Individuality, freedom and responsibility are some of the most important words in modern society. We all have the right to liberty – to express overselfs – but with freedom comes responsibility. Every individual needs to take responsibility for his or her own life. You have to struggle with the choices you have taken or will take. This way of living life in a modern society is depicted in the short story A Gap of Sky.
The story is about the young, nineteen year old girl Ellie, who lives in London. She deals with an environment full of temptations as drugs and alcohol – but she definetly feels the freedom of todays society, especially in the big citites.
The main character in the short story is 19 year old Ellie, as mentioned in the beginning of the essay. She lives alone in appartment in London. This means has the responsebility for her own life now. She has been send here by her parents to study at UCL. Ellie has her own way of living life and that is by staying until late. When she is at a party drink a lot, but she also uses drugs. This might be some way of dealing with her loneliness, but she faces the reality when she wakes up the morning or in her case the afternoon after. It seems as Ellie might think it is difficult to find the whole meaning of life, but she is surrounding by things in the big city who leads her on to an answer on that question.
A Gap of Sky is told by a third-person narrator, which means the reader has the oppotunity to know a little about what the character is thinking, and it makes it easier to indentify with Ellie in this short story. The languange, composition and sentences is very important for this story, becauses it says a lot about the character. There are many short sentences and it seems as it is written as a stream of thoughts in Ellie’s head;
“Anything else? Of course: printer, printer’s out of ink. Student shop too. Fine. Time? Ten minutes to get there. Shit.” (p. 1, ll. 35-36) – this might appear as Ellie is extremly confused and chaotic.
The urban setting and the whole environment has a huge role in A Gap of Sky. London is a hectic city as any other big city, and it is full of people, traffic, dynamic etc. Every person it the streets has their own reason to be there; “There are people moving together, here in this part of London, moving with purpose, with meaning, and Ellie is one of them.” (p. 2, ll. 58-59). Eventhough London is full free citizens it also contains the feeling of loneliness. Ellie knows exactly how it is to been one of them.
There are a lot of important environments in this short story. One of them got Ellie to think about the meaning of life; the the whole question about “Life and Death”. It appears in her mind, when she is at the British Museum. She feels a terrible headache, and that is what really got her thinking. She is affraid of dying and in this moment she is sure, that this is her end of life. But this fear is what makes her realize that she has to change her way of living. She needs to get “back on track”, and be serious about her goals.
Another example of an important environment is the shop where Ellie finds this small special stone, and that special one got her to think about his mother, and how she has been taken the love from her mother for granted and not appreciate it. The loneliness might has might taken over her because is a long time since has felt love in the big city. The stone remindes her about the one her mother gave her some time ago to give her protection. She did not care at that time so she just shoved it into her rucksack. This episode got her to look on her surroundings with a whole new perspective and have an new view on herself; “Realises this is something she can do. Ellie feels lighter suddenly, but filled with something fizzing and alive and beautiful.” (p. 3, ll. 116-117). It means a lot to a person when he or she knows somebody loves them.
This short story can be put into perspective with other texts or pictures, with the same associatons and themes. The extract from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf is about the feelings and empressions London contains. “the carriages, motor cars, omnibuses, vans, sandwich men shuffling and swinging; […]” (p. 1, ll. 11-12), this sentence from the extract is how the urban setting is depicted in A Gap of Sky. The hectic and dynamic culture, the trafic and the most important thing: to love your life; “[…] was what she loved; life; London; this moment of June.” Ellie realises this in the end of the short story.
A Gap of Sky can also be put into perspective with the photograph by Clarissa Leahy Frances – Reflection in water from 2008. The picture shows a person who is reflected in the water underneath her. Your reflection might be a help to look into yourself and realises what is really happening, because a reflection is the truth you cannot hide. Ellie looks toward the river and suddenly she knows what to do and how she really should feel; “she is nineteen and in London and has an essay to write and she needs to buy some printer ink, […]. She will write her essay and that will be a good thing.” (p. 4, ll. 129-132)