The Way Up To Heaven Short Analysis Essay

Sections:Information | Plot Description | Reviews | Criticism and Analysis | Teacher Ideas


  • Related books:
  • Magazine publications:
  • Theater:
    • The Honeys (play), 1955, Longacre Theater, Broadway
  • Audio Books:
    • “Der Weg Zum Himmel – 3 Kriminalhörspiele” read by full cast
    • “The Way Up to Heaven” read by Stephanie Beacham
    • Kiss Kiss read by Tamsin Greig, Juliet Stevenson, Adrian Scarborough, Stephanie Beacham, Derek Jacobi, Stephen Mangan
    • Tales of the Unexpected read by Geoffrey Palmer, Joanna David, Tom Hollander, Patricia Routledge, and Joanna Lumley
  • TV Shows:

Plot Description

Spoiler warning! Mrs. Foster has a pathological fear of being late. Whenever she is in danger of missing a train or plane or an engagement, a tiny muscle near her eye begins to twitch. The worst part is that her husband, Mr. Eugene Foster, seems to torment her by making sure that they always leave the house one or two minutes past the point of safety. On this particular occasion Mrs. Foster is leaving to visit her daughter and grandchildren in Paris for the first time ever, and she’s frantic to think that she’ll miss her flight. By the time her husband finally joins her at the car, she’s too far behind schedule. Luckily the flight is postponed til the next day, and Mr. Foster persuades her to come home for the night. When she’s ready to leave the next day, though, her husband suggests that they drop him off at his club on the way. Knowing this will make her late, she protests in vain. Just before the car leaves, he runs back in the house on the pretense of picking up a gift he forgot for his daughter. While he’s gone Mrs. Foster discovers the gift box shoved down between the seat cushions. She runs up to the house to tell him that she has the gift… and suddenly she pauses. She listens. She stays frozen for 10 seconds, straining to hear something. Then she turns and runs to the car, telling the driver that they’re too late and her husband will have to find another ride. She makes her flight and has a wonderful visit with her grandchildren. She writes her husband every week and sends him a telegram before she flies home six weeks later. He’s not at the airport to meet her though, and when she enters the house (after taking a taxi home) she notices a curious odor in the air. Satisfied, she enters her husband’s study and calls the elevator repairman. It had jammed and she left him to die there!


Criticism and Analysis

Teacher Ideas

Presentation on theme: "“The Way Up to Heaven” Essay Plan."— Presentation transcript:

1 “The Way Up to Heaven”Essay Plan

2 Prose Questions 2008 Question 4
Choose a novel or short story which has a turning point or moment of realisation for one of the characters.Briefly describe what has led up to the turning point or moment. Go on to show what impact this has had on the character(s) and how it affects your feelings towards the character.

3 EssayThe essay you are going to be writing will be asking you to show how a character has changed over the course of events in a short story, and to what extent you sympathise with the character.In order to write a successful essay, you will have to show:what the character of Mrs Foster is like at the beginning of the story.Why and how she begins to change (turning point).What the character of Mrs Foster is like at the end of the story.

4 Introduction Keep it relatively short!
Text, Author, Reference to question.Brief response to question.

5 Introduction Example“The Way up to Heaven” by Roald Dhal is a short story in which the character of Mrs Foster has a moment of realisation. She takes the opportunity to leave her emotionally abusive husband to die. Our feelings about Mrs Foster change throughout the story, as her character develops from being a weak and timid victim to a confident person who can take control of their own life.

6 “Briefly describe what has led up to the turning point or moment.”
Mrs Foster is dominated by a cruel husband who enjoys seeing her discomfort when she is afraid she will be late. Indeed, as she is leaving to go to the airport to fly to Paris to visit her daughter, he appears to be deliberately holding her back. Mrs Foster has long wished to visit her daughter and grandchildren in Paris and has had great difficulty in persuading her husband to “allow” her to go. Mrs Foster’s moment of realisation comes when Mr Foster pretends he has forgotten something in the house and returns to get it. Mrs Foster, in her agitation, follows him to the house, and just before opening the door, appears to listen intently for several seconds. Quite suddenly, Mrs Foster, returns to the car and orders the driver to leave immediately and take her to the airport. We later discover that Mr Foster has become trapped in the elevator in the house and that Mrs Foster has resolved to leave him there. As Mr Foster has dismissed all the servants, there is no possibility that Mr Foster will be discovered and saved. Mrs Foster has taken the opportunity to be free of her husband and can now spend her remaining years in Paris with her family.

7 PEARPOINT Topic sentence with a linking word. It tells the examiner what your paragraph is going to be about.EVIDENCE Explain what is happening in the part of the story from which you have taken your quotation or your example.ANALYSIS Explain what the quotation or example tells you about how the character is feeling or what it tells us about the theme of the text.RESPONSE Explain how your evidence RESPONDS to the question. For example, why do you feel sympathy for Martin.

8 what impact this has had on the character(s) and how it affects your feelings towards the character.
Initially, before we reach the turning point in the story, our feelings for Mrs Foster are of sympathy. She is intimidated by her bullying husband, despite having “served him loyally and well”. We can see the nature of their relationship when she is waiting for her husband to come downstairs to leave for the airport: “She would never dare call out and tell him to hurry. He had her too well disciplined for that.” This chilling example suggests the power that Mr Foster has had over his wife. She is clearly afraid of him and the word “disciplined” furthers the idea that Mr Foster has had control over his wife. It makes me think of the relationship a dog might have with his master, rather than a wife with her husband. At this early part of the story, I feel a great deal of sympathy for a woman who has spent most of her life trying to please a cruel and bullying husband who has little respect for his wife.

9 Your turn… Before the change x1 or 2 PEAR The turning point x1 pear
After the turning point.x2 or 3 PEAR




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