Mr Loveday’s Little Outing Analysis

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Last Updated: 19 Apr 2023
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In this essay I will introduce, compare and contrast two short stories, written in rather similar ways but with some very important differences. The first of these stories is "Mr. Loveday's Little outing" by Evelyn Waugh, the second, "Raspberry Jam" by Angus Wilson.

Upon initial inspection of the introductory paragraphs of these two short stories it becomes apparent that Raspberry Jam is far more complex than its counterpart, and is also considerably longer. It is introduced in a fashion not unlike that of a novel, with a lot of dialogue and insight into the primary character; Johnnie's thoughts and his family's perceptions of him. The scene is set in the opening sentence "'How are your funny friends from Potter's Farm, Johnnie?' asked his aunt from London." We are introduced to two characters, the central character and his aunt, who appears, through her discourse as being rather posh and self-important. The story then continues with narrative giving insight into Johnnie's take on things.

We immediately notice the retrospective style of writing as Johnnie recounts past events regarding his family and particularly his two elder friends; Misses Swindales, of whom his close relatives do not approve. Through their conversation we come to understand that they regard the old women as somewhat strange, "mad" even; "you really must meet them. They're the most wonderful pair of freaks." Subsequently, through Johnnie's uneasy reaction to this talk "Many of the things the others said made the little boy bite his lip" we understand that the story is about madness, and each character's own definition of "mad" with regards to the class structure of the time.

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The second story, "Mr. Loveday's Little outing" opens in a rather different manner, the first phrase "You will not find your father greatly changed,' remarked Lady Moping, as the car turned into the gates of the County Asylum.", introduces us to, yet another rather genteel woman, Lady Moping, who is engaged in conversation with her daughter, Angela. They are going to visit Lord Moping, Angela's father in the County Asylum and again, through the latter's wife's manner of speech we can see that she does not approve of her husband being in an Asylum. The narrative technique, here is a progressive one, and thus the story is kept much less complex, with fewer mental insights, and a much more superficial approach.

Although the narrative techniques and simplicity of plot and characters is distinctively different across the two stories, the main characters themselves are parallel. In both "Raspberry Jam" and "Mr. Loveday..." there is a conflict in the class structure, in the first, this is apparent through Johnnie/his relatives and in the latter, through Angela/Lady Moping. A parallel can be drawn between Johnnie and Angela as two children who seem to be thoroughly uninterested in the class system and appear to be trying to break free from it in their own ways. Johnnie is a rebel, drawing disapproval from his parents as his father is "always complaining that the child is too much with women and has no friends his own age." Angela, on the other hand, associates herself with inmates at the asylum "Angela left the asylum, oppressed by a sense of injustice. Her mother was unsympathetic ... 'He attempted to hang himself in the orangery,' replied Lady Moping, 'in front of the Chester-Martins.'

The situation of each child is very like the other's, with the parents disapproving of their children's actions on the grounds of a violation of the class structure. The biggest similarity, across the two stories lies in the fact that each and every character in both of the stories thinks that someone is mad and the plot itself is about their different perceptions of 'mad'.

In "Raspberry Jam", for example, Grace thinks that the Misses Swindales are mad, but they, on the other hand, perceive the world as being mad, and occasionally even, each other. Both stories are therefore spinning a web of confusion and madness within which all the characters are trapped and trying to make sense of.

The biggest similarity between these two short stories, however, is certainly their conclusion. Each has a 'dormant' character that reveals themselves towards the end, having deceived the reader and the other characters for the length of the book. In "Raspberry Jam" this is the Misses Swindales, whom everyone thinks to be mad, but do not appear to be until the end when, in the presence of Johnnie, they sadistically butcher a bullfinch. In "Mr. Loveday's Little Outing", Mr. Loveday himself is the twist in the story, when, after appearing perfectly sane for twenty years, he murders a young woman on a bicycle, repeating his previous crime and making of himself a serial killer.

Finally, "Mr. Loveday's Little Outing" is much more light-hearted than its counterpart; "Raspberry Jam" which is full of physiological black humour. The latter is therefore much 'heavier' and more sinister with regards to both the events and the style of writing. Despite the fact that Evelyn Waugh's story deals with such grim matters as suicide, it is presented in a rather comical manner "Lord Moping habitually threatened suicide on the occasion of the garden party". It must also not be forgotten that each of these stories is a small masterpiece, each following the same template but having been written in completely different styles. Neither is superior, it is purely a matter of preference of literary styles, be it progressive or retrospective, comical or grim, each style adds a different flavour to the plot and the way in which we, the reader interpret the events.

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Mr Loveday’s Little Outing Analysis. (2017, Aug 17). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/compare-contrast-short-stories-mr-lovedays-little-outing-evelyn-waugh-raspberry-jam-angus-wilson/

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