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Although set in the 1920's or 1930's this story is based on a theme which is familiar to everyone: the choice we all have to make between spending money on the small pleasures of life or sacrificing these to sva e up fo something specisl. You might like spending money on magazines, CD's visitis to the cinema, and so on; at other times you begin to think "if i cut down on the small luxuries i could have a better holiday or even start saving for a car"
In this scottish story by Fred Urquhart, the main character is a girls who works in a wine merchants. She has very little spare cash but is determined to save up for a bicycle of her own.
The writer Frederick Burrows Urquhart was born on 12 July 1912 in Edinburgh. Although he wrote a number of novels, Fred Urquhart's strength was the short story in which his characters did the talking. He had an ear for all forms of accent and dialect and took ungrammatical yet creative liberties with the language.
The whole story is based on symbolism.
The historical and geographical backround of this story are both relevant to the character development and themes. The story takes place in an industrial town in Scotland somewhere between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Genaeral Strike of 1926. This was a time of social unrest when poverty was widespread, strikes were frequent and the trade union movement was strong in the West of Scotland which gained the nickname "red Clydeside" as a result. Prominent political figures at this time were the labour member of parliment James Maxton and the union leader and pacifist John McLean. Political meetings were common and the character of Charlie in the story has clearly attended these and has been influenced by some of the socialist and comunist ideas which werepopular at the time amoung the working classes.
- some quotes of this- "Some capitalist made a pile o'that."
- "You were a mug to encourage them"
- "thae kind that talk sae big aboot their socialism are aye the worst"
- That's soclialists for ye"
While it is important to remember that you should simply retell the story in the critical essay, you should nevertheless have a clear idea of the plot in your mind.
- The story begins by emphasising how much she wants a bike and stresses how many obstacles she had to overcome before she achieved her ambition.
When annie finaly gets her bike it was lovely a low racer painted bright red making a bold statement proving that she could really do it if she out her mind to it. she finally had something that she could tend to. She finally had something of her own.
- Some of those difficultys were- her workmates jeering at her trying to tease her to buy things like lemonade
- The bus fair to work everyday ate into her funds and meant saving took longer
Style and technique
Symbolisim is used in the last paragraph ie, when stands for something with a wider significance. In this case, the broken frame symbolises annie's broken heart.
Structure: a closer examination of the story in the light of the concluding paragraph will show that certain links between annie's feelings about the bike and her feelings about charlie had already been hinted at earlier. The author skilfully keeps this point until the very end so that we only realise in retrospect (that is looking back) that the bike and charlie had been linked all the way through.
- In both cases annie has to wait before she gets what she wants. She has to save and sacrafice for the bike, while "Charlie never encouraged her by look or by word"
- The bike is described as a "low racer painted bright red with cold gleaming chromium-plated handel-bars": Charlie is described as "good looking in a flashy sort of way" and wears "a scarlet pullover" on their first date.
- When annie got her bike "her heart sang with exhiliration and proud accomplishment": when she went out with Charlie at first " she pranced along proudily at side"
I felt annie was a credible character because i could understand how difficult it must have been for her to resist the various temptations that confronted her. This is much better: it refers directly to the question ("credible character"; it makes a general point (annie was faced with temptations) which will lead into detalied examples in the rest of the paragraph; it includes some personal respose("i could understand") Try to begin your paragraphs in this way.
- Annie decided not to buy a new coat or go on a trip to blackpool
- While this may be a perfectly true statement about the character, it is not a suitable opening sentence in an essay. It simply makes detailed point and does not give the reader any clue about how the paragraph will develop. Nor does it have have any direct connection with the question.
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