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A Bit of Singing & Dancing
Transcript of A Bit of Singing & Dancing
It is structured in a cyclical narrative. As in the beginning it mentions something Esme's mother used to say before her death
"I like a bit of singing and dancing, it cheers you up, it takes you out of yourself. I like a bit of spectacular."
When we were introduced to Mr Curry ,as I said earlier, he brings us around to the same point Esme's mother used to say in the beginning of the short story. Possibly it was done deliberately because it reminds the reader of the main characters past and how she ended up in her current position. Causes the story to have a flow and the way it is structured causes almost a nostalgic mood/ style. It also shows that no matter what, her mothers words and thoughts will somehow overshadow and be brought in front of her, even after her mother's death she is not free from her grasp.
The main themes contributed throughout the short story.
Language,features VOCAB,register+ style
A switch in tense is used, going from past to present and portray the main structure and underlying main plot.(on the first page past tense is used to show how Esme's mother used to control Esme and gave Esme no freedom)
Writer uses 3rd person narrative to structure the story- it helps portray Mr.Curry's physical appearance and also help preserve the sense of mystery around him till the end.
No major or unique devices are really used in the short story except for good sense of imagery and character description.
Generally literary structure is used more in the short story for visual effect on the readers
How is the story's context important? How will it affect a reader's view of the text?
How good of a story is it?
Esme Fanshaw ,aged 51, whose frugal and stingy mother passed away leaving Esme to inherit £6000 and is at last set free from her mother. However, because Esme has lived in such a lifestyle of little freedom it is as if she is still trapped in the presence of her mother and is confused with what to do with the money. Now with Esme's new freedom and the guiltiness she feels for wanting her mother to perish after waiting for endless days, she gets a mysterious visit from a salesman called Mr Curry. He is looking for a place to rent and Esme wonders how Mr Curry shall pay his rent after hearing that his sales have been failing. But the rest shall be found out.
What is interesting about the characterisation and why?
How Mr Curry is represented is quite interesting because this mysterious stranger in many ways reminds Esme of her dead mother in the way he acts/speaks.
It is almost like her mother never died and that Esme's mother is somehow within' Mr Curry in certain ways.
All the characters link in some way. It is like a cycle going around linking all the characters.
Another way Mr.Curry's character is quite interesting is through the way his life widely contrasts to Esme in terms of his life experiences and travel.
Esme had a mum who never let her go and venture anywhere out of her sight an kept her 'imprisoned' in her own house for 50 years. Esme thus had very little bonding with her mum even though she lived by her side for so many years.
On the other hand Mr.Curry lived in an orphanage as a child so was grateful for any bonding he recieved in his orphanage.
Also, unlike Esme he got to travel many places around the world such as India and China-he wasn't bound by anyone and had full freedom to follow his dreams and aspirations.
How is the short story structured+why?
From what we have read, this story focuses on the themes of: FREEDOM & TYRANNY. One of the main themes is freedom because for many years it was as if Esme was held and imprisoned by her mother because of how she didn't give her any freedom, treating her like a child. So when Esme's mother died, she wasted no time in going into the world without her mother's hold on longer on her. Tyranny ,as you may know, means cruel and oppressive rule. It may be quite an exaggerated term to use for Esme's mother, but in some ways she was presented as a tyrant in the story as she didn't let Esme experience any true joy in life(which is 'cruel')- for example: Esme's mother didn't even let her marry and settle down thus leaving Esme totally lonely and without any love and care.
The short story was published in 1973 and the language like vocabulary used is very self explanatory and easy to understand because it wasn't set too long ago. It is narrates in third person and the style of story is quite a slow build-up to the ending, and in some ways makes the reader quite curious to know the ending. Briefly: It has ordinary features, but the plot is unique because of the structure of it, however it it quite simple.
What structural features were used in 'A bit of singing and dancing' for impact
Personally, according to us the story isn't that gripping and intriguing due to it's setting, timing(time period) and also characters. The short story we believe is especially off putting to teenagers/children in present time because the plot takes more effort than usual to decipher and thus can be confusing. Also the characters can not be really related to because of their old age and personality thus in a way making the story more suitable for older readers.
What was the writer trying to say/keen to leave the reader thinking about?
There are several things the writer tries to say and keep us thinking about, here are some of them:
Has Esme finally escaped her mother's domination and power over her for good? Or does her mother still 'haunt' and overshadow her decisions?
The writer tries to point out at the end that though Esme's mother was wrong for allowing her no freedom she still had some wise words to offer
A quote which shows this is present on the last page when Esme quotes her own mothers previous saying from the first page,
"My mother used to say, Mr.Curry,I always like a bit of singing and dancing, some variety. It takes you out of yourself, singing and dancing."
The above quote almost compels the readers to think maybe Esme in a way reflects her mother without knowing so, and keeps readers thinking whether Esme quoting her mum means she has forgiven her mum for 'imprisoning' her,her whole life.
The context of 'A bit of Singing and Dancing' is mainly social.
It is social as the story explores precisely the human nature.
An example which clearly shows this is when Esme receives her first taste of freedom, which she has been yearning for so many years. Also how due to having very little bonding with her mother she does not truly grieve her mothers death.
Esme is actually relieved and happy as she believes her mother almost treated her like a prisoner.
Though it isn't made clear what time period the story is set in it is clear that it is not too recent as the money she receives in the will is £6000, which is presented as a high amount in the story, but no exact time period can truly be determined
As the reader isn't sure of the time period it's set in it makes the story plot less interesting and vague as we have little information about the society and 'norms' of that time.
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