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The black veil by Charles Dickens

Paper type: Essay
Pages: 8 (1941 words)
Categories: Homelessness, Literature, Novels, Society
Downloads: 3
Views: 621

‘ Link Link does not think much of London, because of the way he is forced to live. Shelter, the other narrator does not like it much either, because of people like Link. ‘Scruffy blighters, lying around making the place look manky. ‘ Characters Both writers present the serious theme through use of characters. In Stone Cold, the writer is included in the life and thoughts of an insane person. The reader knows exactly what Shelter is planning, even though, Link, the other narrator, does not.

The reader gets to read the diary of Shelter, and can find out how he thinks, and his next moves.

The element of mysteriousness in Stone Cold is represented through Gail, because we know nothing about her. She seems like a perfect partner for Link, and as the reader wants them to be happy together, any doubts about her past are pushed to the back of the reader’s mind.

‘I hadn’t meant for us to fight. I loved her. ‘ The reader does not really think that there is any mystery about her. She implies that she left home because of her stepfather, and both Link the reader assume that she is telling all there is to know. At the very end of the novel, Swindells reveals the truth about her to both Link and the reader.

Link and the reader are shocked to find out that her name id really Louise, and that she was only acting homeless so she could get a nice story for a newspaper. After hearing the truth, the reader realises that there have been many clues that Gail might not be what she seems, which the reader has chosen to ignore. ‘It’s my dosh, Link. I can do what I like with it, and anyway I’m not phoning my sister. I’ve got other things to do’. – Gail. The reader also realises that her clothes were not as scruffy as you would expect, and she never had a shortage of money. There is also an element of mystery around Shelter.

The writer is told that he used to be in the army, but the reader is never told why he left. Shelter implies that it was against is will, that he would never have left if he had a choice. ‘Twenty-nine years’ service and they turn around and chuck me out. Medical grounds, it says on the chit. Discharged on medical grounds. And there’s nothing wrong with me. ‘ Even at the very end, the reader is not told about why he left the army. On the other hand, the lady in The Black Veil is more obvious, and the reader can tell almost straight away that she is mysterious.

The reader knows all along that she has a story to tell, but she does not tell it. The reader is left guessing along with the doctor, because very little clue is revealed about the full story. When all is revealed in the final few paragraphs, the reader is totally unprepared for what is to come. When the reader finds out the truth, they do not see any way they could have guessed earlier on in the novel that the lady’s son has been hanged as a criminal, and was hoping that the could stop him form dying, because the writer did not give any major clues. Language.

There are two narrators in Stone Cold, and they both have a different way of writing. Shelter writes his part of the story as if it is a diary. And because it is a diary, you don’t need to explain anything. It is for you to read only, so you don’t need to go into much detail, you don’t need to go back and keep repeating things about the past. This is the way Shelter writes his part, as if he knows that no one else will read his entries. Even at the very beginning of the novel, Shelter doesn’t reveal ‘the story so far’, he just gets on with telling the recent events. ‘Shelter. Yes. I like it.

It’s got a ring to it as I’m sure you’ll agree. ‘ As the reader gets further on in the story, they begin to understand Shelter, and small clues are revealed throughout about Shelter’s past. He also writes in a weird way, just a few words in each sentence. This makes his narration seem a little bit more entertaining, as you can almost tell how insane he is just by his language. Link is the other narrator of Stone Cold. He writes quite differently, and gives the events in the order in which the happened. He first introduces himself, then goes on to tell the reader about how he became homeless, before going on with the story.

‘Here is the story of my fascinating life. ‘ Link writes as if he is telling a story, and he writes in perfect English. This has an impact on the reader, because this tells the reader that just because he lives out on the street, it does not mean that he can’t write properly. He also makes a point of telling the reader that he did get 5 GCSE’s when he left school. The Black Veil is written totally different to the narrators in Stone Cold. Charles Dickens writes in the form of third person narrative, and uses fairly long and complex sentences.

He chooses to write ‘in common with the generality of people, he had often heard and read of singular circumstances, in which the presentiment of death, at a particular day, or even minute, had been entertained and realised’, instead of ‘he had heard and read of times when people could predict the time of their death’, which is what this particular quote means. This is unlike Stone Cold is written, because The Black Veil was written in the early 19th century, more than a century before Stone Cold was written. Philosophy In Stone Cold, the writer shows that he is very much against the way homeless people are treated.

