When the Wasps Drowned

Anna Grimes
Mind Map by Anna Grimes, updated more than 1 year ago
Anna Grimes
Created by Anna Grimes almost 5 years ago


Mind Map on When the Wasps Drowned, created by Anna Grimes on 03/31/2015.

Resource summary

When the Wasps Drowned
1 First person narrative
2 It is the summertime, during the narrator, Eveline’s, childhood. She remembers her sister standing on a wasps nest and screaming. Her mother is away and she hoses her down. The two younger siblings decide to dig to Australia. Her sister, Therese, takes a ring from a hand found in the soil. Eveline asks her where she got the ring from so Therese shows her the hand. They both bury it up and stop digging. Therese has nightmares about it. The police ring the doorbell asking if their parents are at home. Eveline says no. They ask if she’s seen a girl in the photo, to which she declines. The reader assumes that the girl is the one buried underneath the neighbour, Mr. Mordecai’s garden.
3 Symbolism
3.1 Wasps
3.1.1 Danger- the wasps injure Therese although Mr Mordecai is the real threat the children. The wasps foreshadow the danger.
3.1.2 Wasps are seen to be aggressive and menacing. They are like predators chasing Therese around the garden. They symbolize Mr Mordecai.
3.1.3 The wasps are a threatening presence and add dark undertones to the story.
3.1.4 They could be said to symbolize death. Their carcasses lie on the ground as a reminder of the morbid theme of the story.
3.2 The Garden
3.2.1 Represents change in the lives of the children. A safe and secure place becomes filled with death and danger (e.g. The carcasses of the wasps and the dead body). They are growing up and having to face the uncertainties of the outside world.
3.2.2 The wall between their garden and Mr Mordecai’s garden acts as a barrier between the children and Mr Mordecai, the real danger. However the children dig beneath it unveiling the threat.
3.3 Body
3.3.1 loss of innocence and childhood
4 Beginning and Ending
4.1 Beginning
4.1.1 The beginning of the story introduces the idea of change in the children's lives. The wasps ‘brought an end to their bare foot wanderings’. ‘Wanderings’ suggests the curiosity of children and their innocence. In saying that this was brought to an end, the author implies that the children are growing up and being exposed to the outside world.
4.1.2 Eveline describes how she felt that the garden walls were ‘confining’ and how she could ‘finally’ see over the wall. Although she can see further, she does not have the understanding to be able to cope with situations. This is reflected in her numbness when discovering the body and her inability to see that concealing the truth is wrong.
4.2 Ending
4.2.1 The story has a sinister ending reflecting the nature of the story.
4.2.2 The children are surrounded by death from the start but it does not seem to affect them (Therese scoured the grass for wasp corpses… using a stone, pound its body to dust). This is, in itself, quite sinister and unnerving. The children continue as if nothing has happened after discovering the dead body and their encounter with the police.
4.2.3 The story ends with the children stepping out into the sunshine. This might symbolize how Eveline does not feel guilty for concealing the truth from the police as she felt she was protecting her siblings from the outside world. This is emphasised in the way the two younger children cling onto her for support and protection.
4.3 this story links at the begining and the end due to the fact they are both in the garden.
5 Themes
5.1 childhood naievity
5.2 death and threat
5.3 weather as an indicator of emotions
5.4 family relationships
6 key quotes/writers techniques
6.1 "a halo of angry wasps blurring her shape
6.1.1 metaphor used to compare the wasps to more positive images, which contrast of the wasps to religious imagery.
6.2 ‘her pigtails dancing.’
6.2.1 Personification is used to show how much the girl tries to escape the wasps
6.3 "the skin was mauve in places, the finger nails chipped and clogged with soil"
6.3.1 negative adjectives - The alliteration of repition of "chipped" and "clogged" suggest Wigfall wants to stress something. This could be that the girl that is buried could have still been alive and she was struggling to get out of the ground.
6.4 Light and dark imagery
6.4.1 Light - when the children are outside they are exposed to the truth about this body.
6.4.2 Dark - when the children are inside in darkness they are covering everything up by not telling anybody about the body.
6.5 "the heat was all everyone seemed to talk about:
6.5.1 pathetic fallacy - used to demonstrate the threat of the children.
7 The title draws the readers attention to a particular event in the story, but not the most shocking or disturbing event that actually happens. The reader is encouraged to focus on the significance of the dead wasps.
8 The children in this story are not used to having nice, luxurious things which means when they find this ring they consider it a treat and decide to keep it.
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