- Write a detailed synopsis of the story.
- Discuss the theme of over-population and the effect it has on both the way of life and quality of life of the inhabitants of the city.
- The quest for living space has become an overriding obsession with the people of the city. Discuss this theme in detail. Include in your answer some discussion of the ways in which Ballard makes the quest for space dominate the characters’ lives.
- What sort of relationship does Ballard put forward between the inner world of the individual (as represented by Ward and Rossiter) and the outer world in which they live. In other words, how does Ballard conceptualise the effect of surviving daily life in a hopelessly over-crowded city on the consciousness of the individual as demonstrated by the ways in which Ward and Rossiter manage the gift of space in the secret room they discover?
- In the story, Ballard does attempt some sort of explanation of the social, political and economic causes of the extreme over-population that has beset the world. Explain his views as they are presented in the story.
- Do you agree with his argument? Do you think that current population growth projections indicate that we are likely to end up in the situation portrayed in the story?
- Describe and analyse Ward’s character in some detail. What values does he hold? Why does Ballard make use of this type of character as the main character for this story?
- What role does Rossiter play in the story?
- Describe the role of the female characters in the story.
- Discuss the effects that over-population and its attendant ills has had on the nature of family life in relation to Ward’s family as well as Judith and Helen’s family relationships.
- What does the secret room symbolise in the story?
- Why do you think Ward and Rossiter are unable to keep the gift of space to themselves? Is Ballard making a comment on how our inner world ultimately reflects the shape of the external world in which we live?
- What sort of living arrangement do they eventually end up allowing (and accommodating to) in their secret room?
- Discuss Ballard’s style and language in the story? Consider also in what ways it is appropriate to the nature of the story being told.
1) The world is overpopulated, people lived in small cubicles because there wasn’t enough space for all the crowded world. Ward and his friend Rossiter fought to get more space but they couldn’t get a bigger cubicle because there were stricted laws that didn’t let people to get more space, the governors were worried about the increasing population. Every year they reduced the space of the cublicles to build more of thems. Ward coudn’t tolerate to live in his small cubicle. One day his friend Rossiter planned to move in a quiet area that there wasn´t pedestrian traffic or a lot of noise. The good news were that the cublicle it’s a bit bigger. When they installed there, they accidentaly discovered a large and big room that they got surprised and with there mouths open. But they need to watch if somebody came, they decided inviting the two girls that they met before. They brang their things to the big room and filled it with their stuff, there was a Victorian wardrobe. The problem was that they invited the two girl´s family to live there, they had to dismantle the wardrobe. Now they are like the beggining, their dreams of freedom, fall.
2) The way and the quality of life that the people lived was awful, lots of noise, pedestrian traffic, you had to wait a lot of time to eat in a restaurant, people living in cubicles meant difficult to breath, loss of privacy andthepeople couldn’t live a common life, it was terrible.
3) There were many people in this overpopulated world that wanted more space, but it was imposible because there were several laws that controlled the cubicle’s space, the people lived on it. Ballard used this to show that the quest for space is a neccesity for all the people to feel more comfortable and to have privacy.
4) Ballard showed that when Rossiter and Ward found the secret room, they started to fill it in with stuff because as they were living in an over crowded world, they had absorted minds about tiny spaces, and they didn´t know how to take advantage of the “big” space they had. Surviving is diffcult.
5) One cause was, that if you have three children you would get more space, that´s why the population grew and grew every year. They didn´t have laws against natality control.
6) He is right, but the difference that there are more countries that had more children and others that had less children an there are laws, actually we don´t have problems with overpopulation, we are balance.
7) Ward is a different person like others, he could not tolerate his tiny space. He thought to go to live to Neptune, sarcasticaly. Ballard used some techniques to show that the experiences of Ward made him the protagonist of the story. His works in a librarian and live with his friend Rossiter.
8) Rossiter´s role in the story was to be the friend of Ward, he worked in the government, he knew how much the population would grow every year, he also wanted a bigger space.
9) Judith and Helen were two nice girls that they knew each other, There are suffering because they lived together in a smaller cublicle that Ward had at the beggining of the story. They took advantage of the space the boys provided to them and their families.
10) Many people got ill because they could not breath properly and they got always hurt on the pedestrian traffic. Judith´s, Helen´s and Ward´s family decided to live together because they were all sick, the secret room was completely full.
11) The secret room symbolised the freedom and the privacy that Rossiter and Ward finally got, there were surprised when they accidentally discovered it, but they dreams came to an end.
12) They were unable to keep the gift space because as they were not use to a big space, they filled it with their stuff. As I said before they did not took advantage of the space that the room offered. Ballard used this to explain how the world was, how it was the people´s life he used this to comment our situation in which are we now.
13) They accepted the two girls family to live with them, but they did not realise at all that all their dream about a bigger space had fall, Ballard showed this when they dismantled the Victorian wardrobe they had.
The micro apartments were only made for single teenagers or couples but also family´s lived there, in the story it was worst, the space was smaller. But they were very similar. In the story it said how they were.