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'The Children of Dynmouth' by William Trevor

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Becky Walls Coketown and Dynmouth Wide Reading Essay 'The Children of Dynmouth' by William Trevor, written in 1970 about a small seaside town, is based upon his own childhood home. The opening introduces a story of murder and intrigue. The novel, which I am comparing it with, is 'Hard Times' be Charles Dickens written in 1854. This introduces us to Coketown, a newly industrialised town based upon a visit to Preston. Both novels although distinctive in style and purpose, are very similar in the portrayal of unfulfilled lives. Coketown is both a fictional and functional town, a newly industrialised place with one sole purpose, to make money through production of luxury threads for the country's wealthiest. The lack of imagination and creativity is due to the political system, which denies the residents the chance to develop individually and does not allow the soul to be expressed. The people seem imprisoned within the town 'like a bell in a birdcage', life is their work and their work is life. On the other hand, Dynmouth is a dull and monotonous town in which nothing of any great relevance or importance happens, seeming as though it is sidelined from history-shaping events. ...read more.


Imagery too plays a key part in Dickens' novel. 'Interminable serpents of smoke' evokes a sense of evil, and it also reminds the reader of paradise lost and when Satan took the guise of a serpent in the Garden of Eden. 'Piston like an elephants head' helps the reader envisage the sheer size of machinery used in the factories but also uses a simile to describe the trunk-like piston and its mechanical movements, which lack any kind of feeling. 'A bell in a birdcage' just epitomizes the workers' lives imprisoned within a mechanical routine. The repetition of words such as 'fact' and 'same' along with certain phrases emphasises just how dull and monotonous the workers' routine that they follow day in and day out, really is, lacking any form of imagination or enjoyment. Dickens' own voice is brought out through his use of complex sentences and his satire, it is one of anger and resentment caused by the way in which the workers are treated and the ignorance of the politicians and the wealthy. There is also a strong contrast between both the poor factory workers earning barely enough money to feed their families and working long, gruelling hours, with the wealthy who would not know what hard work was if it was staring them in the face, and who wish to remain ignorant to the sacrifices made to produce their luxury goods. ...read more.


The fact that it was attempted by a Sicilian, a foreigner makes it worse because he is thought of as different and does not belong in Dynmouth. The colours, which Trevor uses, differ greatly to those of Dickens, with colours such as green and pink, which represent safety. Superficially Dynmouth and Coketown are very different places. On one hand Dynmouth has retained its history, although very boring, it is both genteel and pretty, Whereas Coketown on the other hand is new, brash and ugly in its Uniformity. A clear difference between the two places is the manner in which they work. People in Coketown are not seen as living flesh but simply hands, whereas life in Dynmouth seems a lot easier. The writer's purposes are also very different. Dickens' purpose is to promote awareness of the gruelling work conditions, which many have to endure and to inform of the political system, which denies any imagination whatsoever. Trevor's purpose is completely different. It is setting the scene for a novel. It is trying to show that behind the net curtains there is fomenting passions. There are also a number of similarities between the two towns; both are extremely dull with apparently little opportunity and creativity. ...read more.

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