Last Updated 06 Jul 2020

A Kiss Before Dying – Summary and Analysis

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A Kiss before Dying is a novel written in 1953 by Ira Levin. It won the Edgar Award in 1954, for Best First Novel. The book was adapted twice for the cinema: first in 1956 and later in 1991. This novel summary is: Bud and Dorothy is a couple who in love happily with each other. They study at Stoddard College in Blue River. They belong together and one day Dorothy is pregnant. That is really bad time for them to have a baby this time, especially for Bud; the Bud’s future plan or dream will be uncompleted. Dorothy wants to get married: Bud doesn’t want.

That means he must to leave the college and to struggle in real life and earn to family. Bud tries to persuade Dorothy to take some pills to eliminate the baby, and tells Dorothy if the pills don’t work, he will marry her. Dorothy tries the pills: they don’t work at all. Bud feel really worry because of Dorothy’s pregnancy; he may not get the good education he wants, the proper jobs he wants or he will get a poorer paid jobs. He decides he needs to kill her, Dorothy! Bud plans to kill Dorothy really carefully, and prepared what need to be prepared.

But his plans fails, and he starts to get more and more desperate, since the wedding day approaches in a hurry. He tries to set everything like the Dorothy’s ‘suicide. ’ On the wedding day, on the top of the building where the Marriage Bureau is, He pushes Dorothy off the edge, and it all looks like her suicide. After murder, Bud moves to Caldwell College. Bud and Ellen becomes lover and Ellen is Dorothy’s elder sister. Ellen goes to Blue River because of Dorothy’s suicide; she really wonders about her younger sister’s suicide.

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She wants to know obviously what really happened. She writes Bud a letter to explain the case. In Blue River, she narrows it down to two doubts which she will know later is innocent. Ellen gets to know one of the suspects that is Dwight Powell. He and Dorothy go out together, and one time she follows him home. He goes upstairs to get something and Bud is waiting for him upstairs. Bud kills Powell by shooting him with cold blood. Ellen leaps up the stairs and Bud tells Dorothy Powell tried to kill her. In Dorothy’s understanding that time, Bud is the hero.

Later the same night she is dead. In the same year, he goes back home. He thinks about to kill the third daughter of Leo Kingship, Marion. In the other hand, he will gain the great benefits if he has Leo Kingship as a father-in-law. He moves to New York to know Marion. In a short time, she falls in love with him, because he knew everything about her surprisingly, and he wrote down a list of things about her. Suddenly, Gordon Gant appears in New York. Bud tells about his plans to Leo Kingship, but Gant doesn’t want to listen to Bud.

But Bud changes his mind about hearing when Gant finds the list of things Bud wrote. One day, Bud went with Lei and Marion and Gant to Leo Kingships Copperworks. They take a tour around the company. After that, Gant try to encounter Bud with the murder on Dorothy and Ellen: Bud rejects every accusing. They are threatening him by trying to push him near the copper smelter. At the final, he admits all and he falls into the smelter carelessly. The tragedy is here at the Leo Kingships Copperworks. The theme analysis A Kiss before Dying

The theme of the story is about betrayal and detective. The murderer, who is Bud, tries to love each other with the ladies who are the Leo Kingship’s daughters. He wants to gain benefits from their father because they are rich. When they fall in love, he betrays the ladies; he kills Dorothy because she got pregnancy all at once. He is afraid if he doesn’t kill her, his future life will fall apart: he needs to leave the college, to find the job, or to work hard to treat her and the baby. He also betrays Ellen by to kill her because she saw he shot Powell in the building.

Ellen knows the secret, so she deserves death. Bud is good at investigating; he knows everything about his ladies by finding out the personal data. In the story, he tries to think how to do the trick on writing message by other person. In addition, Marion is better at investigating. She firstly wonders about her younger sister’s death and she try to find out. At last, she knows everything about the death that is not a suicide: it is the murder. The kingships try to investigate and they get it at last. The Style analysis A Kiss before Dying

This novel, A kiss before Dying, is written by using easy and modern language style with dialogue, which makes the readers busy and interested. The readers can understand easily the story and the language can capture the readers’ mind because it is modern. The novel is divided into three parts called Dorothy, Ellen and Marion, which are divided into chapters from 1 to 15 in each part. The author uses personal narration to narrate the whole story. The perspective is alternated between different characters. The author sets some interested detective scenes in the novel, also thriller scenes in each part.

And there is none of the gratuitous violence and gory detail that readers expect from thrillers novel. Personal Response A Kiss before Dying Firstly, I need to read this novel in the class and I start to read it with the lukewarmness because it is pretty thick book. When I read it for four to five pages of book, I feel it is a bit fun. So, I continue read it all. In the story, I really sympathize Dorothy and the baby because they are killed pitifully. They didn’t do anything wrong, especially the baby; the baby does nothing.

In my understanding, Marion is really clever; she investigates and tries to find the truth and she got it at the final. Bud is heartless, he kills the innocent. I strongly like this writing style of this novel: it is divided in many parts many chapters. The can read only one or two chapters and pause and do other thing and I can back to read again. The thrillers make me fun and scared sometimes. I feel pity for the Kingships. The Kingships daughters were killed. And Bud deserves falling into the smelter because he did many really bad things to other.

Glossy Word dapted - changed in order to improve or made more fit for a particular purpose couple -  a pair who associate with one another pregnant - carrying developing offspring within the body or being about to produce new life struggle - an energetic attempt to achieve something persuade - cause somebody to adopt a certain position, belief, or course of action twist somebody's arm eliminate - terminate, end, or take out suicide - a person who kills himself intentionally smelter - an industrial plant for smelting tragedy - an event resulting in great loss and misfortune

A Kiss Before Dying – Summary and Analysis essay

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