On Pale Green Walls

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Essay about: On Pale Green Walls
- Mikkel Vinther

”On Pale Green Walls” is a short story written by Clare Wigfall in 1997. The main theme of the short story is the relationship between children and their parents about upbringing and education. The author wants to show how children’s curiosity and wondering can be misunderstood by the adults and leads to frustration but also, how children, in this case Violet, have a desperate need for attention, understanding and love. Another theme is Christianity and religion.

The short story sets medias res on a cold day where a little girl, the main character, “pretends to be smoking, clamping imaginary cigarettes between her lips before exhaling with a billowy mist of breath”(Line 3). The girl and her family are on their way to church to celebrate Christmas. The girl, Violet, is little and curious. Even though she’s mute she is still interested and aware of the environment. She has a really lively imagination and when she walks in to the church her eyes catches a painting of a woman dressed in blue. The painting is surrounded by lots of candles, and is placed “higher than the rest of us”(line 28). At this time, she’s not aware that she’s looking at Virgin Mary – the holy mother of Jesus. She loves her. The relation and connection she feels talks to her in a way she does not know. This scene brings us to the whole conflict of the text and a big change in Violets life and mind. Because then, on a Sunday, she is drawing an imaginary painting with ballet dancer on an elephant’s back. Suddenly she sees the front page of her father’s newspaper with a great black and white photography of the woman in blue. “She must be quite famous”, Violet thinks, but something is different this time. In the arms of the woman in blue is a baby held. When she sees the baby, she feels jealous – probably for the first time: -“I stared at the baby’s face and hated it as I’d never hated anything before. She (Virgin Mary red.) was looking down...
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