The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger


Clare: It’s hard being left behind. I wait for Henry, not knowing where he is, wondering if he’s okay. It’s hard to be the one who stays.

I keep myself busy. Time goes faster that way.

I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I’m tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that’s been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?

Long ago, men went to sea, and women waited for them, standing on the edge of the water, scanning the horizon for the tiny ship. Now I wait for Henry. He vanishes unwillingly, without warning. I wait for him. Each moment that I wait feels like a year, an eternity. Each moment is as slow and transparent as glass. Through each moment I can see infinite moments lined up, waiting. Why has he gone where I cannot follow?

Henry : How does it feel? How does it feel? Sometimes it feels as though your attention has wandered for just an instant. Then, with a start, you realize that the book you were holding, the red plaid cotton shirt with white buttons, the favorite black jeans and the maroon socks with an almost-hole in one heel, the living room, the aboutto-whistle tea kettle in the kitchen: all of these have vanished. You are standing, naked as a jaybird, up to your ankles in ice water in a ditch along an unidentified rural route. You wait a minute to see if maybe you will just snap right back to your book, your apartment, et cetera. After about five minutes of swearing and shivering and hoping to hell you can just disappear, you start walking in any direction, which will eventually yield a farmhouse, where you have the option of stealing or explaining. Stealing will sometimes land you in jail, but explaining is more tedious and time-consuming and involves lying anyway, and also sometimes results in being hauled off to jail, so what the hell.


The prologue is written in the first person, but switches between two narrators; Clare and Henry. There is little to indicate when the story is set, but Henry’s use of the word “apartment” places it within a fairly contemporary period, as does Clare’s comparison to “long ago” mariners’ wives. We know they are a couple by Clare’s lament at sleeping and waking alone. The mood is incredibly sad.

The extract is all about time and place, about how these are fundamentally different for Clare and Henry, and how this impacts their relationship. For Clare, time and place are stable and linear; for Henry they are unpredictable and uncontrollable. The narrative is framed as responses to a question.

Clare’s narrative is filled with loneliness, worrying and helpless longing. This is emphasised by the repetition of “it’s hard”, “alone” and “I wait”. She has no choice but to simply wait for Henry to re-appear.  The short sentences and consonance of the “w” sound all echo a list; ways to pass time. Questions often start with a “w” word, so this adds to the general feeling of uncertainty. Clare’s narrative is short in comparison to Henry’s (this extract is about a third of the prologue and the rest of it is all from Henry) and touches only superficially on her day to day life. This is analogous of a life frequently on hold with not much worthy of note happening, but with a lot of time for reflection, and perhaps this is something she avoids; “Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by absence?” This must surely strike a chord with anyone who has had a long-distance relationship, or is geographically removed from family and friends. It draws the reader into Clare’s pain.

Clare’s use of the seafarers’ metaphor shows us that she has thought deeply about her situation and her commitment to Henry. The metaphor is particularly fitting in that she, like those women with whom she empathises, does not know when her partner will return but does know that he is very likely in danger. Clare addresses time itself in her last paragraph, painting an image of endless, relentless future moments which will each pass as slowly as those preceding. The repetition of “moment” accentuates this, and echoes how we measure and mark time in increments. They wait for her as she waits for Henry.

One can infer from this extract that place is almost equally as important as time. Henry can be gone for only minutes, or for longer periods – potentially years? During a protracted absence, Clare cannot move in case he re-appears and another family is living in their home, and he would not know where to find her. That place – home – is at least one constant she can assure him of.

That her position in time and place is stable means that Clare can safely take those for granted, and her focus is on Henry. This is not reciprocated in kind. Henry’s focus, when he disappears, is necessarily on himself; his safety and survival.

Henry’s narrative begins with repetition of the question posed, “How does it feel? How does it feel?” The inflection with which this first line is read sets the whole tone for Henry’s narrative so it will differ for each reader. Is he musing? Bitter? The laughing raconteur masking incredible stress? Pragmatic and slightly dismissive? I personally read it mainly in this latter tone because this uncontrollable disappearing into time and place unknown, appearing there naked, is a fact of life for Henry.  But there is also some bitterness; this description he gives us of the phenomenon begins with ordinary domestic comfort, depicted in affectionate detail, from which he is then ripped without warning.  The author uses rhythm and consonance to enhance the familiar and homely; a sock “with an almost-hole in one heel”, and “the about-to-whistle tea kettle in the kitchen”. To then heighten the sense of dislocation, she chooses a stark, cold scenario in which to drop Henry, “naked as a jaybird, up to [his] ankles in ice-water in a ditch”. Henry’s use of this slightly comic simile makes light of his plight, revealing an element of dismissiveness. The level of detail in Henry’s narrative, unlike Clare’s apathetic account of passing time, suggests that he places great value on his home life and appreciates the minutiae of the everyday.

