In this essay I will be comparing “The Winters and the Pamleys” by Thomas Hardy and “The Darkness out There” by Penelope Lively. These were written 100 years apart, however, they are very similar, both showing that revenge is a very nasty thing.
In the Winters and the Pamleys there are two woman who are at “daggers drawn” because of each others looks. Mrs Winter stole Mrs Pamleys lover and marred him. Mrs Pamley got marred and had a son but the husband died and she became poor. Mrs Winter took on the son as an errand boy but she sent him out one night he was shocked and died of shock. Mrs Pamley accused her of killing her son.
Mrs Pamleys niece came to stay, her name was Harriet. Mrs Winters son Jack fell instantly in love with her. Jack went off to find work and wrote to Harriet but she did not like his handwriting and called off the wedding, she even said she would show every one what he had written. So, under the cover of dark he broke into the house and stole the chest in which the letters were kept. Without knowing it he also stole some money. He was arrested, Mrs Pamley stopped Harriet from testifying and Jack was executed. Mrs Pamley had her revenge on Mrs Winter.
In “The Darkness Out There” a boy and girl help an old woman around the house by doing jobs in the garden and house. She tells them that during the war a German plane crashed and a German pilot survived but he was badly injured and in a lot of pain but she left him to die for a couple of days. When she told people they came and took souvenirs from the wreckage, they abused his death site. It was her revenge for her husband’s death in the war.
The styles between the two stories are very different as to the way they have been written. The “Winters and the Pamleys” is written in a chatty form with a greengrocer telling the story,
“To go back to the beginning if one must” she is telling the story to a man who is returning to the village after 35 years. The chatty style is good because it is like gossip and everyone wants to know about gossip.
In “The Darkness Out There” it starts as a peaceful story, which gives the impression, that the story is peaceful. It feels as if we are dreaming “She walked though flowers.” This is calm the story then tells us how people are judged like Sandra judges Kerry by his acne then when Mrs Rutter was so nice and then she told how she left a man to die in great pain. The writer has made us make decisions judging people by first appearance she made us judge Mrs Rutter as a nice old woman but it turned out she had a dark side.
Mrs Rutter is motivated by revenge for her husbands death and takes it out on an innocent German boy who probably went though more pain than her husband. She said ” I have sympathy with young people” but clearly she doesn’t. Mrs Pamley had her lover taken away and then her son dies and Mrs Pamley is left with nothing so when Jack steals the money she does not care about him he is just the tool for the revenge on Mrs Winter. The similarity with these character is that they are both motivated by revenge and don’t care who or what is on the receiving end as long as it hurts the person they are out to get, it does not matter what happens to the tool.
Sandra judges Kerry on his looks not what’s in side “some people you only have to look at to know there not up to much”. She reckons her self above other people, she looks down upon others but during the story she changes her views of people. Harriet thinks a lot of her self and looks down on other people she judges Jack on his handwriting. In that time handwriting was important but now it is not, this is because society has changed. The difference between Harriet and Sandra is that by the end of the story Sandra has changed her views when Harriet has not.
Society has changed like war propaganda made the British people back the government in the war, that’s one of the reasons why Mrs Rutter left the German boy to die. We don’t judge people on their hand writing any more because it is not important, nowadays the use of computers has changed that. Jack would have got a fair trial and would not be executed for stealing some money. But one thing has not changed Human nature, if some thing goes wrong we will always want to blame some one else.
Yes I agree that human nature has not really changed because of revenge “The darkness was out there and it was a part of you and you would never be with out it, ever.” But society has changed a lot we don’t judge people the way we used to. I preferred the Winters and the Pamleys because it was the way it was written. I liked about it the chatty form as if it was a television soap but written down which I thought was very clever.