The short story ‘The Birds’ by Daphne Du Maurice encompasses language and narrative conventions to evoke a sense of frustration, desperation, insolence and ignorance to its audience. Because of this, readers gain sense of moral understanding and change their attitudes with the theme of environmental disrespect presented in the story. Du Maurer’s ‘The Birds’ is a classic of alienation and horror, coupling notions of despair, fear and isolated hopelessness with a war with nature.
The author reveals her intent through narrative conventions such as eating and resolution, and language conventions including dialogue and point of view that engrosses the audience and directs them towards feeling bitter regret due to the indirect guilt-tripping Du Maurice creates. Dialogue in ‘The Birds’ helps us to visualize a better understanding of the themes presented in the story which make us feel privileged and that we are controlling our environments by the media’s intervention.
The dialogue helps us to feel more personal with the characters, and hence leads us to imagine us in their shoes and changes our attitudes accordingly. As with Nat and his family, we realize they are alone with limited resources, as told by Gnat’s desperation when he says, “Vive got to get food”. This makes us realize our privileges to take whatever we need from the environment, a symbol of the over-cultivation and abuse of the natural environment that is our main source of food.
When Nat says “we’ve heard wrong” when referring to the absence of the news bulletin on the Bib’s wireless channel gives us an understanding on the fixation on the media in modern society. The belief that the birds have somewhat ‘overthrown’ the media explains a sense of role-reversal teen the media and the environment. This suggests that we focus too much on the superficial things like media instead of worrying what we are doing to our environment.
Du Maurer’s intention of the use of dialogue in ‘The Birds’ helps to explore her issues concerning the environment and because of this incites a change in regards to our priorities and treatments to mother nature, as symbolizes by the birds. In order to explain the thesis of her story, Du Maurice encompasses setting to realize that the human race is over-cultivating and abusing our natural resources. “On December 3rd the wind changed overnight and it was winter” does not only provide us with the exact date and season, but also the knowledge that it is not the prime growing season for crops.
This gives reason for the birds to migrate south, to the location of the story, and also a prime attack occasion for the birds, Just when humans have little access to natural produce. The isolated, rural location of the story, as seen by the peninsula location and Nat saying the other birds went to the towns and not them, gives us a better perspective on the natural environment. The armband location of the story hence gives the readers an understanding of the done and to respect and sympathies with the situation that the characters are now presented with.
In ‘The Birds’ Du Maurice uses third person point of view to make readers realize the environmental destruction associated with the typical human stereotypes that we see in this short story. The point of view of this story puts readers in a position to feel distant to the characters. This also adds an extra feeling of isolation to the story to both characters and readers, in which we get upset and feel hopeless that we cannot alp their situation. The fact that we are unable to help insinuates that once nature fights back or ceases to provide for us, there will be no stopping it.
However, the main use of third person point of view by Du Maurice allows the representations of the characters to be perceived and interpreted due to the unbiased attitude to the characters and the fair and reasonable Judgments we make because of this. The readers find Nat and the farmer to have atypical and typical attitudes to nature respectively. Du Maurer’s intention in making us realize this through third person nits that the disrespect to the environment associated with the farmer has dire consequences, and that understanding and respect will be rewarded.
This makes the reader feel the need to act upon this notion and to appreciate the environment we are a part of. Du Maurice resolves her story in such an emotion-wrenching way that she reveals her intent for environmental respect that our community should maintain. The way she concludes her short story allows the audience to realize that when humans are at war with nature, the end is upon us; nothing is left and there will be no hope. This feeling she creates is a sense of paranoia and makes us want to change for the better so we won’t face this ultimatum.
In ‘The Birds’, Du Maurer’s resolution allows us to feel for the characters in the story by Gnat’s symbolic event of smoking his last cigarette he saved “for a rainy day’. Ultimately, the increasingly violent attacks lead us to believe that a third and final attack is imminent that is still associated with the perception of war. These attacks, including the final, impending one are the environment fighting back against the dominant humans. The Birds’ resolves in such a way that it makes readers sympathies deeply with the family and we feel hopeless to help them and we fear for their safety.
If we put ourselves in the position of the characters at the resolution, we develop a feeling of regret for being like the farmer, abusing the environment and disrespecting our surroundings that put our peers in danger. If we do this we change our perceptions on the way we look at our natural environment and realize that respect and consideration is a necessity, which is exactly what Du Maurice intended. Du Maurice intends to make her audience realize the repercussions of environmental mistreatment and abuse and act upon them in a positive manner.