The unexpected is essential to the craft of storytelling Essay
The unexpected is essential to the craft of storytelling
Compare how the authors of the comparative texts you have studied used the unexpected in their texts. You may confine your answer to key moments in the texts.
The two comparative texts I have studied in which I will examine their main unexpected key moments and their effects on the reader are ‘Wuthering Heights’ by Emily Brontë and ‘I’m Not Scared’ by Gabriele Salvatores. In my answer I will discuss four unexpected moments of each text, three minor and one major. ‘Wuthering Heights’ is a gothic romance novel set in the late 18th century and is a story of an adopted orphan child, Heathcliff, who is then is reduced to the status of a servant, running away when the young woman he loves decides to marry another.
He returns later, rich and educated, and sets about gaining his revenge on the two families that he believed ruined his life. It is designed to both horrify and fascinate readers with scenes of passion and cruelty. ‘I’m Not Scared’ is filmed in a small town called Acqua Traverse in southern Italy. Set in a time riddled with terrorism and kidnapping in the 1970s, and tells the story of a ten-year-old boy, Michele, who discovers a terrible crime the entire population of his southern Italian town has committed and how the crime is in fact closer to home than he could have ever imagined.
I am dedicating my first paragraph of my essay to discuss the effect of the unexpected on the reader from a personal viewpoint. The unexpected keeps the reader’s attention and maintains a constant level of supsense from start to end, a key element to any well written text. Unseen events also plays on the reader’s sympathy and has the ability to change our vision and viewpoint and/or our opinion of individual characters. Plots twists and dramatic turn of events really hook the reader, almost like a fish being caught on a hook, the temptation to take a bite is too much and once you have taken the first bite you can’t escape. The stories become so much more interesting and appealing that the reader is latched on and must read on and on, almost devouring the book. Both ‘Wuthering Heights’ and ‘I’m Not Scared’ had this effect on me. Despite both texts appealed to my different sense, I strongly felt they both had common underlying themes, which was most common amongst the children such as unconditional love, redemption and cruelty.
I will now compare my first two unexpected moments of both texts. Firstly in ‘I’m Not Scared’ when Michele found the young boy in the hole was both surprising and shocking, the story starts off seemingly as joyous and vibrant with colours bursting from the screen. There were however a few things that Salvatores used to remind the viewer all was not a peaceful and innocent as it seems. For example the dead bird attached to the bird on the stick in the field as a sign that the mafia were nearby was a somber moment and when Skull, the children’s group ‘leader’ tried to force Barabara to remove her undergarments as she had lost the race portrayed the casual, everyday cruelty at play here. In ‘Wuthering Heights’ the first unexpected moment or plot twist is when Lockwood sees the ghost of Catherine at the window of the bedroom that was formely hers.
It is a completely startling moment of the novel. I find these two suprising moments of the texts to be quite similar. Michele in ‘IMS’ is certain the boy he found in the hole was a ghost or spirit not unlike ‘WH’ where there is an actual ghost present. Both characters are terrified by the ghostly figures and we see their curiosity win the better of them both as they both long for more information on the ghastly figures of the texts. These two key events really are the beginning or opening of the texts in a sense, both moments completely change the course of the stories. Personally, I was surprised to find out that there was supernatural forces at play in ‘WH’ and I felt it made the story all the more interesting thanks to it.
My secondary unforeseen moment in ‘IMS’ is when Michele finds out that his father, Pino, is a member of the mafia who had kidnapped the child, Filippo. This is really a turning moment in the story as we see the child lose faith in what was his primary role model in life. His father had always taught Michele to be strong and brave but in actual fact his father was not as brave, strong or as just as Michele had thought. This moment in the story is really when Michele’s life begins to fall apart. Then when he finds out his mother, Anna, had also known of the kidnapping, his life really is in tatters and he has no one to turn to except his best friend Salvatore and confides in him to share his immense discovery. This part of the film really plays on your sympathy for Michele and other characters. It makes you think of and how and why this whole thing happened.
The reader develops a closer bond or involvment with the characters and it draws you further into the story. For my second surprising moment in ‘WH’ which I will compare to ‘IMS’ is when Heathcliff over hears Catherine saying it would degrade her to marry Heathcliff and she does not love him. Similarly in the had texts, both protagonists (Michele and Heathcliff) reveal a side of the people dearest to them they have not known. Michele finding out his parents knew about the kidnapping and were in fact partly involved in it was completely unpredictable to both Michele and the reader. Likewise in ‘WH’, both the reader and Heathcliff always thought that Catherine had strong feelings of love and affection for him. Both characters then dramactically change in purpose and in general after these moments I hsbe mentioned. They both become more independant and less trusting of others. Now to my final minor unanticipated events. In ‘IMS’ when Michele is betrayed by his closest friend he now has no one to turn to