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Stylistic analysis of the text “The lumber-room”

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    Hector Hugh Munro (December 18, 1870 – November 13, 1916), better known by the pen name Saki, was a British writer, whose witty and sometimes macabre stories satirized Edwardian society and culture. He is considered a master of the short story and is often compared to O. Henry and Dorothy Parker. His tales feature delicately drawn characters and finely judged narratives. Saki’s world contrasts the effete conventions and hypocrisies of Edwardian England with the ruthless but straightforward life-and-death struggles of nature. Nature generally wins in the end.

    In this text the author colorfully describes interesting childhood of the little boy which name is Nicholas. This story told us about the one day of the Nicholas life, the day when he was in disgrace. In this day Nicholas was at home with his aunt. And he realized his dream and scrape in the unknown land, in the lumber-room. Nicholas saw many beautiful things there. His imagination painted the great pictures in his mind. But his aunt began to search for him, and he went out of the lumber-room. But for all life Nicholas remembered those amazing things.

    The text represents a 3d person narration. The text is full of different stylistic devices. The extract may be divided into 4 logically complete parts: The exposition. The first part told us about Nicholas, about his cousins and of course about his aunt. In this part Nicholas was in disgrace and stood at home while his cousins left. Also, in this part we see what a despotic and self-assured woman was his aunt. To show it the author uses the phrase: “because I have told him he is not to”. It’s interesting to note, that Nicholas was very clever boy.

    All his speech was competent and full of scientific vocabulary. And ant’s speech on the contrary was primitive. To show it the author uses epithet: “She was a woman of few ideas”. In this part we can see the simple aunt’s imagination. The author uses the epithet to describe it: “a circus of unrivalled merit and uncounted elephants” and as a contrast we see Nicholas children’s simplicity, to show it the author uses the epithet: “alleged frog”. To describe a gooseberry garden the author uses a lot of fruit and vegetables words: “growth of artichokes; raspberry canes; fruit bushes”.

    Also in this part the author uses the similes: “Bobby won’t enjoy himself much, and he won’t race much either; the aunt-by-assertion” and the epithet: “ grim chuckle”- the author uses Nicholas’ own word choice to show that he does not accept his aunt’s authority over him. It is interesting the using of metaphor which was taken from the Bible: “forbidden paradise” – in my opinion this metaphor shows how strong Nicholas wanted to know what it is in the lumber-room. In the second part Nicholas came to the lumber-room. He saw many wonderful and beautiful things there.

    For Nicholas it was a storehouse of unimagined treasure. He found the roll of Indian hangings and his imagination drew a lot of amazing pictures in his mind. Also, Nicholas found the quaint twisted candlesticks in the shape of snakes, and a teapot fashioned like a china duck, and a large square book with plain black covers. This book was full of colored pictures of birds. Nicholas enjoyed his thoughts and imaginations in the lumber-room. The author uses repetition: “often and often Nicholas had pictured to himself…” which describes Nicholas rich imagination.

    To show us that the lumber-room for Nicholas was so mysterious, the author uses the epithet: “the unknown world”. Also the author uses the epithet: “golden minutes” – to show that the time in the lumber-room was so important for Nicholas. In this part we can see how colorfully the author describes the imagination of the child. The author uses the rhetorical question: “But did the huntsman see, what Nicholas saw, that four galloping wolves were coming in his direction through the wood? ”-in my opinion this question makes to work the reader’s imagination too.

    The author uses simile: “teapot fashioned like a china duck”-to show how interesting Nicholas draw it in his head this picture. We see the Nicholas’ admiration when he saw the birds: “and such birds”. For strengthen the impression the author uses alliteration: “First and foremost there was…” The anticlimax of the text it’s that moment that Nicholas heard the ant’s voice. It was the time when Nicholas descended from heaven to earth. The author uses epithet to describe it: “objects of delight and interest”. 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. Nicholas closed the lumber-room and went to the garden. In this time his aunt slipped into the rain-water tank and couldn’t go out. In this part the author uses irony to show us that the aunt’s upbringing played against her. Nicholas told: “Your voice doesn’t sound like aunt’s, you may be the Evil One tempting me to be disobedient. Aunt often tells me that the Evil One tempts me and that I always yield. This time I’m not going to yield”, “Will there be strawberry jam for tea? . This dialog is something like a Justice. And we can see another irony, which shows that all aunt’s actions and words to Nicholas before this situation played a bad Joke with her: “Now I know that you are the Evil One and not aunt, Oh, Devil, you have sold yourself! ”. The denouement. After those words to the aunt, Nicholas went. He didn’t help her. In the evening dinner the aunt was furious and silent: “She maintained the frozen muteness of one who has suffered undignified and unmerited detention in a rain-water tank for thirty-five minutes”.

    And Nicholas was silent too, because he continued to think about all his imaginations. In my opinion this text presents a generation problem. We can see children and the aunt. The aunt is represented as a self-righteous and moralistic person. She uses a hypocritical tone and exaggerates a child’s prank comparing it to a grave sin. She thinks of herself as a wiser – she doesn’t like to be in the wrong. So, we can see the differences between the world of the child and the adult. It is really very interesting and instructive story, and I hope that people who read it- don’t do the same mistakes with there child.

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