Discussion Topic

Plot Structure of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover"

Summary:

The plot structure of "The Demon Lover" follows a linear sequence with flashbacks. The story begins with Mrs. Drover returning to her London home during World War II, then flashes back to her engagement to a soldier who died 25 years earlier. The plot builds suspense as she finds a mysterious letter, culminating in an eerie and ambiguous climax when she is seemingly abducted by a ghostly figure.

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What is the falling action of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover"?

The falling action of a story typically involves a character's resolving the central conflict or crisis that has driven the story. Sometimes it's helpful to think of the falling action as a way for the author to tie up loose ends in the narrative, such as subplots or unresolved questions. In essence, falling action helps a reader gain "closure" before the conclusion.

At the end of "The Demon Lover," Elizabeth Bowen condenses the climax, falling action, and conclusion into one paragraph: the final paragraph of the story.

The driver braked to what was almost a stop, turned round, and slid the glass panel back: The jolt of this flung Mrs. Drover forward till her face was almost into the glass. Through the aperture driver and passenger, not six inches between them, remained for an eternity eye to eye. Mrs. Drover's mouth hung open for some seconds before she could issue her first scream. After that, she continued to scream freely and beat with her gloved hands on the glass all around as the taxi, accelerating without mercy, made off with her into the hinterland of deserted streets.

Arguably, it is the eye contact between Mrs. Drover and the taxi drover, and Mrs. Drover's resulting scream, that mark the climax of the story. It is that final sentence where Bowen bucks conventional short story structure; rather than tying up loose ends, she creates even more of them, and the conclusion doesn't answer questions but rather raises more. We are left wondering if the taxi driver (as the demon lover) is a ghost, or a figment of Mrs. Drover's imagination, or never really died in the war, or some other explanation.

In fact, one could make an argument that there isn't any falling action in this story: at no point does the story "wrap up" or bring us toward a sense of closure. This abrupt ending contributes to the eeriness of the story, as Mrs. Drover's fate remains a mystery to us.

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What is the falling action of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover"?

A short story contains five parts: the exposition (or introduction), the rising action, the climax, the falling action (or denouement), and the conclusion (or resolution). The exposition introduces the setting (time and place), characters, and the climate/mood. The rising action follows the initial introduction of conflict and builds towards the climax. The climax is the turning point, or decisive moment, of the text. The falling action leads to the conclusion, tying up loose ends as it progresses. The conclusion is the part of the text which provides a complete wrap-up of the text (in normal cases). 

The falling action of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover" takes place following the interlocking of Mrs. Drover's and the taxi driver's eyes. This is found in the final paragraph, and not much happens after.The rising action and conclusion happen rather quickly, all in the final look between the couple and Mrs. Drover's screams. Everything prior to the locking of the couple's eyes takes place in order to bring Mrs. Drover to sit in the taxi and see the driver. 

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What is the introduction of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover?"

We can find the introduction to this story in the opening paragraph. It is here that Bowen reveals some key information to the reader concerning the setting of the story and information about its main character, Mrs. Drover.

For example, from this paragraph, we learn that Mrs. Drover is visiting her house in London, but she does not live there at the moment. In fact, she has another house in the country, and her London home is empty. Bowen uses imagery to emphasize the emptiness of the London house. For instance, Bowen describes how Mrs. Drover has to push open the door with her knee because of the "unwilling" lock. This use of imagery also creates an eerie, uncertain atmosphere.

In addition, we learn that it is late August, and the weather reflects this summery setting. The day is "steamy," for example, and the sun is "glittering."

Finally, another crucial aspect of the introduction is how Bowen builds suspense. By not telling the reader why Mrs. Drover's house is empty, the reader's interest is piqued. We want to know why this house is empty and, more importantly, what might be lurking inside.

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What is the introduction of Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover?"

An introduction contains a text's setting (time and place), main characters, and an introduction to what is happening. In regards to Elizabeth Bowen's "The Demon Lover," the story takes place in in London. As the story opens, the narrator states that it is late in August and raining. The main character, Mrs. Drover, is at her house looking through all of the belongings of her family. The home has been locked up for a while (noted by the "dead air" which rushes forward as she opens the door to the house). The introduction ends as the conflict is introduced. For Mrs. Drover, the conflict she faces is internal--she is "perplexed" by everything surrounding her.  As her conflict deepens, the story moves into the rising action. 

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