‘The Darkness Out There’ by Penelope Lively Jordan Roberts
How do people and themes, change throughout the course of the story? ‘The Darkness Out There’ combines the author’s narration with the thoughts and feelings of Sandra, a girl belonging to the ‘Good Neighbours Club’. She goes to help out an old lady, Mrs. Rutter, with the help of a boy called Kerry. Mrs. Rutter lives in the countryside; next to a wood called Packers End, feared by Sandra because of its supposed supernatural qualities. Mrs. Rutter has a secret, that when told, horrifies the children. This sub story is of the German she found and left to die back when she was a girl in the war. Penelope Lively develops Mrs. Rutters character in many ways, with clues early on to her true self. Sandra’s views on the characters change by the end, as well as her whole out look of life as a result. There are several themes within this short story this paragraph, deals firstly with the theme of darkness, and light it covers the darkness around us In Packer's End "It was a rank place, all whippy saplings and brambles and a gully with a dumped mattress and a bedstead and an old fridge. And, somewhere, presumably, the crumbling rusty scraps of metal and cloth and ....bones?" This evokes a sense of desolation a hostile haunted kind of place, somewhere you don't really want to be, nasty things could happen, this sets the mood of the woods also this was set in the past and the present, at one point the writer graphically describes the trees when the German plane went down, "The branch shapes to look like faces and clawed hands" and "You couldn't quite see into, the clotted shifting depths of the place." This makes you kind of hold your breath in anticipation wondering what will happen there, you know it is horrible from the descriptive words used. It also tells you of the girl that was possibly sexually assaulted by a knife wielding men so you know now it is definitely are not the place for a young girl to be. The other aspect of Darkness covered in this story is the darkness of badness, evil, human wickedness, vengeance which is never a pretty thing. The dark blot on Mrs Rutter's soul for leaving that poor man to die, obviously drawn out over several days so no doubt a painful, lonely death and he was a mere boy really barely reaching manhood about 20 yrs. old, but she saw it as ok, she "Licked her lips" she enjoyed the redemption as she signified these injured German pilots as those who in fact killed her own husband. Another key theme is the supernatural, and the mysterious ‘Packers End’ which is often conveyed as the so called ‘Darkness out there’ as her fears change throughout the story. She fears “German Ghosts” who are said to in fact haunt ‘Packers End’. But lively changes Sandra’s fears almost in correlation as We, the reader see her grow up. As the story starts she fears ‘German Ghosts’ but as the story develops she then fears a ‘knife wielding rapist’ and this shows the fears of a girl and the fears of then the fears of a woman. Furthermore, a key theme throughout the story is growing up as we see Sandra and Kerry realising the changes there body is going through as Sandra “her breast popping out her shirt” shows the stages of puberty her body is going through as her character becomes more developed mentally so does she physically as she begins to notice the changes happening with her body. Kerry is the same describing his chin “covered in acne” Her opinion of Kerry changes as lively further develops his character as Sandra does not really know Kerry, but she shares her friends' opinion of him, “Kerry Stevens that none of her lot reckoned much on”. But at the end of the story she changes her mind. Kerry seems a bit of a stereotype because he works part-time in a garage, and will have a full-time job there when he leaves school. He identifies Sandra's dad by the make and colour of...
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