One Stair Up (Analysis)

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The text presented for analysis is an extract from the story “One Stair Up” by Campbell Nairne, dealing with the everyday life of average working-class family. The extract gives the readers a dynamic episode of their day-to-day experiences, providing them with an opportunity to observe the relationships both between the members of the family and between them and the society. Throughout the whole story we perceive the characters mostly by means of their internal monologues – implicit characterization. We never find their physical traits described, which is another instrument helping readers portray the couple for them and try walking in the protagonists’ shoes. We explore only their inner world, knowing nothing about the outer, and it doesn’t prevent the characters from being round and full-blooded. The main message of the fragment is implicit conflict of the real and unreal worlds. The text combines descriptive and narrative elements, with the actions both performed by the main characters and originating from their surroundings, which interacts with our characters to highlight their individual reactions and attitudes.

The extract places our characters in a modeled environment – a cinema theatre used to expose all the aspects their characters, when observed in an unfamiliar surroundings, as the theatre isn’t their natural habitat. The major part of the introduction is devoted to the depiction of the illusionary world the characters enter – both through audial and visual imagery – they were “treading without sound on a … carpet … that yielded like … turf”, going through “a dim region of luxury”, which was “quite still” except for small sounds of “a tea-spoon chink, a cup grate on a saucer, a voice rise above another voice and sink again into voluptuous silence”), which implicitly reinforces the idea of metaphorical ascension, since the earthly sound briefly rise to their level and disappear below again. The visual part of the...
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