The story “Death by Scrabble” was written by an English writer Charlie Fish in 2005. This fictional story is about a husband and his wife playing scrabble. Scrabble is a game in which players earn points for the words made by them with available letters. The story narrates how the words in the game reflect the practical life of the players. And towards the end how the game led to death of one of the players.
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The story begins with “Conflict between husband and wife” which is itself a very interesting topic of daily life. Topics that are debatable in our common life are always interesting to read. Writer has used this technique to make the reader believe that the story actually reflect reader’s life. The scenario has been brilliantly set. It is a hot Sunday when the couple are sitting at their home and playing scrabble. The description of the accessories like air conditioner, sofas clearly makes the reader to imagine sight of lounge in home.
The 42 year old husband is the narrator of the story and perhaps the most important character. He has the utmost feeling of hatred for his wife. He is annoyed of his present state and blames his wife for every mishap. The character seems to be well portrayed as he gives reasons for his hatred against his wife. The character of wife has been developed as an evil personality or negative person who is being hated by her husband. She is dominating over husband. Every act of her is disliked by her husband. Although the narrator becomes biased while doing this but she completely fits in the role she has played. Although a very unusual but an important character is the scrabble board, which acts as an invisible hand making a link between both the players. It is an innocent character that is used for the cold war between players. Also, the words made on the scrabble board are actually developing this fictional story. All the events that happen in the story are the words on the scrabble board.
The characters altogether lead to a story which tries to catch the attention of the readers. Most of the events are based on fictions which are evidence that the story is actually the imagination of the writer. For instance, the word EXPLODE made on scrabble actually leads to explosion of air conditioner. Although it might be a coincidence in real life but a rational reader would just label it as impossible. Also the story dulls because of its ultrasonic fiction. A little tremble makes the husband to swallow a wooden piece scrabble letter which results in his death. The story loses its interest because of the impracticality of events.
Although most events are fictional based but the suspense he has tried to develop in some places is praiseworthy. It evokes curiosity in the readers and compels them to find what will happen next. Especially when the writer states “I play flyâ€¦ Waiting to fly.” This event stirs up question in the reader’s mind “Will he actually fly?” The writer has brilliantly presented the scene creating buildup for the story to follow.
The story drops its momentum by going irrelevant to the main idea in some places like “My cousin Harold swallowed a bee when he was nine, his throat swelled and he died.” Also when the 42 year old man cheats. It becomes making no sense that an aged person is cheating. These events account for negative points of the story. The reader thinks it to be making no sense or sometimes events like this leave a mocking smile on the reader.
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The language of story is not formal as a person is narrating it but is very simple. Words like “clack, clack” and short forms like “I’d, I’ve” have been used that makes it informal. Vocabulary used does not lead to any complicalities in understanding the context of text. However, these words are appropriately used keeping in mind that a person narrating the story will actually never use formal language.
The tone of the story is harsh as the husband is trying to explain the cruel behavior of her wife. Husband expresses his feelings of extreme dislike and uses words “I hate her”, “Maybe I should kill her.” Also when he blames himself using word “stupid”. The language used somehow develops a sense of sympathy in the reader for the husband.
On the whole, the story exerts a pull on the readers with its beginning topic, its simple writing, bits of suspense and touch of humor. The selection of words for scrabble is remarkable. The words seem to be destined for this purpose. However, the story does lose its grip when goes off topic to compare one of its events with another story. The end is disappointing that is totally unreal and extreme fiction based. People
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