The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively

‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan

Junior Certificate English

Quick Notes

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Table of Contents

The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively 3

The Author 14

Outline and Overview 14

Characters and Setting 14

Sandra 14

Kerry 15

Mrs. Rutter 15

Pat (Miss Hammond) 15

Setting 15

Style and Structure 16

Genre 16

Penelope Lively's technique 16

Language Analysis 18

Themes and Symbols 19

Darkness and light 19

First impressions 19

Good neighbours 19

The past, present, and future 19

Youth and age 20

The Darkness Out There by Penelope Lively

She walked through flowers, the girl, ox-eye daisies and vetch and cow parsley, keeping to the track at the edge of the field. She could see the cottage in the distance, shrugged down into the dip beyond the next hedge. Mrs Rutter, Pat had said, Mrs Rutter at Nether Cottage, you don’t know her, Sandra? She’s a dear old thing, all on her own, of course, we try to keep an eye. A wonky leg after her op and the home help’s off with a bad back this week. So could you make that your Saturday afternoon session, dear? Lovely. There’ll be one of the others, I’m not sure who.

Pat had a funny eye, a squint, so that her glance swerved away from you as she talked. And a big chest jutting under washed-out jerseys. Are people who help other people always not very nice-looking? Very busy being busy; always in a rush. You didn’t get people like Mrs Carpenter at the King’s Arms running the Good Neighbours’ Club. People with platinum highlights and spike-heel suede boots.

She looked down at her own legs, the girl, bare brown legs brushing through the grass, polleny summer grass that glinted in the sun.

She hoped it would be Susie, the other person. Or Liz. They could have a good giggle, doing the floors and that. Doing her washing, this old Mrs Rutter.

They were all in the Good Neighbours’ Club, her set at school. Quite a few of the boys, too. It had become a sort of craze, the thing to do. They were really nice, some of the old people. The old folks, Pat called them. Pat had done the ...

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