This assignment will begin with an introduction of the author, Jeffrey Archer, and his short story: “A Wasted Hour”.
Following this, there will be an analysis focusing on the narration and point of view, characterization, themes and message. Lastly there will be a conclusion.
Jeffrey Archer is an English novelist and a former politician. Before becoming a best-selling author, Archer was a Member of Parliament.
After a financial scandal in 1974, he debuted as an author with the story: “Not a Penny More, Not a Penny less”, as a means of avoiding going bankrupt.
Since then he has released multiple novels and short story collections including ‘A wasted hour’. This short story is one of twelve in the short story collection ‘Tell Tale’, which was released in October 2017.
“A wasted Hour” tells the story of a young Stanford student named Kelley. She is an aspiring writer who during the last three years has thumbed a lift back to campus, not only to save money but also in the hope of meeting some intriguing people with exciting stories to tell.
In this story she encounters a rather fascinating man with an interesting story to tell on her way back to college.
The short story is a third-person narration told by an unknown narrator with a limited knowledge.
The narrator’s point of view is limited due to the fact that he offers insight into Kelley’s life and backstory and at the same time describes her thoughts and feelings - but he does not have access to John’s perspective.
The narrator has an objective standpoint since he does not share his feeling or thoughts with the reader, but instead he acts as an observer who follows Kelley during the different events that occurs in her life.
This can be seen at the beginning of the two main character’s interaction: “’Thanks for stopping’, she said.
‘My name’s Kelley.’’John’, he replied, taking one hand off the wheel to shake hands with her. The rough hands of a farm labourer, was her first thought.”- (p.2, l. 49-51).
Here we get a glimpse of Kelley’s thoughts but the narrator does not offer any insight on John’s thoughts or feelings.
These, the reader has to observe through the dialogue and various descriptions of John seen from Kelley’s perspective.
The most important characters in “A Wasted Hour” are Kelley and John. There is also mention of Kelley’s parents and other people, who Kelley has met while hitchhiking, but none of these have played any significant role in the story.