.. which destroys all the first, visual, impressions). Hardys sentimental tale (in comparison to “The Darkness Out There”) uses dialect to reinforce the idea of social difference in the curates and Chundles relationship. The old woman speaks in a common, everyday, regional dialect, while the curate refrains from colloquial speech altogether and uses standard English. “”Tis all my own growing..
a bit o victuals.. I tell ee tis twopence..”” This shows the social gap again with the two; she is seen as lower class, working class, while he has middle-class opinions and habits first revealed in the beginning sentences. For example, Chundle knows that she can never have the comfort of painting because she hasnt the money or the time, and she also sees the “snack” the curate wants for his light lunch as a luxury. She wouldnt, in real life, have been able to afford the bread and cheese hed like and seems a bit contemptuous of his liking of it (“a sour look crossed her face”). She also dismisses his painting, aware of the gulf between them while hes oblivious; “Sure, tis well some folk have nothing better to do with their time..” This is the writers voice coming through the text; this is Hardys opinion while Mrs Chundle is saying it.
He probably wrote the story for a magazine for money but its obvious that hes sending an important message in his eyes to the readers. Hes putting across to the readers that hes a little contemptuous of the meddling of middle-class people or just people in general getting involved in something they cant ever comprehend. However, Mrs Chundle is also respectful to the curate. She doesnt even sit at the table with him when she prepares their meal: “I dont want to eat with my betters.” This shows that shes more aware of the relationships true scale more than he ever will. Mrs Chundle is far more perceptive to the balance of things than him. At the end she believes in him as a person and thinks that hes not just another do-gooder, which is wrong, even though the curate may not know it himself.
All these combining factors, that show the true balance of the relationship, tell me that the relationship, in the eyes of Hardy, is doomed from the start. The couple can never be true friends; the social classes and upbringings and perceptions wont allow it. When the curate is in the least bit repulsed by her he abandons her and takes flight; after the tube incident he casts her away, almost as if shes not a person, just “another charity case,” as I mentioned earlier. He doesnt value their friendship much to put in the amount of effort he has and then just abandon her when hes achieved his goal. A fine example of this self-involvement is when the curate cant even speak to Chundle after the ear-pipe solution to her deafness didnt work, “the curate could not speak to her that morning.” In “The Darkness Out There,” the relationship between the old woman and the youths is interesting; while the more mature Kerry is not deceived by appearances and doesnt trust her from the start, Sandra, basing her opinions purely on visual input, thinks of her as harmless.
Sandra is quite shallow in this regard; helping the older people had become “the thing to do” in her school and its obvious that she takes into account what everyone else thinks before she decides an opinion for herself. Look how she treats Kerry, for a start. Because of his “lardy midriff.. (his) chin.. explosive with acne” she forms an opinion without even knowing him; when she finally does at the end, she realises that shes misjudged people such as Kerry and Mrs Rutter until now.
Kerry and Mrs Rutter have a rocky relationship from the first few introductions; while Kerry is sent outside to do “mens work” and Sandra sent to do cleaning and dusting etc., Rutter chats to Sandra about herself. What reveals the Kerry-Rutter relationship is the way she cant even remember the boys name! “See if whats-s-name would like (a biscuit).” Mrs Rutter and Kerry do not get along from the start. Mrs Rutter seems to be watching him a lot, taking his measure. She seems to know right away that he doesnt really “go much on her.” “She glittered at them.. her eyes examined (Kerry)..
Mrs Rutter watched her come in.” This shows how Mrs Rutter is much more than just another dear old lady, that behind her stereotypical exterior shes something more to be looked at. I, personally, feel that the writer knows traditionally eyes are supposed to be the “windows to the soul” the view to a persons true colours. It could be that through these descriptions Lively is saying that Mrs Rutter is cold and calculating, watchful, not dear and sweet, as we would first believe from her inviting soft-toned greetings to the children: ” “Just give it a push, the door. It sticks, see, thats it”.. her voice flowed softly one.” The writer uses eyes a lot in her descriptions in Mrs Rutter and they seem to be important to the development of the character; while all the time she seems to be harmless her eyes reveal the true Rutter, its just that Sandra and, to a lesser extent, Kerry, dont realise it. Another important factor in “The Darkness Out There” is the use in descriptions of darkness and light.
While in “Old Mrs Chundle” its the message of being deceived by your own actions and the actions of others (shown through the curate and Mrs Chundles actions), in the Lively story the writer uses the handles of darkness and light contrasting as another literary technique to display the underlying meaning to her writing. There are lots of instances where Lively uses the sun and the shadows to get across an idea, such as when Sandra is watching the sun on her legs (“neat and slim and brown.. she saw the neat print of the strap-marks against her sunburn.. it was all right out here in the sunshine”) and then fears the darkness of the area she calls “Packers End.” In Sandras self-involved world, she fears the woods because (again, stereotypically) they are seen to be a place of evil and bad men (“gypsy types”) because the light doesnt enter it at all and shes associated the darkness with bad things since she was young. “She wouldnt go in there for a thousand pounds.. witches and wolves and tigers..
police hunt rapist, girl attacked on a lonely road.” When, however, her character has developed and matured at the end (after the truth about Mrs Rutter is revealed), Sandra realises that theres nothing to be feared about a German plane or witches or wolves in the woods, because its not the “darkness of tree shadows” thats to be feared but the “(darkness) in your head”, the capacity for evil inside your own minds, and that appearances arent all what they seem in “a world grown unreliable.” This shows the maturing and realisation of Sandra that shes not been practical before, with all the childish shallow fantasies of houses in the country. The relationship tilts and shifts as Sandra realises Kerry has been in full control of his senses all along and wasnt deceived by Mrs Rutter that hes a deeper person than she is and isnt as easily fooled. At the closing of “The Darkness Out There” Sandra ends with a growing maturity on the opinion of the world around her and Lively makes Sandra see that it isnt the literal things that are to be feared, rather the mental and deceptive qualities of others. Overall, Id say that the stories have one main similarity; that while all of the relationships in the two stories are clouded in misconceptions and misinterpretations at the start (the “kind-hearted” curate “helping” Mrs Chundle, the rosy picture of Mrs Rutter Sandra builds up while Kerry isnt deceived) all of them develop so at their close the true scale of them are shown to the readers and the characters. Throughout in both, the readers are given clues as to what the situations truly are and in both endings these clues lead up to what the stories characters have been indicating all along.
Both stories deal with the way we judge ourselves and how this affects the world around us; Sandra believes shes mature and the more adult out of the two youngsters while the curate at the end of Hardys tale has a revelation and realises his lack of compassion fully. The curate believed he was trying to help Mrs Chundle and then realises that although this is true, he wasnt as noble in his intentions as he thought. However, in the two stories its too late to alter the course of things; Mrs Chundle is already dead and the teens have already been deceived by Mrs Rutters appearance helping her. Perhaps the authors are saying that some things cant be helped; i.e. the curates and Mrs Chundles relationship was never going to last (see above for the reasons) and Sandra, because of the way she is, was never going to see past Mrs Rutters face and visual values, while Kerry all along was doomed to not get along with Mrs Rutter because of his maturity and lack of trust on purely false exteriors.