The first part role is to build up a landscape and present the characters.
The scene takes place in a car driving on a long flat road! There are 2men in the car! The driver who is also the narrator (it’s a first person narrative) and the 2nd one is a boy,he must be a hitch-hiker because he has a bag and the driver asks him if he’s “going far”!he has just picked him up ! They‘re talkingabout a murderer they have just heard about in the news on the radio! The murderer is referred to as a «he» so this killer who’s being hunted by the police is a man! It’s not the first time he has committed a murder! Indeed he had already killed 7people (qualified as a serial killer).
Description of the characters
The narrator isn’t omniscient! It’s an internal point of view! The situation isseen through the driver’s eyes! We don’t know anything about his physical appearance however we are given information’s about his attitude. He “smoke”, “his neck is stiff” and judging from the movements of his eyes and hands we can supposed that he’s either tired or nervous! He isn’t talkative; he doesn’t speak much and uses short sentences when he does! He may be ill at ease and may have wanted tospeak with somebody.
The kid physical appearance
He's red-haired, bright-eyed, baby-faced, and slightly-built. He's rather short, smaller than average. He looks seventeen! Conventionally red-haired person are associated with Devil.
Attitude: he's a sly looking boy! He’s self confident! Contrary to the driver he's talkative and disturbing! He's the one who restarts the conversation! He's alsoa nervous looking boy.
Atmosphere: it’s tense, a crime, and an isolated place! The main character: the kid is dubious and we don't know much about the driver
Effects on the reader: the reader is led to feel ill at ease when he's given all these elements !we know that there is a murder in that area, it all makes the reader feel suspicious too!!
We start to wonder about the identity of themurderer, it could be the driver or the kid! indeed, there are some clues which put suspicious on the 2characters!
The driver: He doesn't speak much in spite of the kid's attempt to make conversation with him! He doesn't seem to be afraid of him, he accepted to give him a lift in spite of the presence of a serial killer in the region!
The boy: He doesn't know where he's going: he seems to be emotionalhe's jiggling his foot! He enjoys the situation, he keeps smiling, he giggles (normally it’s the girl who giggle) He wipes the side of his mouth as if he were evoking a mouth-watering story! When he explains the murder's motivations he behaves as if he had already experienced what he says! Although he begins with word "maybe" he sounds certain about the killer's motives! He gives the reasons hewould have for killing people! It's the "runt" syndrome which is expressed here!
He must have complexes about his build and weight! His physical appearance (“shorter than average”) may have given him a terrible inferiority complex, he's fed up with being short and thin, maybe rejected scornfully or picked on and he would do anything to become famous or to take revenge! That’s why he might havedeveloped a taste for killing! Everything in his attitude creates antipathy! So although the driver is suspicious the author seems to want us to feel that the kid is the murderer! Besides it's the driver point of view which is given and it focuses on the kid!
To a certain extent, the story could be compared to a game of poker!
A game of poker: like in a game poker there's a lot of bluff orpossible bluff! There's an atmosphere of challenge, of risk! There’s even a sort of silent competition between the characters! The kid is boasting all the time! The driver acts as a gambler, he makes shorts answers, he doesn't let others know his inner thoughts! We don't know who's going to win!
Rhythm: the rhythm is set by the speed of the car and the structure used by the author! The situation...
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