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How Does Michele Roberts Use Language to Convey the Experience of Her Characters?

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How Does Michele Roberts Use Language to Convey the Experience of Her Characters? Introduction Michele Roberts is a contemporary female novelist, who's many novels and short stories analyse the role women have to play in 20th century society. In this assignment I am going to analyse two short stories written by Michele Roberts, called 'Your Shoes' and 'Lists'. The two short stories are both examples of 20th century fictional prose. In my analysis I will establish how she has used language to convey the experience of her characters. The two short stories are both entertaining and refer to women's experiences in a patriarchal society; which is an environment within a family where the male figure is in charge and has power and control over his female counterpart. This type of environment within families is very common throughout middle class society. I believe that Michele Roberts has expressed her own experiences of growing up in a middle class society within the two prose, as her own life was affected by the values and beliefs adopted within this conventional patriarchal model of a family. 'Your Shoes' The subject described in 'Your Shoes' is a personal insight into a relationship between a mother and daughter, which has been directly affected by the values and beliefs adopted within a patriarchal society. The daughter has run away from home, following an argument with her father. At first the mother wants to punish her daughter for being rebellious. ...read more.


She spoiled you. She loved you more than she loved me.' The mother had never experienced this kind of intimacy with her own mother and longed to have the same relationship. Her intimacy was with her father who she spent time with and could relate to better than her mother. The relationship between the daughter and father is a very argumentative one, as expressed in the following lines: - ' You've got to understand. When your father called you a dirty slut he didn't meant you to take it personally. It was just a manner of speaking.' Here the mother is trying to reason and support her husband's actions, which she does throughout the prose, this shows her respect towards him. This is a common factor throughout patriarchal society. The mother's reference to marriage is very significant, as she married her husband on the rebound: - 'I married your father on the rebound, everybody knew I was desperately in love with Pete.' When the mother talks about her daughter's wedding she wants it to be the same as hers. However, we can see from the above lines that her own marriage wasn't based on love. We can determine that the mother feels embarrassed that her daughter has run away from home, in the lines: - 'People pretend to be kind but they're ghouls. They ring up to see how I am and I can hear them gloat. ...read more.


Conclusion In conclusion, I believe that although the prose are fictional, many people can associate with some of the experiences portrayed by the characters, such as the relationships between family members in 'Your Shoes' and the lifestyle of the woman in 'Lists.' This is why the reader finds both of the prose entertaining and humorous. The language used in both prose allows the reader to recognise that the characters are living within a patriarchal society such as the mother and husband relationship in 'Your Shoes' and the fact that the woman is always concerned about her appearance in 'Lists'. The language used in 'Your Shoes' is very descriptive and the use of a metaphor is very significant, as the reader can see the changing relationship between mother and daughter. We can ascertain that the mother wants intimacy with her child because of the lack of it in her childhood, but their relationship is very distant. The use of language in 'Lists' is very different, due to the structure. However, from the repetitive nature of the items mentioned and the gradual build up in the woman's list we can recognise that the woman is obsessive and takes things to the extreme. The fact that the prose subverts the expected behaviour of the stereotypical middle class female character using all the previous details is totally unexpected and this is where the humour is achieved. Response to 20th Century Prose 1 Andrew Motch ...read more.

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