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Short Story Essay - Chemistry by Graham Swift

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SHORT STORY ESSAY 'CHEMISTRY' - GRAHAM SWIFT In my opinion, 'Chemistry' by Graham Swift is a short story which is both well written and enjoyable to read. Swift effectively encompasses interesting characters who are quirky and distinctive. He uses gaps and silences to captivate the reader, causing them to question the motives of the characters and the ambiguous meaning of the story. The themes of isolation and loneliness covered during the story are easy for the reader to relate to. Swift uses many writing devices which work together to make an interesting and ultimately an enjoyable story. 'Chemistry' is a story that is open for interpretation to each and every reader. Although this is quite a short story, the characters are all fairly well developed, with the exception of Ralph. The narrator is a young boy who tells the story from both an outsiders' point of view and from personal experiences during the story; he is quite the observer. It is assumed that the narrator wrote this years after the events of the story, "We would go even during the winter... it must have been soon after Mother met Ralph". ...read more.


it can be seen as him protecting his girlfriend or it could be seen as him claiming her as his possession. His presence is portrayed as negative by the narrator but he is not necessarily the bad man. The only aspect of his personality which is slightly questionable is his excessive consumption of alcohol. "The drink made Mother go soft and heavy and blurred and it made Ralph gain in authority." Swift uses incredible imagery to convey ideas to the reader. In the opening of the story Swift uses descriptive wording to give us a vivid image of the pond where he, his Mother and his Grandfather launched the boat, "The pond in our park was circular, exposed, perhaps fifty yards across. When the wind blew, the little waves travelled across it and slapped the paved edges like a miniature sea." This description is the first sentence of the story and helps to intrigue the reader from the beginning. The beginning images run parallel to the final image left in the readers' head, "Dead willow leaves floated on (the pond). Beneath the surface was a bottle of acid and the wreck of my launch... ...read more.


I believe that compared with other short stories, 'Chemistry' by Graham Swift is better. For example 'The End of Something' by Ernest Hemingway, is a story which I believe does not measure up to the standards of 'Chemistry'. 'The End of Something', for me, presented no issue or dilemma to be scrutinised. It did indeed present questions such as; what is the significance of Bill, what was it that probed Nick into feeling bored, what did Nick mean by "I've taught you everything," but I did not enjoy the story enough to want to study it further and find the deeper meanings or motives of the character. Hemingway writes as though he is informing the reader of something, not telling a story. There is no interesting imagery or scenery. This may have been intentionally done by Hemingway to tie in with the title of the story but the story was not effectively written to captivate its audience. It has 3 mentioned characters but gives little back story for the reader to connect with. Ultimately 'Chemistry' is a more interesting and ultimately intriguing read than 'The End of Something'. It effectively creates likeable characters and themes which the audience can connect with. It is well written, with brilliant imagery and causes the reader to question their perception of the story. ...read more.

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