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.
A wasted hour
- Characterisation of John
- Time setting
- Physical setting
- Social setting
- Narration and point of view
- Style of writing
- Imagery and metaphors
- The importance of life experience
“A Wasted Hour” by Jeffrey Archer tells the story of Kelley, a female student who meets an interesting man while hitchhiking to college.
Kelley always hitchhikes back to college but does not tell her parents because she knows that they do not approve. Her father drives her to the station, but she waits until he leaves and then walks to the freeway.
Kelley hitchhikes because she wants to save money and because she likes to hear people’s stories, as she wants to be a writer. Her favourite story so far came from a man who went fishing with President Roosevelt.
Kelley does not accept rides from truck drivers or groups of young men. She avoids drivers under the age of 60, especially if they drive a sports car.
The story follows a linear plot structure, while including narrative techniques like backstory and foreshadowing.
The most important characters are Kelley and John. Other characters are briefly mentioned, such as Kelley's parents and several people whom she meets while hitchhiking.
The events take place in California in the mid-1960s. In this particular episode of her life, Kelley meets an interesting older gentleman who tells her his life story and only learns at the end of their trip that he is the author of her favourite novel.
The social setting explores issues like sexual harassment and the objectification of women and the challenges in the journalism world.
The events are described by a third-person narrator with limited knowledge. The story is told in a descriptive style, and it includes many references.
The language is simple, mixing narration with large amounts of dialogue, which helps the reader understand more about the characters.
The story begins in medias res, in the middle of events. We are introduced to Kelley, the main character, through a backstory.
We learn that Kelley is a student at Stanford (l. 6) and that she usually hitchhikes from her home to Stanford. Her parents, however, are not aware of this, as she knows they would not approve:
Her father would drive her to the station on the first day of term, when she would hang around on the platform until she was certain he was on his way back home. She would then walk the couple of miles to the freeway. (ll. 3-5)