Red letter day by joyce cary
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Red letter day by joyce cary Document Transcript

  • 1. PNU | College of Art | Department of English Language and Literature | First Year | Prose | Red Letter DayRed Letter Dayby Joyce CaryBorn | 6 Dec 1888Died | 29 Mar 1957EnglishAuthor of books:Aissa Saved (1932, novel)An American Visitor (1933, novel)The African Witch (1936, novel)Castle Corner (1938, novel)Mister Johnson (1939, novel)Charley is My Darling (1940, novel)A House of Children (1941, novel)Herself Surprised (1941, novel, trilogy #1)To Be a Pilgrim (1942, novel, trilogy #1)The Horses Mouth (1944, novel, trilogy #1)The Moonlight (1946)A Fearful Joy (1949)Prisoner of Grace (1952, novel, trilogy #2)Except the Lord (1953, novel, trilogy #2)Not Honour More (1955, novel, trilogy #2)Art and Reality (1958)The Captive and the Free (1959, novel)Spring Song and other Stories (1960, short stories)Sarabdulaziz © 2010
  • 2. PNU | College of Art | Department of English Language and Literature | First Year | Prose | Red Letter DayCharactersThe author is focusing on characterization people in the story according to their development.* The Young couple - flat characters (Realistic) - major.* The Child - a round character (6 years old).* The Old Man - a flat characters (Platonic) - protagonist.How to follow up a character’s development?When you study a character you need to open the story from its beginning, usually we see the character for firsttime in the exposition. Therefor, we look and see the character here how is he like? then we look at thecharacter in the climax, then the resolution. Is he the same person? if yes, then he is a flat character. But, if heaffected and changed (developing) then he is a round character.Now we’ll apply that on the characters of “Red Letter Day”:Why the couple are flat characters?* At the beginning of the story, the wife was trying to convince her husband that they cannot have the old manthat day as a guest. And her husband was more patient and he was careful about the feelings of the old man.* in the raising action, they also were inside the room discussing about the visitor.* in the first climax, she was still convince that the old man should go, and she was telling him a lie.* and at the end of the story we don’t see any changes.* So they’re flat characters because they don’t change.Why the girl is a round character?* At the Exposition > in the garden, the garden symbolize innocent because it’s the place where Adam used to live, and he was innocent.* Raising Action > when the girl saw the old man she was startled.* First Climax > “You only have two years more.” Death is the must puzzling thing for children, even for adults, and now the girl is learning that death is associated with old age.* Second Climax > “Shocked,” when the girl saw the affect in her parents eyes.* Resolution > “Suddenly she went to her mother and put her arms around her skirts,as if for protection.” She’s feeling it, she’s scared, that’s why she around her mother, in order for protection. She’s feeling that it’s dangerous.* So shes round, because shes growing, shes not innocent anymore. she knows at least that death comes with old age, and that death is something bad, makes older people horrified and shocked.Why the old man is a flat character?* At the exposition he was looking at the garden and appreciating its beauty.* in the raising action the girl comes, he’s also appreciating the beauty of the girl.* and in the end he said “How pretty that is. How nice they are.”* So the old man is a flat character because he doesn’t change.Considering the old man’s psychology, we can say that because he’s a flat character he stays. When we gotinside this rich, flat character’s head and know how is he thinking, how is he appreciating things, andunderstand the positive way he look to life. we’ll realize it saved him from worries and being hurt. Because ifthe old man was a round character, he’d be ruined and killed by heart attack in the middle of the story. But,because we have him in a flat character he stay unchanged, he can live happier by closing his eyes and choosingnot to see the things that he doesn’t like.Sarabdulaziz © 2010
