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In the short story collection: Summer Lightning by Olive Senior, ...

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In the short story collection: Summer Lightning by Olive Senior, the child is a major device for analyzing the society which disrupts and destroys its world. Discuss using at least 3 stories.

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"The child's eye view is not childlike. It is a clear vision through which the irrationalities of adults [and] the inequities in society ... are expressed."

Olive Senior, in her collection of short stories Summer Lightning, uses child protagonists to highlight and criticize many aspects of the society they are raised in, and the destructive quality these have on the innocent world of the child.

In 'Love Orange', Senior uses symbolism to highlight the tragedy of the loss of childhood innocence due to the experiences and harsh reality of the adult world. This story shows a child so influenced by the intrusion of the world outside of childhood, that the reality and seriousness of adult concerns such as death and old age, along with a severe lack of communication and understanding, wipes away the bliss and carefree innocence associated with childhood.

This is illustrated within the first lines of 'Love Orange' which states, "somewhere between the repetition of Sunday School lessons and the broken doll which the lady sent me one Christmas I lost what it was to be happy" (p.11). The broken doll is symbolic of childhood hope being dashed away by the lack of understanding on the part of adults, as the little girl yearns strongly for a "plaster doll with blue eyes and limbs that moved." The child is crushed as she sees the mutilated doll with "the one China blue eye and the missing finger" and all hopes and dreams of a child are drained from her. She becomes the damaged doll which is depicted as a personification of death and fear, youthful symbolism that cannot be understood by the adults in the story. Plagued by death, both in dreams and awake, the girl must endure her distress alone for her grandmother "never understood about the doll" and the painful effect it had on her. This disappointment at finding that the doll she so longed for was deformed, is only compensated for by the love-orange which she constantly 'conjures' for protection in a world populated by...