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This essay will analyse an extract from the book Help by Penelope Lively.

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Introduction

Reading comprehension This essay will analyse an extract from the book ?Help? by Penelope Lively. The novel is about a lady called Jenny who hires someone to help her around her home, her name is Mrs Porch. At first Jenny enjoys Mrs Porch?s company. However, soon Jenny realises that Mrs Porch has been stealing from Jenny. When Jenny confronts Mrs Porch, she subtly blackmailed Jenny giving her no option but to take the seemingly better one. Jenny was to leave the purse where it was as usual so that Mrs Porch can take her money whenever she chooses, if not, Mrs Porch will simply leave, while Jenny has then got to clean the house by herself, without success. In lines 1-18 we see that Henry is in control of Jenny, by deciding what decisions she should obtain and how she should seize them; we know this attitude when we are told that ?He said it in a tone that meant there was no discussion.? The declarative sentence here highlights the absolute certainty that that no one can change his mind and not to question Henry?s judgment. Henry addresses Jenny as though he is speaking to a child, we see this in ?He put the paper down and said in a slow and careful voice that meant: listen because I am not going to repeat this.? This quote reflects the idea that Henry believes that Jenny is inadequate and isn?t capable of carrying out a simple task and believes that he must address her as if she is a child, in order for her to understand. ...read more.

Middle

In addition to all this the short sentences create a feeling that Jenny has to breath in between sentences because of her panic and distress which catches both the reader?s and Mrs Porch?s attention. The use of capital letters and exclamation mark indicate shouting, this heightens the effect of what Jenny is saying. Diary Entry June 29th Dear Diary, (Sigh) oh if only life was as simple as turning lemons into lemonade. Just 3 days ago i felt scared and sick thinking about when she?ll strike next. I?ve told myself a million times: ?Oh Jenny, everything will be alright. Just tell her, tell her you KNOW that she?s been stealing your money.? But i couldn?t, that?s what i thought, i knew this day was coming soon... just not this soon. Mrs Porch was hired by me, to help me around the house. At first i loved her. I loved her company her chitchat and how she did everything for me around the house, but now, now i don?t know anything anymore. Every week the milkman or bread man would come to sell, Mrs Porch would pay from the money of my purse, she did it with my acknowledgement of course, but she just didn?t ask my permission when she wanted to take or rather steal money for her own greed. Today the bread man came, i had hidden my purse hadn?t left it in my usual place. ...read more.

Conclusion

I just stuttered, her dark eyes dangerous and intent. And then i saw it, her eyes dimming with sadness as the light in her eyes fizzed out. She had understood what i was trying to say (maybe she can read peoples minds after all). She then stood up and told me how ?fond? she was of me, while she delicately blackmailed me. If it had been anyone else, they would have thought she was simply asking for the matter to be forgotten and have the purse placed back where it was, when really it was to continue as usual as she helps herself to my money. And that?s when i realised how my life had been transformed since Mrs. Porch had arrived, I had everything I ever needed, everything was done and dusted, everybody was delighted by the changes, the kids stopped crying and played more, they loved Mrs Porch and Henry had never seemed so happy in his life, i can now live in my dream home, but it all had its own price. Mrs Porch was to be allowed to help herself to my money. My money isn?t just for me but for the little things the children need, i can?t afford to have Mrs Porch stealing from me. But if i stop her, she?ll leave for good and everything will become a disaster, again. I don?t think ill be able to cope with it. I wish and i pray that one day, real help will arrive. Until then. Jenny.P ...read more.

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