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How does Swindells effectively create and integrate the characters of Link and Shelter into his novel "Stone Cold".

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Lizzie Gilthorpe How does Swindells effectively create and integrate the characters of Link and Shelter into his novel "Stone Cold" Link and Shelter are the two main characters in Swindells novel, "Stone Cold". They represent two extremes and their characterisation is shaped by Swindells use of language, imagery and by the atmosphere of the novel. The plot of "Stone Cold" involves the gradual integration of these two extremes that eventually collide in a dramatic ending. Swindells starts the novel using a direct and formal introduction to his character, "You can call me Link." By characterisation and tone Swindells then expands and gradually supplies the reader with more information, "It's not my name, but its what I say when anybody asks. Which isn't often." The tone is sarcastic and the character appears fed up with the route his life has taken, and as we read on reasons appear for this attitude. Link is our first character. He is a teenage boy, full of promise and potential until he finds himself homeless. In this novel he acts as our link to understanding the theme of homelessness, he is the link to finding the missing youths and in a more profound thought, he is the 'missing link'. He is a character, which searches and searches for something, which in the end he never finds. Link is our direct connection to the streets of London through his diary entries and use of adjectives. This style allows the reader not only to emphasise with Link but also actually see themselves in London's streets, feeling the excitement and fear first hand through their "Link". Swindells then introduces us to "Shelter". ...read more.


He feels anger and hatred towards his mother's boyfriend, yet feels embarrassed about his situation and that's why he moves to London, "I kept seeing people I knew", "You can't possible know how low it makes you feel." Link continues to show us an array of emotions and by the end of the novel Swindells has managed to incorporate nervousness, the confusion of lust and even terror when Link realises who the man he is left alone with really is and what he's capable of. Swindells novel heavily relies on imagery. Shelter uses a military way of expressing himself, such as, "breaking it in like a new pair of boots", "tour of inspection", "it was about 20:00 hours". When expressing his views on the homeless youths Swindells makes Shelter use derogatory imagery, metaphors and similes. Example of these are, "but I can clean up the garbage can't I?" this is a metaphor. Shelter isn't really talking about garbage at all; he's talking about homeless people. "He trotted at my heels like a ruddy poodle", "followed me home like a three year old." These are both examples of similes. Shelter is comparing his victims to pathetic, helpless things, such as children. Swindells does still keep the military connection though, "a gross error, like Hitler's invasion of Russia." This is again a simile, but uses his military background to base it on. The use of military metaphors creates the image of a cold-blooded trained killer who would have us believe that he kills out of necessity. The similes create images of putting animals out of their misery. Such as act would be one of compassion but I think it is clear that Shelter acts purely out of selfishness. ...read more.


By interacting these characters Swindells is creating tension and pace adding to the drama of the attempted murder of Link. It starts with a slow pace, and Shelter's fake concern. Swindells shows Shelter trying to persuade Link he's a 'nice' person and soon enough Link falls for it and follows Shelter into his house, "It was as simple as that". Link then starts to become suspicious again and Swindells increases tension with an increase of pace. Link tells us, "There was a tightening sensation in my chest", "and when the door slammed I cried out". This shows tension both within the character and writing which then transfers into the reader. This increase of tension increases until, "He was bending over me, brandishing his garrotte, when the siren sounded." Swindells uses this to send almost a wave of relief over the reader. Swindells relaxes his writing style towards the end. The plot has been unravelled and now needs rounding off. However, after this initial reaction of relief the reader is dismayed to discover that there is no happy ending for Link who continues to be homeless and has now lost his hope of love. By effectively creating a sense of tension and a varied pace Swindells managed to integrate and intertwine two main characters into one plot. He does this by using first person narrative and imagery to create an atmosphere so that by the end of the novel a surge of relief comes over the reader. At the end of the novel Swindells concludes with a rhetorical question, "It's a free country right?" because Link will never be free whilst he lives on the streets and he will never be free of his memories of Shelter. Lizzie Gilthorpe 10C 2937 words 1 1 ...read more.

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