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A Gap of Sky: Summary

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A Gap of Sky
Sometimes you forget what the essence of life is and what’s important to you. When you forget these things you easily get on the wrong track: you forget the persons that are close to you and you become oblivious to life and its goods.
In the short story, A Gap of Sky, we are introduced to the protagonist of the story, the nineteen- year-old Ellie, who after a rough night with booze and drugs wakes up at 4.30 pm in her messy flat in London, to the tough realities of Monday. She remembers feeling happy earlier that morning, probably because of her affection by drugs and alcohol. As it strikes her that it is Monday and she has to hand in a paper on Virginia Woolf, she rushes out the door to by ink, cigarettes and maybe some more coke. Ellie seems worn out and alone to cope with her problems and you might get the impression of a wild teenager who lives life in the fast lane and is being careless towards her school and homework; a girl that doesn’t fit into her parent’s picture of a responsible student. She tells that she’s already had her extension from University, and is therefore forced to do the next assignment on Virginia Woolf otherwise she’ll have to repeat the year or be kicked off the course. But the many interesting things to see and do in London, temps her curiosity and distracts her; for instance when she sees and touches a black leather glove on a spike and the middle finger is pointing right up into the sky and the rest hanging down. Suddenly a whole new side of Ellie is being introduced she gets a taste of what life can be like. “Ellie giggles. She touches the middle finger. A volt of naughtiness passes through her. Life seems suddenly filled with possibilities..”(p. 2 l. 63). As she touches the leather glove she regains faith in life; she feels that life and all its possibilities is ahead of her; she’s nineteen and in London - what more to wish for. So she decides to continue her search for ink, but is once again distracted and ends up on the British museum. In there she meets death, in an exhibition of how different cultures cope with living and dying. The thought of death scares her because she is not ready to cope with death so therefore she gets a terrible headache. The reason she is scared, may be because she realizes that she lives on the edge risking her life doing drugs and alcohol. Therefore she panics and rushes out onto the street again where she wanders around scared and unsure about what to do with her life. Her head clears and once again a random experience makes her think of life.
As she continues, she enters a shop where she sees a pot of red stones. The stones remind her of a stone she got from her mother. The stone were supposed to provide protection, but Ellie had just shoved it away. She becomes wistful as she realizes that she has actually shoved her mother’s love and care away. It makes her think about things she has taken too much for granted and the lack of respect towards her mother, and she becomes aware of that she is able to change it and do something about it. The strong love or her mother boost her confidence and gives her a feeling of that she is able to get on the right track again and do the paper on Virginia Woolf. Ellie wants to show the world this beautiful and fantastic feeling and she understands that there is a bond of love connecting everyone, that all has the same substance as her within them. She feels more alive than ever and nothing can get her down, so she goes to the river to catch a last glimpse of it “She wants to receive this night and its great dark pulsing, this beauty, this moment” (p. 4, l. 129).
When talking about city setting it is relevant to bring in symbols. Ellie describes London as a heart, beating the very pulse of the city; she compares the traffic to blood and the streets to arteries that lead towards the heart of the city. The river also plays an important role in the city setting, it symbolises reflection as it is something calm and deep in the middle of the noisy and busy city. This is where Ellie goes when she needs a break to wash the feeling of emptiness and confusion away, and in the end it makes her feel sure of herself and gives her peace of mind. You can tell that Ellie loves London, the pulsing and busy life but she needs a moment of reflection to figure things out.
Because we are given the names of the streets it feels more real, and combined with all the adjectives you can picture her way through the city and feel the atmosphere. The sentence construction plays an important role too. The very short sentences, the frequent use of commas and the active verbs adds to a quick pace in the text. This construction describes the throbbing and busy life in the metropolis. The story spans over a night, and is narrated by a 3rd person.
So, this short story is about how Ellie develops and becomes wiser as she reflects on life, death and love. All these things add to a new perspective on life and make her get on the right track. What she is going through is a rite of passage from being a tough, irresponsible teenager testing her boundaries to a grown up woman taking responsibility for her future.

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