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ИнфоурокИностранные языкиСтатьиИнтерпретация текста "Радиоприемник" Агаты Кристи

Интерпретация текста "Радиоприемник" Агаты Кристи

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Daria Vysochina


(английский вариант)

The story, "Wireless" was written by Agatha Christie. Unlike today's detectives, in her works there is no scenes of violence, puddles of blood and brutality.

"The detective story was about morality. Like everyone else, who wrote and read these books, I was against the perpetrator and for the innocent victim. No one could think, will come that time when the detectives will be read because they described scenes of violence, in order to get a sadistic pleasure in cruelty for cruelty ... "- Agatha Christie wrote in her autobiography.

Agatha Christie's story in the Russian version is called "I’ll come for you, Mary." It is taken from a collection of stories "Where there's a will, there is a way". And in the original, the text has another title - "Wireless". The events arranged chronologically. During the reading of the story events support the reader's interest.

Even the title of Agatha Christie book is a reminder to the reader that if he wants to get something, he needs to do something.

The main heroes of the story are Mrs. Harter and her nephew Charles. Also in the story there are some other characters such as Dr. Meynell and the maid - Elizabeth.

Charles is Mrs. Harter’s nephew. At the beginning of the story we see him as a kind, loving person who takes care of his aunt. Charles likes to play card games, especially he prefers the "Bridge". In the evenings, he often went out, just in order to gather with his friends and to play.

Mrs. Harter is an elderly woman who lives in a big house with her nephew. She is a hard sick person. Mrs. Harter has problems with her heart.
For several years she lived with her niece, Miriam Harter.
 She had intended to make the girl her heiress, but Miriam had not been a success. She was impatient and obviously bored by her aunt's society. She was always out, "gadding about" as Mrs Harter called it. In the end she had entangled herself with a young man of whom her aunt thoroughly disapproved. Miriam had been returned to her mother with a curt note much as if she had been goods on approval. She had married the young man.

Having found niece’s disappointing, Mrs Harter turned her attention to nephews. Charles, from the first, had been an unqualified success. He was always pleasantly deferential to his aunt and listened with an appearance of intense interest to the reminiscences of her youth. In this he was a great contrast to Miriam who had been frankly bored and showed it. Charles was never bored; he was always good-tempered, always gay. He told his aunt many times a day that she was a perfectly marvelous old lady.

Highly satisfied with her new acquisition, Mrs Harter had written to her lawyer with instructions as to the making of a new will. Of course he  knew about it, and then his "concern" about his aunt increased, until recently, he rubbed into her confidence. If only she knew what the result would be!
the story “wireless” includes complication, the culmination and the denouement.

At the beginning of the story we see the complication of the story, as Dr.Meynell came to an elderly lady, and after a survey reported that the  elevator needs to be done, because she had too sick heart and she  didn’t need unnecessary  overload. After that the doctor talked to her nephew and said that his aunt can live for a very long time, but also because of some experience, she could die soon. At the beginning we see the care of the aunt's nephew, he proposes to put a wireless in her room so she would have opportunity to distract from her illness. But she was against it, commenting it in such way:

"I do not know that I care for these new-fangled things," said Mrs Harter piteously. "The waves, you know - the electric waves. They might affect me."

Charles, in a superior and kindly fashion, pointed out the futility of this idea.

Mrs Harter, whose knowledge of the subject was of the vaguest but who was tenacious of her own opinion, remained unconvinced.

"All that electricity," she murmured timorously. "You may say what you like, Charles, but some people are affected by electricity. I always have a terrible headache before a thunderstorm. I know that."

But soon the nephew managed to persuade his aunt with his knowledge of technology. And as a result:

«She nodded her head triumphantly».

Charles also expressed his concern with the idea of the doctor to install a lift for smaller loads on his aunt’s heart.

Nobody could not even guess how would turn this idea of a "loving"  nephew.

Putting  the radio into aunt’s room,  the nephew taught Mrs. Harter how to use it.  In the evening when he went about his business, she sat in her room and listened to the radio. Soon she even liked it. Mrs Harter sat in her chair comfortably listening to a symphony concert or a lecture on Lucrezia Borgia or Pond Life, quite happy and at peace with the world.

But the happiness did not last long, soon the strange things began to happen.
In this part of the story begins
 the culmination. It was about three months after the radio had been installed that the first eerie happening occurred. Charles was absent at a bridge party. The program for that evening was a ballad concert. A well-known soprano was singing Annie Laurie, and in the middle of Annie Laurie a strange thing happened. There was a sudden break, the music ceased for a moment, the buzzing, clicking noise continued, and then that too died away. There was silence, and then very faintly a low buzzing sound was heard.

