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The Darkness out there

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The Darkness out there In the story, 'The darkness out there� by Penelope Lively, tension is built in a range of ways. The title already makes us distraught, as it is so ambiguous. Our imagination starts to consider what the 'darkness� could be, causing us to feel uncomfortable at the possibilities. The story then leads us into a sense of false security. This puts us in such a relaxed state of mind that we are easy prey to sudden fear. The story begins with the focus on Sandra as 'She walked through flowers�, this paints a very reassuring picture and we are put at ease. Lively describes Mrs. Rutter as a 'cottage loaf of a women�, which gives us the image of a warm comforting lady. We also see her use of affectionate language and her kind gestures when she offers her visitors a 'chocky�, as she always 'keeps a few chocies by for visitors� and she calls them 'Ducks�. All these actions are those of a kind person, and we begin to like Mrs. Rutter. When 'Packers End� is mentioned and the stories and tales that are attached to it are mentioned, we begin to tense up and feel anxious. ...read more.


Repetition is also a device used by writers to build tension. One of the most obvious examples is on the first page. "It's your own choosing." The old man is trying to warn the young man but at the same time he is leaving the 'decision' to him. It is as if the three old people are ridding themselves of their responsibility of the young man. It is their duty, like guardians, to warn the man of what they believe is to be his death. Another use of repetition is on page two where the old woman keeps on repeating, "this night of all nights." We never find out why that night is important but it gives the reader a 'red herring' question. Although we are going to find out when we read on; we want to have answers and this continues our interest into - "why was that night important?" The location is critical to the short story. The writer needs to give his story a carefully considered and appropriate backdrop. A short story works through its location, characters, and setting in time and language. These are the ingredients that tie it together and make the mixture complete. In this story, the location is very important. ...read more.


Approaching the epiphany, the tension is further highlighted, as the sentences become shorter. Clumsily he knocks his thigh against the table. His downfall begins. From here on he loses control. It is as if he is in sinking sand and the rope stopping him from sinking completely snaps. He loses his quest for the truth as he tries to light the fire with the last candle. He runs into something and knocks himself out. For me this is the epiphany. Then there is a gap in time; tension starts to unwind slowly. He wakes up the next morning after being rescued at dawn by the old people. He personifies fear with the red room. He has had a fight with his fear and in the end his fear wins. For me, the red room symbolizes one's own fear. Nothing is actually in the room except what one believes is there. The tension in the story is the unknown. Any passage relating to the unknown could build tension. Language plays an important part and changes with characters. The old people have an old English vocabulary, whereas the young man is given a very upper class and stylish vocabulary. Around the epiphany of the story, the language relating to the young man's experience is described in very short sentences with a lot of punctuation. Nicola Pannell ENGLISH Mr Laycock Essay ...read more.

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