It’s painful to experience losing someone you deeply love. It can be a difficult situation to accept and overcome. One the one hand we want to rememeber the one who passed away, but on the other we don’t want to accept the fact that they never will be with us physically again. Sometimes our loss can even be so great, our imagination creates person who passed away and makes us able to talk to them is if nothing happened, as if they never passed away. This is exactly the case of the main character of the short story “No Angel” by Bernie McGill who deals with the loneliness and grief of losing her family. The story “No Angel” is a short story written by Bernie McGill, which is published in 2011. The story starts in media res, because the story begins with an important event, that we don’t know anything about from beforehand. “The first time I saw my father after he died, I was in the shower.” P. 1 L. 1. This leads the reader straight into the situation, without any introduction to the characters. There is no eye-opening event or heart-warming outcome in the story. The story takes place in Northern Ireland. “No Angel” is described and told by a 1st. person narrator, which gives us a limited of view of the events that happens in the main characters’ life. This gives the reader detailed information about her thoughts and feelings. As a reader, we only see the events from her point of view, which makers the story a bit unreliable. It’s up to the reader to decide for ourselves whether the “ghosts” are real or merely a product of the main characters’ mind. The narrator is the main character named Annie, who is a single woman, who lives in contemporary Northern Ireland. Annie has lost her father, mother and brother, and therefore she is on her own. The pain of losing her entire family has filled her with grief and confusion. Annie is now caught up with the idea that her family is still alive, and therefor finds herself communicating with what she believes to be her father’s ghost. Her father and her had an intimately relationship together before he died, mainly because it has always just been him and her. “Then it was just me and him, for nearly twenty-two years, until his lungs gave away, and the breath left him too.” P. 4 L. 101. Because of all that time they had spent together alone, she feels like he is still there with her, and talks to him like nothing has happened.
The main character Annie is a typical Irish girl. As she had growing up, she has faced a lot of tragedies, with her brother being killed, and her mother dying of grief six months later. As a reader, we know that Annie is from Ireland because it’s several times, that she is glad to be back in Belfast, which is the capital in Northern Ireland. Annie is dating a guy called Thomas whom she plans to marry, if it wasn’t for her father’s hatred towards him. She is with Thomas because she has been alone with her father for 22 years, which also makes it even harder for her to face the fact that she is all alone. She realizes that she doesn’t need him, and that the only reason she fell for him, was because he reminded her of her late brother Robbie. “I think, maybe, if I’m honest he reminded me of Robbie. It was never going to work.” P. 6. L. 162. “I wouldn’t have been able to keep up with the suitable daughter in-law show for a whole lifetime.” P. 6 L. 162-163. Annie is a sad girl, who is trying to process both the death of her father and the fact that she is now all-alone. You can say that she is both trying to remember and to forget, which can be really hard. Annie’s father was an Irish farmer, who passed away because his lungs simply couldn’t work anymore. He was a quiet man, who had never had a drink in his life. He was a very protective hos his daughter, and his was still trying to protect her even after his death, through her subconscious. It’s clear that he didn’t like Thomas, the man that Annie was dating, as he states “He’ll never set foot on my farm.” P.3 L. 57. By the way the father speaks we can identify him as the stereotypical Irish farmer, who is very protective of his family and his land, and does not let people he don’t trust into his life. He is very prejudiced towards Thomas. He thinks that he had something to do with Robbie’s dead, given that they were against each other political. About this he states, “Have you forgotten what they did to your brother, Annie? The way they left him lying on the load like a bag of rubbish the binmen had forgotten to lift?” P.3 L. 63-64. Annie’s father was old-fashioned, and was always very disappointed in Robbie, for not being like himself: “My brother Robbie wasn’t the son my father had in mind for himself.” P. 3 L. 69. Instead Robbie was loud, drank too much and didn’t care what other people were thinking about him. Annie describes how the eighties where a hard time for Ireland. There were a lot of conflicts, and bombings between the republicans and the democrats, which again back up the theory that Thomas and Annie’s dad, were disagreeing. When Annie says that Thomas had nothing to do with Robbie being murdered, he responds: “Him or his kind. It makes no difference between them.” P. 3 L. 68. I think the theme in the short story “No Angel” is the processing of death. To lose someone you love, it’s a difficult situation to overcome. At the same time we want to remember the lost person, but still want to move on. I think the key is to come to terms, with the fact that we can’t ever see this person again. The only place someone can live forever is in our heart. Therefore it’s important to appreciate our closest one before it’s too late, and never take a person’s love for granted. I think the title “No Angel” fits very well, because Annie’s father isn’t an angel. He is a sick man who had bad lungs, that still cares for his daughter after his death. The father knows that he isn’t over the deaths of his family. The father knows that Annie cannot fully her life before she has processed the deaths of her family. Therefore he helps her, by showing her that everything is okay. Once Annie had seen that her family was okay and they were together, waiting for Annie to realize that she only need to care for her now. With the story “No Angel” I think the protagonist Bernie McGill, makes the reader aware of how the loss of someone close isn’t the end of the world. It’s important to keep living our life even though we don’t have the magnificent people in it as before. It’s important to remember the loved lost person, but at the same time have the courage to not live in the past. The supernatural elements in this short story incorporate the dead in the life of the living, and it helps the reader to understand the conflict within Annie. In “No Angel” as a reader we see a father that understands the fact that his daughter needs to move on with her life