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Compare two short stories where the characters face difficult situations

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Introduction

Compare two short stories where the characters face difficult situations We are comparing the stories 'Flight' by Doris Lessing and 'Your shoes' by Michele Roberts. They both deal with the issue of daughters leaving home and how it affects the whole family. In 'Flight', the granddad is affected most severely but in 'Your Shoes', it is the mother. 'Your Shoes' is written in a first person narrative from the mother's perspective. 'Flight' is written in the third person. The main theme of the stories is growing up and letting go/ moving on. In 'Fight' the granddad is overprotective of the granddaughter and she craves freedom from him and the atmosphere of the house she has grown up in. Her granddad makes her feel that getting married and moving away is wrong, 'She'll marry him next, I'm telling you; she'll be marrying him next!'. In 'Your Shoes' there is a similar theme of over protectiveness and inability of the guardian to let go. However, in 'Your Shoes' the daughter actually runs away from the mother, whereas in 'Flight' the granddad simply feels that she is running away. The two stories conclude in very different ways. In 'Flight' the granddad symbolises that he is finally ready to let go of his granddaughter by releasing, if only for a short while, the pigeon that has symbolised her throughout the whole story. ...read more.

Middle

He also seems to have had bad experiences of his own through marriage, which may be the reason that he is reluctant to let his girls marry. He blames his daughter for letting his granddaughters go, 'Why do you make your girls marry? It's you who do it.' The author uses the third person to narrate this story as it shows the granddads motives clearly without being hampered by being biased. Through 'Your Shoes' I think the author is trying to say that by giving your child 'everything money can buy' you are not doing the right thing, in that you cannot buy love. She does this through using the first person and us getting only the mother's perspective. Although we only get one point of view, the reader can see through this to the daughter's views and opinions. For example, 'Funny, you never did like these curtains ...', this passage shows that the mother did what she wanted without consulting the daughter, even to the daughters own things, '... exactly what I'd have wanted as a girl.' The first person narrative may not always be reliable as the mother becomes increasingly irrational as the story progresses. The author uses the shoes as a symbol of the daughter, both of whom the mother sees as pure and white, 'They are perfect because they are new, they've never been worn.' ...read more.

Conclusion

from a very narrow minded perspective, which makes the reader think that the daughter didn't get much say and her opinion wasn't counted. The author shows that the mother was selfish by the curtain episode and how she didn't support her daughter when her father called her '...a dirty slut...' I think she didn't support her because she didn't want to get into an argument with her husband, so she just stood by and watched. The mother also makes her daughter running away about her, saying that she did it just to get at her, not for her own reasons. The author tells us some of the mother's family history, which shows that she didn't take the side of her mother either, but went onto her father's side. In 'Flight' and 'Your Shoes' the characters deal with the similar difficulties very differently. Both authors use symbolism to emphasise the difficulties or dilemmas, pigeons are used in 'Flight' and trainers are used in 'Your Shoes'. The symbols in both stories relate to travelling or a journey. I think that the symbolism is effective in both stories but more so in 'Your Shoes' as the shoes represent several things; the pureness that the mother wants the daughter to have, the overbearing nature of the mother, the mother's obsession with order and the fact that the mother can communicate better with a pair of shoes than she can with her own daughter. In comparison, I enjoyed 'Your Shoes' far more and found it more interesting. ...read more.

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