The story is told through the eyes of a little girl, who quickly loses her concentration and uses her imagination to explain things she does not understand. The story told through the eyes of a small girl gives the text a very cryptic and innocent language, but it also have a more personal appeal, an appeal to the time where the life was one long line of joy. In the following lines i will analyze the language of Mary-Louise Buxtons short story, I will also decipher her story which have been hidden in her innocent words.
While this is a short-story, it’s not an ordinary short-story since it doesn’t fit into the ”Hollywood Model. ” As an reader you’re plunged into the story, it’s starts ”in media res,” which makes the story even more confusing, since you are not prepared to all the made up or slang words, such as ”babby,” ”sudsy” or ”Granny ‘omi. ” Kids invents their own language and words to make things them their own or to make them more easy to understand.
The story is told as a kid talking to someone else, maybe an older person or perhaps another kid. She often takes jumps from the main story, to something that suddenly pops into her head, it’s shown when she talks about her and her cousins drops a brink in a ”manhole”, and she suddenly changes the settings to her home with her and ”Lena” at home. Beside just being a child unable to focus on a single story, it could also be the kid not wishing to tell certain things, may it be big secrets or hidden truths.
The narrator, Elizabeth, is perhaps 6-8 years old, which can be seen through her language, she also says about a boy in a picture, ”He’s maybe nine or ten, not that much older than I am. ” which indicates that she is at least younger than 9 years. It’s also possible to picture an image of the girl how she talks, because every word is her own, everything is influenced by how she sees the characters, is all told in first-person.
How she sees the authoritarian mother, how she sets her in a bad light, with the opening line, ”Mammy’ll take to me with a wooden spoon if she catches me up in the attic. ” With wooden spoon meaning, she will have a go at her. The mother is several times after Elizabeth, because she doesn’t behave like a girl should, getting stains on her clothes, playing in the dirt. This makes Elizabeth look as a rebellious girl, not wishing to obey her mothers strict rules, misbehaving by daring ”Lena to drop a brick down an open manhole.
‘The way she sees her father, it’s in a completely different light, the father is seen as the merciful, who gives the girls a bit longer leach, ”Daddy’s let me and Lena sit up with him in the kitchen as a treat. ” or ”Daddy always gives us five minutes more to finish our games. ” He stands on the opposite side of the mother. It gives the impression of Elizabeth, no matter how much she must hate her mother strict rule in the house and how rebellious she must be, she is still just a child who wants to play and have fun.
Girls just wanna have fun. The father is also more open to the girls games, as when picture is found, he says ”he can be a part of the family” and also calling the daughter ”Boo Boo. ” The father is portrayed as the submissive one of the parents, also being under the strict rules of the mothers rule. By changing the gender roles, making the mother dominate and the father ”the underdog,” she is taking the sympathy from the mother and giving it to the father.
The mother has taken a role which is very unusual for the woman, making it harder to make a connection to the mother. After reading the text you end up with a feeling something is about to happen. You can easily end with a feeling of you missed something, the text jumps back and forth and suddenly you are at the climax. The build-up starts with a picture Elizabeth found, which she shows an amount of affection. An old picture of someone who have a connection to the house, ”Maybe he lived here before we did.
Elizabeth notices the boy in the picture ”he’s got a wide toothy grin – like Daddy,” the picture have a certain assembles with her dad. The night where the climax is supposed to happen, the girls are lying in bed, with noises happening just outside the door. They drape themselves in their covers, as a way to protect them from the unknown. A ghostly figure, a very scary figure, walks just outside the door, before he suddenly sits in the end of the bed, locking her down, before the scene is changed to the following day, where Elizabeth puts the picture back up from where it fell.
The thing with children is they always try to explain things they can’t understand with their imagination, but if one is to try and analyze the text, it seems very must like a child who have experienced a traumatic event, perhaps sexual abuse, maybe even from her own dad, and she is trying to explain to herself what happened, since the sexual abuse can be a too hard a thing to handle for a little girl, since her father is the good one of the parents, the favourite one, she simple can’t understand. The picture, which seems to be the root of all the evil, the hands that touches Elizabeth at night have the same descriptions as the picture ”old, dry and creased”, and also the boy from the picture have some common features with the father, the same grin ”like daddy. ” Earlier in the text, the father puts the picture on the mantelpiece saying, ”He can be one of the family. ” Saying the ghost that comes at night, could well be someone from the family. The trauma from that experience could make Elizabeth try to make a story up about a ghost which she can handle, but not being abused.
She tells, ”Nobody is gripping my hand – nobody with an old hand, dry and creased. And nobody is stroking my arm slow, brushing my stiff hairs the wrong way. ” As she can’t handle the truth, she says nobody is doing it, nobody is hurting me, she is trying to denied it. The last couple of lines are very symbolic, ”She puts the picture back up on top of the mantelpiece from where it must have dropped down in the night. ” The picture, a symbol of her innocents, which have been taken and fallen down during the night.
She takes the picture and puts it back up on the mantelpiece, as a mask or a facade, trying to keep her innocents from fading away, she suppresses the memories and keep going as if nothing had happen. Earlier in the text Elizabeth jumps a lot around in her own story, something that might be a signal that she doesn’t want to discuss that night, her subconscious is trying to guide her away from some things, she think is best buried. The negative feeling towards her mother could be, because the mother never saw or did anything about the abuse. The story is quite hard to read, it seems very unorganized with the narrator jumping back and forth.
With a story told through the eyes of a child, certain aspects may mean different things to her than to the reader, something one could use a whole day to try to interpret, a story like this can have a lot of hidden messages between the lines, even though the writer didn’t intent to do it, one could over analyze the text. To get the full meaning of the text, one would need to read the text several times. But the story was good, it had its own childish charm, a charm of innocence and a girl under a mothers strict parenting, trying just be who she is.