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Prose essay

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Introduction

Explore how the writers of the short stories studied communicate meaning to the reader. Introduction: The short stories I have chosen to focus on for this essay are ''Flight' by Doris Lessing and 'Your Shoes' by Michele Roberts. I will briefly refer to a third, Graham Swift's 'Chemistry'. I will show the character's desire for control or continuity which conflicts with the choices or sense of independence of another character. I will consider how the writers use the theme of a generation gap, and use symbolism and metaphor to convey meaning to the reader. Both the writers of 'Flight' and 'Your Shoes' the narrative technique of symbolism. In 'Flight' the grandfather uses a pigeon and in 'Your Shoes' the mother uses a pair of new white training shoes (trainers). Both symbolise purity, they are portrayed as precious and in need of being looked after. In both stories, the treatment of the symbolic objects shows how both the grandfather and the mother wish to protect their loved ones from the evils of the outside world. They are also showing that they need to be controlled for their own safety, that in their opinions they are still too young to take this journey on their own. Both of these characters are possessive and don't want to let go of what is dearest to them. Both characters act more possessively due to previous experiences, the grandfather has seen other grandchildren get married and leave home. The mother in 'Your Shoes' continually refers to her troubled childhood where she felt she was ignored. The text states, 'She loved you more than she loved me. ...read more.

Middle

He understands. In 'Your Shoes', the mother feels the need to control her emotions something she finds increasingly difficult as the story progresses. She is constantly asking herself questions to make sense of the situation. She makes excuses for the daughter's behaviour because deep down, as the story states. 'Sure you'd never have left if you realised I'd be this upset.' Her justification for the daughter running away is because she is more like her own mother who displayed a lack of control, too: she was "plump", 'Fat, lets be honest,' she said things without thinking, and had rows of shoes that were too small for her but, wore them anyway, rather than sensible shoes. The narrator also quotes 'My mother was just like you, she liked a drink,' after finding out that she drinks at parties and smokes 'pot.' The comparison between them is constantly being accessed and analysed as though to rid herself of guilt. The daughter displays a lack of control also: she loses her temper, drinks alcohol, binges on food. However, the generation gap is more apparent here because of the strictness in the mother's adolescent years, she did not have the freedom of independence that the youth of today expect, they were required to be more politically correct, behave in away as not to offend or bring the families name into disrepute. This view of the mother translates her standards expected of her daughter and is absolutely shocked and appalled when she is told that, 'Lots of girls in my class have sex by the time they were fifteen.' ...read more.

Conclusion

The writers show the need for continuity and acceptance that things change in peoples' lives. The writers communicate this to the reader through the use of the narrative techniques explored in this essay. What is evident is that it is just the normal progression of life moving on, forward. The theme between all three stories reflects feelings and emotions that can be described as universal; it is not just subject to a period of time, culture or race. Although, there are conflicts between generations and, which some people could describe as old fashioned values, many can be apparent in today's society. In general most grandparents/parents will want our children to do well in their achievements and aspirations of life, to succeed where we could not, to be a respected member of society and to follow the morals we try to instil in them, in preparation for a fruitful life that can be traced back through time. It is often heard from people saying 'My mother taught me that' or 'I remember my Grandfather telling me that!!!!!' Morals, education, wisdom and experience try to prepare all of us for life's lessons and challenges. In 'Flight' some succeed and move forward with the experiences we encounter and embrace the change with dignity and honour. In 'Your shoes' the narrator portrayed the same emotions of loss but, the mother hid herself from reality, she needed time to come to terms with the outcome before moving on. The Grandfather's act of suicide in 'Chemistry', was too much, possibly 'Graham Swift' was informing the audience that a lesson had also been learnt, in that the grandson experienced a life changing event but, had learnt how to deal with the loss and find the courage to move on, foward. Page 1 of 7 David Smith ...read more.

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