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

Munro)

The text under analysis is written by an outstanding British novelist and short story writer Hector Munro. Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 18 ! " #ovember 1$, 1%1&', better (nown by the )en name *a(i, was a British writer, whose witty and sometimes macabre stories satiri+ed ,dwardian society and culture. He is considered a master o- the short story and is o-ten com)ared to .. Henry and Dorothy /ar(er. His tales -eature delicately drawn characters and -inely 0udged narratives. *a(i1s world contrasts the e--ete conventions and hy)ocrisies o,dwardian ,ngland with the ruthless but straight-orward li-e2and2death struggles o- nature. #ature generally wins in the end. .wing to the death o- his mother and his -ather1s absence abroad he was brought u) during his childhood, with his elder brother and sister, by a grandmother and two aunts. 3t seems )robable that their stem and unsym)athetic methods account -or Munro4s strong disli(e o- anything that smac(s o- the conventional and the sel-2righteous. He satiri+ed things that he hated. Munro was (illed on the 5rench -ront during the -irst world war. 3n her Biography of Saki Munro4s sister writes6 7.ne o- Munro4s aunts, 8ugusta, was a woman o- ungovernable tem)er, o- -ierce li(es and disli(es, im)erious, a moral coward, )ossessing no brains worth s)ea(ing o-, and a )rimitive dis)osition.9 #aturally the last )erson who should have been in charge o- children. The character o- the aunt in The Lumber- oom is 8unt 8ugusta to the li-e. The story tells about a little or)han #icholas who was trusted to his tyrannical and dull2witted aunt. .ne day #icholas was 7in disgrace9, so he du)ed his 8unt into
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believing that he was somehow trying to get into the gooseberry garden, but instead had no intention o- doing so but did snea( into the :umber ;oom. There a tremendous )icture o- a hunter and a stag o)ened to him. *oon his aunt tried to loo( -or the boy and sli))ed into the rain2water tan(. *he as(ed #icholas to -etch her a ladder but the boy )retended not to understand her, he said that she was the ,vil .ne. The story )resents extremely to)ical sub0ects. 8ctually, the whole novel can be divided into two )arts6 <hild4s world and 8dult4s world. The author seems to be suggesting that adulthood causes one to lose all sense o- -un, imagination. 8dults become obsessed with insigni-icant trivialities, li(e the 8unt which is obsessed about )unishing and nit)ic(ing on the children. <hildren in Munro4s stories are very imaginative. #icholas imagines the whole story behind the ta)estry while the 8unt comes out with boring stories and ideas li(e a circus or going to the beach. *he tries to convince #icholas about the -un o- a tri) to the beach, o- circus, but lac(s the imagination to sound convincing. *he describes the beach outing as beautiful an! gloriou" but cannot say in detail how it will be beauti-ul or glorious because she is not creative. 8s -or the :umber room, it is symbolic o- -un and imagination o- the child4s world which is de-initely lac(ing in the adult world. 3t em)hasi+es the destruction o- li-e that adulthood and )ride can bring. The 8unt4s world is -ull o- war)ed )riorities. *he )uts )unishment and withholding oen0oyment as more im)ortant than getting to (now and molding the lives o- the children. *he (ee)s all the beauti-ul and creative things o- the house loc(ed away in a lumber2room so as not to s)oil them but in doing so, the )ur)ose o- the ob0ects which is to beauty the house, is lost, leaving the house dull and colourless. The excer)t is homogeneous. The story is narrated in the $ rd )erson. This allows the reader to access the situation and the characters in an unbiased and ob0ective manner. This is es)ecially so because the characters are com)lex, having both

)ositive and negative view)oints. The third )erson )oint o- view is im)ersonal which -its the im)ersonal atmos)here o- the household. The text can be divided into several )arts6 The ex)osition, in which we learn about little #icholas, his cousins and his strict aunt. #icholas got into his aunt4s disgrace. *o his cousins were to be ta(en to >agborough sands that a-ternoon and he was to stay at home. The 8unt was absolutely sure that the boy was determined to get into the gooseberry garden be#au"e I have tol! him he i" not to$ The com)lication, when #icholas got into an unkno%n lan! olumber2room. 5orbidden -ruit is sweet and truly the lumber2room is described as a "torehou"e of unimagine! trea"ure. ,very single item brings li-e and imagination to #icholas and is symbolic o- what the adult o- real world lac(s. He o-ten )ictured to himsel- what the lumber2room was li(e, since that was the region that %a" "o #arefully "eale! from youthful eye"$ The ta)estry brings to li-e imagination and -antasy within #icholas, the interesting )ots and candlestic(s bring an aesthetic ?uality, visual beauty which stirs u) his creative mind@ and lastly a large s?uare boo( -ull o- coloured )ictures o- birds. An! "u#h bir!"& They allow #icholas to learn in a -un and exciting way. The climax o- the text. Ahile the boy was admiring the colouring oa mandarin duc(, the voice o- his aunt came -rom the gooseberry garden. *he got sli))ed into the rain2water tan( and couldn4t go out. *he demanded -rom the boy to bring her a ladder, but he said her voice didn4t sound li(e his aunt4s. 'ou may be the (vil )ne tempting me to be !i"obe!ient. >ustice must be done. The 8unt tasted the -ruit o- her own )unishment on the children. *he is accused o- falling

