In this essay, I will be talking about how the authors of both stories, ‘The Hollow of the Three Hills’ and ‘The Door in the Wall’ convey the idea of regret and the effects of the past in the present.
In the story The Hollow of the Three Hills by author Nathaniel Hawthorne, an unnamed woman arrives in some sort of ‘evil resort’ to meet a ‘witch’ in order to learn about what had happened to her family. Throughout the story, we learn that this woman abandoned her family when they needed her the most, therefore her guilt and shameful act led her to sacrifice her life in order to receive a glimpse of her family. The theme of regret in this story, is expressed through language, plot and setting. The effect of the past in the present is conveyed through her willingness of sacrificing her life and her inability to forget her family.
In the story The Door in the Wall by H.G Wells, a man who went by the name Lionel Wallace, once as a young child discovered a door in a wall which led him to an enchanted garden, where he found pure happiness but as a result of sharing his journey to the enchanted garden, he was punished and rejected by his family members and classmates. Throughout his adolescence and adulthood, he sees the door numerous times but was never able to enter, which overwhelmed him and as a result, his inability to draw a line between fantasy and reality caused his death. In this story, the theme of regret is expressed through language, plot and character. The effect of the past in the present is conveyed through his experience by sharing his visit to the garden and his preoccupation preventing him from entering the door.
One of the ways the author, Nathaniel Hawthorns portrays the idea of regret, is through his use of language. He uses techniques such as, similes to create a better understanding of the theme. Firstly, on page ……..,we see that the author portrays the unnamed woman’s reaction about what her family had to say about her. As a result, she ‘shudder at the unprovoked wrath which blazed up like the spontaneous kindling of flame.’ The author compares her ‘collapse’ to a ‘kindling of flame’ and suggests that the ‘flame’ indicates guilt, hence this causes her to burn into ‘flames’ and ‘slowly lose her shape.’ The regret had completely destroyed her. Therefore, Hawthorne suggests that your mistakes in the past will affect you in the present negatively and possibly can lead you to your death.
Another way the author portrays the idea of regret, is through the Plot. On page ……, we see that the author expresses the theme of regret by showing us why she is willing to sacrifice her life. From the start, we see that the unnamed woman is ‘graceful in form and fair of feature, though pale and troubled’ therefore she was troubled from the start but this sense of perturb worsened after she understood the pain she has caused her family. We see an old couple speaking about a daughter who had left them with ‘shame and affliction ‘and a man who speaks negatively about a woman. Although she was disloyal to her husband and family, she still cared for them and loved them. If anything, Hawthorne shows us that a family life consists of certain duties and the woman simply was not able to meet them. The effect of the past in the present is conveyed through her willingness of sacrificing her life. The author stresses on how she was weighed down by the guilt and nonetheless, the woman was prepared to sacrifice her life in order to determine her family’s stability. Because she is overwhelmed with regret, she wishes to make sure that her family was okay after her leave.
Thirdly, the author portrays the idea of regret through the Setting. On page ……..,we see that the author expresses the theme of regret by showing us how the unnamed woman had travelled a long way as she was a ‘stranger in this land’. We observe that, this young woman, filled with ‘humiliation and agony’ couldn’t stop thinking about her family and eventually the ‘guilt’ forced her to get in contact with an evil spirt. Hawthorne could be suggesting that every one will always have regret and carry the guilt wherever they are, but it’s a matter of how a person moves on and continues with their lives after the incident and in this story, we see that the woman feels obligated to pay the price for her actions, in this case, death. The effect of the past in the present is conveyed through her failed attempts of trying to ‘escape’ from her past mistakes and her inability to forget her family. Consequently, the author shows us that no matter how far she travels, she cannot escape the guilt created by her past mistakes.
One of the ways the author, H.G Wells portrays the idea of regret in the story the Door in the Wall is through his use of language. For instance on page….. we see that over time, Wallace starts to develop a sense of ‘guilt’ and ‘regret’ as he claims to see the door ‘three times in one year’ and yet ‘passed the door and failed to enter’ once again. The author uses repetition, which in this case is the green door to convey the idea of regret strongly.
Another way the author portrays the idea of regret, is through the story’s Plot. One page ….. we see that the author expresses the theme of regret by showing us Wallace’s Preoccupations. We see that
In the story ‘The Door in the Wall’ by H.G Wells, we observe that the author as well portrays the idea of regret in several ways. He uses metaphors and repetition to create a better understanding of the theme ‘regret’. One way the author conveys the idea of regret is when Wallace, at the age of seventeen observes the green door on the white wall on his way to Oxford to receive his scholarship, his ‘reward’ after many years of hard work. As Wallace got a glimpse of the door, after its disappearance for years, Wallace still ignores the door. He had convinced himself, that night, that he wishes to enter the ‘door of my career’ rather than the green door, and informs himself that this is the path his father would want him to choose.
He begins to have ‘done-much work, hard work’, but ‘have dreamt of the enchanted garden.’ The author shows us that, Wallace’s failed attempts of entering the door was simply because he subconsciously doesn’t want to enter as he still believes that his father will not be very pleased if he did, as it angered him when Wallace was young. In addition, it is a known fact that, young children often are more imaginative and have a more ‘creative’ mind set than adults and tend to create unimaginable dreams, then forget about it
However, the author tells us, the readers, that Wallace has not forgotten his ‘dream’, a place which overwhelmed young Wallace with happiness and filled the void created by his mother’s death at a very young age.
We also see throughout the end of the story that, Wallace was accompanied by a man called Gurker, who carried Wallace’s future career. As Wallace and Gurker met that evening, Wallace suddenly was aware once more of the green door down the road, beyond the Kensington High Street. But Wallace had passed it ‘within twenty inches of ‘ and starts to contemplate on whether he should escort his guests and enter the door or not. He asks himself ‘what will happen? and continued ‘I could not answer that question in the tangle of my other problems. They will think me mad, and suppose I vanish now?- Amazing disappearance of a prominent politician!’ At this very moment, these ‘inconceivable petty worldliness weighed’ him down. The author uses rhetorical questions to convey the idea of regret strongly and portray the idea of regret as Wallace says that he has rejected the door and ‘my chance has gone from me. Three times in one year the door has been offered me – that door that goes into peace, into delight, into a beauty beyond dreaming, a kindness no man on earth can know.’ In addition, Wallace had also lost his chance to talk to Gurker for a job opportunity. In search of the door, his body was found at the ‘extension of the railway, near East Kensignton Station’ as he was mistaken for the green door. The author clearly interprets this incident to us, the readers, that Wallace’s inability to draw a line between fantasy and reality troubled his mind and eventually caused his death. (581 words)
In this essay, I have explored the ways these two authors have conveyed the idea of regret and how the main characters have been affected in the present or will be affected in the future. I have also talked about the techniques and language the authors have used to improve our understanding of the theme regret and I think that the authors powerfully convey the idea of regret by creating ‘two pathways’. It showed us the readers that this ‘guilt’ and ‘regret’ carried by both main characters would lead them to either die or live in misery, which in this case caused both of their deaths. This portrays that ‘regret’ played a huge role in their lives and guided them like a ‘compass’ through one of these ‘pathways’. Therefore I think that this would have not been prevented from happening as both characters didn’t receive help, or someone who understood them, rather people like the ‘witch’, in The Hollow of Three Hills who fed on the unnamed woman’s pain and in The Door in the Wall, Wallace’s family members who punished him as a child when they heard about the garden and his school mates who believed that Wallace was insane and a liar. (204 words)