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In my opinion, it is possible for a novel to deliver a serious message and offer entertainment for the reader. In order to demonstrate this, I am using Stone Cold by Robert Swindells and The Black Veil by Charles Dickens.

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Introduction

Wide Reading Assignment In my opinion, it is possible for a novel to deliver a serious message and offer entertainment for the reader. In order to demonstrate this, I am using Stone Cold by Robert Swindells and The Black Veil by Charles Dickens. Set in the cold hard streets of London, Stone Cold is a definite warning for those planning to run away from home in the near future. Not only is it a rough, painful life full of poverty, but there's also an insane killer on the loose. When Link's newly found friend, Ginger, mysteriously goes missing one day, Link begins to get worried. 'All the time I was looking for him, and he didn't show.' - Link While Link is looking for his friend, he finds something sinister about the man living at Nine Mornington Place, because he was the last person to see Ginger. But as Link closes in, so does danger. With the mysterious 'Shelter' on his tail, Link will be lucky if he gets away alive. But he does get away, with a little help from Gail, who is really a reporter in disguise. Shelter is taken away, leaving Link worse off than before, with no friends and no hope of a life. One evening, a young doctor is sat in front of a warm fire, simply waiting for patient. His first patient enters, dressed in black with her face covered with a black veil. While speaking is peculiar riddles, she tries to explain her situation to the doctor. '...How can I hope that others will believe what seems incredible even to myself?' - The lady Eventually, she gives him the address, and tells him to come at a certain time the following morning. He arrives, but only to discover that the 'patient' that the lady was talking about is her dead son. He has turned to crimes to get things that his mother could not provide for him, and has been hanged as a result. ...read more.

Middle

The reader knows exactly what Shelter is planning, even though, Link, the other narrator, does not. The reader gets to read the diary of Shelter, and can find out how he thinks, and his next moves. The element of mysteriousness in Stone Cold is represented through Gail, because we know nothing about her. She seems like a perfect partner for Link, and as the reader wants them to be happy together, any doubts about her past are pushed to the back of the reader's mind. 'I hadn't meant for us to fight. I loved her.' The reader does not really think that there is any mystery about her. She implies that she left home because of her stepfather, and both Link the reader assume that she is telling all there is to know. At the very end of the novel, Swindells reveals the truth about her to both Link and the reader. Link and the reader are shocked to find out that her name id really Louise, and that she was only acting homeless so she could get a nice story for a newspaper. After hearing the truth, the reader realises that there have been many clues that Gail might not be what she seems, which the reader has chosen to ignore. 'It's my dosh, Link. I can do what I like with it, and anyway I'm not phoning my sister. I've got other things to do'. - Gail. The reader also realises that her clothes were not as scruffy as you would expect, and she never had a shortage of money. There is also an element of mystery around Shelter. The writer is told that he used to be in the army, but the reader is never told why he left. Shelter implies that it was against is will, that he would never have left if he had a choice. 'Twenty-nine years' service and they turn around and chuck me out. ...read more.

Conclusion

He keeps the bodies of his victims under the floorboards in his house, and takes peeks at them for pleasure. While on the outside, he presents the appearance of an ordinary, well-balanced individual. The Black Veil also has a theme of insanity. When the lady comes to the doctor to ask for his help, he thinks she is insane. The mysterious way in which she acts, and weird manner in which she speaks gives both the doctor and the reader that impression. But her insanity is different to that of Shelter. The reader can see her point of view, because she has lost her son, and many people can relate to losing a loved one. Shelter is different because very few people can see his point of view, they think he is crazy, and should be locked away for good. The Black Veil also has a theme of the way criminals are dealt with. By showing the impact of the son's death on his mother, the writer makes the reader think that this is wrong, and the reader feels sympathy for the mother. Conclusion As I have shown, it is possible for a novel to deliver a serious message and offer entertainment for the reader. Both of the stories I have used show this. In Stone Cold, a very entertaining part of the story is when Shelter is dealing with his victims' bodies. 'They've got bags of swank, my lads. Shiny boots and nice short hair. And if you think that the boots'll give me away - if you're thinking that the fella I get 'em off must be starting to wonder - forget it.' - Shelter. In The Black Veil, a very entertaining part of the story is near the very end, when there is a description of the corpse lying down. Both of these descriptions are typical of horror writing, a style that has been very popular for centuries. Both of the writers seem to have chosen a genre that will be appealing to many readers in order to convey a serious social and moral message. ...read more.

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