Question on Cal.
Chose a novel which reaches a climax in which you find dramatic or moving or disturbing. Explain how the writer achieves this effect and discuss how it contributes to your appreciation to the text as a whole.
The book ‘Cal’ by Bernard MacLaverty is a novel in which reaches a climax in which I find dramatic.
The story is set in the 70’s in Northern Ireland. Cal, a nineteen year old Catholic, is involved in the murder of an R.U.C policeman. Cal meets Marcella, the librarian, and becomes obsessed with her, even though he knows she was the wife of the man he helped kill. He eventually expresses his love to Marcella. Then, not long after, he is arrested for the crime him and his friend Crilly committed.
The dramatic climax is reached as the narrative progresses. MacLaverty achieves this through his effective characterisation and climatic key incidents.
Near the end of this novel, Crilly plants a bomb in a book in the library, Marcella’s workplace. Cal feels that by doing this, he is hurting Marcella even more than lying to her about her husband’s death. Cal realises how much he has changed.
“He put the phone down as if it was a black garden slug… he had turned informer”
This highlights to us that his actions were despicable and unavoidable; there was no turning back now.
Bernard MacLaverty achieves reaching this climax through his effective characterisation.
At the beginning of the novel, MacLaverty presents his main character as neurotic. Cal hides away from the world. MacLaverty’s description of his hair shows him to be very self-conscious and shy.
“His hair hung like curtains screening him from the world”
This simile effectively describes how much Cal wants to hide away from his world and everyone in it. He even feels paranoid and anxious in his own street….
“He felt eyes on him”
This demonstrates that Cal feels alienated from the others. They are the only Catholics living in a Protestant area. Cal cannot cope with his guilt....