Mrs Harter got the impression, why she did not know, that the machine was tuned into somewhere very far away, and then, clearly and distinctly, a voice spoke, a man's voice with a faint Irish accent.

"Mary - can you hear me, Mary? It is Patrick speaking... I am coming for you soon. You will be ready, won't you, Mary?"

Then, almost immediately, the music filled the room again. Mrs. Harter’s fright the poetess describes in these words:

Mrs Harter sat rigid in her chair, her hands clenched on each arm of it. Had she been dreaming? Patrick's voice! Patrick's voice in this very room, speaking to her. No, it must be a dream, a hallucination perhaps. She must just have dropped off to sleep for a minute or two. A curious thing to have dreamed - that her dead husband's voice should speak to her over the ether. It frightened her. What were the words he had said?

"I am coming for you soon. You will be ready, won't you, Mary?"

Was it, could it be a premonition?

"It's a warning - that's what it is," said Mrs.Harter, rising slowly and painfully from her chair.

She said nothing of her experience to anyone, but for the next day or two she was thoughtful and a little preoccupied.

After a while, these strange things were repeated more than once.  Mrs.Harter tension influenced on the state of her heart even more. She was constantly  nervous and waiting for night  to see whether this will happen  again. The greater tension occurs in that time, when her nephew asked her about the portrait in her room. She wondered why he asked it. Charles replied that he saw the man in the window, when he returned home. Mrs.Harter could not believe her ears, she realized that not only she noticed a presence of her husband in the house.

Madame Harter  begins to worry more, she could no longer be silent  about it. The first person, whom Mrs.Harter told the story  was the maid  Elizabeth. The maid begins to calm down and talk to a lady not to warry,  that everything  seemed for her. But Mrs. Harter was adamant and said that she would die soon.

When the next time Mrs.Harter heard the voice of her husband, he said the exact date when he would come for her. In a somewhat shaky hand she wrote the following lines:

Tonight, at 9:15, I have distinctly heard the voice of my dead husband. He told me that he would come for me on Friday night at 9:30. If I should die on that day and at that hour I should like the facts made known so as to prove beyond question the possibility of communicating with the spirit world.”

Mary Harter

Mrs Harter read over what she had written, enclosed it in an envelope, and addressed it. Then she rang the bell, which was promptly answered by Elizabeth. Mrs Harter got up from her desk and gave the note she had just written to the old woman. She said to give this letter to the doctor if she die in the Friday’s evening.

A defining evening on Friday came. Madam, as ever, was sitting in her room and  anxiously  waited the time when  her husband would appeal to her again. A soft step outside the door - a soft halting foot-step. Then the door swung silently open...

Mrs Harter staggered to her feet, swaying slightly from side to side, her eyes fixed on the open door way. Something slipped from her fingers into the grate (it was a will).

The whole horror of the situation Agatha Christie describes in these words:

She gave a strangled cry which died in her throat. In the dim light of the doorway stood a familiar figure with chestnut beard and whiskers and an old-fashioned Victorian coat. Patrick had come for her! Her heart gave one terrified leap and stood still. She slipped to the ground in a crumpled heap. There Elizabeth found her, an hour later”.

Here at this point we see the denouement of all this strange story: the doctor  reads  a letter from Mrs. Harter, Charles can not find the will. The doctor gives to Charles to read his aunt’s letter .

"It seems clear that your aunt had been having hallucinations about her dead husband's voice. She must have strung herself up to such a point that the excitement was fatal, and when the time actually came she died of the shock." the doctor said. Charles nodded comprehendingly.

Agatha Christie in her work  was able to direct the reader to the wrong way.  We even  had no idea of the person’s name who everything rigged.

On the preceding night, when the household was in bed, he had removed a certain wire which ran from the back of the radio cabinet to his bedroom on the floor above. Also, since the evening had been a chilly one, he had asked Elizabeth to light a fire in his room, and in that fire he had burned a chestnut beard and whiskers. Some Victorian clothing belonging to his late uncle he replaced in the camphor-scented chest in the attic. As far as he could see, he was perfectly safe”

After these words we finally convince, who is guilty in Mrs. Harter’s death. It was Charles turned to his aunt through the wireless, and it was he who came to his aunt in that fateful night. Charles is still hopeful that the will is a lawyer, but his hopes are scattered at the moment when a lawyer comes into the house and said that Mrs. Harter will kept at home.

The lawyer begins to suspect the nephew in Mrs.Harter  death,  and he asks Charles probing questions:

Charles gasped.

"We were on the kindliest, most affectionate terms, right up to the end." he said.

"Ah!" said Mr Hopkinson, not looking at him. It came to Charles with a shock that the lawyer did not believe him.