Henry tells us that his first reaction upon finding himself suddenly relocated is to hope the episode will only last minutes, then when this ‘best-case scenario’ does not transpire, his search for clothing and shelter begins. This indicates he maintains some hope before resigning himself to repeating his search. It is evident from both narrators’ words that this has happened to Henry countless times. He explains that when it does, the two choices he has are to steal or to explain, and that both are likely to result in arrest.

Henry’s account leads one to consider his mental resilience and principles. He clearly knows that society considers stealing to be morally wrong, and the fact that he has tried the ‘explanation’ approach suggests he would rather not steal. It is evident that long exposure to trying this “more tedious and time-consuming” method, with the end result – jail – sometimes being the same as the ‘stealing’ option, has de-sensitised Henry to contravening this moral code by which most of us live; “so what the hell”. Given that his disappearances cannot be predicted or prevented, and that he could land anywhere in any time, it is hard to imagine how Henry can ever relax. This must take a toll on his mental health, and probably heightens his emotional dependence on his life with Clare.

One also wonders about how young Henry was when these disappearances started, and how he survived if he was just a child. The title of the book tells us that Henry is married, we presume to Clare, so we question how they make that relationship work. What about other family members? Close friends? Do they know or do Clare and Henry have a ‘cover story’? Do they have children? This prologue goes on to describe many different scenarios in which Henry has found himself and ends with his intimate observations of Clare expressing his love for her. It is such an unusual premise, and crosses genres of love story, thriller, science-fiction, that it must surely draw most people in to find out more.

[1,077 words]



This part of the course was a little strange for me. I found the introduction and first project only mildly interesting and not at all engaging, so was feeling quite demotivated. However, from Project 2 onwards where the learning is about the craft of writing, and involves a lot of analysis, I have absolutely loved it. I read all the time, and usually have at least one physical book and one audiobook on the go at any one time and am interested in a fair number of genres. To have the freedom to use my favourite works as the tool to examine and better assimilate basic theory was extremely enjoyable because as well as providing a clear example of the theory and cementing my understanding, it gave a fresh perspective on pieces that are highly familiar. I find myself watching films now and assigning character archetypes, or thinking, “ah, there’s the Call to Adventure”!

I don’t habitually read poetry, I may look one up if it is referenced in a book, as they sometimes are at the beginnings of chapters, and the line catches my interest. I do take close notice of song lyrics, which to my mind are simply poetry set to music. My favourite bands (Depeche Mode, George Michael, The Cure) employ beautiful, thought-provoking, disturbing lyrics and this is a large part of why I love their work. One thing I am looking forward to doing as a result of these studies is look for poetic devices in their lyrics. I bought Kate Bush’s book of all her lyrics last year – ‘How to be Invisible’ – I expect this to be a veritable goldmine!

I vaguely remember studying poetic devices at school and reading ‘Under Milk Wood’ by Dylan Thomas, by which I was captivated. My subsequent academic and professional route has taken me away from Literature so to rediscover his work and be given guidance to study it has been a joy. I don’t think I have come across ‘close reading’ before. I have found it makes me feel as though I have somehow experienced the work more fully and that the regular way of reading is superficial in comparison.

Applying a close reading to an extract from a novel is an interesting exercise. I believe most of these thoughts do occur to a reader on perhaps a more subconscious level but they are not examined since there exists the expectation that the answers will be delivered in the course of the tale. I wonder if to articulate the questions and infer possible answers from the available information in, say, a prologue, before continuing on with the novel changes the reading experience? I will try it when I start my next book. If nothing else, it will heighten the sense of anticipation in starting a new journey.

I used the lists of prompt questions from the preceding exercises as a guide in my assignment piece, but found that further questions naturally followed on from each point of analysis. The idea of reader-response is I think, particularly pertinent to this extract because of the extreme nature of the protagonists’ situation. The book’s prologue is certainly designed to illicit an emotional response, and since emotions are subjective, readers will hear Henry’s voice in a variety of ways. It seems that the ambiguity could perhaps be deliberate. The close reading exercise has made me want to read the book again, but it is currently on loan to a friend so I’ll have to wait!

