Our literature teacher gave us this assignment.
1) The story is set in the future, when the world is overcrowded. The protagonist, Ward, was searching for a new place where to live, because he was leaving in a staircase were it was very uncomfortable and very expensive. Then he found a place far away from the city which was empty. He and his friend decided to live there and not to tell anyone. They bought a Victorian wardrobe which symbolized the largess of the room. However, they later on invited friends because they were so used to not having space, they were sick of having so much space. In the end they had to remove the wardrobe because they didn’t have enough space to keep on building cubicles, therefore they removed the only symbol which said that they had a lot of space.
2)The overpopulation caused; crazy amounts of pedestrian traffic, because there were so many people who needed to commute, there wasn’t enough space for everyone to move; people were to live in small places, they couldn’t stand having free space; people continued having many children, because it gave you benefits, bit this was harmful for society because population continued growing. Overpopulation also caused the lack of privacy, since they didn’t have a private room, bathroom, kitchen; cubicles were getting smaller more expensive, leaving people without money to spend on their leisure time and there was unemployment because there weren’t enough jobs for the vast amount of people who needed.
3) The people were used to living in cramped spaces. When Ward was decorating the house, he filled it up with space, as when he lived in the cubicles there was no space, and having free space, was strange for him.
5) Ballard explains the causes which have caused this overpopulation. One cause which groups society, economy and politics is that by having three or more children, you got a bigger cubicle. If there were more people in a family they would need a large room to live in. However, having more than two children makes the population grow.
6) In our opinion, population growth will not be a big issue this century. Population growth has been unequal in different countries. In richer countries population is; slowly growing; not growing; or even decreasing. However, in poorer countries population has been growing at incredible speeds. It will just take years for this countries to developed and stabilize the growth of population.
7) Ward is the protagonist of the story. He is a middle aged man, he works at a library and his roommate is Resister. He hates the way in which the landlords shorten their cubicles in order to make more and earn money. Anyway, at the end of the story he ends up becoming a hated landlord when he starts dividing into cubicles the empty room.
8) Resister is a close friend of Ward. He is the one who brought the two girls into the spare room causing a loss of spare space.
9) The female characters of the story are invited to stay in the spare room Ward had. After moving in they invited their family taking up the free space there had once been. Therefore, the girls are the house tenants.
10) Overpopulation has affected the characters’ lives.
11) The secret room symbolize of freedom, leak to escape from the overcrowded world.
12) Ward and Resister are unable to keep the space because they can’t deal with emptiness because their minds are not used to it.
13) They started making cubicles inside the room and getting less space so their problem didn’t end.
14) Ballard’s style is appropriate for the story because he lived in the Victorian times when Britain was overcrowded so he understands his characters.
Task two: The video is really similar to the situation in the short story that we read. Both talked about little cubicles where people live, coexist. This kind of little apartments were planned to be to young people, singles as the video said. But also there were a lot of families that live there too. In the story this situation was for everyone, because of the overpopulation. Obviously a family had more space and meters than a single but talking seriously, these cubicles were really small. A difference that i found is that in the story, the people lived there for need, obligation because of the overpopulation. In the video, these cubicles give a chance to people who can’t afford something bigger and also these people choose to live there, there are not obligated. Finally i want to said that in both cases, this cubicles are describe as really uncomfortable, very small, cheaper and chokers.