A Gap of Sky
How do you discover your own identity and the purpose of your existence in a society, where the meaning is not clear, and where life at times seems chaotic and labyrinthine? This search for existential answers is an essential and recurring theme in Anna Hope’s short story A Gap of Sky from 2008, which takes place in the middle of a busy metropolis. Through postmodernist use of language and narrative technique Anna Hope conveys these themes of individualism and existentialism.
The short story is narrated by a third-person omniscient narrator whose point of view is limited to Ellie. The story is written with a narrative technique, which gives the reader a profound insight into the mind of the confused teenage protagonist Ellie: “Monday. It is Monday. Essay there is an essay due, important, due for Tuesday morning.” (P.1 L.14). This passage is a perfect example of the stream of consciousness technique, since it portrays Ellie’s point of view through her thoughts. Thus, this passage becomes a written equivalent of Ellie’s thoughts. This choice of narrative technique entails that the language reflects the associations of the mind with its disjointed syntax. In this way Ellie’s language is naturally characterized by onomatopoeia such as “Blaaaaargh” (P1 L. 10), slang and digressions. This use of language intensifies the realism of the story and it also gives the reader a thorough insight into Ellie’s personality and state of mind. Ellie is under pressure, since she has an essay due for the following day on Virginia Woolf, who was one of the founders of the modernist stream of consciousness technique. In that way Anna Hope uses an intertextual reference, which is typical of postmodern literature. “She remembers the letter, the stomach-lurching letter: “If this lack of application continues we will have no choice but to reconsider your place on the course.”” (P. 2 L. 38). This passage indicates that the essay is her last chance to gain control of her...
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