In ‘when the wasp drowned’ and ‘the darkness out there’ the theme of death is presented within the characters and the twisted storyline. A number of techniques such as symbolism, tone and narrative are used to portray these themes to the reader. In ‘when the wasps drowned’ Eveline is portrayed as being mature and protective over her siblings and more importantly the truth of the ring. In ‘the darkness out there’ Mrs Rutter is at first seen to be a typical old lady who has a dark secret. Within both stories there is a strong contrast of characterisation and the overall voice of the story which can create an impact on the reader in different ways, also in both stories there is a lot of similarities and contrasts of how this is presented.
In when the wasps drowned the contrast in characterisation and the tone is quite evident. Firstly the story is written in first person by Eveline and it seems that it is almost some sort of a memory. The style of writing is fairly sparse and not a lot of detail is given to the story which makes the contrast seem darker and the shock of the story seems greater. As a result it could be suggested that this is done because Eveline doesn’t want people to know about her past in great detail this is backed up by the fact when she “fiddle unconsciously with the ring” so it suggests to the reader that She does have some sort of guilt within her. Also when she says that “we better fill up the hole” it can convey that she is trying to hide something and keep it to the back of her mind. In addition throughout the story there is a dull neutral tone as the narrator simply tells us what happened without comment apart from when she speaks about Therese’s dream. This leaves the reader feeling unaware of what effect the events have taken on her; it also gives a chilling mood to the story for example right at the end of the story after being questioned Eveline takes her siblings “by the hand…into the sunlight of the garden. This creates another sense of fear to the reader as it is frankly shocking how Eveline can be so cool and calm about this whole event. Also the reader first gets an insight into the actual voice of the story when after the opening the phrase “that was the summer” is put with “they dug up Mr Mordecai’s garden” this makes the reader start to be aware of the fact that all may not be what it seems and the story suddenly takes a sharp turn into a very different direction to what the reader seems to think it may be. So there is also a contrast on the predetermined tone of the story and it’s characters. Another example is also straight after this it says “we heard her screams from inside” and again you become more aware and the preconceived notion that you have about the story changes and your mind immediately thinks about whose screams it could be.
The main contrast in characterisation that runs in the story is the loss of innocence and childhood. This is first conveyed when the narrator talks about the summer “bringing an end to our barefoot wanderings” the idea of barefoot wanderings symbolises childhood and freedom; everything that a child should be living through but in this case these children don’t and that summer actually brought an end to their childhood and freedom. Another example is when Tyler is playing with his toy truck and “smiles at the rattle of its metal wheels” immediately you feel almost warm inside after listening to this as evokes memories of your own childhood and this provides a stark contrast to the realism of this story. Childish behaviour is depicted when the children ask Eveline to help them “dig to Australia” which is somewhat of a childish pursuit this makes the reader feel sympathetic towards the children as it can suggest that they are trying to escape and the contrast of the murder seems even more great and shudder at the thought of the current situation.