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Compare ‘Visitors’ and ‘The Stolen Bacillus’

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This essay will discussing two short stories, called ‘Visitors’ and ‘The Stolen Bacillus’. These stories have similar plots and both deliver and contrast these in their very own clever ways. They are both based on the idea of something being stolen, involving a victim (person something is being stolen from) and robber. In the story ‘Visitors’ house robbery has been made legal, becoming an occupation. In ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ a bacteriologist is in possession of a so-called cholera virus, (which turned out to be something else) which is stolen from him.

This essay will discuss the similarities and differences between the two stories and their characters, I will also discuss the language used, and the way the theft is effectively conveyed in the two stories.

The author of the first story ‘Visitors’ is Brian Moon who lives and writes in Perth, Western Australia.

The basic plot to ‘Visitors’ is house robbery being made legal. A woman, Mrs. Morrison gets robbed, but the way it happened and how the robbers presented themselves is different to the stereotypical view of a robber. The robbery was thoroughly planned, and the procedures of the robberies are different from what the reader expects.

The author of ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ is H.G. Wells, born in Bromley, Kent. He was an English author and science philosopher. He was famous for his science fiction romances that variously depict alien invasion, terrifying future society, and transformed states of being. He wrote stories like The Invisible man (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896) and The War of The Worlds (1989).

The basic plot to “The Stolen Bacillus” is a bacillus or cholera germ being stolen from a bacteriologist by an anarchist in an attempt at devastating a city. This eventually leads into a street chase in cabs, through the streets of London.

Both these stories are in the same genre, they are both science fiction stories. ‘Visitors’ is a Science Fiction story set in the future, it involves an unfamiliar way of life and shows what may happen in the future, meanwhile ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ involves an amazing advance in medicine, also involves an idea of being able to wipe out a population (power) and a person as an enemy to society, this also makes it a science fiction story.

Both the stories have a type of humour to them. What makes ‘Visitors’ humorous is the leader of the robbers introduction says, “this is a robbery” which seems rather usually and unexpected to be said in such a polite manner, what makes it more humorous is at the end of the story with the comparison with the robbers and policemen appearance “there were four of them, dirty, unkempt, and hardly into their teens.”

Another humorous part is when the leader tells Mrs. Morrison that they will break the windows and he then recommends a glazier to fix it in line 54-56 and also when the leader says to Mrs. Morrison “coffee or tea?” we then know Mrs. Morrison relaxes in line 68, ‘sitting with her feet up, hot tea in one hand and a buttered scone in the other’

In ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ the humorous part is in line 102, when the bacteriologist cries out “blue ruin,” and later on in the story we find out the significance of this because what the anarchist stole wasn’t the cholera virus, it was a new species of bacterium which the bacteriologist believes it caused the blue patches on monkeys. Another humorous part is when the bacteriologist realises the bacillus has been stolen and he runs out of his house, “the bacteriologist, hatless, and in his carpet slippers, was running and gesticulating wildly towards towards this group.

One slipper came off, but he did not wait for it.” Within a few minutes it became a cab chase with the anarchist, bacteriologist and his wife. To add more humour a group of cab men begin to comment on the present situation of the cab chase in cockney accent, ” that’s Arry Icks. Wot he got?” “here’s another bloomin loonatic. Blowed if there ain’t.” “and he’s drivin’ a loonatic, as you say. Ain’t he clwain’ out of the keb? Wonder if he’s after Arry ‘Icks?” which would be amusing for a 1800 audience.

In the two stories the setting are a bit similar, but the story line are rather different. Both the stories are in one part set in a house. In the ‘Visitors’ the whole story is set in Mrs. Morrison house, this is clear in line 1-2, “she saw a mini-bus pass her kitchen window before pulling up on the gravel driveway at the side of the house.” And later on in line 29, the leader is telling Mrs. Morrison the address of her house, “42 Wentworth.” “she saw the mini-bus pass the kitchen window before pulling up on the gravel driveway at the side of the house.” The gravel driveway suggest it might be in a wealthy area.

‘The Stolen Bacillus’ is set in a laboratory, in the bacteriologist house. We see the bacteriologist is studying the bacillus under the microscope, and we know most of these types of investigation and the equipment being used is common to a laboratory. What makes it clear to me that it is set in a house is in line 102-103, when the bacteriologist runs to the front door and down the steps of his house to the streets. The fact that the laboratory is in the house shows it is not a modern story because laboratories are no longer in houses.

“The apron of the cab slammed, the whip swished, the horse’s feet clattered.” Horses being used for a cab, shows that it is not a modern story. The story is also set in the streets of London, this is clear in line 134-161,this is when a group of cabmen are speaking cockney and in line 163-165, when Minnie felt she was doing her duty by chasing after the bacteriologist down Haverstock hill and Camden town high street, which is apparently in London. The change of setting from the house to the streets of London increases the excitement of the cab chase.

