• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Snowdrops (short story) analysis

Extracts from this document...


What happens in Snowdrops? This story is important as much for what we do not learn directly as for the surface narrative. The story appears to be about a boy and his day at school. He goes to a primary school in Wales - in a town that seems like the author's hometown of Merthyr. Apart from a few very specific details that tell us this, the town could be almost anywhere. His teacher has promised the class that they can go outside to look at the snowdrops that are now coming up. While the children are looking at the snowdrops, they can see a funeral procession passing the school. The boys' parents have spoken earlier about a young man, killed in a motorbike accident, and it is his funeral. Evidently the teacher knows this, for she stands watching and crying. The story that Leslie Norris does not tell directly, but tells indirectly by hints and clues, is about the love between the young man who has died and the teacher, Miss Webster. The themes of this story The title of the story suggests one of its themes - of course it is about snowdrops literally. But for the reader and for the children in the narrative, snowdrops symbolize the renewal of life that comes in the spring, or perhaps eternal life beyond the grave for those who have died. We also see, in the contrast of the adult conversation and the viewpoint of the child the idea of childhood and growing up. There may be other themes, too. Look at the list below, and decide which (if any) of the descriptions you agree with. Or better still, put them in order, according to how strongly you agree or disagree. The story is about: frustrated love parents and children hope the idea that in the midst of life we are in death the dangers of motorcycling nature how children see and hear more than they are meant to What other suggestions would you add to this list? ...read more.


(The story is set before the time when parents in the UK began to take their children all the way to school - and in doing so increased the danger from traffic by adding to it) "...by the fire station in case the doors were open" - this shows that the boy is interested in, or excited by, the chance to look at the fire engines. "...outside Jack William's garden" - we do not know if Jack is another child or an adult, but the detail suggests that the boy knows who lives in different parts of town: he belongs there. The author tries to show a sense of the boy's wonder at these things, and his expectation of adventure. His idea of adventure may seem very unremarkable to the teenage or grown-up reader - who may not be impressed by the idea of being given a glass marble or finding a silver medal for running. His innocence also appears in his idea that the police give rewards to people who find things and hand them in. Look at the passage for yourself. Can you see other details that are interesting? What do they suggest to you as you read the story? Leslie Norris's technique Viewpoint | Style - grammar | Style - vocabulary | Direct speech | Mood | Symbolism - the snowdrop | Attitudes | The author | Comparison | Implied meaning Viewpoint Maybe the most striking or important thing about this story is the point of view. That is, the author has chosen to tell the story about the boy, though it is Miss Webster to whom the most important event has happened. Or has it? Perhaps what we have here is the full story - which involves both the young teacher and her class - and the boy is best placed to see it all. For example, Miss Webster would not hear the comments made by adults like the boy's parents. ...read more.


and taking things for granted (Edmund) Can you think of any others? You can also, of course, compare this story with others that have a similar theme - stories about growing up, gaining independence and leaving home. Implied meaning Are there any things in the story that are not what they at first seem? Are there situations that are gradually revealed to be other than what first appears? Readers and reading Reading the text | Reading the author | Reading the Reading Reading the text Say what you think the story means in a literal sense and in terms of theme, character and setting. Look at details of imagery, language and symbolism. Reading the author Try to explain what, in your view, the author wants us to think at various points. In doing this you should refer to his narrative methods. Reading the reading Be prepared briefly to explain your own understanding of the story, and how this changes while you are reading it for the first time, and also on subsequent readings, where you notice more details. Responding to the story Retelling the story | Nature and symbols Retelling the story This story could be retold in other ways. You could for instance make it into a comic strip or storyboard for a TV drama. It could be retold as one or more first-person accounts from the adult characters. Perhaps we could write a report for the inquest of the young man who died. The boy in the story could tell it as a first-person account from an adult perspective, looking back (like the narrator of Chemistry). Nature and symbols Snowdrops are well known as a symbol of new life. But other natural things are also used commonly to symbolize, or comment on, things that matter to us as people. What do you associate with the things below? a rose the sun a butterfly a rainbow a tiger the sea a heart a lamb ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level King Lear section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level King Lear essays

  1. Cormac McCarthy the road

    I know. Okay. There's no one here, the man said. Okay. Are you still scared? Yes. We're okay. Okay. The boy needs his father to care for him, to socialise and love him, and the father is blissfully aware that he needs the boy to give him a purpose, a reason to keep living in an unreasonable, unimaginable world.

  2. A critical exploration of Irish Society at the end of the 19th century. ...

    This is evident when we are told that sixteen year old Ida has "passed through several flirtations of an outdoor and illicit kind" with the "horrible precocity prevalent in her grade of society". Within the novel the authors indubitably give us an explicit account of what middle class Irish society was like at the end of the 19th century.

  1. Literary Analysis - Symbolism in Charlie Fishs "Death by Scrabble"

    nine and how his throat swelled up and he died, which adds suspense at why he sidetracked game. Its different because all throughout the story he?s not thinking about anything other than how he?s wanting to kill his wife.

  2. Fascism in Miss Jean Brodie

    Dramatically, as a fan of Brodie, Sandy betrays her teacher. Emily Joyce,the cause of Sandy?s betrayal, as an anti-Franco volunteer who ends up dead during the journal to fight for Franco. Sandy wakes up and stands out to betray by denouncing Miss Mackay that Brodie?s ?evidence?: ?She?s a born Fascist, have you thought of that??.

  1. The Test is a short story published in New York and was written by ...

    Marian replies ?I got my collage degree last year? (page 2 line 76). ?As the car crept up the slope of the bridge the inspector burst out laughing? (page 2 line 77). The inspector mocks on Marian, thinking that it would be impossible for her to have a collage degree.

  2. Ray Bradbury wrote a little short story called The Pedestrian

    ?The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the grey or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them? (Bradbury 2). This is one of my favorite lines in the story, because it is interesting and creepy also.

  1. The story The Cellmate is in essence a tale about two lawless guys in ...

    His mother told him to murder someone, to make her happy and this was his only way of making her happy and finally showing her that he was worth something. And for this act, he was sentenced to death penalty.

  2. In her essay "Flight," Doris Lessing illustrates the story of an old man who ...

    valley, and he lifts "his eyes proudly down the garden at his granddaughter." This cliché is actually very symbolic ; by letting his favorite bird go and finding out that it comes back symbolizes that the grandfather can let go Lisa knowing that she'll come back, and that he'll never lose the things that he truly loves.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work