THE LIGHT THAT FAILED
The text under analyses is an extract from R. Kiplings novel The Light That Failed. R. Kipling is a short-story writer, poet and novelist of the late 19thearly 20th c. His best works are known all over the world. Among them are: The Jungle Book, Kim, various verse and tale, and The Light That Failed as well.
The main character of a given extract is Dick Helder, a successful artist, who unexpectedly notices some problems with eyesight and decides to visit an oculist the best in London. Out of the blue he comes to know that he is going to become blind due to the old wound gotten during the war time.
In this extract we can trace the concurrence of the title of the novel and the event that reflects the title, that is Dicks oncoming blindness, we come to know that LIGHT is literally going to FAIL.
The extract is told by the 3rd person narrator who is omniscient; however it is interposed with the 1st person narrator thoughts Dick himself.
The present text is written in a very emotional way. The mood of the text is rather suspenseful, and this mood remains throughout the extract. We are able to feel Dicks emotions from the very beginning , when he seeks the best oculist in London, which proves the fact that he is worried about the spots before his eyes. Dick tries to convince himself that he can see as well, as he ever could by saying Ive neglected the warning of my Lord Stomach too long. Hence these spots before the eyes, Binkie.
As we learn the mood Dick dwells in, we come to the setting of the story the hospital. We plunge in a terrifying atmosphere of FEAR that resembles throughout the text. FEAR is a key word in the text and it is repeated throughout the extract. It is described very profoundly when Dick enters the dark hall, leading to the consulting-room and a man with a sick and worried face cannons against him. A great fear comes upon Dick, a feat that makes him hold his breath.
The oculist waiting-room is described with the help of several epithets reflecting the gloominess of the surroundings, such as HEAVY-CARVED furniture, the DARK GREEN papers, the SOBER-HUED prints on the walls. All these create the dull atmosphere and foreshadow bad news.
On the walls Dick recognizes a reproduction of one of his own sketches, which proves the fact that he is a popular artist in London.
The unpleasant atmosphere is also forced by a FLAIMING RED-GOLD Christmas-carol book, these colors are associated with smth aggressive and demoniac, and even the verse printed in RED ink irritates Dick as it contains words about blindness.
The next good joy that Marry had,
It was the joy of three,
To see her good Son Jesus Christ
Making the blind to see;
Making the blind to see, good Lord,
And happy may we be.
Praise Father, Son, and Holly Ghost
To all eternity
Dick reads and re-reads the verse till his turn comes and the doctor was bending above him seated in an armchair. By this we notice how helpless Dick is, and nothing is in his power.
Then the whirl of words comes, Dick catches only allusions to scar, frontal bone, optic nerve, extreme caution and avoidance of mental anxiety. By this, reader may feel that ground goes under his feet, and his world is divided into BEFORE and AFTER.
By the sentence He finds a glass of liquor brandy in his hand we again notice the accentuation of Dicks helplessness.
Dick can hardly speak, a good metaphor is used to describe it : He speaks coughing above the spirit.
As he leaves the doctor he is rapturously received by Binkie, his dog, his friend and his only support. Binkies role in this text is very significant. It is well known that dog is considered the best friend of a men, who gives all itself to the master and doesnt ask anything in return. At the moment of such a grief, Dick needs exactry this kind of support.
Dicks state of mind is expressed by an oxymoron LIVING DEAD, he cant imagine life without seeing the world around him, he wont be able to paint, so his life wont have any sense.
The climax of the extract is presented by several parallel constructions: Were to shut up in the dark in one year if were careful, and we shant see anybody, and we shall never have anything we want, not though we live to be a hundred. By saying we Dick shares his blindness with Binkie, trying to reassure himself.
There is no resolution in the text, as it is only an extract from the novel.
To my mind, the message of the extract is aimed at teaching us to be submissive in situations that are out of our control. In this text we see the stages the main character goes through when he learns the horrible news. First goes shock and fear, next is denial and at last submission comes.
In my opinion, no matter what happens, we should keep calm, and try to find the way out of every situation, even the one that seems hopeless.
The text under analysis is Charles written by Shirley Jackson. Shirley Jackson is an American novelist and short-story writer of the 20th c., she mostly writes horrors, usually set in every day surroundings. Her works include The Lottery, We have Always Lived in the Castle, The Haunting of Hill house. However, Charles is a delightful one about a boy in a kindergarten, is in a sharp contrast to these works.
The main character of the present story is a little boy Laurie, who has just started going to the kindergarten and who changes due to the begging of new life.
This story is told by the 1st person narratorLauries mother. When Laurie starts kindergarten, his attitude undergoes a drastic change: he grows more disrespectful towards his father and no longer entertains his mothers outward displays of affection.
