A comparison of the 20th and 19th century short stories by Penelope lively, Rohl Dahl and M.R. James

Authors Avatar
A comparison of the 20th and 19th century short stories by Penelope lively, Rohl Dahl and M.R. James

All 3 of the short stories carry a similar main theme, a theme which derives from the classic tale of Hansel and Grethal by the Brothers Grimm. A theme of disregard, procurement of the nieve and coincidentally, murder.

The first of these stories is "The darkness out there" by Penelope lively. This story doesn't follow the theme as strictly as the others but it is loosely based upon it. The time set is not at first overly apparent. But it soon becomes clear that it was set not long after world war two, late 40's early 50's. Probably in Kent or some other country side place. The narrative is a story of generosity, which is shattered by evil. The goodness is symbolised by the children and the evil by the old woman. The crime is one of murder and the turning point is when the boy realises how evil the old woman is.

In the next story, "the lost hearts" by M R James, the time set is a lot earlier around the time of 1811. It's a ghost story as opposed to the darkness out there, which is a 20th century fairy tale. Its is set in a mansion in Lincolnshire called Aswarby hall, a typical house in the reign of Anne. By the way of language structure, this story uses some colloquial language with generally longer, more complex sentences and metaphorical language than the first story, A lot of the vocabulary used would be classed as archaic or old fashioned. The narative carries a simular feel as the first story, the child trusting the "witch" character, and be procured into a trap. But the ending differed from the first as the criminal is punished. Leaving the story on a much higher note than the first.
Join now!

The final story is "The landlady" by Roahl Dahl. More a horror story than a fairytale, but there is still an element of procurement. Set in a picturesque town called Bath, more than likely in the 1950's. There are only two main characters in this story, there is a one Billy weaver, who plays the part of the innocent victim and there is a seemingly sweet old woman, who plays the "witch" character. The use of English is, in the main, standard and the colloquial language of the time would be considered as standard to a younger generation. ...

This is a preview of the whole essay