There are two main characters in the novel “Stone Cold”. They are called Link and Shelter. Link’s situation at home has forced him to beg on the streets and become homeless. Shelter, however, is a former soldier, who has begun a killing spree of the homeless in London, where Link is soon to go when he leaves home.
The structure of this novel helps to emphasise the contrast between the characters. In alternating chapters, Link and Shelter tell their own stories in first person. The author also changes the language and structure of these personal stories to contrast the different characters. For example in Shelter’s passages, the heading is written as “Daily routine orders”, this hints to the reader that Shelter is a strict and organised person. The type of language Shelter uses says a lot about him, for example when he says “all of my clients are dossers”, and it is meant to mean that he is in fact helping his victims. It appears that Shelter is very intelligent when he states in his passage “There is a trap serial killers fall into, namely, the trap of pattern”.
Early in the story, we find out that Shelter is a cold hearted man with no ethics or morals. For example, we are told that Shelter thinks killing the homeless is good for society. One reason he thinks this, is because he is cleaning the streets of London of all these eye sores. Another reason is because he thinks he is doing his victims a favour by “putting them out their misery”. He is also very calculating and deceptive, for example in his passage he says, “I have acquired a cat”, which he uses to fool his victims in thinking he is caring. Shelter also wears do-gooder clothes to hide the suspicion from his victims.
Link’s characteristics are very suitable for his role in this novel. One reason is because he’s a teenager which makes him vulnerable because he still can’t quite look after himself. This makes the audience feel more sympathetic towards him will feel more sympathetic towards him than they would if it were an adult. He is also very sensitive, we find this out when Link starts begging on the streets, and feels rejected when people ignore him. Also when he finds “Doggy Bag” he feels sorry for him, and thought about what his parents felt about him when he was a child and what he would accomplish. Another example of Link’s sensitivity is when he finds out Gail was using him, and he feels very hurt. Link became homeless over no fault of his own because he had not support from his family and they let him down. Link is very capable at making friends, which act like family to him throughout the story. When Shelter kills Ginger, Link is very sad to find out he has disappeared, which shows that he is caring.
Shelter on the other hand, is very incapable of forming relationships, because he does not think about anyone except himself. Although Shelter does not really care that he has no friends. He has still not gotten over the fact that he is not in the army anymore, and is still acting very cold and hard towards people. The way he treats normal people is how a sergeant would treat his soldiers, for example he calls the homeless “riff-raff” and doesn’t put in mind that maybe some of these dossers were forced into homelessness like Link. This is because he is most likely psychotic even though were not told that in the story. However, he is a very intelligent and manipulative which makes him a hard killer to catch. The reader has no sympathy for Shelter because he also has a nasty sense of humour and is very disrespectful of other people around him. Another reason for the lack of sympathy is because his victims are people he’s never interacted with. Shelter is killing them because they mess up the streets and look scruffy, and also so that he can pretend he is back in the army and have his little army which he calls the “Camden Horizontals” which I think is degrading to the victims.