[583 words]

PART 2. Project 4, Exercise 2

Further analysis of ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy

The characters are nameless. I think knowing a character’s name is of limited importance. Finding out what their thoughts are about their situation and about others, and observing their actions and reactions makes the reader care about them – or not. Name is only a very small part of identity.

We can tell that they are in danger because they are carrying ‘go bags’ and the extract tells us there is a possibility they have to ‘abandon the cart and make a run for it’. It doesn’t give us a clue as to what form the danger takes, although the fact they are watching the road begins then implies it will be on the road, and therefore likely human.

That they are ‘shuffling through the ash’ on a tarmac road through a ‘wasted country’, that there is dead vegetation along a valley with water, and that they have fashioned a cart for their possessions with a mirror on it to watch for other people, all suggests a post-apocalyptic setting.

The atmosphere of this short extract is ominous, a feeling heightened at the end with the man asking the boy if he is ok. The succinct language could indicate a practice of minimising the noise they make.

The road symbolises their journey. One cannot derive any clue from this extract as to where they are coming from, or going to, or why. ‘Each the other’s world entire’ implies it is a long journey, started some time ago by just the two of them. The lack of punctuation in the speech emphasises the solitude of the pair; they would only be talking to each other, and there would likely be no other sound.

The rhythm of the writing is quite broken with short sentences and spare descriptions. McCarthy uses few poetic devices. Some metaphor and simile: ‘serpentine of a river’, ‘gunmetal light’. ‘Shuffling’ could tenuously be considered onomatopoeia. This adds to the stark atmosphere of the scene.

We are given an impression of being on high ground in the countryside, but not which country. The presence of the man and boy with the cart, on foot on a modern road is unusual. If they were removed, the scene would still imply a catastrophic event because of the blanket of ash.

The note in the course material suggests an element of religious symbolism to the description of the river as serpentine. While I’m not convinced by this short extract that this was the intent, having read a lot of post-apocalypse fiction, I know that religious imagery and themes are fairly common in the genre. Religion gives comfort to some people and there is often at least one ‘bad guy’ looking to exploit that.

The extract makes me want to read the book and find out the answers, which I will now do!


PART 2. Project 4, Exercise 1, Narrator

Extract from ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy

First Person Narrator:

I pushed the cart and both I and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things in case we had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that I used to watch the road behind us. I shifted the pack higher on my shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the steel grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? I said. The boy nodded. We set out along the black top in the gunmetal light shuffling, through the ash, each the others world entire.

Second Person Narrator:

You pushed the cart and both you and the boy carried knapsacks. In the knapsacks were essential things in case you had to abandon the cart and make a run for it. Clamped to the handle of the cart was a chrome motorcycle mirror that you used to watch the road behind you. You shifted the pack higher on your shoulders and looked out over the wasted country. The road was empty. Below in the little valley the steel grey serpentine of a river. Motionless and precise. Along the shore a burden of dead reeds. Are you okay? You said. The boy nodded. You set out along the black top in the gunmetal light shuffling, through the ash, each the others world entire.

Third Person Limited Narrator.

In this case the difference between the boy’s point of view and the man’s is essentially about responsibility and awareness. The man is responsible for the boy (his son). He has the life experience to be more cynical and hazard-aware in the dangerous post-apocalyptic world through which they travel. The narrative will be more strategic as he prioritises food, shelter and defences for them both. He also has to be a parent and teach the boy about these things as he grows.

This narrative from the boy’s point of view will be quite focused on his father’s actions and reactions to events and their environment, as he has an inherent expectation to be protected by him. It will be naïve and perhaps more horrified by what they encounter.

Narrative Angle:

I think McCarthy chose the omniscient angle to remove some of the emotion from the narrative. An objectivity or lack of empathy from the narrator emphasises the atmosphere of the book. At the same time, being able to present various viewpoints, and information unknown to the main characters, makes for a richer story, especially in such a sparse setting.

PART 2. Project 3, Exercise 3, Fern Hill

The mood of the poem is nostalgic. The first few stanzas describe an idyllic, perhaps idealised, childhood; the repeated use of the ‘gold’ and ‘green’ conjure beautiful sun-drenched hazy rural scenes and a carefree little boy playing at being ‘prince’ and ‘famous’, ‘huntsman and herdsman’ in orchards and streams, barns and stables.

