When we first meet Blackie in the story we find that he has no appropriate manners when talking about an adult, “Who cares?……It’s only old Misery’s.” From this we find that Blackie is not very kind hearted as he degrades Mr. Thomas. Also we discover that Blackie has a perverse and cynical attitude about the chocolates which were given by Mr. Thomas as he says, “We’ll show him that we don’t take bribes”.
Already, we know that he is a nasty character as he shows no gratitude towards Mr. Thomas. When T. tells the gang he has been into Mr. Thomas’s house, Blackie’s reply to him is, “What did you do it for then?”. This tells us that Blackie is narrow minded as he has no other motive than theft. We also find that Blackie may be a strong figure on the outside but he is soft inside as he is anxious that they might get caught if they destroy Mr. Thomas’s house, “What’d the police be doing all the time”. We find that later in the story he is dominated by the power of T.’s leadership style and innovation. There is a change in Blackie’s character as we don’t see him as no.1 but no.
The author’s characterization of Blackie is fairly simplistic, in the way that he is the common person you have in a gang. In addition, the relationship between him, T. and Mr. Thomas is interesting and keeps us puzzled about why Blackie dislikes Mr. Thomas and why Blackie is somehow under T.’s power, as well as the rest of the gang. We find that Mr. Thomas is a kind hearted person through our perspective; however through the eyes of the gang he is mean. As far as Mr. Thomas’s personal life goes we find that he is very stubborn about his money spending as the author points out, “Once a week you could see him coming back across the common with bread and vegetables”. This definitely insinuates the idea that Mr. Thomas is not very rich.
“I got some chocolates”, this line tells us that he is nice towards the kids as chocolate then cost quite a lot; would have be considered important and special. In addition, this tells us that he shows his affection and may be lonely. Another line which suggest that he is a lonely man is that, “sometimes I like company”. This implies a very poignant side to Mr. Thomas. This description of Mr. Thomas gives a good picture to the reader of what Mr. Thomas’s personality is like. In addition, it makes the reader feel somewhat sympathetic in some cases for Mr. Thomas as he is a generous elderly man.
The author’s characterisation of Mr. Thomas is not that dense because Mr. Thomas is not engaged much in the story and does not develop or there is no change in his character. Although, this is an effective description of the character by the author because this is a credible person in the story and the plan of destroying his house is centred on him. This makes the reader wonder why Mr. Thomas’s house was picked for destruction, apart from T. saying, “It’s nothing personal”.
After looking at all the main characters we discover that the author uses various personalities, which makes the story more interesting, instead of the usual same old characters, which would make the story dull and boring for the reader. The author also uses effective style such as sentence and paragraph construction, vocabulary, direct speech and images We see through out the story that the author uses short sharp sentences which makes the story tense in most cases. In some cases the author uses short sharp sentences to create not only tension but to make the atmosphere negative, “We’ve hardly started…Why there’s all the floors left, and the stairs….
There won’t be anything left when we’ve finished”. In addition, we see that the author uses small paragraphs throughout the whole story which makes this story quick and more effective. Also, when the author uses short sentences when Blackie and T. speak at the start of the story where they say, “No I rang the bell”….”What did you do it for then?”, this sounds like an interrogation which is again a blasphemous echo of the jury(as there are twelve in the gang, that’s the same in the jury).
We find that the author uses effective vocabulary to conjure up tension and atmosphere. The word ‘gang’ suggests something sinister. This word also gives the story a chilling effect rather than the Wormsley common crew/posse/team. These all suggest something harmless, it doesn’t appear to us as something menacing like ‘gang’ as this is shortened from the word gangsters. Also, when the author uses the name Trevor it also suggests that it is a middle class name as it sounds posh. When Trevor’s name is changed to T., this is a harsh sound and is an impersonal letter which would be substituted for a name.
This letter makes the atmosphere tense as it is a harsh sound. We also discover that the author uses a lot of violent and unpleasant vocabulary such as ‘jagged tooth’. This makes the description more sinister and, therefore makes the atmosphere more gloomy and macabre. The use of twelve members in the gang is significant as this is similar to the twelve disciples and the jury. By choosing twelve members in the gang the author has created a blasphemous echo.
