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Short Story Characters - "The Bath" and "Good Morning Wardrobe"
Question: With close reference to AT LEAST TWO short stories that you have studied, show how the author(s) have used the characters to present insights into the worlds the characters inhabit.
Social isolation in a societal world is an engaging theme explored by many short stories. Janet Frame has successfully done this in her story “The Bath” and Edith Campion has in “Good Morning Wardrobe” using similar techniques. The two authors explore social isolation by illustrating each main character through descriptive imagery, writing structure, and internal monologue.
Firstly, the descriptive imagery that each writer uses successfully presents the main character of the story. Frame’s nameless old lady is presented as weakened with age and connotative imagery such as “grass-yellow as old baths are” reflect the character’s age and contrast with the “frost-white” of new baths. This contrast between old and new presents to the reader how the lady is trapped in an aged body, like a cage, a bath or a coffin that is impossible to step out of, all while the rest of her society members continue on living free and happy lives. This technique of contrasting descriptive imagery is also seen in “Good Morning Wardrobe” where Mrs Crimpton’s long dress of beige and old-fashioned hat all contrast with the short skirts and solid colours of the modern society. Mrs Crimpton is referred to as “the rare bird” and “a Spanish Galleon” which both illustrate the way she stands out in the crowd.
Descriptive imagery also gives the reader an insight into the way each character moves, as well as setting the atmosphere for the stories. In “the Bath”, the old lady’s movements are “slow and arduous” and often she is frightened by this. Frame incorporates revealing comparisons, for example, the bath rim is like the edge of a cliff, which gives the reader an insight into the tense world that the old lady inhabits. Mrs Crimpton’s movements are portrayed as unsure which reflects her abandonment and her personality, causing the reader to sympathis
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