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George Mackay Brown's short story 'Andrina' has an element of mystery which leaves the reader in wonder and makes 'Andrina' an extremely pleasurable read.

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Introduction

Andrina George Mackay Brown's short story 'Andrina' has an element of mystery which leaves the reader in wonder and makes 'Andrina' an extremely pleasurable read. Andrina is an old sailor's granddaughter who visits him as a ghost when he dies: however he does not know she is his granddaughter or that she is a ghost and is dreadfully upset when she leaves him. I think the main reason why George Mackay Brown is so successful in making the story an enjoyable read is due to the complex structure of the story, the setting and also its links to a mystical fairytale. The story of 'Andrina' has a very interesting structure of a story inside a story. The outer story is in the present tense and concerns the old sailor in his daily routine. The inner story is in the past and tells of the old sailor when he was younger and of a love affair that he had. ...read more.

Middle

Here the peat links to the element of earth and fire and water are also mentioned. This helps the reader relate to where the seaman lived, in George Mackay Brown's homeland of Orkney. The land here is windswept and the descriptions of the elements help the reader relate to how bare it is. The story could not have worked in any other setting. Another interesting point in this quote is the description of Andrina in that she 'lights my lamp'. This is symbolic and shows how she gave the old sailor light and hope and also comforted him. She is referred to with this symbolisation throughout the story, which gives her the image of a kind, angelic figure. In the third paragraph she is also described with 'I expected her with the first cluster of shadows...' which has alliteration of the soft 's' sound. This gives the reader the impression she is sweet and innocent. George Mackay Brown literary skills are excellent in creating the right atmospheres to portray different situations. ...read more.

Conclusion

The language in this section is very poetic, with lines such as '...lingering enhancement of twilight...' This gives the reader the impression the situation was perfect and they were both very happy. In this section the reflection of the sea are also used, an example of this being 'Far in the north-east the springs of day were beginning to surge up.' This quotation conjures up two images, one of the two peoples' love growing stronger and secondly of the sea surging and crashing about. The combination of setting, structure and atmosphere make 'Andrina' an excellent read. The story could not have taken place in anywhere apart from Orkney and the windswept emptiness gives the story an eerie atmosphere. George Mackay Brown has the ability to put the story together and make the reader ponder afterwards on what actually happened to Andrina. The question of whether Andrina was real or whether she was just a figment of the sailors' imagination is left for the reader to interpret in their own way, which means the story has a lasting effect for everyone. Eilidh Christie ...read more.

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