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"The Accident" By Mavis Gallant

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

"The Accident" By Mavis Gallant From: Harsh Kothari To: Mrs. Montalbanno Due Date: 26/9/05 The passage from "The Accident" written by Mavis Gallant reflects on the different opinions the characters have as to how life is to be lived based on Shirley's narration. The passage also reflects Shirley's feelings towards Pete's death. Gallant achieves this by developing the identities of the characters through literary tactics like symbolism, characterisation and some foreshadowing. Shirley's in-laws, Mr and Mrs. Higgins have differing views on life from Shirley. Shirley is more of a philosophical person who isn't as materialistic as the Higgins are. This is expressed when Shirley says, "The destination of a soul was of no interest. The death of a voice - now, that was real."(l.8-9) Shirley doesn't express this to anyone and keeps it to herself since she was "careful" not to offend anyone during the funeral of Pete. On the contrary, Mr and Mrs. Higgins were pragmatists because materialistic aspects of life such as money was an issue for both since they often conversed about money, " 'It that's a check on a bank at home, it might take too long to clear', said his wife. ...read more.

Middle

" 'I'm fixing something up for you, just the same,' said Mr. Higgins hurriedly, as if he would not be interrupted by women." (L. 18-19) This quotation expresses the willingness of Mr. Higgins to arrange something for Shirley so that she would be self-sufficient, but at the same time his natural arrogance and domineering attitude is shown as well. Mr. Higgins in some occasions is somewhat rude to Shirley possibly because he knows that he has a better financial capacity then her. This characteristic of Mr. Higgins is portrayed though the quotation, " 'She had that, Betty', said Mr. Higgins smiling." (L. 37) Mr. Higgins responded with this quotation after Mrs. Higgins suggests that Shirley needs a 'fair - sized' sum of money. Mrs. Higgins also has a somewhat authoritative nature because she is always the first person to suggest something to be done, for example, " 'Shirley must work if that's what she wants to do,' Mrs. ...read more.

Conclusion

(L. 60-61) This quotation is parallel to the subject matter that arose earlier in this passage, "...his wife who had asked if there was a hope that Pete had left a child." Although Shirley's response to Mrs. Higgins was negative, Gallant does hint some foreshadowing of Shirley turning out to be pregnant by throwing the last paragraph about the pendulum and the baby. The tone Gallant creates is sympathetic towards Shirley because of all that she's been through (her poor life and the loss of her husband), but also includes a tone of hopefulness in the plot, because Mr and Mrs. Higgins show some concern to Shirley, and there's also the possibility of Shirley carrying Pete's baby in her womb. Finally, this extract portrays the varied opinions the characters have as to how life should be lived according to Shirley's narration. The passage also reflects Shirley's feelings towards Pete's death. This is done through the means of symbolism, characterisation and foreshadowing. The reflection of such literary features is ...read more.

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