In the Gloaming

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The Alice Dark story, "In the Gloaming," is an allegory that depicts the story of a mother and her dying son in his last days. The title itself gives the reader the strong impression of a foreshadowing of something distressing or dismal that will occur in the story, and as we read we find that the author uses this idea of the gloaming as the focal point in her story.

Initially when reading the story we are informed of the gloaming and the feelings that are brought about when this time of the day comes. It is a peaceful time, because although it is disappointing to see it when it arrives, there is a beauty within itself that is indescribable, and leaves us with a feeling of contentment and relief. The story is being told in third person narrative, which allows the reader to gain a more receded point of view, since the narrator is omniscient and able to give us a more complete insight on all the thoughts and deeds of the characters. The narrator in, "In the gloaming," uses a more selective omniscient (or stream-of-consciousness) approach, providing a focus on the thoughts and behaviors of two specific dynamic characters, Laird and his mother Janet (who is more dynamic than he is in the story), and uses the other characters in a static manner to show their impact on them. Without this distinctive narrative perspective, we would not be able to fully understand not only both of their expressed behaviors, but also their unique individual thoughts about each other as well as other characters in the story.

The story, which is set reclusively in a house, portrays an image of isolation and withdrawal. It enforces the total dependency Janet has her on her son, and reinforces the strong symbolism behind the title. The gloaming is described repeatedly in the story as being purple, and the color is closely associated with the color of wine, which has a relaxing and calming effect. In fact Janet is quoted at the bottom of page 105 saying, "When all the...
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