Lauries parents are greatly amused when Laurie returns home every day from kindergarten with outlandish stories about a classmate named Charles, who constantly misbehaves in school. Charless mischief becomes so notorious that his name becomes a legend in their family. Lauries mother looks forward to meet Charless mother at the PTA meeting.
However, at the meeting, she cannot pinpoint which parent is Charless. She purposefully corners Lauries kindergarten teacher, whose diplomatic report on Laurie sounds like Lauries description of Charless behavior, but Lauries mother does not notice it. Instead, she cites Charless influence on Lauries behavior. Finally the teacher says that she does not have any student named Charles.
The story is written in a very emotional way, it is intricate and ironical.
The exposition of the story is the very beginning when we can imagine the scene when loving mother watches her little boy goes off the first morning with the older girl next door, seeing clearly that the era of her life was ended. Her sweet-voiced nursery-school tot replaced by a long-troused swaggering character even forgot to stop at the corner and wave a good-bye to her.
Laurie comes home the same way, the front door slamming open, his cap on the floor, and the voice become raucous shouting; there even no hint on a sweet-voiced little boy. This is, the very first day author introduces Charles to readers. Laurie tells about this boy in such an exciting way, that parents are totally engrossed with this stories and dont notice Lauries obvious lie. When talking, he doesnt address to his parents, instead, he addresses bread and butter, and talks with his mouth full.
So, readers may come to the conclusion, that the conflict of the story is hidden inside Laurie; he is living 2 lives and obviously enjoys it.
This humorous story demonstrates how even individuals living under the same roof may not fully realize the nature of each other’s true identities. The narrator- Lauries mother is naively unaware of her own son’s bad behavior in school and is too willing to believe his descriptions of some other misbehaving child. Even though her own son’s behavior changes when he enters kindergarten, she chalks this up to Charles’s influence.
The author of the story injects enough hints regarding Laurie’s behavior at home to give the reader the sense that the boy’s descriptions of Charles are actually of him. For example, Laurie begins to exhibit disrespectful behavior towards his parents, such as calling his father an old dust mop or by a school teaser when he asks his father to Look up. Look down. Look at my thumb. Gee, youre a dump.. In addition, when mother asks the name of the misbehaving child, Laurie stops to think before answering. The reader can assume that he must take a moment to make up the name of his alter ego. However, the narrator-the Lauries mother is ignorant of this, though she may be subconsciously rejecting the notion that her own son could be so badly misbehaved.
Laurie creates Charles to serve as a foil to Laurie’s supposedly angelic behavior at home with his parents. Through Charles Laurie can tell his parents all about his misbehavior at school without receiving punishment. In addition, his parents will still consider him their lovable and well-behaved son. Perhaps in his attempts to adjust to school socialization and also maintain his parents’ affection, Laurie resorts to Charles as an alternate identity through which he can express himself, entertain his parents, and receive attention at school.
The conflict of the story is broken by several complications, which are all new stories about Charles misbehavior at school. Day by day Laurie comes with new stories, his parents wait for new ones anxiously, and when one day Laurie comes home with a good story about Charles the kind of disappointment came upon them. Paradoxically, but Lauries parents are not interested in Lauries school days, instead they were totally absorbed with talks about Charles.
In Charles most of the conversation occurs during the lunch. In fact, the sense of place is so contained that one can imagine the story as a contemporary sitcom, with the days going by in a linear fashion and the action taking place on one set where the family eats together. Attending only to the reports that her son gives about the events of Charles at school, the mother does not provide any visual details about this lunch setting.
However, the story is very detailed in the chronological development of events. The narrator specifically names each day of the week in tracking the stories her son tells about Charles. At lunch on Monday, the first day of school, Laurie acts insolently toward his father and mentions Charles for the first time; on Tuesday, Charles kicks the teacher; on Wednesday, he bounces the seesaw on the head of a little girl; on Thursday, he pounds his feet on the floor; and on Friday, he throws chalk. The narrator tells us that on Saturday, after this horrific first week, she asks her husband if kindergarten is too unsettling for Laurie, a notion her husband dismisses. The story continues with this day-by-day account of Lauries stories about Charles. The mother similarly lists the events for the following week on a day-by-day basis, then summarizes weeks three and four as looking like a reformation in Charles in that Laurie has no bad stories to report.
Therefore, the introduction and rising action takes up the majority of the action of the story. Readers hang on like Laurie’s parents waiting to find out what Charles did that day in school. It is not until Laurie’s teacher tells his mother that there is no Charles in her classroom where both readers and Laurie’s mother come to know the truth. This is the climax, falling action, and conclusion. No resolution is given for the reader or Laurie’s mother. (defeated expectancy effect)
THE ANT AND THE GRASSHOPPER
The text under analysis is a short story belonging to the pen of popular British writer, William Somerset Maugham. For nearly fifty years he produced a stream of novels, short stories, and reminiscences, as well as a number of plays of less merit than his nondramatic work. He has been described as a major literary craftsman of the century, and his work reflects his high regard for clarity, lucidity and simplicity of style. His most famous novels are Of Human Bondage, The Moon and Sixpence and Theatre.
