Lumber Room

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Tatiana Pavlova
2 ATM, IV year
Text Analysis
The Lumber Room
(by H.Munro)

The story tells about a little orphan Nicholas who was trusted to his tyrannical and dull-witted aunt. One day Nicholas was “in disgrace”, so he duped his Aunt into believing that he was somehow trying to get into the gooseberry garden, but instead had no intention of doing so but did sneak into the Lumber Room. There a tremendous picture of a hunter and a stag opened to him. Soon his aunt tried to look for the boy and slipped into the rain-water tank. She asked Nicholas to fetch her a ladder but the boy pretended not to understand her, he said that she was the Evil One.

The story presents extremely topical subjects. Actually, the whole novel can be divided into two parts: Child’s world and Adult’s world. The author seems to be suggesting that adulthood causes one to lose all sense of fun, imagination. Adults become obsessed with insignificant trivialities, like the Aunt which is obsessed about punishing and nitpicking on the children. Children in Munro’s stories are very imaginative. Nicholas imagines the whole story behind the tapestry while the Aunt comes out with boring stories and ideas like a circus or going to the beach. She tries to convince Nicholas about the fun of a trip to the beach, of circus, but lacks the imagination to sound convincing. She describes the beach outing as beautiful and glorious but cannot say in detail how it will be beautiful or glorious because she is not creative. As for the Lumber room, it is symbolic of fun and imagination of the child’s world which is definitely lacking in the adult world. It emphasizes the destruction of life that adulthood and pride can bring. The Aunt’s world is full of warped priorities. She puts punishment and withholding of enjoyment as more important than getting to know and molding the lives of the children. She keeps all the beautiful and creative things of the house locked away in a lumber-room so as not to spoil them but in doing so, the purpose of the objects which is to beauty the house, is lost, leaving the house dull and colourless.

The excerpt is homogeneous. The story is narrated in the 3rd person. This allows the reader to access the situation and the characters in an unbiased and objective manner. This is especially so because the characters are complex, having both positive and negative viewpoints. The third person point of view is impersonal which fits the impersonal atmosphere of the household.

The text can be divided into several parts:
□ The exposition, in which we learn about little Nicholas, his cousins and his strict aunt. Nicholas got into his aunt’s disgrace. So his cousins were to be taken to Jagborough sands that afternoon and he was to stay at home. The Aunt was absolutely sure that the boy was determined to get into the gooseberry garden because I have told him he is not to. □ The complication, when Nicholas got into an unknown land of lumber-room. Forbidden fruit is sweet and truly the lumber-room is described as a storehouse of unimagined treasure. Every single item brings life and imagination to Nicholas and is symbolic of what the adult of real world lacks. He often pictured to himself what the lumber-room was like, since that was the region that was so carefully sealed from youthful eyes. The tapestry brings to life imagination and fantasy within Nicholas, the interesting pots and candlesticks bring an aesthetic quality, visual beauty which stirs up his creative mind; and lastly a large square book full of coloured pictures of birds. And such birds! They allow Nicholas to learn in a fun and exciting way. □ The climax of the text. While the boy was admiring the colouring of a mandarin duck, the voice of his aunt came from the gooseberry garden. She got slipped into the rain-water tank and couldn’t go out. She demanded from the boy to bring her a ladder, but he said her voice didn’t sound like his aunt’s. You may...
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