Sealy describes Clements’s family as being poor and unable to afford every day goods such as food etc. ‘the dovecots were taking their one substantial meal of the day.’ This shows that unlike other families the Dovecot’s only had one proper meal all day which consisted of a plate of rice that hardly nourishes a human being and shows how little they really had. Another reason to suggest the family’s mal nutrition was the description of Mrs Dovecot ‘a long thread of a woman whose bones want had been picked like an eagle.’ This reflects the intake of food by each of the family members in that they are so thin and malnourished.
During the description of the house, Sealy uses different pieces of language to illustrate the poverty the family go through. Examples of this include ‘The house was a poor, wretched coop of a room’ and ‘the walls of the shack were papered with old newspapers and magazines, discoloured with age and stained.’ These two extracts both show the terrible state the house was in and how little money the Dovecots really had. Other descriptions given by Sealy encapsulate the harsh living conditions of the family and the poor quality furniture and lack of luxuries. ‘Worm eaten boards’, ‘the one battered depreciated mahogany table’ and ‘the propped-open window’. These show that the family could not pay for skilled workers to fix the house and that an old mahogany table was there only piece of furniture.
In the passage Sealy often refers to birds, ‘soaring seagulls’ and uses a simile when communicating to the reader about Maud Dovecot ‘like an eagle’. These references emphasise how far below the poverty line Clement and his family are. Some of the children from his school can afford to pay towards the leaving headmaster however Clement is completely on the other end of the scale and has no money in the first place. Towards the middle of the passage Sealy use seagulls to suggest a sense of freedom, ‘In the midst of this drab poverty the free, soaring seagulls’. He is creating a sense of pleasure that the characters experience when looking at the cotton screen.