Elephant

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Essay - “Elephant”

When most students go to school they feel motivated by the thought of learning new things and to be able to hang out with their friends in the breaks. A student may also be aware that all the tasks and assignments at the end will come to their own benefit. If the final exams turn out well the examination certificate will be worth showing future employees. But sometimes the motivation that drives people disappears and leaves them with an empty feeling of being stuck in some way. The feeling of being stuck in an empty box is what the main character William deals with in the short story “Elephant”.

“Elephant” is a short story written by Polly Clark and was published in 2006. The story takes place in the main character’s house, which is described as a normal middle class home. “Elephant” starts in media res where the main character, William, is introduced sitting in his office at home. It is afternoon and the curtains are drawn, because William can’t work if he is able to see the garden. He writes biographies about young female pop-singers and lives together with his wife Ginny, who works at an office somewhere in the city. The biographies that William writes contain lots of photographs and are sold in record shops for £1.99. He has been writing about many pop artists and he refers to them as “his girls”, but even though he makes a living out of these biographies he doesn’t find the subject interesting. William would have preferred to write about famous actors from the golden age of cinema but these have been taken from someone who was quicker than himself. He seems to comfort himself by thinking that it is worse to write about a subject that he really cares for and then not be able to write it well. This can also be seen as an excuse for him not doing what he really wants, because he is afraid of getting hurt by not doing it well. Either way William is suddenly unable to continue his writing when he is two thirds through the life of a...
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