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Elephant

By Thersbo May 07, 2013 1071 Words
Elephant

Inspiration is the most important factor when you write. You have to have the motivation to write and tell a story. You can get writer’s blockage when you write and become in desperate need of an interesting subject to get the work done. In the short story “Elephant” by Polly Clark we hear about William who is a writer. He writes short biographies of pop stars, that you can buy for only £1.99. William is not interested in pop stars, and really wants to write biographies of male film stars from the golden age but he was not fast enough to claim the rights of their life stories. His hold life is uninspired and we hear about his dull writings and drab life. He and his wife are trying to get pregnant. She gets home from work to fix the deed, but it is without any romance or feelings for each other. When William returns to his sheds he makes up fantastic endings of the pop singer’s lives. “Elephant” opens in medias res and is told by a third person omniscient narrator who’s knowledge do that we, as readers, can see the main character’s feelings and thoughts through the whole story; “He could not work out why, except that this haze had descended and he could not seem to lift a thought through its weight.”(p. 2, ll. 41-42) The writer’s stile of writing is giving a numb feeling. It is plane and flat like Williams life. We can sympathize with him, from the very first lines; “When you had the material stacked up, right there beside you, a pile of notes and facts, there was absolutely no reason for being unable to proceed with the next step.” (p. 1, ll. 1-2) We can already tell that William has a problem and we feel sorry for him. William has written about many young singers who he don’t find very interesting. He mentions Sophie, Witney, Norah, Becky, Christine, Maria, Britney and Sandie who all have a lot in common, and he writes about them in the same way every time. Up until he writes the biography of Christine he was irritated by not being able to write about his passion. After Christine he changed his mind and mean that; ”It was better this way: if you care to much for your subject your little book might not be able to accommodate all you really wanted to say(…) that would, be much worse than this”(p. 1, ll. 26-27). Christine made him glad. She was his favorite. William describes Christine with positive adjectives and is amused by her purity and her whole life; “He had laughed out loud writing Christine’s life. It was, to him, light as pastel as a bubble, and she knew it to” (p. 2, ll. 53-54). He likes her appearance, her colossal smile and her booty. We sense that he really liked writing her biography and that his work with her did mean something to him, and not like the other girls’ boring lives, that did not inspire him to write. Later in the short story we hear about Christine again. The little blue elephant William got from his mother, when he was a boy, mean a lot to him. He was waiting and waiting for her to come home, and when she did, he was truly excited; “(…) a squeal of excitement, her arms around him and something placed on his lap, a wrapped object big enough to fill his entire embrace”(p. 2, ll. 68-70). It was a long time since William has been so excited about anything. William is not interested in his family life and he doesn’t make any decisions about what to do about it when his wife asks. He always answer “Let’s see what happens” (p.3, l. 99, l. 107) and doesn’t even care about the fact that he and his wife was are trying to get pregnant. We can read that he is neither amused nor eager to participate in the act; “(…) and he succeeded in that he finished within the time he had, despite all the distraction on his mind”(p.3, ll. 83-84), and the wife seems to know it too; “Afterwards Ginny wriggles gently away and lay with her legs propped up on a pillow(…) ‘I know this isn’t much fun for you’.”(p. 3, ll. 85-86). William keeps thinking of his work and about his writer’s blockage and can’t seem to focus on other things. In the end of the story, after the bedroom scene, William has gone back to his desk and began to write the ending of Sandie’s biography, of his own mind. He makes up endings to all of the pop singers and is taking them down, some died, one became an estate agent etc. He takes their lives in his own hands and creates a different ending - an ending that he manages and is excited about. He is inspired to write when their lives turn out like he wants them to. He gives Christine, his favorite girl, his little blue elephant and describes his own bond with the toy. It is a companion, a life saver and a friend. William is feeling blue and tears are falling” he wanted to give Christine something she had never had, something important of himself.” He is desperate to give her some of his own that she can take with her. He wants to set a mark on his biographies as a writer and make a statement, even though it could ruin his career. In the short story “Elephant” we meet a much uninspired writer, who got stuck while trying to write yet another pop star biography. His mind is always somewhere else than it should be and his life is a mess. His relationship with his wife is bad, and they are trying to fix it with a baby and maybe a new life, but he don’t seem to care. His writing is boring and he can’t get excited about is until he remembers a feeling from his childhood, the excitement. He begins to writes his own endings and take the power of the biographies and finely get inspired and excited about his work. Finally his writer’s blockage ends and he writes his own stories and leaves his personal marks in the biographies and is, finally, inspired.

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