Interpretation and Analysis of “from W. S.” by L.P.Hartley

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The text given for interpretation is an extract from the novel “From W. S.” by L.P.Hartley, a British writer, known for novels and short stories. L.P. Hartley was a highly skilled narrator and all his tales are admirably told. As a contemporary reviewer remarked, “not only does he portray the exterior of social life with a novelist’s sharp eye for detail, but he also explores the underworld of fears and fantasies through which we wander in our ugliest dreams”. “From W.S.” comes from “The Complete Short Stories of L. P. Hartley” published posthumously in 1973 and tells the story of a writer, Walter Streeter, disturbed by the postcards of ambiguous contents sent by a poison-pen.

The passage is written in the narrative key. The prevailing slant of the extract is highly emotional with a hysterical shade as basically the whole extract is devoted to the dwellings of the narrator (who is the main character at the same time) upon his possible insanity.

That’s why there are many psychological terms used in the text, such as: “borderline case”, “megalomania”, “split personalities”, “lunatic”, “conscious mind”, “self-division”, “psychic”, “alienist” and etc.

The method of characterization employed in the story is indirect. Its main advantage is that the author doesn’t impose the impression he wants readers to get from the characters but shows their behavior in different situations so readers would come up with their own opinion.

The text may be logically divided into 4 parts. Each part describes the postcard received by the main character and his reaction to it. The contents of the postcards are almost the same, however, a sophisticated person effortlessly discerns there naked threat. This continual invariable menace is a bright opposition to Walter Streeter’s feedback to the things happening that goes through several completely different stages, from disdainful indifference to profound concern.

All the postcards received have several important features in...
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