Sunlight on the Grass

Topics: Mother, Boy, Father Pages: 4 (1330 words) Published: January 21, 2011
GCSE English Response to Prose - Sunlight on the Grass (Anthology)

For the purpose of this assignment I will analyse two stories. Firstly I will examine the “Compass and Torch” by Elizabeth Baines and will demonstrate how the objects in the title relate to the characters of the story and represent key themes. I will then discuss “Something Old, Something New” by Leila Aboulela and highlight the ways in which the title relates to the story.

Firstly the “Compass and Torch” is a story about a young boy setting out on a camping trip with his estranged father. The compass and torch are used symbolically throughout the narrative to reflect the boy’s feelings and relationship to his family.

I feel that the compass symbolises a lack of direction or the absence of a relationship between father and son. This can be demonstrated when they are about to leave the car for their journey together at the bottom of the hill. “The man looks up – for the first time – at the path they will take, which runs from the gate to the brow of the hill. Then he groans: I didn’t bring a compass”. The lack of compass showing with nothing to guide them the chance for them to get closer in their relationship is doomed. However, the narrative continues to suggest that the compass is not required, that with love and hope in their hearts, father and son will always be bonded. “Compasses are things boys and dads tend to have, but which, when they are alert and strong at heart, they can leave behind.”

The compass can also be seen as a metaphor for the pull of the boy between his divorced parents. This idea is shown when the boy had gone upstairs looking for his torch and overhears his Mother and her boyfriend Jim talking in the kitchen. “The boy might have remembered it, the compass, as they were leaving. But he couldn’t wait to get going, for it all to be over …… And the way his mother said hardly anything, and made her face blank whenever Dad spoke to her or looked her way”. This text...
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