At the beginning of the both stories of ‘A Vendetta’ and ‘The Three Strangers,’ you can sense straight away that the story is a mystery. I am going to compare and contrast the way in which the authors develop a sense of mystery in these stories. Thomas Hardy and Guy De Maupassant both develop a sense of mystery in the two stories ‘A Vendetta’ and ‘The Three Strangers’ by starting the story with the settings. The settings are both the same and it starts in a “lonely cottage” in an “isolated village.” Thomas Hardy explains the seasons as “long and inimical” he is emphasing the hostile environment. Both of the stories are entertaining and interesting to read. It is like a puzzle with lots of clues to guess what is going to happen next, and some red herrings to send you the wrong way in guessing.
Would you hang a starving man for sheep stealing to feed his family? The mysteries set by the stories are developed and resolved at the literal level of the narrative, but the mystery of the relationship between justice, revenge and morality remains. This is because we do not know the moral of the story only the authors know the answer. This means that the whole story has never been recovered, and so nobody knows.
I think that ‘The Three Strangers’ is more detailed and much longer than ‘A Vendetta.’ The language is very old, ancient because it was set in the 1820’s so it was definitely written in the 1870’s or 1880’s this gives you a more idea of a mystery idea to the story. An example is this “Fifty years ago such a lonely cottage stood on a such down, and may possibly be standing there now.” I think that ‘A Vendetta’ was written a bit later than ‘The Three Strangers’ because you can tell that it is in plain English. Guy de Maupassant does not really make us read it as it was happening today, because there is not much detail. In Thomas Hardy’s story he explains the environment more clearly and in lots of detail, so that you can picture it as though it is real.
Thomas Hardy describes the settings. Here is a quotation “Among the few features of agricultural England which retain an appearance but little modified by the lapse of centuries…” This means that it was an unchanged landscape. Also the weather is described as windy and it was raining heavily. In “A Vendetta” Guy de Maupassant describes the surroundings of the house and areas. Guy De Maupassant gives us the impression that the surrounding are extremely dangerous because it is built on a mountain overlooking the sea. Also he makes us feel that it very quiet around the area where the widow lives. Guy De Maupassant makes it feel scary so that we read on with the rest of the story.
This is very important to the reader so that the reader can get the story, and carry on reading. Important also the reader could read more of the authors’ books such as ‘A Vendetta’ and ‘The Three Strangers.’ The descriptions of the settings help to develop a sense of the nature of the mystery otherwise if there are no descriptions, there would be no sense of mystery let alone the story. The time of day in Thomas Hardy’s story was night, you can tell because he writes, “It was nearly time for a full moon” this tells us that it was late at night, whereas in ‘A Vendetta’ Guy de Maupassant states that the old widow going to kill Nicolas Ravolatti was in the morning.
The environment around was that it was raining heavily and so you could be expected to find some stranger at your doorstep asking you if he could stay. Also Thomas Hardy writes, “The most salient of the shepherd’s domestic erections was an empty sty at the forward corner of the hedgeless garden.” Hardy is emphasising the words which are underlined, to describe the environment around, saying that everything outside was really empty but inside was really full. The effect is that something wrong will happen because the inside is so full while the outside is so empty.
Thomas Hardy describes the way places are, for example a quotation “The principles of masking the homelier features of your establishment by a convectional frontage was unknown.” Here are the changes after he has entered the house, the weather had changed, rain had come pouring down, louder beatings of the rain on the cabbage – leaves of the garden, on the eight or ten beehives just clearly seen by the path, and its dripping from the eaves into a row of buckets and pans that had been placed under the walls of the cottage. These changes build up a sense of mystery because they were totally different from the outside world.
There are many many more changes but there is no need to list all of them. The nature of the man was that he was tall, predicted an age of 40 years old, suggested to the black-coated tribes of men. The stranger was thirsty and hungry. The stranger was living on the streets, so he was forced to pick up anything from the floor. This builds up a sense of mystery because Hardy writes about the clothes which are unusual and could say that the man looks bad in sense.
The question that we could ask about the nature of this man is that “Why doesn’t the nature of this man match his appearance?” Another question to ask ourselves is “Is it right to kill a man for stealing a sheep? Is a man’s life worth more than a sheep? My personal answer is that a man’s life is much more worth than a sheep. Whereas the question to ask ourselves about ‘A Vendetta’ is “Was the old woman right to avenge her son?” My answer is that it was right to avenge her son because if I had lost a son after somebody had killed my son I would kill them, but not as brutally as the old widow did with her dog. There would have been another way, it is to forget who it was that murdered her son and carry on with your life instead of finding the man and killing him of.