‘Green’ also has the meaning of being young or new throughout the piece. Youth is described less obviously in other phrases:

– ‘once below a time’

– ‘fields high as the house’, as they seem from a child’s perspective, and ‘house high hay’

– (antonym – ageing) ‘take me up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand’

Thomas uses many poetic devices (see marked up copy below). Each stanza has rhyming lines that divide them into two; the first and last lines of the first half are rhymed with the first and last of the second. This imparts a playful, comforting feeling to the poem in the early part. This is not carried into the final stanza, contributing to its darkness.

There is rhythm in the individual lines and also in the theme of turning days and night, time’s ‘tuneful turning’. Alliteration and consonance abound, making this recognisably the work of Dylan Thomas.

The poem is a personification of time; ‘Time let me…’, ‘time allows…’, ‘time would take me…’ , ‘time held me…’.

The penultimate stanza begins to frame the reminiscence in a different way, a realisation that childhood is not infinite, as it seems to a child, and likens it to a state of ‘grace’. Time allows us only so many of those days.

When one reaches the final stanza, one realises that the poem is actually full of regret that the speaker’s childhood was all too fleeting and is, inevitably, gone forever. ‘Time held me green and dying’; even as the man was a child (green), he was already ageing and moving towards death. The inference may be that he did not appreciate those times enough.

The final line is a mystery!

PART 2. Project 3, Exercise 2, Poetic devices

(I’m unable to print at home and can’t go into work under the current lockdown so have had to improvise with screenshots of MS Word tracked changes!)

Finding examples of poetic devices:

a) in a poem

Green Bee-Eater annotated


b) in a novel

Firefall by Peter Watts (2014, Head of Zeus Ltd, London)

Simile, onomatopoeia, onomatopoeia, simile:

This part of the story describes the protagonist and fellow crew members entering an alien structure and encountering an organism which is invisible to the protagonist. The structure appears to them to be a mixture of organic and inorganic and is constantly changing. The simile heightens the impression that it is partly organic and the onomatopoeia brings the fast moving action into close focus.


This alliteration slows the pace of the narrative, reflecting the mood of the characters.


There isn’t much metaphor in the book as the protagonist’s role in the team is as clinical, objective observer and this is reflected in the first person narrative. This one struck me as quaint in this context because the book is set fairly far into the future and describes an Earth where humans are very far removed from the behaviour and society we inhabit.

c) Own composition

(Work in Progress)

PART 2. Project 3, Exercise 1. Contemplation of ‘Place’

The Lost Land by Eavan Boland speaks about place in relationship to identity and exile. The author is watching a shoreline, presumably from a boat, and drawing comparison to how others (her ancestors?) May have felt a they emigrated. Maybe she is returning from their destination to visit her roots and inform her own sense of identity.

The Hereford Landscape by Elizabeth Barrett Browning purely evokes a sense of place. It describes the physical landscape and also the impact of the agriculture practiced by the people who live there, and uses the idea of smells (wood-smoke, gardens, orchards) to reinforce the atmosphere of rural life.

Slough by John Betjeman makes a particularly damning social comment on the town, describing a highly processed, manufactured place devoid of soul.

PART 2. Project 2, Exercise 2 Character Archetypes

Archetype Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’ Function
Bully The Kid Terrorises the already unstable Trashcan Man and drives him to more extreme behaviour
Caregiver Frannie Goldsmith Frannie is one of the earliest characters to whom we are introduced, nursing her dying parents and burying them
Creator The virus The superflu virus wipes out the majority of human life, leaving behind a deserted world through which the few survivors move.
Dreamer All characters Characters are all subject to dreams of either Mother Abagail or Randall Flagg. These dreams are the catalyst that sets people off travelling to congregate with others around one of these two poles.
Everyman Stu Redman The ‘everyman’ is a staple of Stephen King’s work. Stu Redman is the first person with immunity discovered by the authorities after being taken into quarantine along with others exposed to ‘patient zero’ and not developing symptoms. His escape from that facility represents the idealised response of the average person in the face of huge adversity and injustice.
Explorer Ralph Brentner A stabilising influence through his immense pragmatism and practical abilities.
Follower Trashcan Man Mentally ill and taken advantage of by the antagonist Randall Flagg, could also be The Innocent
Hero Nick Andros Another central character, has very strong morals and empathy
Innocent Tom Cullen Man with learning disabilities, sweet-natured and loyal. Contributes to the community spirit in the place of children, who are largely absent among the survivors.
Jester Larry Underwood Narcissistic and wise-cracking, forced to mature and care for others
Lover Nadine Cross Chosen by Flagg for his ‘bride’, Nadine leaves the protagonist group, along with Harold, and goes to him
Mentor Glen Bateman Retired Judge, instrumental in construction of the new society
Outlaw Harold Lauder Teenage misfit, in love with Frannie but turns against the group when she becomes involved with Stu Redman. Betrayer – attempts to blow them up and escapes with Nadine.
Rebel All characters All the survivors have to rise up and fight: in this context against the adversity of societal breakdown.
Sage Mother Abagail The central focus of the protagonist group, and the ‘force for Good’ in the story
Magician Randall Flagg This character is an incarnation of the main antagonist in the entire Stephen King universe, familiar to all Constant Readers. Evil personified.
Monster Randall Flagg
Ruler Randall Flagg
Villain Randall Flagg