  • 3. PNU | College of Art | Department of English Language and Literature | First Year | Prose | Red Letter DayThe Title“Red Letter Day”, red color is a symbol of importance. (Why is it important day? and for whom?)SettingTime: first of the month.Place: the young couple’s house.Specific place: the garden, and the drawing room.Social condition: wealthy.Point of ViewThird person narrator, Objective.ThemeGenerations matter."In this short story the novelist Joyce Cary explores the different attitudes of a young child and her parentstowards a very old uncle."PlotYou’ll find the exposition, conflict, raising action, climax, falling action, and the resolution pointed in footnotes.Sarabdulaziz © 2010
  • 4. PNU | College of Art | Department of English Language and Literature | First Year | Prose | Red Letter Day Red Letter Day by Joyce Cary 1The old man, the well-off uncle, arrived early to tea -it was the first of the month, his 2regular day.But just before his coming the young couple had themselves been invited to a party for that 3 sameafternoon -a ‘good party’. They stood now in the hall wondering how it would be possible, even at thelate hour, to 4escape from their guest. 5 ‘After all, any afternoon does for him,’ said the wife, lying her hand on the drawing-room door. ‘But, darling, do remember -this is quite a red letter day for the old boy, he gets out so seldom.’ 6 ‘Exactly, that’s what I say, it’s all the same to him when he comes.’ ‘It would be idiotic to offend him.’ ‘It would be idiotic to refuse the Goodwins -it’s just luck our been asked it all, and if we refusethey’ll never think of us again. they have such a hundreds of friends already.’ ‘But it’s four o’clock now. What excuse can we give? and you know how touchy and suspiciousthese old men are. They get so wrapped up in themselves. He’ll see in half a second that you’re puttinghim off and never forgive it. I shouldn’t blame him. I shouldn’t exactly enjoy it myself.’ They argued savagely, nose to nose, in furious whispers which sounded like the hissing of snakesroused from a summer nap in some warm garden heap. In the drawing-room, sunk in the deepest armchair, the old man waited, gazing absently throughthe open glass door at a freshly watered lawn. His ears were good except in a crowd -he heard thewhispering but gave it no attention. It was none of his business, and he was too old and tired to wastetime on other people’s business. So he continued to look at the garden. And seemed to him now thatthe smell of the wet grass was coming to him. -and perhaps a whiff of sweet-briar from the hedge. Hiswide thin nostrils twitched. Yes, no doubt of it. And a faint but distinct current of pleasure vibrated inhis old dry nerves. How nice that was. He’d forgotten how nice -something he missed in that flat of his.How easy it was to lose touch with simple ordinary enjoyment, and how precious they were. He had hesitated about his visit today -his nurse had been all against it, she had kept on remindinghim of his bad nights, and that last attack which had so nearly finished him -she was certainly anexcellent woman, most devoted and reliable. But he had insisted that he had family duties. He wasexpected. He must go. How glad he was now that he taken the trouble and the risk. Suddenly his grand-niece, aged six, dashed into the room from the garden. She was carrying animmense doll of black stuff with a round face, goggle-eyes made of pearl shirt buttons, and enormousteeth. At the sight of the visitor, she stopped abruptly, started and blushed. She was startled by his thin,yellow cheeks and deep wrinkles. The old man moved only his large pale eyes towards the child. He could not afford to wasteenergy. At last, aware of the child’s silence and supposing her embarrassed, he murmured, ‘Is that yourbest dolly?‘ But the question expected no answer, the glance had that appreciation seen only in the veryyoung and the very old whose pleasure is unmixed with reflection, without any overtone of idea. The1 Exposition2 Conflict3 Conflict4 Their problem5 Dialogue6 ArgumentSarabdulaziz © 2010
  • 5. PNU | College of Art | Department of English Language and Literature | First Year | Prose | Red Letter Dayold man did not seek even to placate the child, he enjoyed her as he enjoyed the garden, that whiff ofgrass and briar brought to him by accident of time and place. The child ignored a remark which, as she perceived at once, was merely polite. She put the dollbehind her back, and walked slowly up to the old man, starring at him with an intent piercing curiosity.Then she said, ‘Are you very old.‘ He looked at her with the permanently raised eyebrows of his age, and echoed placidly: ‘Very old.‘ 7‘Very, very old?’ ‘Very, very old.’ ‘You’re going to die soon.’ ‘Yes, I suppose so.