The title of the story, The Ant and the Grasshopper, is quite predictable, it alludes to the well-known fable of La Fontaine which has the same title.
Maugham uses the fable to introduce his story of the Ramsay brothers, the readers expectations from the development of the plot are already determined to a certain extent. The author recalls his childhood and how he learnt certain of the fables of La Fontaine by heart back then (flashback). One of them was The Ant and the Grasshopper, its an inner story and its similar to the story of Tom and George. This fable teaches the useful lesson that in an imperfect world industry is rewarded and giddiness punished. The ant spends the whole summer gathering its winter store, while the grasshopper sits on a blade of grass singing to the sun. Winter comes and the ant is comfortably provided for, but the grasshopper has an empty larder: he goes to the ant and begs for a little food. The ant asks what the grasshopper was doing all summer. And gets the answer: Saving your presence, I sang, I sang all day, all night. So, the ant replies: You sang. Why, then go and dance. Such an introduction supports the title, develops and strengthens the intertextual connections between the pretext and the present text.
Maughams The Ant and the Grasshopper is a story about 2 brothers who has rather different lifestyles. They are the representation of ant and the grasshopper of La Fontaines fable. Tom (the grasshopper) takes life easy while George (the ant) works hard, takes no joy and in turn gains very little happiness from life and at the end Tom, with all his faults, is the lucky one; while George with all his virtues ends dull and upset.
In this story the author uses the retardation of the exposition, it helps to create tension. The narrative structure of the story is framing, the beginning and the end of the story coincide. It contributes to the integrity, compactness and completeness of the text.
The exposition is practically blending into the rising action (3rd paragraph), such stylistic devices as hyperbole (as though the burden of the whole world sat on his shoulders) and litotes (Im not in hilarious spirits) and priority implication (He sighed. Yes, its Tom again) plunge the reader into the events and support the interest to the very end. The reader starts wondering who is Tom and what he did (narrative hook).
The choice of short simple sentences (He wanted to enjoy himself. He would listen to no expostulations. He left his wife and his office.), anaphora initial repetition (he) make the rhythm and style of narration muscular, energetic, pulsating.
The whole story is built on contrast as means of foregrounding. The writer opposes the characters of the two brothers. George is considered respectable, hardworking, decent, respectable, and straightforward, Poor George, only a year older than his scapegrace brother, looked sixty. He had never taken more than a fortnight’s holiday in the year for a quarter of a century. He was in his office every morning at nine-thirty and never left it till six. He was honest, industrious and worthy. He had a good wife, to whom he had never been unfaithful even in thought, and four daughters to whom he was the best of fathers. He made a point of saving a third of his income and his plan was to retire at fifty-five to a little house in the country where he proposed to cultivate his garden and play golf. His life was blameless., whereas Tom is portrayed as an idle, worthless, dissolute, and dishonorable rogue, charming and unscrupulous. I have never met anyone to whom it was more difficult to refuse a loan. He made a steady income from his friends and he made friends easily, For twenty years Tom raced and gambled, philandered with the prettiest girls, danced, ate in the most expensive restaurants, and dressed beautifully. He always looked as if he had just stepped out of a bandbox. Though he was forty-six you would never have taken him for more than thirty-five. He was a most amusing companion and though you knew he was perfectly worthless you could not but enjoy his society. He had high spirits, an unfailing gaiety and incredible charm. I never grudged the contributions he regularly levied on me for the necessities of his existence. I never lent him fifty pounds without feeling that I was in his debt. Tom Ramsay knew everyone and everyone knew Tom Ramsay. You could not approve of him, but you could not help liking him.
We can see the authors irony in describing George, the narrator seems to be mock-serious when proclaiming sympathy with him (Poor George, ).
The contrast is skillfully employed in presenting different angles of vision of the two brothers. Throughout the whole text we dont see Toms direct speech, the author describes it indirectly I have never met anyone to whom it was more difficult to refuse a loan., he made friends easily, you could not but enjoy his society, etc. So, we can say that Tom was quite eloquent. As for George, he didnt forget about his work and talked like a layer You’re not going to deny that, And you can’t deny that.
At the end of the story we can see Georges real face, he is angry and envious (George grew red in the face., George Ramsay beat his clenched fist on the table., It’s not fair, I tell you; it’s not fair. Damn it, it’s not fair.)
The narrative structure is focal for the message of the story. The development of the action turns into a somersault story in which the outcome is opposite to what the reader expected (defeated expectancy effect).
Message: The fable carries the message that hard work is rewarded while laziness is punished. The story presents a more realistic view of the world. Sometimes good things do happen to lazy or even quite bad people, causing them to end up better off than those of us who work hard all our lives.