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Explore the themes of justace and things not being as they seem in The three Strangers by Thomas Hardy and The Darkness out there by Penelope Lively

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Introduction

'The Three Strangers' is a pre 20th century story that was written in 1883 but set in 1820. 'The Darkness Out There' was written in 1970. From the titles of the stories we assume they would be a mystery or horror story. We think this because the word 'darkness' is used and this gives you the idea that it is a horror. The 'Three Strangers' makes it seem mysterious, because they are people you don't know and there are three of them, this makes them seem overpowering because of the number of them. The similarities that happen in the two stories are the characters that are introduced seem as if they are the villain at first but then they turn out to be the hero of the story. Kerry in 'The Darkness Out There' and Timothy Summers (first stranger) in the 'Three Strangers' both fit in with the part of being misjudged. In the stories there are some parts which are similar. In 'The Darkness Out There' the German pilot was killed, and in 'The Three Strangers' Timothy Summers was almost killed by the executioner for stealing a sheep. Both stories have similarities in the way they are written. They have been written so that the reader makes a mistake in thinking that one of the characters is bad when they are really the hero of the story. 'The Three Strangers' was set in 1820 in a place, Thomas Hardy made up called Wessex. The setting was out on the moors in the cold, wind and rain, there was a very secluded and desolate house called Higher Crowstairs this was about five miles of rocky moor land away from the town of Casterbridge. ...read more.

Middle

'Jubilant' and 'happy' would be two words that would describe the mood at the start of the story in 'The Three Strangers' and 'blissful' and 'peaceful' would be two words that describe the mood at the start in 'The Three Strangers'. At the start of 'The Three Strangers' Thomas Hardy uses words like: 'glorification' and 'cheerful rustic', this emphasizes the point that although the weather was atrocious they were still having an enjoyable time in the cheerful rural house lighted by half a dozen candles. In 'The Darkness Out There' words that help set the mood in the opening are flowers, daisies and vetch, these make the point that she was surrounded by flowers and how nice it would be, "polleny summer grass that glinted in the sun" this also helps emphasize the fact that the sun was blazing down on her and it was a beautiful summer day. Both of the stories have a twist in the tale. In 'The Darkness Out There' the twist is that in the beginning Kerry is the one who is made out to be sort of a loser and Sandra makes herself out to be the one who is grown up and important but in the end we find out that Kerry is the grown up one, he is an excellent judge of character ("I don't go much on her") and Sandra is the na�ve young girl and she realises this in the end. In 'The Three Strangers' the twist of the tale is that at first we are made to think that the first stranger is a man wandering home on that night when he asks leave to rest awhile, but things keep on looking worse as they later find out he is not wearing his own clothes, this makes us weary towards him. ...read more.

Conclusion

The theme in 'The Three Strangers' is also about growing up as Timothy Summers had to swallow his pride to steal the sheep in broad daylight and he did it to look after his family. I think the point Thomas Hardy was trying to make is that you can't judge people on the appearance and I also think Penelope Lively was making the same point but also she was saying that bad things aren't outside there inside us if we let them in. Overall I think the best story was 'The Three Strangers', this is because it always had bits in it where you wasn't sure what would happen .e.g. when the executioner walked in you wasn't sure if he would recognise Timothy Summers as the first stranger. ''The Darkness Out There' made its cliff-hangers too obvious e.g. when Sandra was walking along and Kerry jumped out from behind a bush. We were made to think that it was a rapist jumping out from the context of what Sandra was saying, but it was made obvious that it wouldn't be someone who was going to get her because it was too early in the story, unless she was to get away. The worldview apparent in each story is that Thomas Hardy deals with more social issues and Penelope Lively deals with more psychology (how people behave). I think the more optimistic of the two is 'The Three Strangers' because it shows that people can be gratified if a deed is done to help other, Timothy Summers stealing the sheep to feed his family and then not being searched for, compared to Mrs Rutter killing a German pilot and being punished by having to live alone. Will Drew Wide Reading Coursework - 1 - ...read more.

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