How does the intended audience affect the tone and content of a written piece?

“Different readers make different meaning from the same piece of writing. Is it someone from within your field of expertise? Or is it someone who will not understand the terminology used from your field? Or will your writing reach people beyond your intended audience? Understand your audience and tailor your writing in content, tone and language to meet the needs of your audience.”

"A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life." -Charles Darwin

Crashed Dreams
When I originally thought about writing this essay, I thought choosing a topic would be simple. As I started to contemplate my choices I realized that nothing in my life has impacted me more than the suffering that my sister has endured. My parents have three daughters and I couldn’t ask for stronger sisters. At age twenty one, my oldest sister Kelsey is stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan serving for the U.S. Air Force. My other sister, Kayla, is in her sophomore year of college at Bryant University and she could not be more content with her life. When someone this close to you feels the slightest bit of pain, it is world-shattering. Having witnessed a friend losing a battle to cancer, several friends commit suicide, and a family member being deployed to Afghanistan for war, nothing seemed to compare to watching my sister have to overcome the toughest year of her life.
This horrifying year that had a profound impact on my life started on July 20th of 2010. My sister was a senior in high school and I was just entering my sophomore year. It was a gorgeous summer day and as usual my sister and I were headed to our soccer game. We had to drive one town over to Madison for the first game of our season and since I didn’t have my license yet, Kayla drove us in her new emerald green Honda Civic, which we had recently named Roy. Roy wasn’t all that new but he was certainly new to her.
Heading to this game, neither one of us ever would have ever imagined that it would be the day that would forever change our lives. As we arrived in Madison, right around the corner from the high school where the game was located, I began to change into my soccer jersey. We approached a four-way intersection where we had to take a left making our destination appear right in front of us. With the green light stalling, my sister slowed down, waiting to turn as on-coming traffic steadily passed our car. What happened next was a blur. Before we could react, Roy had spun in the opposite direction and smoke filled the air. When I called my sister’s name, there was no response. I turned my head and saw her hopping on one foot to the corner of the road by the curb. I quickly sprinted out of the car to assist her. She sat in the thick grass in the yard of nearby house as I called my father using a stranger’s cell phone. I already heard police and ambulance sirens from a distance heading our way. I cannot quite remember the details too vividly but I do recall the sound of my sister’s voice, shaking, gasping for air from crying. She apologized at least a dozen times, “Kendra, I’m so sorry. Look at your face. I’m so sorry.” Little did I know at the time, I should have been the one to apologize to her. No one would ever be able to comprehend how lengthy this recovery would be for her at the time.
I stood silent behind my sister while she cried and screamed for help. She asked that I sit on the yellowing grass next to her and keep her company. Her ankle was entirely distorted and a small stretch of bone pierced out from her pale skin. She couldn’t look at my face, covered in deep abrasions and blood. She had false thoughts that the accident had been her fault. I don’t blame her for another driver speeding at fifty miles per hour and hitting our car head-on.
We lay together, side by side, in the ambulance with dreary thoughts clouding my mind. I kept my sister company in the emergency room, laughing all night and comforting her. We joked about my banged up face and the fact that I had two broken wrists. But the same couldn’t be done for my sister; we couldn’t really mock her injuries. My sister came out of the hospital with a broken ankle, not to mention pieces of her dashboard that had penetrated her ankle and her knee. That plastic was pulled out and stitched back up easily, and there would be ankle surgery to insert metal rods and screws coming up shortly. I bonded with my sister while she rested on our couch, completely immobile and in pain after surgery. I assembled all of her schoolwork and brought it home to her daily for weeks as she recovered. Sadly, the other kids that my sister was once friends with began to exclude her due to her lack of mobility and ability. I didn’t mind sitting on the couch, talking with my sister and occasionally helping her change or get up to go to the bathroom; I honestly enjoy assisting people, while others do not. Soon my sister’s social life became nonexistent and as a teenage girl in a small town this was difficult to deal with for her. The only other fixation that kept my sister happy was her sports. Although my sister wasn’t capable of playing fall soccer this year, she was already thinking about softball in the spring. At one point she even considered track. As winter came around, Kayla began to feel pain in her ankle again. She went to a different orthopedic this time and he claimed that her first surgery was done incorrectly and she would need another surgery in order to relieve this agony. My sister’s senior year of high school, “the greatest year” of everyone’s life, turned into easily the most ill-fated year of Kayla’s life. She spent her year in and out of physical therapy, surgeries and doctor’s appointments. My sister spent her senior prom, graduation, senior picnic and after graduation class festivities on crutches. My sister wasn’t even able to participate in her class’ senior skip day because of the fact that physical therapy was making her miss too much school already. My sister’s grades dropped dramatically due to her absences as well.
All hopes of a speedy recovery quickly went out the window. Kayla had to go to her college orientation lugging around her own body weight while on crutches. Luckily she was able to rid herself of the cast and was put into and air cast instead. She still felt pain but the discomfort was said to be natural. Her healing eventually progressed and she began walking with no assistance by the time college had come. This was her new beginning where no one at her school knew or referred to her as “the girl who was on crutches during orientation.”
Nonetheless, this was her fresh start. My sister was very lucky that she was offered the opportunity to leave her sorrows back here in Clinton, Connecticut and befriend entirely new people. In observing this experience, even though I was not directly affected, it really helped me adopt a new outlook on life. I believe that everything happens for a reason. My sister is now known across campus because of her infamous glittery cast and crutches. Fellow classmates didn’t dismiss her as incapable, but instead embraced her minor limitations. Also, my sister would never have tried crew if she had been able to play her regular sports in high school. This prolonged pain that my sister had the strength to overcome, start clean and move forward from, showed me that even the most challenging obstacles can be defeated. I would definitely consider my sister’s senior year a depressing burden. Yet the fact that she received the chance to begin a new chapter in her life made her successful, just as I wish to be.