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The Birds Case

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The Birds

"The Birds" belongs to the horror genre and in one sense it's a completely unbelievable story. How therefore does Du Maurier get her readers on board and create for them a sense of fear and terror.


Du Maurier writes an unbelievable fictitious story about birds attacking humans, apparently seeming farfetched; however this becomes more plausible as you start to read on and you feel the gradual severity of the bird's uncharacteristic behaviour intensifies. Du Maurier sets the scene quite vividly in your mind's eye as she writes with such precise authenticity with her chosen locations and characters we can relate to. Her excellent use of language and simile's make the context feel genuine drawing you in as the suspense heightens.

Firstly Du Maurier introduces the birds with subtlety but obvious uncharacteristic behaviour; the severity continues over the course of 2 days and the absurd freak occurrence of vast amounts of birds that should have migrated south, circle in their hundreds of thousands above a small farm holding on the peninsula Cornish coast. Gradually widening, becoming a pandemic catastrophe. It is with her main character Nat Hocken whom is first aware the birds are behaving oddly, .as he notices the large amounts circling fearless of the farming clatter with which they would normally have took flight but are now almost challenging and mocking the farmer as he ploughs the fields. Very quickly into the story Nat is attacked as he is disturbed by an irritating tapping on the window, he investigates and is assaulted with jabbing to his knuckles and blood is drawn, now although this is relativity odd it is also quite plausible, as Nat tries to assume logic that the weather is to blame for the birds restless confusion. Du Maurier quickens the pace and intensity as the birds now more forceful and deliberate wake Nat's wife with further tapping. Nat investigates again and is swooped by the severity of half a dozen or so birds, seemingly with purpose, he is quite shaken, Du Maurier really pushes the intensity with the cries from the children's room, and now all family members are brought into the chilling attack., Du Maurier beautifully describes and emphasises on the birds growing n formation across the sky to the four compass points awaiting their order, and 2 white caps of the sea were in fact gulls hundreds, thousands tens of thousands rose and fell in the trough of the sea. She builds on the suspense and severity by widening the attack as more and more reports claim up and down the country, London the sky dense form the flock of birds it seemed a vast black cloud had covered sky. It is made more apparent that the birds are crazed and with mission as they work together with her reference of bombardment upon Nat "as he jumped the stile he heard the whirr of wings. A black-backed gull dived down at him from the sky, missed swerved in flight and rose to dive a moment it was joined by six, seven, a dozen black-backed and herring mixed, they kept coming at him from the air, silent save for the beating of the wings. The terrible fluttering wings. Such a savage and clear intent attack each stab of a swooping beak tore his flesh. But with each dive, each attack, they become bolder, and they had no thought for themselves. When they dived and missed, crashed, bruised and broken on the ground, Nat kicking their spent bodies in front of him. All this verifying the intensity and turmoil

Secondly du Maurier writes about a real place and rustic characters we can relate to, she depicts an era that is genuine and uses true events to elaborate on the paranoia. Set on the peninsula Cornish coast line



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