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Analysis of The Telegram a short story by writer Iain Crichton Smith.

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The Telegram ?The Telegram? is a short story by writer Iain Crichton Smith. The story follows two women?s experiences as the fate of their sons. The writer uses character and setting to increase the reader?s enjoyment of the story. Through the use of setting in terms of time and place the writer increases the reader?s enjoyment of the story. The story is set in a Scottish costal island during the Second World War. The two women live in a one road village and war is alien to them. Not just the women but the whole village does not understand the purpose of the war: ?It came as a strange plague.? The village of the women was a very close knit community and this meant that everybody knew everybody else. To the village people the war was an attack on them rather than the country because the war was killing their young men and they felt that it was not their war to be part of. The Telegram itself had an impact on the village as it felt like ?a strange missile? because it would only cause havoc and destruction amongst the village people and most importantly ruin their lives. ...read more.


The fact that the villagers thought education is snobby gives the reader insight into society the women lived in, the society that would not send their children to university in case that someone spoke ill of them. To deal with the hardships, the thin women has had to develop a lot of discipline and self-control to survive. The hardships the women has faced have left her to show no emotions and sympathy towards anybody but herself. However, for a moment the thin women tries to comfort the fat women in her time of need, this change in character is unusual because the thin women does not expect sympathy from others but now she is sympathetic towards someone else. Iain Crichton Smith uses the setting to show how it influences or has an impact on the characters, this use of setting increases the reader?s enjoyment of the story. Like the thin women, the author uses the imagery of a bird to describe the women: ??a fat domestic bird?? The fat women is described like ?a fat domestic? this suggests that the fat women is very dependant on others unlike the thin women. ...read more.


The setting adds to suspense and tension throughout the story and especially the climax. From the thin women?s window they can see the entire village: ? As the watched they could see at the far end of the street the tall man in black clothes carrying in his hand a piece of yellow paper. This was a bare village with little colour therefore the yellow was both strange and unnatural.? The fact that the women could see the man at the end of the village from the thin women?s window emphasise to the reader how small the village is, the village being small suggests that it is a very close knit community. The village consists of one road and as the elder walks along the road the suspense and tension builds and the reader expects the elder to visit the homes of the women however this does not happen. In the end the reader is shocked how it is actually the elder?s son who has died and the suspense and tension that leads to this increases the impact. In conclusion, Iain Crichton Smith successfully uses setting, character, imagery as well suspense and tension to increase the readers enjoyment of the story. ...read more.

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