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The Birds by Daphne du Maurier: Commentary on a passage

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The Birds: Commentary on a passage The Birds, a short horror story written by Daphne du Maurier, which is based on the idea of birds, peaceful creatures, suddenly turning against humans. The main character, Nat Hocken, through who we see the whole story, which is set on a peninsula in England on 1952 shortly after the Second World War, is a war veteran and throughout the plot gets attacked several times, with confrontations intensifying each time. With these attacks the author gradually builds up suspense until it is highly suggested a total destruction is inevitable. Towards the end of the story the imagery, diction and sentence structure help the writer convey to its readers the effects that are created through the story and augment suspense, which are the sense of isolation and helplessness of the characters. The passage is set shortly after Nat discovers that all his neighbours appear to be missing, which is a suggestion by the narrator that the birds killed them all, along with the pressure on ...read more.


and organize everything after eating seems to be a very planned approach to what another man would be completely paranoiac, almost as if these activities tried to portray a normal day. Furthermore, Nat has foreseen when the attacks will be, every seven hours, also when the tide will ebb, every six hours, and even which birds will attack each part of the house. His wife also seems too calm, caring too much about her son?s manners a few hours before the birds? attack. The juxtaposition of the atmosphere on the outside and the inside is effective, since it creates the effect of the main characters being in a different situation, the suspense grows since it is not common for readers to see characters act this way when they know they will eventually die. Nat and his wife obviously know that anything they do will result in their death one way or another, they are trying to distract from their ultimate death, a sense of being powerless against these mighty creatures is evident. ...read more.


The diction in this extract is effective since it personifies and compares the birds with an extra-terrestrial invasion, perhaps. Having watched us for much time they suddenly attack mankind for no apparent reason with high precision. Also the way the attacks are described to start with a ?tapping? and increasing in noise level creates suspense, since it is repetitive and the characters recognize the sound. In conclusion, through descriptions and dialogue between characters a few hours before their deaths, the author creates an effect on the readers of complete isolation and helplessness towards the remaining victims of the birds, which enhances the level of suspense towards the ending of the horror story. The description of the birds is also quite effective since it compares them with superior specie, adding to the effects and final suspense. The ending is powerful enough to highly suggest that Nat is just calmingly waiting for his approaching death, even though the final scene is omitted. ...read more.

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