The Last Night (from Charlotte Gray)

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Compare and contrast the ways in which adults and children are presented in the extract.

The adults and children are presented differently in the extract through their actions, reactions and feelings. This extract deals with the helplessness of being sent to a concentration camp, conveying the effects of the departure on them, the adult’s powerlessness to the event, and the children’s resistance. In the extract, the adults are presented as being aware of what was going on, and of their current situation. They know where they’re going, and what it’s like in concentration camps. They are completely aware of their fate, yet they did not resist it, or try to prevent it from happening. Although they did not do anything significant to try and change their horrific fate in the concentration camps, in their minds, they were trying to stop it from occurring, by refusing to drink coffee. That is significant because the coffee means a lot more than just coffee for drinking. It meant ‘breakfast, and therefore the departure.’ By refusing to drink coffee, it meant they didn’t have breakfast yet, and therefore their departure is belated. The adults are also portrayed as being restless and powerless, it could be because they’re scared, or maybe because they know they can’t do anything, and have accepted their fate. This makes me as a reader feel sympathy for the adults as they have no choice and are unable to control their life and fate. The writer used strong adjectives to describe the state the adults in, it helps the reader sympathise with the adults and understand their feelings, provoking a sense of grief. The writer used adjectives such as ‘sobbing passion’ to describe the state in which some of the adults wrote their letters back home in. It makes the reader visualise that, and almost hear it. This conveys sorrow, as they are sobbing passionately, meaning it’s deep and from the bottom of their hearts. As a reader, I find that very touching, and it makes me feel some...
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