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(i) With close reference to the passage, give evidence to show how Hooper knew that locking Kingshaw in the Red Room would scare him.
From the beginning of this chapter three, we have already been exposed to the fears of the despondent young boy – Kingshaw. In this passage, Hooper welcomed the supposed to be honoured Kingshaw into the Red Room. When the door was opened wide for Kingshaw, he stepped a little into the room and then he stopped. While Hooper was standing “beside the doors, the keys in his hand”.
With a tuck from Hooper’s challenge to go on into the room and look around, “Kingshaw stiffened and moved slowly towards the first of the glass cases” and then “drew in his breath sharply”. Hooper was watching him intently waiting for the next chance to attack his prey. Kingshaw also gave his fear away when he stuttered upon asking, “who…where did they come from?” while trying to act interested about the dead moths in that dark and dreary room. The despot’s wit took him nearer to his opportunity. He offered the small key to “open one of the cases” so that Kingshaw could touch them but Kingshaw was very overwhelmed by his fear that he replied Hooper with a straight “No.” four times. That only led himself deeper into the tyrant’s trap. Not only did Kingshaw’s answers betrayed himself, he also started “moving backwards” and “only wanted to get out of the room”.
This incident in the room only brought Hooper to confirm his suspicion of Kingshaw having a fear for dead things. Hooper was first given an impression with his first attempt of scaring Kingshaw upon his first meeting with him. The young tyrant lied to the vulnerable Kingshaw about his grandfather dying in the room and on the bed that Kingshaw was about to use. At that time, the young boy was oblivious towards Hooper’s tormenting words. Yet, his reaction said a lot about his inner being. Kingshaw upon knowing of the past of his new bedroom only “went to the suitcase and squatted down”. It was very obvious to Hooper that he was trying to act as if the fact that someone died in his room did not scare him at all. At ten years old, any young boy would have protested for another room and demand a confirmation from an adult but Kingshaw just kept mum.
Hooper put Kingshaw to another test of a dead creature again after watching the boy being attacked by the life crow. He confronted Kingshaw about his fear – “You were scared. You were running away.” The helpless Kingshaw then got reminded of his encounter with the scarlet red mouth of the carrion crow and was very agitated when he asked Hooper to “Shut up, shut up”. Kingshaw obviously didn’t want to recall that terrifying incident again. However, the scheming Hooper placed a stuffed crow on Kingshaw’s bed at night. As Kingshaw was already very afraid of his room, as he believed Hooper’s lie that his grandfather died in his bed, Hooper wanted to use the stuffed crow to make the terror of the attack of that crow return. Also, considering Hooper’s devious mind, I believe he also placed the stuffed crow on Kingshaw’s bed in the night also to create an impression on him that it could be Hooper’s dead grandfather.
When Kingshaw saw the stuffed crow on his bed the next morning, he knew for sure that Hooper was behind it. He also developed a fear towards Hooper from this as he realized that that tyrant was capable of anything to scare him even more. Yet, Kingshaw was so afraid to put himself to shame if he ever did cry out for help as he remembered his father was laughing at him about his childhood fear of drowning. Kingshaw also knew that Hooper was waiting for him to scream and yell thus he decided to consume his fear so that he could get the overhand over this psychological battle against Hooper.
Hence, we can see very clearly that Hooper did very careful planning and made specific interpretations about Kingshaw’s fear of dead things and yearns for the stronghold against Kingshaw and his emotions. Thus upon confirming Kingshaw’s fear, Hooper moves on to locking him in the Red Room with the dead moths and other stuffed animals with very dark surroundings enhanced by the rain and grey skies outside that creates a threatening mood in Kingshaw.
(ii) Describe one other incident where Hooper preys on Kingshaw’s fears and discuss the effect of that incident on Kingshaw. Write with reference till where we stopped – Chapter 6.
One other incident apart from that of locking Kingshaw in the Red Room on that rainy night, I believe very strongly that the stuffed crow created a very deep threat in Kingshaw’s life in Warings and he was bent on running away from his greatest fear right now – Edmund Hooper.
Kingshaw was exceptionally traumatized from his attack of the living crow. It was like Hooper – aggressive, territorial and left no space for him to escape. The crow caused him “to scream in a queer, gasping sort of way” which shows us how terrified of the crow Kingshaw was. The crow seemed to have a craving to hurt him and Kingshaw was left totally helpless and almost unable to make a sound because of his terror and shock. The vicious attack of that crow showed how trapped and isolated Kingshaw was in Warings.
Hence when Hooper exploits Kingshaw’s fear of the crow and dead things, Kingshaw started to have a fear for Hooper grow in him. Especially when he realizes that Hooper used the stuffed crow to terrorise him and also to hint to him about himself being kept under close observation and can be defeated anytime by a click of Hooper’s fingers. Although the living crow attacked Kingshaw physically, he knew very clearly that the stuffed crow was to attack him psychologically and that Hooper has had seen through his brave front.
Kingshaw tried very hard to battle the fear inside him so that Hooper would not win him. However, after being locked inside the Red Room with all the dead animals, Kingshaw yearns for somewhere he can hide away from Hooper’s supervision. He hates Hooper now.
Kingshaw did find a room of his own, his personal space in Warings somewhere that Hooper does not hold control of. It was a small room that “seemed never to have had any particular function of its own”. Although the room was small, Kingshaw was not afraid of it. The author was trying to tell us that the claustrophia was towards being locked up and not of minimal spaces.
Kingshaw was actually fine with the idea about locking himself in that room full of antique dolls as a way of “defending himself” against Hooper. He only panics when somebody else locks him in a room, against his own will. His secret room was a very little room compared to Hooper’s confident Red Room. This tells a lot of Kingshaw’s insecurity and his sensitive and gentle character as the room was filled with a collection of female dolls.
However, Kingshaw’s temporary sanctuary was not occupied for long, Hooper found his hiding place. His freedom was short-lived.