The authors in all three stories are similar in many different ways. However they are somewhat different as they all have different meanings but in the end the event that has happened to the characters in each of the stories is life changing. The three stories are called ‘Your Shoes’ which is written by Michle Roberts who is a novelist and poet, ‘Superman and Paula Brown’s new Snowsuit’ which is written by Sylvia Plath who is also a poet and a novelist. The last story is called ‘The End of Something’ is written by Ernest Hemingway who published this short story in 1938.
In all three stories the main event is ‘change’. In ‘Your Shoes’ we see a lot of the change through the emotion of the mother.This is written as a first person narrative with the speaker telling us the story and her emotions. Her thoughts are mixed and tumble out at us , this shows her confused and emotional state at the moment. She is obviously in pain “If I wrap my arms around myself and hold tight it keeps the pain in.” (lines 21 – 22), but recalls much of her own pain from her childhood and the influence her mother had on her. The speaker ends up curled in a foetal position sucking on the shoelaces,these enable her to feel closer to her daughter, but it is as if she has become the child now. In the last lines she imagines her daughter home with her, but could also be translating her own feelings for her mother into the situation. The last line could be her professing her love to her own mother, something she hasn’t done and should have done.
This storyline can relate to a real life situation. The author relates to her childhood later on in the story and her relationship with her parents. This shows that she is understanding as she might of thought about running away when she was a child and that its easy to do when your angry at your parents.The change in ‘Superman and Paula Brown’s new snowsuit’ is very different to the one in Your Shoes as the change in Your Shoes in a much more serious one and could change a relationship forever however this one can be sorted more easily, although both authors look back on thier childhood.It is now thirteen years later and certain incidents remain clear to her. She begins by telling us of her dream to fly and her passion for Superman. She plays innocent games at school.
The War is ever present in the story and the narrator’s uncle, Frank, lives with the family while waiting to be drafted into the army. The narrator was invited to Paula Brown’s birthday party. Paula has a new snowsuit which is much admired by the narrator. One afternoon, the children watch a film about Japanese prisoners of war who are tortured. This has a great impact on the narrator. The next day, when the children are playing war games outside, Paula falls into an oil puddle and her snowsuit is ruined. Paula blames the narrator for pushing her into the oil and the other children turn on her. At home, her mother and Uncle Frank (home on leave) question her as to whether she did push Paula. The narrator’s world collapses and she believes that even though she was innocent, she can’t change things.In The End of Something there is a very two very simple changes.The change in the once-happy relationship of boy and girl, and the change in the fortunes of the once busy town.
In all three short stories the event is life changing. In Superman and Paula Brown’s New Snowsuit the character is forced to realise that life does not only revolve round her and she can’t always be the centre of attention. In Your Shoes the mother is forced to realise she didn’t have very good communication with her daughter.The story looks at ideas of self-knowledge and self-deception – but ends with an emphatic denial of what the reader sees to be true. The story also, therefore, makes us question the judgement and truthfulness or sanity of the narrator. In The End of Something it is life changing as it has finished a once-happy relationship and they will most probably never see eachother again.
All three short stories don’t really have much of a structure and the reader has no clues until they get to the middle of the story as to whats really happening and what the title is about. In Your Shoes if there is a structure it does not come from the account of the runaway daughter’s disappearance, so much as from the mother’s life story. The final part of the story is certainly not an ending of the daughter’s life story, but does represent something both conclusive and inconclusive for the mother. She comes to some kind of idea about the girl but it is a delusive fantasy, in which the teenager becomes an infant, while her shoelaces are no longer sweet in a metaphorical sense, but become like liquorice as they “taste sweet” – it seems as if the mother is sucking the laces to bring back the scent or taste of the child. And in doing this, she thinks that the girl has come back, while she repeats, like a mantra, her cry of love.
In the story Superman and Paula Brown’s New Snowsuit we are given a brief summary of the year and we are told that one of its highlights was when “I won the prize for drawing the best Civil Defence signs.” This is followed by the information that it was also the winter of Paula Brown’s snowsuit. This has been mentioned in the title, but we are given no clue at this stage as to its significance, good or bad. The suspense created by mentioning the snowsuit is not satisfied until almost half-way through the story, line 81 and the incident that makes it memorable for the narrator is not told until line 130 onwards. In the short story The End of Something it is not clear from the start that Nick is planning to leave Marjorie so therefore there is a slight twist in the story and it is very unexpected.I think the first paragraph about Horton’s Bay explains the title for the reader not to suspect the end of something else.
In both Your Shoes and The End of Something we see symbolism. In Your Shoes the title of the story points out the most obvious symbol in it. The girl’s shoes stand, perhaps, for several things. Among these may be, the mother’s wish to keep her daughter as a child, the daughter having to accept her mother’s control and the mother seeing love in terms of things that she can buy for her daughter.But we are also made to think of the expression about putting oneself into another’s shoes – to see the world as he or she does, rather than force our own view on someone else. In this respect, the mother fails. In The End of Something the title of the story makes it clear that there is a analogy between the history of Hortons Bay and the story or personal history of Nick and Marjorie. This is a simple comparison – of something that was good and productive, but that comes to an end because circumstances change. At the same time, the people in the story are aware of what happened to the town and feel some nostalgia – but their shared affection for the “old ruin” is not enough to keep their love alive.
In The End of Something at the beggining line 1 it says ‘In the old days Hortons Bay was a lumbering town’ and from the middle of line 2 it says ‘ Then one year there were no more logs to make lumbers’. So basically the author is trying to say that Hortons Bay has changed and deteriated. Now if you look at Nick and Marjories relationship it has done exactly the same thing. It has changed, they don’t feel the same way about eachother as they did before. The author is making a clear comparison between the town and the relationship which is quite clever.
Overall I think Your Shoes, Superman and Paula Brown’s new snowsuit and The End of Something are three very effective short stores showing a variety of emotion, symbolism and struture. They have all been written with a twist in them which leaves the readers imagination run wild!