'The Half-Brothers" is a story written in the mid-1900's by a
middle-class Victorian writer called Elizabeth Gaskell. She has a
strong moral interest in the difficulties of poor people who lived in
abject poverty. This is what inspired her to write stories such as
"The Half-Brothers". Some of her characters in this short story are
described in such a way as to provoke sympathy and admiration for them
from the reader. However other characters have much more depth to them
and are more complicated. The suspense she creates in the particularly
dramatic episode set in the Fells in the north of England also
manipulates the reader's feelings.
The first character we are introduced to is Helen- the narrator's
mother. She is a very sympathetic character. Almost immediately the
writer starts to gain our pity for Helen. She was so young when she
was first married- "scarcely seventeen" in fact, and her husband was
barely "one and twenty". Both of these emphasises how very young they
were when they entered into such a great commitment of marriage.
Things did not go well for her from the start. The small farm they
rented only brought them into more debt but she defended her first
husband by saying "perhaps he was too young and inexperienced". No
blame is put on anyone for what ahs happened and this helps to show
Helen's peaceful character. A few sentences in to the story Gaskell
includes an extremely long sentence that spans over about 11 lines.
This elicits the reader's pity for Helen by giving us a sense that all
her problems are accumulating. Helen becomes a widow very early- "a
young widow of 20" is how she is described. This tautology em...
... middle of paper ...
...is life if sleep does successfully 'steal' over him. A tautology
'deadly fatal' is once again used to emphasise how grave the situation
has become. They have run out of ideas of how to be saved their 'only'
chance is in Lassie. The suspense then ends at what seems to be a
blackout. We find out about Gregory's death a few lines later with "a
look passed from one to another."
I felt Elizabeth Gaskell manipulated my feelings very well in a wide
variety of ways. I thought Helen and Gregory were the type of people
who we would like to aspire to. I had a lot of mixed feelings towards
Preston, as he was very a complicated character. I thought his
character was described very well but also very originally. However, I
cannot come to a conclusion on how I feel towards him. I thought the
fells episode was quite exciting and suspense was built up very well
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