Text Analysis - Short Stories

Good Essays
How have the authors, Hunter and Dahl, created a sinister tone in their short stories you have studied?

Tone is of great significance to the storyline as it portrays the reader’s attitude while expressing the genre. Tony Hunter’s ‘Listen to the End’ and Roald Dahl’s ‘The Landlady’ both guide the audience through their violent and mysterious stories that begin with a powerless main character on a dark, shivering evening. However, through varying and distinctive techniques, the two short stories differ notably in terms of setting, characterisation, and point of view, which ultimately convey the menacing tone.

Both Hunter and Dahl use point of view and setting to form the sinister tone in their baleful narratives. Written in third person, ‘Listen to the End’ starts with the girl hurriedly running to her familiar apartment at night while “swirls of mist danced beckoningly around her”. As though they are trapping and suffocating her, stopping her from getting back to her home, her safety. ‘The Landlady’ is also written in third person but alternatively, Billy Weaver is arriving to an unfamiliar place at night. He is compelled by the sign that was “staring at him through the glass”, and “forcing him to stay”, ultimately pulling him towards the wicked motel. Hunter’s omniscient narrator tells the story very intimately, as if he was there and is sensing what the girl is feeling. Unlike Dahl, who arranges his story to be told like an imagination, rather than telling it as though it was a memory. Therefore, these creative techniques of having darkness around the character from the beginning makes the stories sound threatening.

The main characters in both author’s texts are shaped to be vulnerable while being exposed but unaware to upcoming threat. For example, Hunter uses the line, “she clutches her paper bag of groceries like a shield against the dark”. A shield is used to protect oneself from harm. The helpless, lonely girl is “clutching”, which resembles her

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