from gra#e, o- lying to #icholas about 0am and thus termed the ,vil .ne. *he -eels what it is li(e to be condemned. The denouncement. The 8unt is -urious and en-orces in the house. *he maintaine! the fro*en mutene"" of one %ho ha" "uffere! un!ignifie! an! unmerite! !etention in a rain-%ater tank for thirtyfive minute"$ #icholas was also silent, in the absor)tion o- an enchanting )icture o- a hunter and a stag. The )lot is ordered chronologically, each e)isode is given with more and more em)hasis. The author4s choice o- vocabulary and stylistic devices is admirable. The author uses a large variety o- stylistic devices, such as e)ithets, which can be divided into two categories6 those, which are related to <hild4s world ( grim #hu#kle, allege! frog, unkno%n lan!, "tale !elight, mere material plea"ure, bare an! #heerle"", thi#kly gro%ing vegetation' and the one, which de)icts a Brown2 u)4s world lac(ing any clear thin(ing (frivolou" groun!, verie"t non"en"e, #on"i!erable ob"tina#y, trivial gar!ening operation, unauthori*e! intru"ion+ . They hel) the author to em)hasi+e a dee) dissension between generations, to convey a thrilling )ower o- child4s creative mind. There are a lot o- meta)hors (o-ten sustained' in the story6 a #ir#u" of unrivalle! merit an! un#ounte! elephant" (to lay stress on the 8unt4s narrow2mindness' , the fla%le""ne"" of the rea"oning, "elfimpo"e! "entry-!uty (characteri+es the 8unt as a very strict )erson', art of fitting key" into keyhole" an! turning lo#k", region that %a" "o #arefully "eale! from youthful eye", many gol!en minute" of a ri!i#ulou"ly "hort range$ Aith the hel) othese stylistic means the o--er un-olds a theme in which stu)idity, moral degradation, hy)ocrisy and ambition )lay their sorry )arts. There are some similes in the text6 Bobby %on,t en-oy him"elf mu#h, an! he %on,t ra#e mu#h either. the aunt-by-a""ertion (The author uses #icholas4 own word choice to show that he does not acce)t his aunt4s authority over him. This also may be a subtle criticism o- #icholas4 rebellious attitude.'@ and some )eri)hrases6 the

(vil )ne, the pri"oner in the tank . (These devices )rovide author4s irony and essential clue to the character'. The author also enriches the story with a device o- rhetorical ?uestion6 But !i! the hunt"man "ee, %hat /i#hola" "a%, that four galloping %olve" %ere #oming in hi" !ire#tion through the %oo!0@ and hy)erbole6 1o% !i! "he ho%l. The -ollowing stylistic devices contribute to the ex)ressiveness o- the text. There are two traits always )resent in Hector Munro4s boo(s, which single him out o- common)lace writers, they are irony and witty. The style o- writing is satirical in a humorous way. The author uses a witty tone to mimic characters in order to subtly critici+e them. The criticism is done in a subtle way that is humorous. 5or exam)le, 8unt1s condescending tone in describing #icholas4 )ran(6 disgrace, sin, -ell -rom grace. The author is obviously using the 8unt4s own word choice to reveal her sel-2righteous, holier2than2thou attitude. This is a subtle criticism o- her arrogance which she is blind to. The author uses irony to )o(e -un and critici+e the 8unt. 5or instance, tri) to >agborough which is meant to s)ite #icholas -ails. 3nstead o- being a )unishment -or the child, it became a treat -or him whereas it became a torture to those who went. The 8unt4s conce)tion o- 7the )aradise9. The real )aradise is the :umber2 room not the garden. This reveals the irony that the ideal world o- an adult is dull and boring to that o- a child. The story is a remar(able insight into human character. 3t also reveals 8unt4s virtues and vices. 3n the story the 8unt is re)resented as a sel-2righteous and moralistic )erson. *he uses a hy)ocritical tone and exaggerates a child4s )ran( com)aring it to a grave sin. *he thin(s o- hersel- as a wiser 2 she doesn4t li(e to be in the wrong. Being cold, lac(ing o- love, she is more concerned with )unishing the children6 she (ee)s 0am and goodies away -rom them, she bars them -rom the beauti-ul )laces in the house li(e the garden and lumber2room. Dnable to understand and communicate with children, she is not even aware when her son4s

-eet was hurt. *he dictates their lives -or them, insisting on where they should go -or entertainment. 3t is evident, that the author4s sym)athy lies with the children. The ending o- the story reveals the author4s social comment about the di--erences between the world o- the child and adult. Though the 8unt is -urious, #icholas is thin(ing about the hunter tric(ing the hounds by using the stag as a bait. 3t is a re)resentative o- his own li-e, he is li(e a hunter able to esca)e the hound (which re)resents his aunt and the dull reality o- the adult world' by tric(ery and strategi+ing. To sum u), the author4s style is remar(able -or its )ower-ul swee), brilliant illustrations and dee) )sychological analysis. The story reveals he author4s great (nowledge o- man4s inner world. He )enetrates into the subtlest windings o- the child heart. Biving the author his due -or brilliance o- style and a )ointed ridicule o- many social vices, such as snobbishness, )retence, sel-2interest. The author4s attitude towards grown2u)s is a little bit cynical. 3t4s ?uite obvious that when describing the hard2heartedness and indi--erence o- 8dult4s world he is not indignant but rather amused. His habitual attitude is that o- ex)ecting little or nothing o- his -ellow men. His ironical cynicism combined with a (een wit and )ower observation a--ords him e--ective means o- )ortraying reality without shrin(ing be-ore its seamy side. The charm o- this story lies in its interesting )lot and exciting situation. 8t the same time it conveys dee) thought, (een observation and shar)ness o- characteri+ation. These very ?ualities assure the author o- an outstanding )lace in the annals o- literature and in the hearts o- all who love good stories.

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