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The Lumber Room The text under analysis is entitled “The Lumber Room” and it is written by an outstanding British novelist and short story writer Hector Munro. Hector Hugh Munro, better known by the pen name Saki, was a British writer. In her Biography of Saki Munro’s sister writes: “One of Munro’s aunts, Augusta, was a woman of ungovernable temper, of fierce likes and dislikes, imperious, a moral coward, possessing no brains worth speaking of, and a primitive disposition. ” Naturally the last person who should have been in charge of children.
The character of the aunt in The Lumber-Room is Aunt Augusta to the life. Functional style is belles-lattes, in concrete it’s a short story. The title of the text serves as a means of focusing our attention on the most relevant scene, it is closely connected with the setting of the text and it helps to understand the theme of the text, which is the ironic description of relations between boy and his aunt and his visiting the lumber-room. Also the title of the text helps us to understand the main character, Nicolas, his romantic nature, bright and curious.
The Lumber-room Subjects
The story presents extremely topical subjects. To my mind the author raises rather controversial, topical, burning problems. We can mentally divide the whole novel into two parts: child’s world and adult’s world. The author singles out that adulthood causes one to lose all sense of fun, imagination. Adults become obsessed with insignificant trivialities, like the Aunt which is obsessed about punishing and nitpicking on the children. The story tells about a little orphan Nicholas who was trusted to his tyrannical and dull-witted aunt.
One day Nicholas was “in disgrace”, so he duped his Aunt into believing that he was somehow trying to get into the gooseberry garden, but instead had no intention of doing so but did sneak into the Lumber Room. There a tremendous picture of a hunter and a stag opened to him. Soon his aunt tried to look for the boy and slipped into the rain-water tank. She asked Nicholas to fetch her a ladder but the boy pretended not to understand her, he said that she was the Evil One. In “The Lumber Room,” Nicholas is the chief character.
We first meet him when he is defying authority and playing tricks on his relatives (putting a frog in his bowl of bread and milk) and this is how he appears throughout the story. The whole Nicholas tests the limits of authority. He thinks that the “older and wiser and better people” represented by his self-styled aunt don’t believe there can be a frog in his bread and milk, but there is. The author imposes opinion that aunt’s punishments have no power over Nicholas’s lively, curious and imaginative nature. He makes her furious.
Left at home while the other children are out “enjoying” themselves in adult-sanctioned ways, Nicholas discovers a world of pure freedom and joy in the lumber-room – significantly, a place where adults seldom go and which they don’t care about. He secures his afternoon of freedom by tricking the aunt, turning her nosiness and eagerness to punish against her. The story ends with Nicholas in disgrace as usual, but completely untroubled as he silently revels in his private, anarchic world of the imagination.
There is an external conflict between people – adults and children, boy and aunt. The idea of the text is the importance of understanding in the family, love, support and respect. In this text we have close plot structure, and events are presented in chronological order, so we have straight line narrative presentation. The author is observer. The story is narrated in the 3rd person. This allows the reader to access the situation and the characters in an unbiased and objective manner.
This is especially so because the characters are complex, having both positive and negative viewpoints. The third person point of view is impersonal which fits the impersonal atmosphere of the household. The author uses a large variety of stylistic devices, such as epithets, which can be divided into two categories: those, which are related to Child’s world: grim chuckle, alleged frog, unknown land, stale delight, mere material pleasure, bare and cheerless, thickly growing vegetation; and the one, which depicts a Grown-up’s world lacking any clear thinking: frivolous round, veriest nonsense, considerable obstinacy, trivial gardening operation, unauthorized intrusion. They help the author to emphasize a deep dissension between generations, to convey a thrilling power of child’s creative mind. There are a lot of metaphors in the story: a circus of unrivalled merit and uncounted elephants, the flawlessness of the reasoning, self-imposed sentry-duty art of fitting keys into keyholes and turning locks, region that was so carefully sealed from youthful eyes, many golden minutes of a ridiculously short range.
With the help of these stylistic means the offer unfolds a theme in which stupidity, moral degradation, hypocrisy and ambition play their sorry parts. There are some similes in the text: Bobby won’t enjoy himself much, and he won’t race much either; the aunt-by-assertion; and some periphrases: the Evil One, the prisoner in the tank. The author also enriches the story with a device of rhetorical question: But did the huntsman see, what Nicholas saw, that four galloping wolves were coming in his direction through the wood? and hyperbole: How did she howl. There are also other devices, as repetitions: “ he told you twice, but you weren’t listening. You often don’t listen when we tell you important things. ” (catch repetition); “older and wiser and better people had told him that there could not possibly be a frog …. and marking of the alleged frog. ”
And epiphoras: “you said there couldn’t possibly be a frog in my bread-and-milk; there was a frog in my bread-and-milk”; In the text there one-member sentences: “why not? ”; ”Who’s calling? ; We should notice that in the text the author uses complex constructions with a lot of homogenous parts, compound complex sentences with homogenous modifiers of time. The style of writing is satirical in a humorous way. The author uses a witty tone to mimic characters in order to subtly criticize them. The author uses irony to poke fun and criticize the Aunt. For instance, trip to Jagborough which is meant to spite Nicholas fails. Instead of being a punishment for the child, it became a treat for him whereas it became a torture to those who went.
To sum up, the author’s style is remarkable for its powerful sweep, brilliant illustrations and deep psychological analysis. The story reveals he author’s great knowledge of man’s inner world. He penetrates into the subtlest windings of the child heart. Giving the author his due for brilliance of style and a pointed ridicule of many social vices, such as snobbishness, pretence, self-interest. The author’s attitude towards grown-ups is a little bit cynical. It’s quite obvious that when describing the hard-heartedness and indifference of Adult’s world he is not indignant but rather amused.
His habitual attitude is that of expecting little or nothing of his fellow men. His ironical cynicism combined with a keen wit and power observation affords him effective means of portraying reality without shrinking before its seamy side. The charm of this story lies in its interesting plot and exciting situation. At the same time it conveys deep thought, keen observation and sharpness of characterization. These very qualities assure the author of an outstanding place in the annals of literature and in the hearts of all who love good stories.