Both ` Pieces of Silver` and ` The Red Ball` present poverty and the relationship between parents and children . Add to that the suffering , hardship and unfairness towards the two main characters. The main character in both stories is a boy Clement, in ` Pieces of Silver` and Bolan in ` The Red Ball`.
Karl Sealy makes The action of this story covers twenty-four hours in the life of Clement. The story begins as the school bell is ringing and the boys line up waiting for inspection by their teachers. The writer describes the boys feet as ` dusty , naked ` which show how poor they are . An assembly is called where the acting head, Mr. Chase, asks for contributions to the retiring head’s present.
Sealy describes the cruel treatment of Clement and the other boys in a wonderful details. The acting headmaster makes him a ` laughing-stock` in front of the school because he is too poor to contribute . He even draws an X on his forehead and threatens him with his cane. Furthermore, they are told that if they do not contribute to the collection the following day they will suffer further humiliation . The writer even shows his disapproval is because Clement`s eyes `downcast` .
As a part of the conflict , the poor Clement goes back home and asks his indigent parents for some money . His father refuses, however, because they are poor and need all the money they have for themselves . As a result , the boy doesn’t know what to do . So his sister Evelina who cares about him like a mother supports him and suggests they can raise money by singing.
The writer described the relation between the two as ` a close bond of understanding and companionship` . The last house they call at turns out to be the home of the retiring head- teacher,Mr. Megahey. He gives them a generous donation of sixpence, their biggest of the night. Sealy used contrast and irony to finish his story by making the pennies come from Mr. Megahey pocket .
The next day at school, to his surprise, Clement surprises Mr. Chase by presenting eight pieces of silver to him saying ‘there is one for each of us’ . At the end of the story, the writer gives us a final impression of hope and triumph as Clement was able to donate not only for himself , but also for the other boys and saves them from Mr. Chase punishment and humiliations.
In contrast, Ismith Khan begins his story with Bolan sitting in Woodford Square on his own. Some other boys ask him to play cricket. Bolan hesitates at the beginning but then he accepts the offer . When everyone agrees that Bolan is a good player they ask him to play with them again the following day; Bolan feels that he has been accepted by the boys.
Bolan goes to the Market School which is the place where his teacher used to punish him with ` six lashes ` because of what the teacher called the ` day- dreaming` . And here we can notice the link between the two stories in the way Clement and Bolan are treated by their teachers . In my opinion , that is because the two writers come from the Caribbean.
Bolan is the main part of the conflict in the story .He takes money from his father`s pocket without his permission to buy a cricket ball which he uses to play cricket with his friends. Although he is happy that he has become part of the group, his family poverty makes his father beat him up for taking the money.
This theme of the story is similar to Clement`s parent reaction when he asked for money . Bolan’s mother explains to his father why he took the money and stands up to her husband and stops him from taking out his frustrations on Bolan .At the end his father apologizes to him .The writer uses contrast between cruelty and pity to support his view about the father`s love of his son when he said to him ` he is a thief ` and `is for you we doin` .
In conclusion,both writers give us impression about the culture and the people who live in poverty and hardship while others who are meant to be in charge don’t care about that . They just care about their own issue rather than trying to be aware of the suffering of poor people . The writers try to tell the reader that poverty can’t do anything against the unfairness by considering the irony of a boy like Clement giving money to a man like Mr. Megahey or by Bolan stealing from his father to gain the boys friendship. Also , they end their stories with a twist which makes the reader feel sympathy with the two characters and feel the suffering and hardship they face in their life.