It is effective towards the reader as it is a good use of this narrative skill which makes the story interesting. In addition, through out the story we find that the author uses a variety of violent/chilling and descriptive words. Overall, we discover that the author uses fairly prosaic style through out the story, which makes it easier for readers to read the story and actually absorb the meaning of the story. For example, when the author says, “The loo was a wooden shed at the bottom of the garden with a star shaped hole in the door”. Also in some parts of the story we find that the author uses colloquial vocabulary in certain areas, when the gang are talking, “I said I wanted to see his house”.
Another effective use of narrative skill we see by the author in the story is the direct speech. We find through out the story that the gang interact with each other in an informal way. This includes lines such as, “We’d go to jug” and “He’s got stuck in your loo”. These lines in the story tell us that the author tries to engage the reader in the story by using the informal language we use today in front of our friends. In addition, this use of speech in the story gives us a good description, of what kind of background the boys are from and when this story was set.
The author also includes many images in the story through descriptive words. These images create tension and atmosphere in the story which actually engages the reader more. For example, the author creates an aural image by the use of onomatopoeia, which is somewhat unpleasant when he says, “a clicketyclack, a bang bang bang, a scraping, a creaking, a sudden painful crack”, the use of this image makes the scene in the story tenser and produces a clear image of what the author is getting across by using aural words. We see that author includes many visual images but one in particular which is effective is that when the author says, “The grey ash floated above them and fell on their heads like age”. This image is poetical, and gives the reader a clear picture of what is happening.
Also we see that the author uses various different styles in the story, such as irony, symbolism, sarcasm and humour. Several times in the story the author uses a lot of irony, one example is when the author says, “Driven by the pure, simple, and altruistic ambition of fame for the gang, Blackie came back to where T. stood in the shadow of Misery’s wall”. This use of irony is not entirely humorous to the reader but it is effective in the sense that it gives a good description of the character as this is a turning point for Blackie as he was thrown off the leadership seat by T. However, there are other times where the author uses humorous irony such as, “I’ll have the wall built up”, when Mr. Thomas said this in the story it is deeply ironic as he hasn’t looked at the state of his house first. This gives the reader some humour instead of being tedious, and this makes the reader continue on as it is humorous.
Also, the author uses symbolism in the story which makes the reader think a bit more about the story. For example, it is symbolic that the gang are doing the destruction on Sunday as this is associated with the Christian pilgrimage. This symbolism is an effective style as it makes the story more complicated than it looks because this makes the reader wonder why the gang chooses Sunday. In addition the author uses sarcasm in the story, for example when T. says, “Not a child’s saw”.
Also, as I have mentioned before that the author uses an effective atmosphere which also creates the tension in to the story. For example, when the author says, “The grey wet common stretched ahead, and the lamps gleamed in the puddles”, this conjures up a chilling and oppressive atmosphere. This makes the story effective as it creates a tense atmosphere and has a kind of morbid fascination to the reader, which keeps the reader immersed into the story right up until the end. The author also includes sinister atmosphere in tense situation in the story which builds up the scene to a climax of suspense.
The author generally uses oppressive atmosphere in the story as it is the main story line, the destruction of Mr. Thomas’s house which is unpleasant. In addition, the author produces sensational dramatic scenes. For example, when T. pleads with the gang to help him complete the destruction, even though Mr. Thomas is approaching his house. Here the reader will be thinking, ‘will the gang help him? And what will Mr. Thomas say? I think this was well used by Graham Greene and was very effective.
For the reader, dramatic scenes are effective as they keep the reader in suspense and keep him/her firmly focused on the plot. In conclusion, after analysing the narrative skills of Graham Greene it is apparent that he has written an effective story for the reader. Although the story is unusual and some unimaginative use of narrative skills near to the end of the story, it is interesting to note what narrative skills Graham Greene has used and how he has made it effective.