Using integrated linguistic and literary approach explore how Gibbons presents the relationships between Flora and Elfine in this extract.
In the run up to this extract, we get insight to Flora’s first experience at Cold Comfort Farm; we are introduced to the characters of Adam and Judith along with Flora’s perception of them. However during this particular extract we witness an introduction to Elfine, Flora’s cousin and the way in which the two react and behave upon first meeting. We also see Flora beginning to plan out what needs to be done with Elfine only after a brief encounter.
Firstly, Gibbons demonstrates the type of effect Flora has on her cousin, Elfine, specifically when their paths first cross. When Gibbons states, “...who had just dashed through the kitchen, came running lightly down the corridor towards her.” Represents Elfine as a swift character emphasised by the verbs ‘dashed’ and ‘running’ which also portray Elfine as quite shy. During this paragraph there is a complete antithesis of this first description. From the phrase, “She stopped, as though shot, at the sight of Flora...” We can gather that Elfine is stunned by the sight of Flora, and she has to stop and compose herself giving her time to think of a reaction. The sibilance alliteration used creates this idea of how abrupt Elfine’s reactions were and the silence created by this unexpected meeting. The reader can understand that this is an unusual first encounter for two relatives.
As the extract continues we can recognise that Flora, being the person she is, isn’t fazed by Elfine’s first reactions in the slightest. This is evident when she says, “’Doing the startled bird stunt,’ thought Flora...” Here Flora compares her cousin to that of a ‘bird’. This animal imagery helps the reader comprehend Flora’s opinion of her cousin’s behaviour. Also from this comparison we begin to see how Flora already feels she is superior to her cousin by comparing her to an animal. This animal imagery...
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