• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Write a practical criticism of the first chapter of ‘Devices and Desires’ - Consider in particular how PD James creates suspense and drama.

Extracts from this document...


Write a Practical Criticism of the First Chapter of 'Devices and Desires'. Consider in particular how PD James creates suspense and drama. PD James' strength is creating complex and believable characters that fill the book. Her plots are imaginative and subtly hidden in the story. We read and delve deeper into the characters minds and motives. The suspense is superbly built up with a realized sense of time and place. In the first chapter of 'Devices and Desires' we see how the drama and suspense is brought to a climax and used to great affect in creating interest and mystery. The style of writing, which does not stay at the same tone throughout the chapter, really adds to the whole drama and intensity of the story. In the opening passage PD James uses direct and factual language giving a lot of information rapidly, "Valerie Mitchell, aged fifteen years, eight months and four days." This very specific and accurate presentation of facts is very much reminiscent of a news report or police statement that is the extent of the detail involved. ...read more.


The soft touches in the word choice incredibly grab you attention. For example "This was the end", is very ambiguous as it could mean the end of Valerie or the end of her social life, but it is only ambiguous because the opening line already told us that Valerie will die. Also later in the chapter these subtle hints begin to get stronger, "My dad'ul kill me" and some irony , "I'll be safe" really pushes you to believe Valerie may not die even though you know she does. This makes the incident more heart-wrenching as you begin to feel sympathetic towards her as she has done no wrong. Also some personification is entailed into the writing with fear becoming alive. There is some use of simile, "brightly lit ship sank out of sight" but the deeper meaning of this imagery is that it is a lost cause and little hints like this occur regularly and add to a more dramatic and sinister undertone to the passages, with the repetition of the murders echoed everywhere that Valerie goes also adding suspense. ...read more.


In my view this is influential in our perception of the character and PD James may have intended this to be the case as then we would not just glance over and take in that the Whistler had another victim, but get involved by knowing what the victims background was and the events leading up to the murder. Also the drama of the first chapter increases with Valerie interacting with other characters, this creates a false sense of security for us and the character as we assume she is safe as she is in the company of two old people. But due to the dramatic irony that we know she will die we suspect everyone who she comes into contact with of being the Whistler. The build up of suspense and creation of drama is added upon with the continuing tension of when the killer will strike. PD James has structured the first chapter extremely well with underlying messages and calculated word choice giving a true suspense being added on all the time to the inevitable climax of the murder. Even though it is known that the character will die, we are still intrigued and our attention is kept by the tone and descriptive telling of the event. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Ian McEwan section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Ian McEwan essays

  1. Kite Runner- analysis of first chapter

    Another important observation is that Hassan is the Kite Runner in the novel and since the title of the novel is Kite runner, it clearly shows the significance of the role played by Hassan. It probably shows that Amir, who is the narrator, is not the central character of the

  2. In Mark Haddons Curious Incident of The Dog the narrative voice of volatile teenager, ...

    that both children are more or less reliant on their imagination and often this can provide an escape from reality. The implications of this are that it becomes hard to differentiate between whether the differences between Christopher and Matilda is as large as previously thought.

  1. Janet Frame Towards Another Summer" Chapter 15 Analysis Essay

    Though her mental illness, childhood and divided sense of place permeate this Winchley market venture, Grace's personal growth as an individual is evident also, where Grace remarks "Wonderful, Grace agreed, with a brazen air of - I like flashy things, you know, I appreciate this market!".

  2. Analysis of chapter two- A handful of dust

    John Andrews telling nanny how 'beautiful' Jenny is, is suddenly followed by Jenny telling Brenda how 'sympathetic and gently' Tony is, and this speech is followed again by Tony telling Brenda Jenny 'is just a joke.' Waugh structure of speech make it a more real scenario- this juxtaposition and difference

  1. 'Prejudice is reasonable if it preserves culture' - To what extent is this the ...

    terms of attempting to sacrifice the truth based on prejudice in order to 'save face' and ensure that desirable social consequences occur. This mindset is similar to that presented in 'A Passage to India' with Ronny sending Mrs Moore to England in order to preserve the social structure that suits the colonialists.

  2. Despair in James Baldwin's 'Another Country'

    been interpreted as a major cause of Rufus' fatal despair: at the moment of his suicide he remembers Leona, and the guilt synonymous with her demise; Eric, and the discontentment inherent within his repressed sexual identity. Through this, the sources of Rufus' despair are encapsulated: the accumulation of guilt and

  1. Write Bourne's account of the attack on Chapter 16 using his voice and capturing ...

    It's the cold. If only there was something to do. The worst part it was waiting. Doing nothing and waiting. At least, when I'd been preparing the ladders, my mind had been on the task. But now, there was nothing to do but wait.

  2. In this essay I will analyse a section of language from the opening chapter ...

    dejected blob underneath Mo?s question mark? this continues throughout the text and gets the reader further into the novel creating the readers own imagination to picture what the fictional characters look like. The towns? name ?Cricklewood Broadway? takes the readers imagination to a place of grandeur, bright lights and pretty faces and people.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work