If you missed the first part, it’s here Bitesized Blog | Subject Verb Object Part 1, and we’ll continue on with the next three. We’ve got a wonderful selection ahead of us; either directly dealing with, or the contemplation of, time passing and death.
Without further ado…
“The Warren”, Neil Denham
Prompt: Jules tramped down the asphalt
You can’t help but connect with Jules. In one way or another, she’s dealing with things that we do already, or will do shortly. That time is passing, along with chances and opportunities, and that can only expedite choices. The subtle indications of time passing; the iPad carrying trainspotters, her mother’s greying hair, and her father’s death; are things that we can all relate to.
Throughout I get an overwhelming feeling of regret and self-deprecation. I’m not sure if it stems from her father leaving and starting anew, or her friends doing the same. She considers it all whilst she heads to her familiar holiday spot to think it through. One of those chances to do herself what so many have done to her has come about- but Jules would leave her mother behind.
The culmination feels bitter and is laced with the responsibility that Jules has put herself in. I can’t help but pity her. Although there were notes about the progression of time, and the hope of the shift of responsibility, I think Jules already knew her decision before she even got off the train. It’s so begrudging, and yet another regret.
“His City”, Amar Rana-Deshmukh
Prompt: The archaeologist discovered the tomb
The only piece of free verse in the book, and as it confused me at first. I didn’t grasp the content, the story line. As I read it for the second time it just didn’t click. Then the voice of my GCSE English tutor rang out
Free verse is meant to be read ALOUD
And Mrs Strange, even ten years on, you’re helping me to get to grips with literature! Once read out loud it flowed and made so much more sense!
The story played out, of a man building not a real thing- but a memory palace type construction. If you’re not sure what one of those is, Wiki is your friend[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Method_of_loci]. It seems that in each home he stored his memories of all things; experiences, people, and thoughts. Instead of just a single palace, the Builder creates a whole city where his memories reside. The imagery is both sad and enchanting, especially as the Builder phases to the archaeologist.
Amar creates this city that is both elegant and forlorn by the end. I can only wonder what happened, why did it end? Was it simply that he passed away, like the body in the tomb? Or something less sinister, that he no longer went back to his city? Although it’s left for the reader to decide on their own, I desperately want to know what Amar thinks!
“The Goat Ate the World”, Oli Jacobs
Prompt: The goat ate the world
I cried. The story made me cry.
The first time I read it just after the news of Chester Bennington was coming out, how and the possible whys. The Goat Ate the World just hit all the same points and I cried.
During the rereads I realised that this wasn’t a story really, it feels like a belated eulogy. That attempt of mixing humour, hope and death- in a very British way of handling it. The bare honesty of someone who loved the departed, taking part in something that confirmed they were permanently lost.
The raw honesty is one of the reasons that made me cry, how the repeated “signs” were never picked up. He somehow, even after admitting that it went unseen by Nick’s partner and the large network of friends, still seems to blame himself. Edward doesn’t seem to consider in cold hindsight how obvious these indicators were, which just adds to the tragedy. The piece conveys Edward’s self-imposed responsibility for what happened, but who can blame him? He’s lost his childhood friend.