A wasted hour
In this assignment, I want to start with a quick introduction of the author
Jeffrey Archer, with of course followed up by his short story: “A Wasted Hour”. Afterward, there will be an analysis focusing on the narration and points of view, themes, message, and characterization.
I’ll end the whole assignment with a conclusion. Jeffrey Howard Archer, born 15 April 1940, is an English novelist, former politician, and peer of the realm.
A peer of the Realm is a member of the highest aristocratic social order, outside the ruling dynasty of the kingdom. Jeffrey Howard Archer wasn’t an author all his life.
Before becoming an author, he was a Member of Parliament from 1969 to 1974. He did not seek re-election after a financial scandal that left him almost bankrupt.1
He revived his fortunes as a best-selling novelist. He has become so famous and professional, that his books have sold millions of copies worldwide, in fact, they have sold around 330 million copies.
2 The short story; A wasted Hour is about a young Stanford student whose name is Kelley. Kelley is an aspiring writer, through the last 3 years she got a lift or more said:
Hitchhiking, her way back to campus. Mostly because of saving money, but also hoping to find new people who got exciting stories to tell.
In the short story, she encounters an alluring man, with a very amusing story to tell. The story is been told in third-person narration. It is told by an unknown narrator, with not that much information and knowledge.
Characterisation of John
Narration and point of view
Style of writing
Imagery and metaphors
The importance of life experience
In the rising action, several cars stop and offer Kelley a ride: two young men
with empty beer cans on the back seat of their car (ll. 22-23), a trucker (l. 25), and a couple with a German shepherd in the back seat (ll. 26-27).
Kelley refuses them and tells the couple that she is allergic to dogs. A backstory tells us that Kelley has a cocker spaniel called Daisy back at home (ll. 29-30).
Kelley then spots a pre-war Studebaker (a vintage American car) approaching, raises her thumb, and accepts the ride because the driver meets all her requirements: “over sixty, wearing a wedding ring, well-spoken and polite” (ll. 39-39).
Through another backstory, we learn that Kelley’s supervisor has told her many times that, to become a writer, she would need to get some experience of life, and especially learn about other people’s lives (ll. 45-46).
The driver’s name is John and he has studied English literature ( l. 58) at Stanford as well (l. 54). Kelley shares that her favourite novel is The Grapes of Wrath, which she first read when she was 12 years old (l. 66), which creates another backstory.
John and Kelley arrive at Stanford, and she thanks him for the ride and the opportunity to hear his life story.
John tells her that he enjoyed their discussion, and adds: “ ‘hope I live long enough to read your first novel, especially as you were kind enough to say how much you’d enjoyed my work
which, if I remember, you first read when you were only twelve years old.’ ” (ll. 152-154). Kelley is generally an observant person but, ironically
she does not recognise the man who claims to be John Steinbeck, the author of her favourite novel and a world-famous writer, whom she also studied in college.
John is not a developing character, as he does not change throughout the story. Note, however, that he does change in the eyes of the readers, who will be surprised by the ending if they do not know details about Steinbeck’s life.
The main character of the story is a young American woman named Kelley Ragland (l. 143).
Kelley and her parents live in Salinas, California. In the story, she travels from Salinas to Palo Alto (l. 13) to get to Stanford College (l. 6), where she studies Modern American literature (l. 52).
Kelley’s father worked at the water company, but he was laid off (l. 8). To save money, Kelley prefers hitchhiking to taking the bus or train back to college (ll. 7-8).
She most likely comes from a low or middle-income family, as we are told that her father and mother had made sacrifices so that she could attend college (ll. 8-10). Kelley also has a cocker spaniel named Daisy (l. 29).