The reader is often shaped by the verbal aspects of a text, but the non-verbal aspects of a text can be just as important in influencing the reader. The text Whose Life is it Anyway? Written by Brian Clark brings forward a powerful example on how the non-verbal aspects of a text are just as significant as the verbal aspects. The argument on passive euthanasia is brought forward in Whose Life is it Anyway?, where we see a quadriplegic, Ken, arguing his case about the right to die against Dr Emerson, who sees Ken as merely another patient who he must save his life. Ken's position is further backed through the use of setting, properties, dialogue and body language. The uses of the non-verbal aspects are important in reinforcing the meaning of the text, shaping the reader to become more sympathetic towards ken, further supporting his case.
The setting plays an important role, in establishing Ken's situation in Whose life is it anyway?. The reader is able to conform with the ideas built within the setting, and can further understand Ken's situation of helplessness "It's surprising what pastel colours will do, isn't it" Ken's wardroom is positioned centre stage as a dull and boring pastel coloured room, the whole play is effectively revolving around Ken. The pastel coloured room is symbolic of Ken's life and how uninteresting or dull it will be. The darkness illuminating Ken when the stage light is on other stage areas is symbolic on how Ken is kept in the dark about the decisions the doctors are making about Ken's future. The room is where Ken will remain for the rest of his life; the room provides a life sentence for Ken, acting as a prison. The non-verbal use of setting provides a powerful example to reinforce the idea on how Ken is trapped in a helpless situation; the reader is encouraged to feel sympathetic towards Ken.
Dr Emerson's Office provides much evidence of the Hospital Hierarchy that has formed.