How does Elizabeth Bowen convey that Mrs. Drover's house has been empty for some time?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "The Demon Lover," Bowen uses description to convey the idea that Mrs. Drover's house has been empty for some time. This begins in the second paragraph of the story when Bowen describes the boarded-up windows. She also describes the "traces" of her former life inside the house. These are...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

In "The Demon Lover," Bowen uses description to convey the idea that Mrs. Drover's house has been empty for some time. This begins in the second paragraph of the story when Bowen describes the boarded-up windows. She also describes the "traces" of her former life inside the house. These are the marks left by her furniture, like a "ring" left by a vase and a "bruise" on the wallpaper. This use of imagery creates a feeling of emptiness and loss, which reinforces the idea that the house has been empty for some time.

Bowen also uses personification in this paragraph when she is describing the dust. She says that each object "wore" a thin layer of dust, thereby reinforcing this idea of emptiness.

There is also an olfactory (smell) image in this paragraph. Bowen describes, for instance, how the house smells of the "cold hearth." Again, this reinforces the idea of emptiness and decay.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

At the very beginning of The Demon Lover, Mrs. Drover is returning to her house, which has been closed up for some time, to retrieve some things she needs. Elizabeth Bowen shows from the very first line, that the house has been empty for a while.

She details that the house has been boarded up. As Mrs. Drover is inside the house, she sees images of her past life there. She sees the yellow smoke stain, and the marks the piano had left on the floor. When she receives the letter and reads it, the letter lets us know it has been years since their was life inside the house. Mrs. Drover goes to look in the mirror and has to wipe the dust away to see her reflection. Elizabeth Bowen goes into great detail to let us know the house has been empty. 

Mrs. Drover has also hired a person to watch over the house as well, which tells us that no one has been at the house. The Demon Lover is a short story with lots of details. Elizabeth Bowen gives wonderful descriptions of how she wants to convey the loneliness of the house and the haunted memories Mrs. Drover has in the house. You can see from the first words of the story, how long the house has been sitting empty, just waiting for the return of two people. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team