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The Little Girl Eater, by Septimus Dale - review

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The Little Girl Eater By Septimus Dale In class we read the story of The Little Girl Eater, by Septimus Dale. The central character is a man called Mason and the story begins with him lying on sand beneath an old coal jetty; he'd been there a long time, after taking a short cut when the tide was out, through the girders. He knew the tide was heading back his way, and would eventually drown him. It was early April so it was very unlikely that some one would find him. Mason felt sick and weak; huge waves of nausea hit him like the waves of the sea. He could no longer feel his lower limbs, nor move them. Mason felt that he must reason out a manner of escape before it was too late. Mason had tried calling out to begin with, but this was a failure. However, an ingenious plan formed in his mind: if he were to burrow downwards, instead of trying to force himself upwards, he might dig himself enough clearance to crawl clear. ...read more.


Miranda asked her mother if she could go back to play on the beach. Miranda fetched a stone, a huge flat stone, just the right stone. When Mason saw Miranda, wheeling it, he said, "You're a good little girl." Miranda picked up the stone as high as she could and let it drop on Mason's head. She'd killed the nasty Little Girl Eater. Miranda is clearly a resourceful little girl because she knew there was something 'quaint' going on between her mother and Johnny. She is curious and inquisitive because she is fascinated by what Mason is doing, because she can only view half of his body. She is gullible because she believes what Johnny tells her about the Little Girl Eater and is frightened of adults. We know this because she didn't shout at Mason and ask him what he was doing because she was frightened that Mason might start to get angry. She wants to please her mother and likes her mother's friend, Johnny, because she kills Mason and runs off to tell her mother and Johnny. ...read more.


The appearance of Miranda as her name suggests, is like a ray of sunlight for the hard working, solid Mason. However, he has no idea of her background and, if anything, this story is a perfect illustration of not being a Cry Wolf person and also the danger of speaking carelessly to children-most of them will believe anything. The first misfortune for Mason is that Miranda has a reputation for lying/fantasising, so that when she tells her mother the story about Mason, her mother automatically does not believe her, even more so when she includes the word, 'bloody', in her description. Johnny compounds the mishandling of the situation by deciding to solve an irritating problem (i.e. Miranda's presence) by his lurid story; he clearly isn't used to dealing with young children and does not realise what harm his story might lead to-and it does! Miranda takes the story at face value, and that's the end for Mason. So a combination of unfortunate circumstance leads to Mason's demise. My opinion-entertaining because of the ending; perhaps dubious, because we burst out laughing when a brave man is killed. Very Roald Dhal: is the name a pseudonym? ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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