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The Exile

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Introduction

The Exile by Robert Jenkins Robert Jenkins paints a memorable picture of the main character Jean Struthers, a retired lonely teacher in search of a better life abroad in Spain in his short story, "Exile". Exile tells the story of Jean Struthers retirement to Spain. Struthers is a retired teacher (even though she never really liked children) who was living a bland life in "rainy" Scotland. She longed for a life to satisfy her high expectations. Due to having no strings attached (no very close friends and family) in Scotland, she decides to take a risk and retire in carefree, sunny Spain, not knowing how lonely life would get. Jean, a woman in her early 60's has always led a lonely life, despite working in a school surrounded by fellow teachers and children and despite having a few aqquantices. In Scotland she never had any close friends or family, this didn't worry her as a few mutual friends satisfied her social needs. You first come to the conclusion that Jean is a teacher when the writer refers to her as "Miss Struthers". ...read more.

Middle

When we are first told that she is waiting for the postman with her "eyes filled with tears" you are not sure why the postman's presence has such significance in her life. The postman seems like the most relevant person in Jeans life, even though he doesn't even know who she is. She even knows that he comes at "half past twelve" on his "red motorcycle". Her mail had now become the only thing reminded her of her old friends and country, but it was now becoming "scarce". She misses letters from "The Woman's Business Club", "neighbours", "children" and the "janitor"... But most of all she actually misses being with them. She is however relieved when she finally receives mail, but then pretends it "does not matter" when the mail turns out to be from the children who she used to teach, and was never keen on. Jeans "living" an extremely boring life in Spain, and most of all it is not up to her standards. ...read more.

Conclusion

She is highly critical and picky, she has impeccable taste. Nothing is ever up to her standards, such as Scotland or Spain. She is also "calm, dignified, and self possessed", and is crammed full of pride, and incredibly stubborn. All these qualities make up for a very boring person. Although the writer gives powerful descriptions of what is going on in her life, making the story non boring, unlike Jean. Even though she sounds like a 'party pooper' type of person, the story makes you feel sympathy towards her and look past her boring qualities. I completely emphasise with Jean, however her pride annoys me. She could move back to Scotland, even though it may be quite a bit of hassle it's still perfectly achievable. She is a very strong character and if she was to get past her stubbornness and pride she could achieve happiness, and be happy back in Scotland (earlier in the story she had been given advice to "bide here", but she ignored it, as expected from her. When you begin to sympathise with her sadness and loneliness, you truly understand the title of the story, as she is now a lone wolf... an "Exile". Brian Fraser. 3A1. ...read more.

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