The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham – 1951
I have read a couple of Wyndham novels, but fifties classic The Day of the Triffids was my introduction to him. When I was fourteen my English teacher tasked us with reading the book, which turned out to be one of the better literary choices I was given in high school. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that the following year, when I had to write a report on a novel, I chose this one.
Twenty-five years later, and I still have that report. Actually, for some reason I have three versions of it, the first of which is footnoted with a rather scathing teacher’s comment, that begins like this:
As I read, Brian, I began to feel more and more uneasy. I suspect you have relied very heavily on the intro to D of the T or some study guide.
…and ends like this:
Your review is totally devoid of quotes. You need to reference throughout to evidence from within the text to back up your extremely sweeping statements.
The fact that I tried to be edgy by titling it, The Day of the Triffids: A Textual Appreciation, probably didn’t help my chances, and with great stuff such as:
It is made up of many chapters of varying lengths.
…it’s difficult to argue the lack of effort I put in to the essay, which is a shame, because I really did enjoy the story. It was the first time I had dabbled with science fiction, but the post-apocalyptic premise grabbed me from the start, and the strong emphasis on character development over the typical sci-fi stereotypes, made the prose accessible and engaging to genre virgins like me.
So, after a quarter of a century it would appear that I still haven’t grasped how to write an in-depth analysis of The Day of the Triffids, but trust me – I’ve read it. And it’s good.
Like you I first read The Day of the Triffids at school, I’ve still got my dog-eared paperback and it still grips, especially the chapter “World Narrowing.” I do enjoy the humorous aspects of your posts, thanks for giving me a laugh as I face the prospect of another day of drudgery at work.
Thanks Paul. I figured a post-apocalyptic novel about a global outbreak of human blindness, and the subsequent uprising of a mobile and deadly species of plant, was a little bleak… so I tried to bring it back down and humanise it!