Messages in Bottles

Messagesin Bottles

Everywriter usually has a particular purpose they intend to fulfill fortheir readers. The purpose is usually to convey a particular messageor theme to the reader. For the writer to do so successfully, theymust employ writing skills through using an understandable style, acontent that is familiar to the audience, and presenting the workusing a structure that enables the reader to understand intendedmessage. &nbspEric scigliano and Curtis Ebbesmeye’s book,Flotsametricsand the floating world,typically shows how an author can employ good writing skills topresent their masterpiece in a manner that is not only desirable tothem, but to the reader as well. Of specific interest is chapterthree,” messages in bottles”( Scigliano and Ebbesmeyer 43). It isevident that Scigliano and Ebbesmeye employ the chronological styleof writing where one event leads into another. As the reader readsthrough interesting sequence of events from the migration of thewriter’s parents to Seattle to the entire experience with theoceans and the creatures that inhabit it, it becomes generallyagreeable that the structure of writer intended to create a coherenceof events rather than rushing into the details of oceanography. Achronological structure of events leading into each other areflective and passionate voice that the writers use and avocabulary choice that targets a typical oceanographer were thepowerful writing weapons that endeared Scigliano and Curtis Ebbesmeyeto the reader. Apparently, the purpose of these authors was to showthe reader that the journey was tough and humiliating, but thecircumstance and hardships that befell them did not stop them fromfulfilling the ultimate dream: elaborate on the progression of oceanscience.

Thewriters also chose to use a reflective and passionate writing styleas a way to authenticate the assertions and the experiences in thestory. In the beginning of the chapter, the reader experiences theemotions that characterized the writers’ background, the hurdlesthat his family gas gone through, and the eventual death of hismother. The writer is also quick to point out that regardless of thehardships and challenges such as his father’s frequent ailments(colon cancer, skin cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and Lupus), hisfather remained an inspiration and the source of his interests inoceanography and sea life. Indeed, it casts a brief moment ofreflection. The content of the writing is the ultimate aspect thatlets the writer advance themes and communicates with their intendedaudience. For instance, &nbspScigliano and Ebbesmeye choose theirvocabulary in a manner that reveals their target audience. The targetaudience is possibly professionals who understand oceanography andalso other people that have an interest in voyaging and sea life aswell.

Itis obvious that Scigliano and Ebbesmeyer intentionally use technicalwords and acronyms as a writing style so that the primary targetreader enjoys the adventures of oceanography. However, it is worthnoting that they are also accommodative in many different ways. Forexample, on page 47, the writers reflect about the predicament ofCliff Barnes who is suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and losestouch with the immediate world including the writers. As thenarrator had mentioned earlier on, oceanographers love to party.Thus, the narrator emphasizes that bit by reflective how Cliff usedto attend their parties at Evans-Hamilton. Any reader wouldunderstand this chronology of events including those without abackground in oceanography. It is the notes that Cliff left to thenarrator that lets the writer to slip back to a vocabulary that onlyoceanographers can comfortably read through without seekingclarification. An example is “CTD”, which stands forconductivity, temperature, and depth (48). Although the narratorexplains that the acronym is the name of a digital device thatmeasures level of conductivity of ocean water as a way to determineits salinity, only professional oceanographers would enjoy this kindof word choice.

Thereis no other way the authors could demonstrate to their reader thatthey have a mastery of the topic. Of course, the chronology of eventsshow that one technical issue leads into another, but the deliberateuse of professional vocabulary is also a sign that the authors valuedefinitive words in the narrative to give it an authoritative voice.Hence, it is agreeable that they invoked an authoritative writingstyle to complement the reflections and passions they exhibit fromthe beginning of the narrative. For example, the narrator writesthat, “Again we found speeding hypersnarks-fast-moving water slabsformed by the tidal collisions at the Tacoma Narrows-infesting theentire basin.” This phrase is evidence of the writers’ intent tocreate a sense of authority as a writing style. The diction usedreveals the narrator’s professional world without any doubt. Wordssuch as “hypersnarks, water-slabs, basin are all in the context ofthe oceanography and no ordinary reader can understand them from alayman’s perspective.

Atsome point, especially towards the end of the chapter, the writersuse a causal writing structure as a way to emphasize the main themeof the chapter. Firstly, the title “messages in bottles” refersto the oceanographic drifts (messages placed in bottles and droppedin the ocean so that whoever gets them communicates back to theperson who threw the bottle in the ocean through the contacts writtenon the paper inside the bottle) that have been used for many years byoceanographers to understand the movement of oceanic currents.Through the study of the oceanographic drifts, oceanographers hope tounderstand the movement of oceanic currents and the effect they haveon the movement of gas and oil deposits in the oceans. On page 68 ofthe chapter, the writers decide to be overly authoritative by usingan impersonal writing style. One would guess that the intention ofthe authors was to concentrate on addressing the professionalaudience. In fact as one approaches the end of the chapter, theyrealize that Scigliano and Ebbesmeyer intended to address a moreprofessional audience than a general reader. For instance, theywrite, “Another gospel bomber, Everett Bachelder, achieved animpressive 10 percent return rate with bottles released in the remoteBering Strait………On the scientific side, Prince Albert Ielicited an astonishing 14 percent return rate, even thoughbeachcombers were far less numerous in the later 1880s”(68). Thiscontent shows that the target audience was professional and thenarrator had a person who understands the struggles of his professionin mind.

Thecontent, structure, and the writer’s style of presenting the novelare the best evidence to understand the purpose of this interestingbook. The content if purely professional and the oceanographers andalso people interested in the profession are the target readers.&nbspEric Scigliano and Curtis Ebbesmeyer, therefore, decided to usean authoritative, reflective, and passionate writing style to be intouch with the target audience. Chronological and causal writingstructures are evident throughout the chapter. This was meant toreveal the struggles of the profession throughout history. As much asthe reader needs to know that it took a lot experimenting to makestrides in the field of oceanography, it was important that theauthors attach it to the experiences of the narrator.


Ebbesmeyer,Curtis, and Eric Scigliano. Flotsametricsand the floating world.HarperCollins e-Books, 2014.