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H.G. Wells’ ‘The Red Room’ and Penelope Lively’s ‘The Darkness Out There’

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Lauren Haddad 10A Year 10-Wider Reading Assignment Introduction In this assignment I am aiming to compare and contrast certain rudiments of H.G. Wells' 'The Red Room' written in 1896 and Penelope Lively's 'The Darkness Out There' written in 1970. In order to do this I am going to discuss the main characteristics of the two works such as the form of writing, descriptions of characters, style of writing and the themes in each story. One perceptible similarity between these two stories is that they are both suspense stories. The two stories both have a similar use of hooking techniques, such as: starting with a personal pronoun, rhetorical questions, sensory imagery, atmosphere and tension. These techniques are used to create suspense and to get the reader to become more interested in the story and carry on reading to discover what the story is building up to. Starting with a personal pronoun instead of a name can give two effects; if used in 1st person narrative it creates a more intimate insight into the character and the story, but the other way which is totally opposite, is that the writer may use he, she, they etc which creates an anonymous character which creates early suspense in the story. Most genres of writing include a larger amount of dialogue and actions than description, however these two stories main content is descriptive, and any dialogue or actions are portrayed with detailed descriptions, but in 'The Darkness out ...read more.


Rutter as a 'typical old woman' because of what she looks like with her 'creamy smiling pool of a face' and 'cottage loaf' shape. A twist in the tail is a similarity in both stories. In 'The Darkness Out There' Sandra sees Mrs.Rutter as a gentle old woman but after listening to her story she realised that Mrs. Rutter is not the person she thought she was. Mrs.Rutter turns out to be a heartless old woman with an unspeakable past. Before Mrs. Rutter tells Sandra and Kerry about her experiences with the soldiers, Sandra doesn't see the world as it really is, she sees it by its appearance and judges by what something looks like. This is similar to 'The Red Room' the young man thinks that he would not fear anything in the red room and that the old people speak nonsense when they talk about a spirit and 'tonight of all nights' as being a bad idea to go to the red room. He has an ignorance about the old people like Sandra did about the old Mrs. Rutter, he saw the old people as scary 'pale', 'decaying', 'inhuman' and thought that they were trying to enhance spiritual terrors, he did not think much of them at all because of what they looked like, with 'half-averted lips' and 'withered arms'. He did not expect them to do what they did when he had been knocked out in 'the red room', when they ...read more.


made to feel more scared, when in 'RR' the younger person was made to feel more at ease and comfortable which corresponds to earlier mention of the 'twist in the tail' Conclusion The two stories have many similarities and many contrasts in various areas including the types of characters and how the characters think about image over everything else and judging by appearances, both stories have similar themes 'don't judge by appearances'. The plots of the stories though are almost opposite to each other as in the 'RR' the characters in question go from 'grotesque' and ugly people who because of their appearance are judged to be not very nice people but turn out to be kind and gentle people who respect the young man and help him after his ordeal. But in 'DOT' the character (Mrs. Rutter) appears to be a typical old woman with her little ornaments and stereotypical 'old woman d�cor' then turns out to have an evil past with another case of prejudice but this time because of the persons race. The style of writing Penelope Lively used in her story 'The darkness out there' is as un-orthodox style of writing, the way she uses a 1st person perspective from a 3rd person narrative is a rare way of writing but its effect as a piece of writing is clever and works well, H.G wells uses a more usual way of writing but his story still creates tension and suspence. ...read more.

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