The victim’s attitudes and reaction to the robbery in both the stories were different. For instance in the ‘Visitors’ Mrs. Morrison seemed to be calm and patient, in line 1-5 she appears to be calm due to the fact that, she is being robbed for the second time, in a short period. “Sitting with her feet up, hot tea in one hand and a buttered scone in the other” which shows calmness. Mrs. Morrison shows a bit of irritation and annoyance “not again, not so soon!” her reaction indicates that this can’t be happening in the present day even though the description of the house and things in it seem modern day.

In ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ the bacteriologist seems to be a show off, which seems to encourage the thief to want to steal the bacillus, this is clear to me due to the fact that when he is speaking to the pale-faced man (anarchist), he says things like, “those have been stained and killed” and “I wish, for my own part, we could kill and stain every one of them in the universe.” In line 46-54 the bacteriologist speaks about the bacillus as if it’s human. “Go forth , increase and multiply, and replenish the cisterns,’ and death mysterious, untraceable death, death swift and terrible, death full of pain and indignity would be released upon this city, and go hither and thither seeking his victim.” And “he would soak into the soil to reappear in springs and wells at a thousand unexpected places. Once start him at the water supply, and before we could ring him in, and catch him again, he would have decimated the metropolis.”

Minnie (bacteriologist wife) was a proud person and just cares about her and the bacteriologist appearance, how I this is that she went after the bacteriologist just to give him his coat and hat so Mrs. Jabber does not see the bacteriologist in the streets without a coat, hat and wearing one pair of carpet slippers, which will make Mrs. Jabber think poorly of them and their life style.

The robbers in both the stories attitudes were completely different. In the ‘Visitors’ the robbers planned the robbery very well, they made sure the will be no interruption during the robbery and they watched the house for 2 weeks, had every thing written down on a note pad, which show they were organised and they were perfectionist. They showed consideration to the victim Mrs. Morrison. “they left her with a copy of the list for insurance purposes.” The robbers are untypical and therefore surprised us the readers.

In ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ the anarchist seemed disorganised due to the fact that he had not planned the robbery and he believed he could improvise. “But his exultation far exceed his fear. No anarchist before him had ever approached this conception of his. Ravachol, vaillant, all those distinguished persons whose fame he had envied dwindled into insignificance beside him. He had only to make sure of the water supply, and break the little tube into a reservoir. How brilliantly he had planned it, forged the letter of introduction and got into the laboratory, and how brilliantly he had seized his opportunity! The world should hear of him at last.

All those people who had sneered at him, neglected him, preferred other people to him, found his company undesirable, should consider him at last. Death, death, death! They had always treated him as a man of no importance. All the world had been in a conspiracy to keep him under. He would teach them yet what it is it isolate a man.” Which shows the anarchist was an insecure person. This is perhaps typical of a person in a society whom commits a crime because of the way he thinks people have treated him.

In both the stories the robbery happened in the presence of the victims. In the ‘Visitors’ the plot to the story was that robbery being legalised. Mrs. Morrison agreed to the robbery in a calm manner and even accepted the list of the things taken and saw it all happen, which is unlikely in present times.

On the other hand in ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ the bacteriologist did not know when the anarchist had taken the bacillus, it was stolen right under the bacteriologist nose, while the bacteriologist was speaking to his wife.

The stories come to a close in very different ways; were one stories has a sinister end to it, while the other has a humorous end. ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ ends with the bacteriologist realising the pale-face man was an anarchist and that he drank the bacillus, which turn things blue and this left a smile on the bacteriologist face, which is rather humorous. The ‘Visitors’ ends with the police at Mrs. Morrison door with a rather unexpected appearance, this gives the story a sinister end.

In both the stories the language used appears to be different. For instance in the ‘Visitors’ the was more use of simple sentences this is clear to me in several parts of the story, the examples are “he paused before flipping his note book shut” and “they spoke briefly, and she couldn’t hear what was said.” “She nodded; he went on. Now, we’ve disconnected your phone at the junction on the corner, and we have a man in the street with a second vehicle just to make sure we won’t be surprised by anything unexpected.” The way the short sentence comes after the long sentence, makes it seem exciting and makes the writers point more effective.

In ‘The Stolen Bacillus’ seems to have more use of complex sentences and complex words. Examples of complex words are “rhetoric,” “phlegmatic” and “scrutinising.” An example of a complex sentence used is “Only break such a little tube as this into a supply of drinking-water, say to these minute particles of life that one must needs stain and examine with the highest powers of the microscope even to see, and that one can neither smell nor taste say to them, ‘go forth, increase and multiply, and replenish the cisterns,’ and death mysterious, untraceable death, swift death and terrible, death full of pain and indignity would be released upon this city, and go hither and thither seeking his victims.” This shows how educated the scientist is and also that he is using words to show off to his visitor.

The ‘Visitors’ by Brian Moon is giving us an idea of what may happen in the near future. I believe the aim of the story is to try and make his readers visualise the situation and imagine how he/she will react to it, by making it seem like is happening in the present.

‘The Stolen Bacillus’ by H.G. Wells shows us a more familiar way robbery is done (not being aware of it happening) and I also believes it is trying to tell his readers that people are not always what they make themselves to be.

To conclude this essay robberies will happen and always will happen for years to come, but eventually the way it may happen will change.

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