When Link first leaves home he goes to this place for help. He gives some details there, and is fairly confident that the place he went to would help him, maybe give him some money, or give him somewhere to live, anything. He is not helped, but is told that he should go back home. He had not intended on being homeless, but he was made homeless all the same. No one helped him because they thought it was his fault, they thought he was running away from a perfectly good home. Link decides that he can’t ever face going back to his mother and Vincent, and that has no alternative but to live on the streets.

‘And that’s how I came to join them – the homeless kids I’d seen everywhere on my travels. The kids I’d given change to a week ago when I’d thought things were bound to work out. I was one of them now – poised at the top of that downward spiral. ‘ – Link At the end, when Shelter is discovered, the real hero is Link. He is the one that survived the encounter, and he’s the one that suspected him all along. But all the credit is given to ‘Gail’. If he weren’t homeless, if he had an identity, an address, he would have been on the front page instead of her. It’s as if homeless people have absolutely no rights at all.

The way the story is written suggests that Swindells is not entirely happy with the way it is. In the Black Veil, I think Dickens doesn’t agree with the way victims are punished. The writer tries to show the reader what effects this way of being punished have on the close ones on the criminals: ‘had plunged into a career of dissipitation and crime. And this was the result; his own death by the hangman’s hands, and his mother’s shame and incurable insanity. ‘ The man’s mother in the story is totally innocent, and she does not know what her son was up to. Yet in the end, she is the one that is suffering.

She blames herself for his hanging, thinking that she was a bad mother and didn’t give her son what he wanted. The fact that this man’s crime is not revealed adds to the impression that the writer doesn’t agree with this way of punishment. If the writer had said that the man had killed, the reader might think this was a fair punishment for such a crime. But as he does not say so, the reader can’t help but feel sorry for the woman, and feel pity for her son, even if it was a murder that the son had committed. Themes The theme of Stone Cold is homelessness.

The novel shows how tough life is on the streets, even without the insane killer on the loose. The writer gives every single detail about homelessness from being thought of as invisible, to not getting the credit when you ‘save the day’. ‘Oh, I know I ought to have chucked the money in her face. A telly hero would have, but then a telly hero doesn’t have to live on the street. ‘ There is also a theme of insanity in Stone Cold. Shelter, the insane person is going around killing the homeless for no reason at all. The insane thing is that he doesn’t even think he’s doing anything wrong, he says he’s helping ‘clean up’ the city.

He keeps the bodies of his victims under the floorboards in his house, and takes peeks at them for pleasure. While on the outside, he presents the appearance of an ordinary, well-balanced individual. The Black Veil also has a theme of insanity. When the lady comes to the doctor to ask for his help, he thinks she is insane. The mysterious way in which she acts, and weird manner in which she speaks gives both the doctor and the reader that impression. But her insanity is different to that of Shelter. The reader can see her point of view, because she has lost her son, and many people can relate to losing a loved one.

Shelter is different because very few people can see his point of view, they think he is crazy, and should be locked away for good. The Black Veil also has a theme of the way criminals are dealt with. By showing the impact of the son’s death on his mother, the writer makes the reader think that this is wrong, and the reader feels sympathy for the mother. Conclusion As I have shown, it is possible for a novel to deliver a serious message and offer entertainment for the reader. Both of the stories I have used show this. In Stone Cold, a very entertaining part of the story is when Shelter is dealing with his victims’ bodies.

‘They’ve got bags of swank, my lads. Shiny boots and nice short hair. And if you think that the boots’ll give me away – if you’re thinking that the fella I get ’em off must be starting to wonder – forget it. ‘ – Shelter. In The Black Veil, a very entertaining part of the story is near the very end, when there is a description of the corpse lying down. Both of these descriptions are typical of horror writing, a style that has been very popular for centuries. Both of the writers seem to have chosen a genre that will be appealing to many readers in order to convey a serious social and moral message.

Cite this essay

The black veil by Charles Dickens. (2017, Sep 27). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/the-black-veil-by-charles-dickens-essay

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