How does du Maurier show fear through the actions of the characters?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most obvious way that du Maurier is able to display the fear that Nat and his family experience is to show how the birds slowly transform their world from one of comfort to one of chaos.  When Nat is reassured by the order of his kitchen, it is a momentarily lapse in an eroding of survival that the birds initiate.  The constant pressure and fear that Nat and his family endure is how  fear is shown.  In this condition, there is no solidarity.  Community has been ruptured from the constant onslaught of the predatory birds who have isolated Nat and his family from all outside assistance as well as any hope of collective strength.  du Maurier is able to show the real terror that exists for individuals is the fear of being alone in a time of crisis.  Community and solidarity comforts.  The lack of it represents fear for there is a lack of hope present.  It is in this where Nat and his family are most vulnerable, their terror and worst fears confirmed.  It is here where du Maurier is able to show how real terror and fear becomes evident when the bedrock of our support and hopes erode in the face of constant struggle and the lack of external help.  In this, there is nothing but fear, something that Nat and his family realize with the ‘‘tearing sound of splintering wood.’’

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