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Free «Mystery and Masterworks» Essay Sample

The Thirty-Nine Steps

“The greatest mystery of all is the human heart, and that is the mystery with which all good novelists, I think, are concerned. I am always interested in what makes people the sort of people they are.” P. D James.

The Thirty-Nine Steps is a novel authored by John Buchan, a Scottish literature writer. Before its print, the novel captured many of literature readers at Blackwood’s Magazine in 1915 before it was later printed the same year by a printing society called William Blackwood and Sons, in Edinburg. In this novel, Buchan Richard is depicted as a hero who has stiffed upper lip and miraculous scenarios of getting out of every trap. Moreover, the author of this novel has exemplified the quote “The greatest mystery of all is the human heart, and that is the mystery with which all good novelists, I think, are concerned. I am always interested in what makes people the sort of people they are.”

The human heart forms the beginning and the end of the story as revealed by Richard Buchan. As Buchan writes this novel, he is ill with duodenal ulcer and stays in bed. The novel to him is “a shocker of heart” as he combines his political and ailing lives. He sets up the drama that turns out to be a changer of his life as he introduced another hero called Richard Hannay. All is captured in the heart as he reveals a story that is hard to believe, and can only be believed if whatever therein really happened. In this sense, Buchan as a sensational writer captures the heart of the readers (Buchan, 2008).  



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Buchan’s son, William is the one who comes and reveals the real sentiments behind The Thirty-Nine Steps. He claims that “There was a wooden staircase leading down to the beach. My sister, who was about six, and who had just learnt to count properly, went down them and gleefully announced: there are 39 steps." It takes the heart of a little girl who loved counting to capture the attention of his dad, Buchan, to a level that he writes about her. After some time, the house got demolished with a section of the stairs sent to Buchan. This is what made and contributed to his behavior in the entire story.

In the plot of the story, Richard Hannay is depicted in a place watching a demonstration of the untouchable power on the recall of “Mr. Memory.” He is in London Music Hall where shots are fired all of a sudden. In this case, the author has introduced the story in such a manner that readers are sensationally captured with a need to follow up with what unfolds later. Frightened, he finds himself holding Annabella Smith whom he talks to and later takes her to his apartment. Inside the apartment, he reveals to her that he is a spy being chased but has made another plan to uncover the vital British Military Secrets. He appears a mastermind to her, though, he misses one of his fingers. The lady suddenly reveals her story of the thirty-nine steps, but it is too brief to be understad. In this scenario, Hannay captures the attention and heart of Smith who makes him actually escape from the fierce search of the town police.

The following night, Hannay is suddenly awoken by a storm from a stubbed Smith who reveals to him that he must escape or else he is arrested. He escapes through the window where he boards a train to Scotland. The police is searching the train and makes him quickly enter another compartment. He kisses a lady inside and makes sudden love with her. All goes in vain as the lady cannot withstand him. He escapes by jumping onto the forth bridge. The author has made one of his main characters as a puppet of love as he tries to capture the hearts of his readers. Many artists use such method which makes them be what they are.

The next day, Hannay is chased up by the police as he wears a Sunday coat given to him by a young woman with whom he spent the previous night. Hannay makes contacts with Annabella, the woman he is trying to meet in order to tell her about the thirty-nine steps. As he tries to tell the story to another man, Godfrey, he realizes that he misses one of the fingers. He is shot but literally survives the entire ordeal. He goes to a nearby hospital where everything unravels.

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As perceived and comprehended by the readers, it is quite clear what the author of the novel is aimimg at. He makes use of human feelings, and especially those of heart and soul. One of the facets that clearly gets exposed is the fact that the narrator explores into issues of love and affection. Hannay, apart from the fact that he is a spy, engages in making regular contacts with individuals of opposite sex in a bid to get rescued or planned for the next adventure. His life reveals his true nature as he makes escapes one after the other. The author has exemplified this facet in a bid to make the entire story sensible and intriguing.

The narrator considers the heart as the greatest mystery of all. It is where everything seems to happen with sheer attraction to novelists and other masters of literature and art. As the story ends, Hannay makes a return to his flat only to find Scudder murdered. Here, he is drawn at a situation where he cannot make quick decisions. He decides to continue with Scudder’s work which marks the beginning of his adventure. As far as he escapes from the German spies, he makes his way to Scotland as he is pursued by both the police and spies. He sets up one of the most intriguing and heart-taking moves that exemplify the novel. Through the mysterious phrase, “The thirty-nine steps”, the author is able to reveal and capitalize on it as the topic of the story. It reveals a long thread of heartfelt happenings that run through the entire story. In the meantime, the author reveals the nature of characters and how their lives are related to their main actions in the story. It makes them what they are as intended by the novelist.


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