(Accessed 22/03/20)


PART 2. Project 2, Exercise 1

Mapping the film Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to ‘The Hero’s Journey’.

This is a film I have loved since my Dad took me to the cinema to see it in 1978 when I was 4. I was instantly hooked and have watched this, and the rest of the series, countless times.

ACT I (Beginning = the Hero’s decision to act)

  • Ordinary WorldLuke Skywalker lives with his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru on a farm on the desert planet of Tatooine. His life is simple; maintaining equipment, hanging out with friends practicing driving and shooting. He is bored of this life and longs to join friends at ‘the Academy’.
    • His Uncle purchases droids, C3P0 and R2D2, from the Jawas to help with his harvest.
    • Luke sees a snippet of a recording of Princess Leia when cleaning R2D2.
  • Call to Adventure / Meeting with the MentorR2D2 disappears in the night and Luke goes out to find him, taking C3P0.
    • They are attacked by sand people and left for dead. Obi Wan Kenobi finds Luke and takes him in.
    • R2D2 plays the entire message from Leia.
    • Obi Wan tells Luke that his father was a Jedi and fought in the Clone Wars, encouraging Luke to join him and go to Leia’s aid.
  • Refusal of the CallLuke tells Obi Wan he has to stay on the farm for another season but offers to take him to Mos Eisley.
  • Crossing the First ThresholdOn the way to Mos Eisley, Luke and Obi Wan find slaughtered Jawas, conclude that it is the work of Imperial Stormtroopers searching for droids and Luke realises they will likely have traced the droids to his family farm.
    • Luke races back to the farm and finds his Aunt and Uncle murdered and mutilated. This crystalises his resolve to join the rebellion and go with Obi Wan.

ACT II (Middle = the action)

  • Tests, Allies and EnemiesOn arrival in Mos Eisley, the group are confronted with Stormtroopers searching for the droids. Obi Wan uses Jedi mind control to pass through the blockade without challenge, with the iconic line, ‘these aren’t the droids you’re looking for’.
    • Obi Wan engages the services of smugglers Han Solo and Chewbacca, chartering passage on their ship, the Millennium Falcon. The Stormtroopers find them in their hangar preparing to depart and they have to fight their way off the planet.
    • Having evaded capture, the group relax on their journey and Luke begins his Jedi training with Obi Wan, to gentle ridicule from Han Solo.
  • Approach to the innermost caveUpon arrival at their charted destination, Alderan, the group discover that the planet has been destroyed.
    • The Millennium Falcon is caught in a tractor beam from the nearby Imperial space station, the Death Star, which destroyed Alderan. The group hide in smuggling compartments and are not discovered by stormtroopers who search the ship when it sets down in the loading dock of the Death Star.
    • In attempting to disable the systems keeping the ship in the dock, Luke discovers that Leia is held captive in the station and determines to rescue her.
  • OrdealLuke and a reluctant Han and Chewbacca embark on a hastily improvised rescue mission which is discovered almost immediately. There follows firefights and near death in a trash compactor through either being drowned by a mysterious creature or crushed to death.
    • On the way back to the Millennium Falcon, Luke sees Obi Wan killed by the principle antagonist, Darth Vader.
  • RewardThe group escape the Death Star with Leia and convene with her Rebel Forces to mount an attack on the Death Star. Luke is reunited with his childhood friends who have joined the Rebellion.

ACT III (End = the consequences of the act)

  • The Road BackHan Solo takes his payment and leaves.
    • Luke leads the attack on the Death Star.
    • His first shot fails to hit the target, several of his squadron are killed by defending fighters, led by Darth Vader.
  • ResurrectionHan Solo returns and joins the fight, enabling Luke to take another shot at target, which is successful and the Death Star is destroyed.
    • Darth Vader escapes, lives to fight another sequel…
  • Return with the ElixirThe Rebels hold a formal medals ceremony to honour the group.
    • The elixir is Luke’s new-found knowledge that he can become a Jedi and his journey is only just beginning.

