An Analysis of a Selected Passage Out of Susan Hill's "Im the King of the Castle."

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Hill conveys Kingshaws feelings in two way, one by his inner commentary, and the other by the imagery of the events around him. I’m the King of the Castle is a heart wrenching story about two boys, thrown together by circumstance and trapped in a tragic enmity, that is ultimately fatal and tragic. This passage is placed at the near end of the book, an experience that highlights Kingshaw’s decent into depression. This scene is entirely set with the family attending a circus, something that deeply disturbs Kingshaw. Hill uses dark and morbid imagery when describing the circus, an event that is normally fun, bright, happy, and highly entertaining event.

Hill’s narration opens the passage, letting the reader into Kingshaw’s mind to experience his reaction to the circus; a reaction that is close to hysterical. She wrote that “when he closed his eyes, it made no difference, it made it worse...”. The reason the writing in this passage is so effective is because it is written in a childish manner. Much like the quotation above, most of the ideas presented in the excerpt are contradictory and not fully developed. On the surface it makes no sense to say that something makes no difference, and then to tell you that it makes a huge difference. How ever in this situation the author has used this juxtaposed, contradictory sentence as a powerful literary device. Within the context of the passage the reader gets a clear sense of such terror that one cannot form coherent thoughts as to why one is so deathly terrified. It is obvious from Hill writing that Kingshaw is drifting into madness.

This circus is described as Kingshaw’s personal hell. To Kingshaw the tent is a foreboding, ominous structure, a “darkness...where ropes and ladders for acrobats [hang] limp and still.” One could infer that the ropes are metaphors for nooses, with Hill describing the tent as a gibbet. The fact that the onlookers are described as having “bobbing white faces, and staring eyes.” makes the...
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