Greensleeves by Alan Spence

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Greensleeves by Alan Spence

"Greensleeves" by Alan Spence is a short story describing the life of an elderly lady living alone on the top floor of high rise flats in Glasgow. Spence creates a character readers feel sympathy for through isolation and lonliness, themes that run prominently throughout the story. The title of the story - Greensleeves - is significant in developing the story.The elderly lady hears the song playing on an ice cream van, but it's not as pleasant as she remembers. "She could only just recognise the tune for what it had once been. Not that coarse parody, stilted and mechanical, a tin brashness, a gaudiness of noise." Unpleasant and irritating sounds and noises suggest the lady's discomfort, as if the song was purposely distorted to upset her. By using harsh examples of onomatopoeia, Spence gives the reader connotations of discomfort. This sets he mood of isolation and lonliness, making the reader sorry for her. Her home is the same as everyone else's, its basic design makes it unidentifiable from others. "Twenty-two storeys of concrete and glass." The impression of the bulding isn't amazing, giving a bland overview of the flats. Concrete connotes a sense of blandness, and a sturdyness that can't be broken through. "Boxes on boxes." The flats are all identical, and stacked up to form a tower. This creates images from fairytales of princesses locked away, further developing the theme of isolation. This makes it easy for readers to comprehend how she feels, as fairytales are very popular and everyone knows how they go. Boxes are also used for storing things, making the elderly lady feel as if she is simply being stored away to be forgotten about. No communication takes place between anyone in the flats, there is a very tense atmosphere. "Nobody would utter a word." The use of 'a word' shows just how little was spoken between everyone, 'utter' showing how eerily quiet the flats were. "All lost in themselves." Everyone is too busy thinking...
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