The Outcast by Sadie Jones, a Critical Analysis

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THE OUTCAST
Sadie Jones

He put his hand onto the cold glass pane. He felt far away from himself. He imagined putting his fist through it and the jagged hole in the pane and the points of the glass still attached to the wood. He imagined dragging his wrist and his arm against them so they would cut into him. He didn’t think he would feel it. He pictured putting his face through the glass and wondered if he would feel all the pieces cut him. He closed his eyes to stop imagining it, but it was the same, picturing the glass going into him, needing to do it. His heart started going quickly, pushing the cold blood around. He turned from the window. He realised he’d been scraping his arm with his other hand and stopped doing it. There was a sudden stillness like the gap between ticks on a clock, but the next tick never coming. He couldn’t here talking downstairs; they must have been sitting silently. He thought of them sitting opposite one another, staring, not moving. He went into the bathroom and shut the door and locked it. He stood at the mirror, and looked, and the need to damage himself took over. All he could think of was hurting himself and how to do it. He picked up his father’s razor. It was an old-fashioned one, the kind you open. He opened the razor and looked at the blade. He knew he wouldn’t feel it if her were to stick it right into himself – but the sight of the blade stopped him for a second. It had a power about it, the strength of the forbidden, and it was fascinating. It was beautiful. His hand rested on the basin, holding the razor and he waited. He felt cool and curious, like he could do anything and it didn’t matter. He held up his left arm and pushed up the sleeve with his hand holding the razor. He pressed the blade against his skin and immediately, just as the feel of the sharp blade on his skin, his heart went quicker and blood came back into him. He was breathless with wanting to do it. He could taste the need to hurt himself in his mouth, and when he did, he cried with the relief of it. He made a long cut down his forearm and the red line filled with bright blood very quickly and started to run. He was frightened of the blood and trying not to cut too deep, hurting himself just enough – and it did hurt, and he held himself over the basin and rested his forehead on the edge of the basin, and the sadness and hurting were comforting to him because he could feel them. He waited, with his head bowed, till the arm wasn’t running blood anymore, and rinsed it off in cold water and went back to his room to try and find something to put on it. He felt pathetic and small and stupid now. What a stupid crazy sick thing to do, he told himself; if they know about this they will put you in a special school. They’ll put you in a hospital… He found a school shirt that had ink on the sleeve and tore it into pieces and bound himself with it. It was tricky to do it up and he had to use his teeth to help with the knot, but once he was bandaged it was better, the cotton felt tight and steady on his arm, and he put his sleeve down and did it up. He lay on his bed and let his thoughts rest.

Almost every sentence of the passage makes reference to the main character through use of a personal pronoun such as “him”, “his” or “he”. The third person narrative makes sure that the reader is aware that the focus of the passage is on Lewis (the protagonist) and that this is a direct account of the feelings he is undergoing at the time. This allows the reader to build up a relationship with the character and feel more involved in the actions of that character. The authors’ continuous use of these personal pronouns shows that she herself thinks that, by now, the reader must have established enough of an understanding and connection with the protagonist for her to refer to him without actually using a name. The focus on emotions in the passage shows a vulnerability to the character and the detail of feelings and insecurities as...
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