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Twentieth-century prose - Jane Gardam, stone trees and pangs of love.

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TWENTIETH-CENTURY PROSE - JANE GARDAM STONE TREES AND PANGS OF LOVE Jane Gardam makes use of an array of writing techniques and narrators when she writes her short stories. She displays to the reader, an impression of the unexpected, throughout her preference of language that gives reality to her characters. One of the ways in which Jane Gardam delves into the remarkable characteristics of every day people is the use of narrative voice, in first or third person. I am now going to scrutinize two pieces of her work, Stone Trees and Pangs of Love. Stone Trees is written using a first person narrator, by means of this method she is proficient in conveying her own opinions and feelings to the reader. This is informative to the reader, so that they may grasp the way that she views her husband, her life and his when he was alive. The story commences with a journey to the Isle of Wight where the reader recognizes that the widow's husband had in recent times passed away. ...read more.


A further important issue is the technique used by Jane Gardam, in revealing the bizarre nature of people is a metaphor carried all through the story. There is a symbol of the solidarity of stone in contrast to the life of a tree in showing compassion and the attitudes of the characters and their lives and environment. The narrator wants to immobilize her love for her husband, similar to stone trees, once beautiful and alive but now petrified and preserved forever "their stone bark...........................ancient among the young stones" (lines 151-155). Her husband now lives on through his son who looks and behaves exactly like him when he was alive, this way her husband has imposed himself on to the other people mentioned in the story. The narrator's response is of great consequence, because despite the fact that she never wanted children, it is a moment of self-realisation when she meets her husband's son, she likes him and needs to feel close to him in order to be closer to her dead husband "The boy laughs and looks at me with your known eyes. ...read more.


On discovering it for herself she avidly tries to fight it, to no avail. Eventually in love with the prince, although no fool her self, she tests the confines of the prince's love for her. The prince fails her, as mere men do; she already suspected he would deep within "I believe they don't on the whole. But it doesn't stop us loving them" (lines 29-30). Throughout the two stories, the characters viewpoints are depicted as the most fundamental attribute. This is significant in showing the bizarreness of common people by giving them very different personalities and lives within their own stories. Both stories, although both very different, were brilliantly written and a compelling read. Stone Trees portrays loyalty, deceit, love, possessiveness and tragedy. The reader is left with feelings of pity for the widow, but relief for her now too. Whereas Pangs of Love leaves the reader feeling calm as the story is light hearted, and you want to say to the little mermaid "welcome to the real world, honey"! Michelle Greenfield PAGE |1 01/05/2003 ...read more.

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