Lorna Sage frequently uses language to reflect her subject matter. During her childhood Sage discovers books through her Grandfather. The books Grandpa introduces to her consist of fantasy books, allowing her to retreat into her imagination. Books such as Rupert Bear, Captain Blood, Tarzan, Alice' (Sage p.90). When talking of the countryside, the gristle and barbed wire of the actual country' (Sage p.125), it could be said that this language is used to create images in your own imagination, to allow you to see exactly what it is Sage sees. She seems very aware that the countryside lacks the pastoral qualities that her mother imagines. She is critical of it, and uses language to convey her opinion. Despite her love for the adventure books of her youth, it seems that Sage is still very aware of the harsh realities of life, despite her dramatic language reflecting her childhood books, she seems to observe things in a critically realistic way.
Sage later talks of her lack of fusion with her parents. She talks of herself being an unwanted child who's sent out to lose herself in the forest' (Sage p.127). Sage is perhaps using language from a fairy story. Glamorising her isolation by way of her writing technique, her use of adjectives being her tool. She also describes Mr Palmer as a beaming ogre', as if a character from such a story.
There are several themes that seem significant in particular in this extract. Isolation and acceptance, both in society and within the family, inheritance and parenting, gender, and the countryside and the ideologies behind it.
Sage refers to her mother as a devotee of pastoral prettiness' (Sage p.125). The idea of pastoral prettiness could in some respects be seen as make believe. Of singing songs, running around the countryside falling in and out of love, and writing about it in the form of poetry. Shepherds are frequently used within the tale of pastoral tranquillity. It transforms them into an allegory for the real world. Shepherds are associated with certain moral values, those of which seem to be qualities valued by Valma. Qualities Valma strives for in her own daughter, but not achieved. Honesty and innocence both qualities that Lorna does not possess in Valmas terms. Expressed later on in the book when Lorna talks of lying to her father when her mother gets her in trouble with her father. A lack of innocence in getting pregnant in her particular circumstances. Valma even makes a shepherdess costume for Lorna for the Coronation Day parade, a vivid pastoral symbol.
Parenting, and inheritance can be considered key themes within this particular passage also. The relationship between Lorna's mother and father. The relationship between the members of the family as a unit. The characteristics passed on to Lorna by her Grandfather.
Valma is not particularly seen as the woman of the house. Sage actually states that Valma is the daughter of the house' (Sage p.126). The family is always dysfunctional in terms of expected hierarchy. Grandma's presence in the house just exacerbates this. It appears that while she is living there, the family dysfunction that occurred at the vicarage, carries on.
Lorna previously in the book, when talking of her Grandfather's diary, refers to him as bookish. She was considering leaving out this part of him, as she felt it to be boring. In this passage, Lorna touches on his bookishness again, something seen as a vice by Grandma. She later says my being bookish' (Sage p.129), confirming once again, as done frequently in the book, that she has inherited characteristics from her Grandfather. Leading on to Lorna's isolation, not only at home, but also at school. Lorna appears to be in her element during the Summer PT lesson, running through the graveyard seems to feel...