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Analysis of "To Kill a Man" by Jack London by Annie DiRenzo
Transcript of Analysis of "To Kill a Man" by Jack London by Annie DiRenzo
The short story "To Kill a Man" is about a young woman who encounters a Burglar In her home who apparently has some unfinished business with her father. The story follows their conversation.
Exposition: The story starts out with a description of Mrs. Setliffe. She hears someone moving in her house, but she knows none of the servants were awake. She finds herself face to face with a stranger with a revolver pointed at her. The intruder states that he is robbing her house and he figures that she is Mr. Setliffe's daughter, Miss Setliffe. She offers him something to drink and asks about his robbery.
Rising action: As they are talking and drinking, The narrator reveals that there is an electric bell underneath the table that she has been pressing the whole time.
Climax: Mrs. Setliffe and the burglar hear a faint sound in the distance which Mrs. Setliffe knows is the help she has been waiting for. When the burglar asked what the sound was she grabbed his revolver. The butler arrives and she tells him to go get help.
Falling action: The burglar begins to challenge her, saying that she wouldn't shoot him, and that she doesn't have the guts to kill someone.
Resolution: When the burglar comes to the conclusion that she won't shoot him, he gets up and starts to walk out the door. Mrs. Setliffe puts her finger on the trigger. She ends up not shooting him and the burglar escapes.
Point of View
The point of view of "To Kill a Man" is third person limited omniscient, which means that the words he, she, etc. are used by a narrator who knows the thoughts and feelings of one of the characters.
Theme & Moral
The theme of the short story is betrayal. The moral of the story is to not trust a stranger.
There are two conflicts in this story.
An external conflict in the story is Mrs. Setliffe versus the burglar. (character versus character)
An internal conflict is Mrs. Setliffe versus herself (character versus self)