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The Badness Within Him - Short Story Analysis

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Short Story Assignment The Badness Within Him By Susan Hill 1. Setting The story takes place in the summerhouse that Cols family owns but the time can be divided into three parts ? childhood, present (before father?s death) and uncertain future (after father?s death). 1. Page 58, paragraph 11, ?He remembered how great the distance had seemed as he jumped from rock to rock on the beach, how he has scarcely been able to stretch his legs across and balance.? This sentence describes the beach. 2. Page 63, paragraph 1, ?People only spoke of baths and hot drinks and telephone messages, scarcely looking at one another as they did so, and the house was full of strangers moving from room to room.? This sentence describes the summerhouse they live in. The setting directly creates the initial climax for the story in which the narrator is speaking from. It also connects with the protagonist?s character development through his adolescence. 2. Character The protagonist is Col, an adolescent who is transiting from a young kid to an adult. i. The author does not have any documentation on what she thinks about her character although I can predict that this character maybe an inspiration from her childhood. ii. Jess, his sister who is a few years older than he is may perceive him to be a bit immature. She used to be close to Col when they were younger children but she does not want to play with him anymore. ...read more.


After the incident, the house has obviously undergone a change, too, just like the weather. The sunny days are over; fog covers everything concealing the way he should tread on in the future. Security gives way to insecurity, fear and to the shock of growing up. The sound of the foghorn outside, however, helps him find the good direction. Fog is a symbol of the uncertainty of the future. The foghorn suggests a warning of an uncertain future. He kicks the sandcastle (He wanted to do some violence in this house) and the tower falls first ? the tower represents his father which is a foreboding of his father?s pending accident and death. 4. Theme The underlying theme of the story is the restlessness of adolescence and coming of age. The theme can be thought to be implied for the first half since we routinely experience the aggression and violence he has against his family (being an adolescent) and the frustration of Col being caught in between childhood and adulthood through the story. Being an adolescent, everything was repetitive and nothing different seems to happen to him so as a result, he experiences this restlessness in the form of an out bursting anger. In the last paragraph, pg 63, the theme of ?coming of age? is illustrated, ?The foghorn sounded outside. Then, he knew that the change had come, knew that the long hot summer was at an end, and that his childhood had ended too, that they would never come to this house again. ...read more.


The Badness analogy is like illness/madness of adolescence in Col?s mind. Dialogue is very little and communicates to the reader that there is very little correspondence within Col and his family. Humour is not used and the vocabulary tends to signify Col?s feelings and the way he approaches them. I enjoyed the story to a inner emotional contentment. It was different than the writings I often read which are jolly and often less serious. The way the story is written is also different and can be perceived from many different point of views. In the beginning although, I was not interest and half way through, I did not understand what was going on. However, after rereading the story a couple time, I felt it held a much stronger meaning and comprehended to what the society of young adolescents feel. I the emotions in this story relatable to my life. 1. Foghorn - a horn sounded on a ship or boat when fog reduces visibility, as a warning to other vessels 2. Trestle - a supporting framework consisting of a horizontal beam held up by a pair of splayed legs at each end 3. Ruts - a narrow channel or groove in something, especially one made by the wheels of vehicles 4. Linoleum - a tough washable floor covering, made from canvas or other material coated under heat and pressure with powdered cork, rosin, and linseed oil 5. Cenotaph - a tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of persons whose remains are elsewhere. 6. Languid - lacking vigor and energy ...read more.

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