Own plot using the Hero’s Journey template:

ACT I (Beginning = the Hero’s decision to act)

  • Ordinary WorldProtagonist Moira: in job to which she is indifferent, living in a rented flat with a partner with whom she is friends but is no longer in love with. Life lacks passion or purpose. Quiet, introverted.
  • Call to AdventureMeets Helene in a coffee shop (spills coffee on her? somehow strike up a conversation). They meet up a few more times and Helene invites Moira to join her on a three month trip around Europe.
  • Refusal of the CallMoira desperately wants to go, having listened to Helene’s plans and being caught up in her excitement. Refuses because she believes she has commitments to work and partner.
  • Meeting with the MentorElderly neighbour Rose – Moira finds her after a fall in the corridor and helps her into her flat. Sees her pictures and mementos of her work during WWII in the Air Transport Auxillary, delivering planes to bases. Talk of the feeling of abandon during those times – today might be our last – and the way this coloured the rest of Rose’s life inspires Moira to go with Helene.
  • Crossing the First ThresholdSplits with partner and resigns from job

ACT II (Middle = the action)

  • Tests, Allies and Enemies M&H travel in H’s old camper van across to France and make their way South but with particular destination in mind. They stay in various Aires, meet other travellers. End up in a small town and meet an elderly lady, Isobel, who reminds Moira of Rose. Isobel’s house and land is an animal sanctuary at which Moira begins to help out.
  • Approach to the innermost cave towards the end of summer, Helene wants to return to UK as planned but Moira feels depressed at the prospect.
  • Ordeal H&M argue about going home and Helene unloads Moira’s belongings and leaves.
  • Reward Isobel takes Moira in

ACT III (End = the consequences of the act)

  • The Road Back Sanctuary needs some renovation which Moira throws herself into, raising funds online through a social media page documenting the sanctuary and its residents, wildlife releases etc
  • Resurrection Moira realises she has found her purpose
  • Return with the Elixir Moira stays, looks after Isobel and inherits the sanctuary when she dies. Turns it into a place tourists visit and is able to help more animals and employ a teenaged girl from the town. Settles permanently.

PART 2. Project 2 Research Point

How ‘Dune’ by Frank Herbert (1965) made use of Aristotle’s first four elements; plot, character, thought (theme), diction (expression of meaning).

The plot of this book is complex, covering several decades, and weaves sociopolitical, religious, technological and ecological strands together in a way that feels familiar and feasible 55 years after it was written. Whilst all these elements carry equal weight in the plot, I felt that ecology, namely the extreme constraints with respect to water and the way the planet’s inhabitants adapted to it, was the overriding ‘theme’, colouring every aspect of the tale.

The character development was done in various ways. Each chapter is preceded by an excerpt from a biographical account written by one of the minor characters. These provide a historian’s view of the protagonist, Paul Atreides, and sets context, again without the reader really noticing they are building this knowledge.
The development of the Paul Atreides character is largely achieved through the eyes of the other characters, particularly his mother, the Lady Jessica. There is far less development of the other characters, but I think the author found a good balance here; enough to make them tangible in the reader’s mind, and to demonstrate the importance of loyalties to both people and ideology, without slowing the pace of the plot.

I found Dune to be one of those rare stories where the style of writing and the plot are immediately so immersive that unknown words are understood just from context almost without the reader noticing.
I find myself still thinking about this story weeks after finishing it. After analysing it through this particular ‘lens’, I think it is exceptionally, subtly clever.

PART 2. Project 1, Exercise 2

List of everything read, written, seen, heard in 24 hours:

i) Quiz questions, picture rounds, anagrams, music clips – team-mates debating answers, speeches about fund-raising element. Chatting with friends and family.

ii) Texts with friends, Facebook posts, emails, scientific articles

iii) Road signs, diversion instructions, satnav instructions, conversations with friends about routes and local roadworks

iv) Music on car radio, anecdotes of listeners choosing 80s playlists, news, weather reports and warnings.

v) Dune by  Frank Herbert

vi) Sheet music for choir practice

vii) Tariffs in car park, menu in friend’s restaurant, shop signs, receipts

viii) View from Portsdown Hill

ix) Audiobook whilst working on a quilt


How many stories in list? i, ii, iv, v, ix

Which do I consider ‘art’? some of ii, v, vi, ix

In my view, art is something created, with a degree of skill. All writing is created, I see a general theme in my response that says he functional is not art.