Talking In Whispers And The Pit And The Pendulum
I will be comparing the different techniques language and descriptions in the Interrogation and torture scenes in the books Talking In Whispers and the Pit And The Pendulum. In the early 1970’s the army took over Chile and was lead by the junta. The junta were Chile’s secret police. Before this there had been two different political party’s one left which was democratic and one right wing for example Hitler. If you demonstrated in the street against the junta then you would be executed.
They also set a curfew that didn’t allow people out on the streets at night or until six in the morning if you were found out on the street you would be immediately shot. People who got taken away wouldn’t ever be seen again. The junta used a very physical way of torture. The book TIW tells us that the rack and electrocution were part of many horrible ways the junta got their prisoners to give information. The Spanish inquisition only allowed the catholic religion to be practiced they ruled by fear any other religion that was practiced would be persecuted.
The people who were not catholic and were caught by the Spanish inquisition had a trial with no jury. They would be locked up in cells without a trial and in many cases would be executed in very painful ways. Many non-Catholics fled to England and Eastern Europe where they lived in safe houses. Eventually the people of Spain rebelled against the extreme Catholic Church. Although the Spanish inquisition did use physical execution they also used mental execution like in the P&P book prisoners would be locked up in cells to the point that they would kill themselves.
The person in the p&p book believes that his cell is quite large but in fact his cell is not as big as he believes it to be as he finds out towards the end of the book. Andres doesn’t really have a fixed cell he was moved around a lot when he was moved to the house of laughter he was put in a cell called a narrow cell. “It was two paces across and four paces deep” it had a concrete floor and both cells were “wet and slimy”. Andres cell smelled as though the sewers had overflowed or there was human excretion on the floor. Andres ‘eyes got used to the dark’ this shows that his cell was quite dark.
The cell in p&p was dark as well we know this because he had to search with his hands to find the food and water that was left for him he also believed his cell had many angles when in fact it was an oblong shape. Both characters were in the cell by themselves. There was no mention of dead people in Andres cell but in the p&p book he found what he believed to be skeletons. It seemed as though Andres was only in his cell for a few minutes but in the p&p he believed he was in his cell for months but it was unknown for how long he was really kept in his cell for because he had no record of time.
In the p&p cell there was a pit which was a form of torture. What would happen was the prisoners who gave into the tortures would throw themselves off the edge of the pit to their death. At the end of the book the character was just about to do so when he was grabbed and saved by the General Lasalle. There was also a pendulum in his cell, which at first he believed to be a clock because of the swinging motion but after he explored it more he found it was a pendulum with a blade on the end. He also found out that if he lay under the pendulum it took about ten swings before it cut him.
Rats that would nibble him and his food also inhabited his cell. The interrogation in the p&p book is very mental torture the worst fact was the not knowing he didn’t know when his next meal was coming or where abouts it was in his cell. He had no idea of time or where he was. He had a lack of his senses he couldn’t hear anything or see anything the cell which he was kept in was in its self a form of torture with rats that ate his food and chewed on him it was wet and slimy and smelt terrible.
It had a pendulum with a blade on the end that could cut him and a pit that was quite deep we know this because he threw some thing down it to determine how deep it was. In TIW Andres father was taken away which made him even more afraid of what might happen to him. His father and friends obviously spoke of the torture and the laughter house a lot because it gives the impression that he know’s a lot about what’s happening to him. Like when he was about to be electrocuted he knew straight away when he saw the wires what was about to happen to him.
First Andres was locked up in a truck that was crammed full of prisoners and then he went to a building. Then he went to the laughter house where he was put in a narrow cell. Then he was sent to the interrogation room where two interrogators Hog and Snake beat him at there own free will after this he was put on a rack we where told he could feel his arm pits burning then he was electrocuted. Andres reacted to the interrogation and torture quite calmly. In the interrogation room he answered all there questions quickly and kept to his story.
He seemed to know a lot about the interrogation room and the torture that may have helped him stay calm his father had told him before not to hesitate when answering there questions. Even though Andres lied from the start of the questioning and dug himself a bigger and bigger hole he still kept calm and never slipped up on there questions that is why I think Andres reacted quite well to there questions. In the P&P book he didn’t react as well as Andres he was petrified and was expecting to die at any time.
Towards the end of the book we are told how he was about to throw himself of the edge of the pit so he must have been very distressed and upset. The P&P book has a lot more complex language than the TIW book. The P&P story was written in 1843 which is probably why I found it so complicated to read. Most words that were used back then don’t even exist now or are no longer commonly used such as ‘accentuation’. Accentuation is now not commonly used and I used a dictionary to discover that it means act of marking with proper accents.
The sentence was ‘the dread sentence of death – was the last of distinct accentuation which reached my ears’. Now it would probably be written as. The dreaded sentence of death was the last sentence that I heard. When Andres is describing his cell he measures it out ‘the cell was two paces across and four deep’ this produces an image of how small the cell must be the description of the cell is very detailed and sentences such as ‘stinking. Probably overflow from the sewers’ this makes us believe that the cell smells very bad.
The P&P book has a lot more examples of imagery than talking in whispers because of its more complex language. The P&P book uses more longer sentences than the TIW book this makes the book more descriptive and detailed this may have been why it was a lot harder to read then the TIW book. The TIW book has shorter sentences than the P&P book this creates a bit more excitement and tension and is not as drawn out as the P&P book. Although the P&P book was hard to read with its complex language it was still a book that once you start reading you cant stop until you’ve finished.
TIW was a longer story and had more scenes other than just a cell as in P&P it had more characters as well. In P&P I liked the description and the fact that he didn’t know anything where he was when his next meal was coming he had completely lost his sight in his pitch black cell. I didn’t like the longer words I found myself having to look quite a few words up to understand the story fully. In TIW I liked the story line and the constant excitement the CNI where always there no matter were the characters went