Of course his aunt had never burned the will! His thoughts came to a sudden check. What was that picture rising before his eyes? An old lady with one hand clasped to her heart... something slipping... a paper... falling on the red-hot embers...

Charles's face grew livid. He heard a hoarse voice - his own - asking:

"If that will's never found -?" – these words show that Charles is nerves, he begins to worry that his plan about the will would not come try.

Now he realizes the full horror of what is happening in the moment. When he came into the room of his aunt, she held up a will in her hands. Then she dropped it, and the will burned in the fireplace. Now Charles understand the situation:  he will not get anything, all property would receive Mrs. Harter’s niece.

The story ends with Charles’s anger with these words:

Damn them all! The smug-faced lawyer. That poisonous old ass Meynell. No hope in front of him - only the shadow of the prison wall...

He felt that Somebody had been playing with him - playing with him like a cat with a mouse. Somebody must be laughing...”

His plan - to get all the aunt’s inheritance - did not work. It was the end of all his hopes and dreams.

The main idea of this work is the desire to get more money by the easy way, but sometimes people forget about moral principles and are willing to do everything to get what they wish. Thanks to the hypocrisy  vile men rubbed into trusting of naïve people, and eventually the cunning wins, helping to the evil men to cross their loved ones.

The conflict of the story "Wireless" is hidden. It takes place between Charles, notably in his desire to get all the inheritance, and his aunt, Mrs. Harter.

The story is narrated in the third person and includes dialogues and Charles and Mrs.Harter’s self-dialogues. They always had reflections in their minds.

We can suggest that the time of the events, occurring in the story, can be assumed to late 19th - early 20 century. (because the first wireless appeared in those times).  It can be proved by Mrs.Harter’s words:

"I do not know that I care for these new-fangled things," said Mrs Harter piteously. "The waves, you know - the electric waves. They might affect me."

At the beginning of the story  we are not even aware of who wants to bring the lady a heart attack. I think that many readers firstly begin to believe  that she speaks with  her  husband, well, or that Mrs.Harter is really mad, and that is all  seems to her. Because thanks for Agatha Christie's words at the beginning of the story  we see Charles as a caring nephew.

The general atmosphere of the story is emotional  all the time. At the beginning Agatha Christie helps us to understand that not everything is as it should be. As like as in many other works. When Mrs.Harter begins to hear the voice of her husband, the atmosphere becomes more strained, and finally the emotions do not disappear, but rather disturbs our indignation. What only could do people to get their relatives’ money!

As for the stylistic devices, in this work, we can find examples of hyperbole:

- It was about three months after the radio had been installed that the first eerie happening occurred. - in this sentence it is used an adjective – eerie , to make it clear to the reader that now there will be something completely different.

We can see such example of detachment:

Mrs Harter sat rigid in her chair, her hands clenched on each arm of it.

Mrs Harter, rising slowly and painfully from her chair –are used to show how much greater was her fright of it all. She could not believe that she heard a ghost of her husband.

The examples of onomatopoeia:

"Ready, ma'am?"

"For my burial," snorted (фыркнула) Mrs Harter. "You know perfectly well what I mean, Elizabeth. – is used to show that this conversation  Madame did not like, but she had to talk about it.

We can find the example of epithet:

1.Mrs Harter sat listening to the wireless with feverish impatience.- is used to convey Mrs.Harter’s emotions and feeling , how much stronger they were at the time.

2. superior and kindly fasion – to underline insistency of the nephew

3. Her heart gave one terrified leap and stood still.

Such epithet as:

said Dr Meynell, in the comfortable fashion – is used to show the doctor’s kindness.

The examples of irony:

"You are very gloomy these days, Aunt Mary," said Charles cheerfully. "What is going to happen to you? According to Dr Meynell, we shall be celebrating your hundredth birthday in twenty years or so!" - Charles was well aware that this will not happen, the more he secretly wished the death of his aunt.


"Mary - can you hear me, Mary? It is Patrick speaking... I am coming for you soon. You will be ready, won't you, Mary?"

Such antithesis like “sooting but meaningless words” – the poetess used to show old lady concerns skeptically to the doctor and to his advice.

The example of metaphor:

  • submerged in a sea of wordsтонуть в потоке (в море) слов

I like this story. It was very interesting for me to read it. I could not even imagine that a nephew, who seemed to be loving, could bring his aunt to a heart attack, having played such a scene. While reading, I tried to understand what is actually happened, and why the lady heard the voice of her deceased husband.  Only in the end of the story, I realized who was that person who badly played with the lady. And in our time we can often come across situations where the people  will do everything to bring their loved ones to attack and take away all  their  possessions.  I think it is a cruel and wrong situation. If a person wants to get something, he must do everything that he could, but do not overstep his relatives and the law.

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