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The Case of the Stolen Bacillus by H.G.Wells and the Half Pair by Bertrum ChandlerTask Discuss and comment upon the similarities and differences between these two stories from the science fiction genre.

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Introduction

June 2001 South Wolds School - Keyworth Harriet Farish Number 9 English Crossover Piece - English and English Literature Sources The Case of the Stolen Bacillus by H.G.Wells and the Half Pair by Bertrum Chandler Task Discuss and comment upon the similarities and differences between these two stories from the science fiction genre. I have been asked to read two stories from the science fiction genre and discuss and comment on the similarities and differences. The two stories that I have read are; The Case of the Stolen Bacillus by H.G.Wells and The Half Pair by Bertrum Chandler. Both of these stories are of the same genre, but science fiction is difficult to define. In order for me to complete this essay, and compare the two stories to their full extent, I feel that I must comprehend what 'science fiction' means and what makes a good science fiction story. Different writers have their own definitions. I have chosen two, which I believe to express simple but different views. Ray Bradbury's definition states; "Science fiction is really sociological studies of the future, things that the writer believes are going to happen by putting two and two together." Whereas Bruce H. Franklin said; "In fact, one good working definition of science fiction may be the literature which, growing with science and technology, evaluates it and relates it meaningfully to the rest of human existence." Both of these definitions are comprehensive and frequently used, although, we have to recognise that they represent the writer's own opinions and are therefore subjective. Although the definitions vary, and are influenced from different sources, they could prove useful in considering the likeness of the stories to the definitions and provide a good framework for assessing them. Studying definitions is not the only way to classify the stories as being 'good science fiction'. There are main elements which all 'good' science fiction stories contain that fit into the science fiction genre. ...read more.

Middle

This is shown in the two stories by the way the writers express themselves and include references to daily life i.e. the references to nautical terms in Half Pair and references to class in Stolen Bacillus. During the 1950's there was seen to be more freedom within society, which was less inhibited by the class structure that had nearly been abolished. This is one of the biggest differences between the two stories backgrounds, however there are similarities. Although the class system was comparatively non-existent at the time of Half Pair's writing there are still small references to the belief that men were more prominent than women in society. This is evident in Half Pair by the way the wife is stereotypically portrayed as a housewife. An example occurs as she makes dinner for her husband. Bertrum Chandler has also created some humour in regards to the roles of men and women in society. Both the husband a wife have a conversation which makes light of the small belief that men had a greater position within life, but it also shows how women had gained a lot more respect in society and were not as dominated by their husbands. This is shown in a particular conversation between the husband and wife, where the wife says, ' Some women are fools enough to trust their husbands. They're the ones who haven't learned the hard way, the same way I did.' The husband replies, 'Some men are fools enough to kid themselves that their wives have an elementary knowledge of pluming.' The writer's backgrounds are totally different, and consequently, as I have shown, the stories differ greatly as a result. Another aspect of the stories which is affected due to the writers backgrounds, are the plots. Although from the same genre the plots differ extensively. The Case of the Stolen Bacillus's main plot involves an amateur bacteriologist who receives a visit from an undercover anarchist in Victorian London. ...read more.

Conclusion

As I have said before, Minnie is put across as being a typical Victorian housewife, very trustworthy, proper and correct. She abides completely by her husband and is very loyal to him as well as to the rules of the time. This part of Victorian society is shown by Wells when Minnie is keen to make sure that her husband does not leave the house without his hat and coat, as it was seen to be disrespectful in these times. It is shown using dialogue, by Wells when the wife is shocked about the fact that her husband has left not properly dressed and she says, 'But running around London - in the height of the season, too - in his socks!' Included in the plot of Stolen Bacillus are other minor characters which all have their significances in some way even though they do not have a large part to play. The cab drivers are an example of this. As I have said earlier Wells stereotypes them and portrays them as lower class, using dialogue to help illustrate this. I have also noticed that Wells does not name the bacteriologist or the anarchist, he just labels them or describes them, which is probably done to emphasises their characters. The structure regarding the characters in the Half Pair differs in comparison with The Stolen Bacillus as The Half Pair only contains two characters. These prominent characters however, do have similarities between the main characters in The Stolen Bacillus. Similarly to The Stolen Bacillus, in The Half Pair there is a husband and wife as main characters. In The Half Pair the couple remains nameless, similarly to the Anarchist and the bacteriologist in The Stolen Bacillus, the only prominent character to be given a name in either story was Minnie, the bacteriologists wife. The relationships between the two couples in both stories are similar, however they also differ because of the different time of writing. As I have said earlier, The Stolen Bacillus represents a Victorian relationship between Minnie and her husband, which is rife with the idea of male dominance. ...read more.

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