‘ His eyes, bright with pleasure in spite of the eyebrows fixed in their record ofold griefs, gazed at her with absent-minded wonder. He was thinking ‘Yes, how charming they are,children -how nice she is.‘ ‘You only have two years more.’ ‘Two years?’ ‘That’s what it says in the almanack.‘ ‘Two years.‘ He repeated the phrase as a child turns over words without troubling to considerthem. ‘The almanack.‘ 8‘Yes, Mummy’s almanack.,’ ‘Your mother’s almanack, he murmured. It did not interest him to discover in this way that hisniece had been looking into Whitaker to calculate his expectation of life. He had no time for suchboring considerations. He said dreamily, as if the words were prompted by some part of his brainwhich, being set in motion, continued in the same direction quite apart from his thoughts, ‘And what isdolly’s name?‘ The whispering outside had come to an end. The young couple entered the room from the sidedoor behind his chair. They both had that air of hardly restrained impatience which belongs to younghealthy creatures everywhere: colts, kittens; the girl, buxom and a little too rosy, the man lean, with asoft thick mouth. their bodies seemed to bring with them that atmosphere of a sung private room, over-curtained and rather stuffy, which belongs to happily married couples in the youth of their pleasure. And like others who enjoy much happiness, they hated the least interruption of it. They hated andresented quarrel. As they came towards the old man, their faces expressed highest degree ofexasperation. Where he turned his eyes towards them and made a gesture as if to get up, both smiled the samesmile, one that did not even affect pleasure, but only politeness. ‘Don’t don’t get up,‘ the woman cried, and kissed his forehead, gently pushing him back to thechair. ‘Uncle dear, it’s such a nuisance-‘ and she began an elaborate story, plainly a construction of lies,about the telephone call from a friend who was suddenly taken ill. But if he would not mind amusinghimself for half an hour -an hour at the very most- they would hurry back. Or perhaps he would rathercome another day when they would be free to enjoy his visit. The old man seemed to reflect, and said, ‘Thank you.‘ Then, after another pause, as if for deeperreflection, he added, ‘I’m afraid I’m rather early, aren’t I ?‘ The couple exchanged furious glances. What enraged them was that he did not trouble even toexamine their hint. He was too vague, too gaga. The woman tried again -‘The only thing that worriesus, Uncle, is that we might be kept -it’s always so uncertain, when people are ill.‘ 9‘Don’t trouble about me, my dear -I’ll be quite all right.‘7 Raising action8 First climax9 Falling actionSarabdulaziz © 2010
  • 6. PNU | College of Art | Department of English Language and Literature | First Year | Prose | Red Letter Day They looked inquiry at each other. The wife pushed out her cupid’s mouth, too small for her roundcheeks, and half closed her eyes as if to say, ‘You see -I told you he was going to spoil everything.‘The husband frowned from her to the uncle, unable to decide which was the chief cause of hisenormous disgust. ‘Two years,‘ the little girl exclaimed loudly. She had never taken her eyes off the visitor. ‘In twoyears you’ll be dead.‘ She gave a little skip. ‘In two years.’ The couple were horrified. They looked blank, senseless, 10 shocked -as if someone had let off abomb and blown out all the windows. The husband, very red, said in a voice of foolish surprise:‘Really, that’s hardly -ah....’ The young woman took the child by the arm and said, ‘That’s enough, Susan. Come, it’s time foryou to go upstairs.‘ At the same moment, she gave the uncle a glance full of guilty anger, which means,‘Yes, I’m wicked, but it’s all your fault.‘ Susan jerked away from her mother and said angrily. ‘No, I don’t want to -‘ The old man slowlyunfolded his long, thin arm towards her as if in sympathy. He murmured, ‘I haven’t seen the dolly,have I?‘ The little girl gazed at him. She was still fascinated by the idea of his age.She said, ‘Two years, and then you’ll be dead.‘ ‘Susan, be quiet.’ 11‘The little girl’s eyelids flickered. She was feeling what death meant. Suddenly she went to hermother and put her arms round her skirts, as if for protection. The old man’s eyebrows rose a littlemore; a colour, almost youthful, came into his cheeks, and he smiled. He charmed by this picture, sospontaneous, so unexpected. He thought, ‘How pretty that is. How nice they are.‘ -THE END-10 Second climax11 ResolutionSarabdulaziz © 2010