In this essay I intend to compare the ways in which both the writers, “Graham Swift” and “Michele Roberts” present characters that have to deal with loss. In “Chemistry” written by Swift I know that the author generally based most of his stories on death. Whereas the author of “Your Shoes” shows that she may have had to deal with loss when she may have been living away from her parents. “Chemistry” indicates that from the beginning of the story the narrator has experienced loss,” the first loss that I had witnessed” this implies that the boy has suffered some loss. The writer has presented the character of the boy as confused and insecure.
When the grandfather says, “You must accept it you cant get it back- it’s the only way,” Here the writer shows the grandfather as being ambiguous, in one way he means the boat will never return whereas on the other hand it signifies the eventual break up of the family. The loss is shown partly trough the character of the grandfather. The setting of the story “Chemistry” symbolizes the ranges of emotions the characters experience. Some of these are shown as a symbol to represent the loss of the characters. The pond is a symbol of how the relationship between the boy and the grandfather is lost due to the grandfather’s death.
“By the pond… I saw him. He was standing in his black overcoat and his grey scarf. ” Here is it is clearly obvious that the boy feels comforted by the pond, especially when he describes seeing his grandfather and, “he was smiling” This perhaps shows that the boy feels life goes on just like “the launch was still traveling over to him across the water, unstoppable, unsinkable, along that invisible line. ” This also implies that the thread that holds the boy and grandfather together is still there. This shows a sign of relief that not everything is lost.
The character is presented in a way that although he experiences loss he deals with it by looking onto the pond to remind him of the past memories. The theme of death is common in Swifts stories. This is an important theme explored in “Chemistry” as many of the characters die. The narrator in the story faces the loss of his “father’s death” and additionally the death of both the grandparents. Another important theme in “Chemistry” is that of growing up. Growing up is important because although the grandfather is the oldest he behaves and thinks like a child, especially during the presence of Ralph.
“Grandfather picked at his stew. … he deliberatively ate slowly to provoke Ralph. ” This is shown as he is constantly agitating Ralph by referring to the past, that of which Ralph wasn’t in. Swift has used the verbs “picked” and “provoke” here to suggest that he is causing conflict. This makes the reader feel aggravated. In this way, we see that the character of grandfather presents the loss of his daughter as jealously. The structure of the story is written in non-chronological order this signifies the pure confusion of the boy. “Her face was composed again.
” here the writer has made the reader feel “I thought: now we are going to face Ralph” just like the boy. The verb “composed” suggests that she may end the relationship with Ralph but instead she turned on grandfather “You’re ruining our meal”. The mother has made her decision and has chosen to support Ralph and lose the love of her own father. This signifies the break up of the relationship and also the way she deals with loss. In both the extracts “Your Shoes” and “Chemistry” the writers present the characters in many different ways.
One of which is that in “Your Shoes” the mother is mourning and is failing to accept that the daughter has runaway. “There my darling, there. You’re at home with mother, everything’s all right. ” Clearly the mother is emotionally insecure. Here it is important to note that there is absolutely no use of punctuation. In contrast, “Chemistry” is where the narrator clearly does not understand the emotions of the mother. Similarly in the story “Your Shoes” the mother experiences loss in a way that she cannot bare the fact that she “doesn’t know where” her daughter is, so instead she turns to the shoes that her daughter has left behind.