A)Write an essay (700-900 words) in which you analyse and interpret Richard Knight’s short story “Sorry for Disturbing You”. To put your interpretation into perspective, your essay must include a discussion of at least two of the other items listed below. One of these must be a text.
Being alone is something that some people voluntarilychose to be, while loneliness is an involuntary eternal state that hurts its offer. When feeling lonely, you feel that you do not really belong anywhere, and that no one really appreciates you. At worst, it can make you feel, that no one would miss you if you were not here anymore. The text “Sorry for Disturbing You” by Richard Knightdeals with loneliness and choices you make in life.The short story is being told by a third person limited narrator and stretches over a single night.It starts in medias res when an old and apparently abandoned man called Michael Phelps knocks the door of a house he hasn’t been visiting for 22 years: ”The first thing Ian noticed, as the stiff door lunched open in his hand, was the icy rain running in beads down the man’s face”(p.2 line 1). Ian, the protagonist of the story,is home alone with his daughter the night Michael Phelps comes by. However, he decides to invite in the old man even though he seems very drunk. On his way in, Michael leaves a dark print on the yellow wall: “…and placed a hand on the bright yellow painted wall inside the door, leaving a dark print”. (p.2 line 23). This gives us the impression that he is very dirty and unkempt. The dark print appears again later in the textwhen Ian’s wife, Karen, returns home. Karen is staying at her mother’s house this evening since Ian and her are having things to sort out. While Michael is inside Ian’s housecalling for a taxi, Ian starts wondering about who Edie and George are. Michael mentioned these two namesin the start of the text, when he was hanging in the doorframe waiting for Ian to let him in. After a while, Ian finds out that Edie and George are the previous owners of the house, and Michael used to be a good friend of George.
We are not are getting any specific details about their previous relation to each other. Everything is very cryptic, but it is very clear that they do not have any contact nowadays. Eddie could be Michael’s daughter and married to George, and somehow Michael has messed up their friendship, which has resulted in in an abuse of alcohol. “It’s the alcohol you see. I should have walked her down the aisle you know” (p. 4 line 19).
When the taxi arrives, the taxi driver denies picking up Michael with the following message for Ian: “I’m sorry mate. I’ve had him before. You’ll have to try someone else”. (p. 4 line 88). Ian decides calling Georgefor help, but without any positive result as George does not know what to suggest. This is where Ian really starts missing Karen. The choices Michael has made earlier in his life has led him to this poor state where he feels abandoned and left alone. Ian does not want to end up like him sohe calls for Karen and offers to drive Michael home, when Karen has arrived at the house. When Karen arrives, she notices the black print on the wall, which Michael put on the wall when he stepped into the house: “… and saw Karen hugging their daughter, examining a dirty black mark on the wall” (p.5 line 152). I think that the dark mark can be a symbol of the impact Michael has had on Ian’s life this evening. At first,we get the impression that this meeting with Michael would end up as a bad experience.Nevertheless, Michael actually ends up ‘helping’ Ian unconsciously as he brings his family together and make Ian reconsider the current situation with his wife Karen. The end of the story might shows us that Ian has become more careful and consideredcompared to his marriage“He switched the television off, made two cups of tea and a glass of warm milk, and took the first careful steps up the stairs”(p.6 line 71). The picture “Loneliness” by James Dignan illustrates a man, sitting alone on a bench. The way he sits with his head buried in his hands, staring at the floor, gives an impression of loneliness and abandonment, which is very similar to how we perceive Michael Phelps in “Sorry for Disturbing You”. Thegrey colors, and especially the dark grey frame around the picture creates a feeling of depression, which we can relate to Michael as well. In “Tears, Idle Tears” Alfred Tennyson uses the sentence “..the days that are no more” to end every single verse of the poem.We can link these words to Michael’s life as well, as he repeatedly talks about his past. It is very clear that Michael misses the days where he was a healthy and sober man with a full of great relations instead of life of loneliness. (820 Words)
B)Write a short essay (200-300 words) in which you give examples of the function of dialogue in “Sorry for Disturbing You”.
The short story ”Sorry for Disturbing You” is kind of carried by dialogue as there is very little action in it. The dialogues, which occur in the text, are both very limited and confusing though, and many things are not being said directly.The communication between Ian and Michael fails several times through the story because they talk past each other. We see a great example of this when Ian asks Michael:“Are you sure you wouldn’t like some water?” and Michael answers: “Of course I should be in hospital really” (p.3 line 61). Ian does something a little similar when Michael asks Ian about his wife Karen: “is your wife out?” and Ian answers: “She’s on her way home. She’ll be here soon, then I’ll run you home” (p.5 line 136). Instead of telling Michael about the current situation and explaining why Karen has been staying at her mother’s house, he picks the easy solution and comes with an answer that ends the dialogue they are having. Another reason why the communication sort of fails is that Michael does not finish his sentences: “I should’ve walked her down…” (p.3 line 76). This ‘force’ the reader of the text to read ‘between’ the lines in order to understand what has happened in his past. At the same time it makes Michael a little mysterious which helps maintaining the reader, as it keeps him/her curious and naturally wants to find out what is going on. The author uses this technique through the entire story in order to maintain the reader. (259 Words)