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A Day In The Dark by Elizabeth Bowen Analysis

This passage was written by Elizabeth Bowen and is titled A Day in the Dark. It is a story told by a girl named Barbie. She tells a tale of when she was fifteen and visited the house of Miss Branderry to return a copy of Blackwoods and to request to borrow, for her father, a thistle cutter. She also takes some roses to apologise for glass stain and thumbmarks on the cover of the magazine. The passage mainly focuses on Barbie and her view on the events. But the passage also looks into the relationships between the Barbie and her uncle, and Miss Branderry and her niece. The first paragraph sets the scene and creates an atmospire for the story.

The author immediately begins by saying It was July, a sunless warm afternoon, dead still. She also talks of idlers who of coarse are people who have nothing to do, because it is to hot. And also she uses words like heavy. We get this sense of oppression. Sound seems to be a predominant feature in the opening paragraph. For the writer mentions her senses and then continues with references like childless silence and the mesmeric sound of the weir. At the very end of the paragraph the last sentence is only two words long. It opened. It being this red door, the entrance to Miss Branderry house.

By simply using two words it has great effect, emphasising the presence of this door, it seems to be the only thing that has actually moved. Throughout the passage the Elizabeth Bowen has explored the relationships between Nan and Miss Banderry, and also Barbie and her uncle. Nan, Miss Banderrys niece, has obversely had a tough life, having been widowed she is now living with her aunt being treated more or less like a slave, her characteristics are mean and coarse, which is expected considering her situation. Miss Banderry treats her badly and it is clear that she really knows how to manipulate people.

This is similar in the relationship between Barbie and her uncle. The uncle uses Barbie to take the blame for the stains on the magazine, when it was his fault. But the difference between these two relationships is the fact that Nan is only a slave to Miss Banderry because once she is dead Nan will inherit the money. Where as Barbie genuinely loves her uncle, words like gallant and prophesied make us see that Barbie looks upon him as almost godlike or a king. To the extent that she is happy to take the fall for him. It rejoiced me to stand between him and trouble. (Line 27) . Bowens use of language is compelling.

She uses imagery to enhance specific elements of the tale. The wiry hopping of the bird in the cage symbolises Nan and her situation. How she is trapped to endure her aunt until her aunts death. Throughout the entire passage is this clear reference to time; the way Nan is timed when she goes down the road, these generations of oil painted portraits, Miss Banderrys watch. But mostly the way Barbie waits for Miss Banderry, how Miss Banderry purposefully stops and waits before coming down stairs so Barbie has to wait longer. And also with Nan how she is also waiting for her aunt to die

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