Comparing, “The Darkness Out There,” by Penelope Lively with, “The Old Nurse’s Story,” by Elizabeth Gaskell to show how both authors present an element of evil in the story and in the characters. I have been given the task of comparing two stories that have an element of evil in them. They are written in two totally different styles, maybe because of the century both of them were written. During this essay I will discuss the way each story is written, how and why certain effects are achieved and what elements contribute to the mood of the story. Elizabeth Gaskell was born on September.
29th in 1810 in Chelsea in London and died on November. 12th in 1865, near Alton in Hampshire. English novelist and short-story writer. An important thing to look at when studying a story, in my opinion, is the title. Titles of some stories give away the plots or endings, where others are completely abstract and thought provoking, providing no clue as to what the story will be about. “The Darkness Out There” and The Old Nurse’s Story are good examples of this. They give away that the story is about an evil or harmless act or a story being told by the Old Nurse, but nothing so as to spoil the plot or ending.
This is beneficial to the reader, who would be able to get more involved in the story as more of the plot unfolds. A story with a title that gives away the plot has advantages and disadvantages. Giving away some of the plot could make someone interested and make him or her want to know how that certain thing happened, for example, what the darkness out there really is. A lot of the time, this is not always the case. In some cases, the plot is given away too much by the title, which makes the story less exciting and enjoyable for the reader. William Golding once said that, “darkness is a man’s illness”.
This statement means that everybody has an ability to be evil. Everybody is ill at one stage in his or her life. But the seriousness of illness is different for each person, which is the same for evil. Each person can choose whether they will show the element of wickedness from within them. Penelope Lively and Elizabeth Gaskell both try and show that this is true in their stories. Novels and short stories are “structured” so that emphasis is given to important parts of the story, usually to the parts that author wants you to think about and remember. Such parts include: descriptions, explanations, comments and actions.
For example in “The Darkness Out There” a description would be one of Nether cottage. This is how the writer shows the element of evil in their short story. In “The Darkness Out There” irony is used. For example, Mrs Rutter says she feels sympathy for young people yet she let a German boy die. She also treats Kerry quite badly. Both stories have an element of looking back on the past. Mrs Rutter is looking back on the past when narrating the story to the children; Dorothy is re-telling the story to Hester, while Hester tells the story to Rosmand’s children.
Kerry and Sandra can leave after they know the truth whereas Hester wanted to leave before the truth was known but ended up staying. The settings represent the main themes: acting in a harmful and distressing way. The setting of a piece of literature involves the choice of place and time, in the historical sense. The atmosphere of a text can be described as a feeling that is created by the description of the setting. The setting often contributes to the atmosphere. For example, in “The Darkness Out There” it is set in an old isolated cottage near a mysterious wood.
The wood has something in common with “dear old ” Mrs Rutter because both of them have an element of evil in them from what went on in the past. The wood is where Mrs Rutter left the German to die. In “The Darkness Out There” the cottage is old and dilapidated. Evidence of the cottage being old is when Sandra asks her if she has lived there a long time (line 125) and she replies and says most of it. The setting reflects characters inner consciousness. For example, Mrs Rutters cottage is old and isolated just like her. She is all alone in her cottage.
Location is filled with suspense and mystery is created. We (as the reader) do not know the truth about the wood in Packers End. Packers End is described as a scary place where dreadful things have happened, “You didn’t go by yourself through Packers End if you could help it, not after teatime, anyway” (lines 30-31). Light and dark are mentioned throughout the story, which could reflect good and evil. “The dark reach of the spinney” and “it was out here in the sunshine. ” The setting in “The Old Nurse’s Story” sets a sinister eerie scene “stormy winter” and “it was so desolate.
” Use of boundaries builds up tension and mystery therefore the reason entrance to the east wing is prohibited. Readers draw up their own conclusions of what is in the east wing because, it is unknown what is in the east wing. Could be where a relative hid the body of someone after murder. We just do not know. Elizabeth Gaskell uses a setting of a traditional nineteenth century manor house to create a mysterious scene. In “The Darkness Out There” the description of the wood and Mrs Rutters decaying cottage is important. In “The Old Nurse’s Story” the description of the Manor House is important.