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"...everything is not as it appears, oh no."

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Introduction

"...everything is not as it appears, oh no." The three short stories 'Next Term We'll Mash You', 'The Children of Grupp' and 'The Darkness Out There' all deal with the theme of appearance and reality. Penelope Lively uses a variety of techniques to illustrate the idea. The stories are written in the third person but each one reveals the thoughts and feelings of the characters. She uses irony and symbolic description of settings to help create the mood in each of the stories. 'Next Term We'll Mash You' is a sad tale which tells the story of an unnaturally quiet child named Charles who is going to be sent to "St Edwards Preparatory School", a private school where he will be bullied or "mashed" by the other seven year old boys. His parents, on the surface, look as though they care for him but this is shown not to be true. They believe that "St Edwards Preparatory School" will be the best school for Charles. It has a good reputation and that their rich friends, the Wilcoxes, also recommend it. But as we know, the real reason is so that they can compete with them. They show no concern for Charles' happiness, all they care about is their own reputation and their business interest, Charles never has his own opinion "'Are we all right for time?' ...read more.

Middle

This is like the themes seen in classical myths. The myth is the Medusa one where the gorgon is able to turn people to stone. It tries to express the disturbing elements in our society. Penelope Lively is trying to explain difficult problems. The idea to capture the awful suffering in society "Oh, but the thought of the Children of Grupp is beyond bearing" The central figure is Trevor, a teenage gardener, who will be turned into a statue because of the colonel's obsession with beautiful bodies. The story is a third person narrative but Penelope Lively gives us the thoughts of Trevor in places. "Waving their arses at you from among the trees" This makes the story witty but by the end of the story, the reader realises that he has liked the look of his aunt and other people who are now dead from the village. This shows that nothing in the beginning of the story is what it appears to be. An example of this is the fountain itself "The Medusa fountain, at the end of the famous Yew Walk, is of course the piece de resistance. The Medusa, framed by ferns and the dripping grotto, presides over the great basin of the fountain." ...read more.

Conclusion

It could be said she is justified in this because people are full of revenge during war time. Sandra and Kerry are horrified at her story. Kerry's spoon "Clattered to the floor; he did not move." He is shocked by her actions. I also agree to that Mrs Rutter shouldn't of let the soldier to die just because her husband had died due to it. Kerry decisively leaves the house. Penelope Lively presents Kerry through Sandra's point of view at first xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. She see's his acne and his "Lardy midriff." However, when he stands up for this own view and his brave and honest, Sandra see's him differently. "His anger eclipsed his acne..." This metaphor shows that she now admires him. Penelope Lively shows that it is Sandra who grows up. She stops having a perfect picture of the world and realises that "You could get people all wrong." The darkness is not the woods called Packers End where bad things had maybe happened. She knows life is not a fairy tale; there is no wolf in the woods. She now knows that human beings are "The darkness" They are capable of doing awful things. She has lost her innocence and the "Darkness" is not "Out there" but it is inside all of us. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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