In our Literature class, Pato told us to answer some questions in pairs. I did it with Gonzalo. Her is what we did:
- Write a detail synonpsis of the story.
The story is about Ward who lives in an overpopulated world. He lived in a cubicle in the staircase. His cubicle was bigger than other cubicles and everyone told him that he was very lucky. However, when anyone walked up or down the stairs he would hear it, this wouldn’t let him sleep. One day, an inspector came to his cubicle and told him that as his cubicle was too big or, he paid double rent, or he shared room. So, he moved into a poorer neighborhood with his friend Rossiter. Once they got into the cubicle, Ward hit the panel because he was angry and it fell off. On the other side there it was a big spaceous room. They decided to invite two friends to live in the big room with them. They separed the room in partitions. Then they invited one of the girl’s mother, aunt and father. They were as when they started, with very little space.
2. Discuss the theme of over-population and the effect it has on both the way of life and quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.
They had to share bathroom, kitchen and dinner room. They had to live in cubicles of 4 metres (there were 200 cubicles per building). To go from a place to another they took 2 days because the street was overcrowded. The cinema was in a staduim because of overpopulation.
3. The quest for living space has become an overriding obsession with the people of the city. Discuss this theme in detail. Include in your answer some discussion of the ways in which Ballard makes the quest for space dominate the characters’ lives.
Space is very important in the story since it means power. People that have money can buy land, make a building, divide it in cubicles and make people live there. The owners of the build are usually the ones that inspect the cubicles to be the the correct size stablished by the government. So, they are interested in negotiating with the people living in the cubicles, as happened with Ward and his cubicle in the staircase.
4. What sort of relationship does Ballard put forward between the inner world of the individual (as represented by Ward and Rossiter) and the outer world in which they live. In other words, how does Ballard conceptualise the effect of surviving daily life in a hopelessly over-crowded city on the consciousness of the individual as demonstrated by the ways in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space in the secret room they discover?
Rossiter and Ward critizise the way that the government tries to solve the main conflict in the story overpopulation, what the government does is that they reduce the size of the cubicles so that more cubicles can be done and that people can live in a place. Ward and Rossiter went to live toghether so that they could have a bigger cubicle.
5. In the story, Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme over-population that has beset the world. Explain his views as they are presented in the story.
The causes of extreme population is that people with money buy land and they make a building, make cubicles, people go and live there. The government tries to solve overpopulation and reduces the size of the cubicles and people live every time in a smaller cubicle. People only want more space so in other to make this they can go and live with other person and have children and have more space to live. This makes the world more overcrowded and it never gets to an end.
6. Do you agree with his argument? Do you think that current population growth projections indicate that we are likely to end up in the situation portrayed in the story?
We don’t think that in a future there it will be people living in cubicles but maybe it would happen the oposite, people in the age of having kids in european countries don’t have because maybe they can’t maintain them or they just don’t want to have children. So this will be a problem because there it will be a lot of elder people who do not work because they are old and there it will be few young people to work and maintain the country.
7. Describe and analyse Ward’s character in some detail. What values does he hold? Why does Ballard make use of this type of character as the main character for this story?
Ward is used as the main character because as he has a bigger room than others he has a sort of advantaje over the rest of the people who have a smaller cubicle. Later in the story Ward has to decide between keeping the staircase cubicle and paying double or sharing it with someone else. The second option wasn’t the best one because the cubicle would be smaller than normal cubicles sharesd by two people.
8. What role does Rossiter play in the story?
Rossiter is the character which opens new posibilities to Ward, an example of this is when Rossiter suggests Ward to invite their two friends to live with them in the spaceous room.
9.Describe the role of the female characters in the story.
Rossiter convinced Ward to live with him. So, she brought members of her family to the cubicle and they took advantage from him.
10.Discuss the effects that over-population and its attendant ills has had on the nature of family life in relation to Ward’s family as well as Judith and Helen’s family relationships.
11.What does the secret room symbolise in the story?
We think that the secret room symbolizes hope. It also symbolizes freedom. Because they are looking for more space, but instead of having space, they fill the bedroom with victorian furniture (that symbolize over population).
12. Why do you think Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves? Is Ballard making a comment on how our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live?
We think that they were used to that reality of being uncomfortable and to share everything with all the people.
13.What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?
They let a lot of peolple to live with them, and with all the people, plus the furniture, they finished without space.
14.Discuss Ballard’s style and language in the story? Consider also in what ways it is appropriate to the nature of the story being told.
He used the third person narrative.