In the National Gallery
In the short story In the National Gallery by Doris Lessing we follow a narrator, which gender is unknown for the reader. The story line takes place in the National Gallery – therefore the name of the short story. The narrator’s intention in the gallery is to find a picture big enough to be able to sit in the middle of the room looking at it, which is succeeded. An old man joins the narrator on the bench together with a younger man, also with the intention of looking at the picture. The old man lectures the younger man about Stubbs’ picture which shows that the old man already familiar with the picture, “How much I would have liked to know as much as he did[…]”(p. 2 ll. 15-16) However it does not interest the younger one, and he walks away while looking, “… a bit rueful, like a pupil chidden by a teacher”(p. 2 ll. 21-22). The narrator makes up a relation between the young and the elderly man, which is shown in the following quote, “… as if saying, “Oh, let’s kiss and make up”” (p. 2 ll. 29). It shows how the narrator makes up an abnormal relationship between the two of them. As if they are boyfriends. It is not abnormal if they are homosexuals but the abnormal thing about the assumable relationship is the big generation gap. Another example of a big generation gap in the short story is when a group of young French girls steps into the gallery. The narrator mentions how the girls’ entrance creates a contrast to the normality in the National Gallery. In the group there is a sort of leader “a package to be admired” (p. 3 line 41-42) as the narrator says. The narrator explains to the reader how the old man on the bench is gazing intensely on the leader of the girl group. Of course the reader is not 100% reliable in the things he/she observes, but the old man’s interest in the young girl is patent in a quote, which is when the old man addresses the narrator, “”She’s like a girl I was in love with once. (p. 3 ll. 71). He tells the...
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