A Gap of sky
Which way will I go? But the time of reflection is not ere long at times as the light turns to yellow and you have to prepare yourself to press the speeder and drive when you see the green light. Youth is a Journey – a journey where we are chasing green lights. But some might find it difficult to make these choices; they feel the pressure and escape from life, from reality by indulging in drugs and alcohol. This abuse is a call for help. It can be defined as an act of depression, a protest against responsibilities or a run from an old life.
It could be a search for freedom, self-reflection and determination, which Is the case In Anna Hope’s short story “A Gab of Sky’ from 2008. This Is a story about a young girl, Ell, who Is caught In a dilemma between the expectations from others and her own desires. It’s a portrait of a girl with a drug problem and a description of how the city can affect a person, who stands alone without any support or care from other people. The narrator is third person and omniscient.
The narrative technique can be described as a “streams of consciousness” which is a technique that writer and feminist Virginia Wolf use a lot in her work. This “stream” can be very confusing, because it describes the situation by every little thought of the person, who in this ease is very distractive and unfocused as a result of the drugs as the story is told from Else’s point of view. She is able to change her focus by the second. Elli Is a nineteen year old student, who lives In the heart of London.
She has a lot of pressure on her shoulders, because her parents have forced her to take, what she refers to as a: “bloody course” (p. 3, line 66) at the university College London, which she Is about to flunk if she don’t deliver an essay about Virginia Wolf. This is a problem, as Elli wakes up Monday at half past our in the afternoon, realizing that the essay, which he has not yet started to write, is due for Tuesday at nine focal sharp! Her thoughts and actions are flighty and hectic.
The hallucinatory drugs and the alcohol she had been taken and drinking the night before make her unfocused and as her printer has run out of ink, Elli decides that she has to out in the city to buy some ink even though all the stores are about to close. She is far from sober and the big city itself seems like a Jungle of distraction to her flighty mind. But she has a mission, something she has to do, so she moves through the streets side by side with other Londoner with a mission. It makes her feel Like a functional part in greater machinery and she feels good about It.
On her walk around town she realizes a lot of things. At some point Ell ends up In a store, where she finds a Jasper red stone. This stone reminds her of a stone her mother gave her once for protection. Now the mother. Like in the poem “Mother, any distance greater than a single span” by Simon Remarriage, Elli feels like her mother has only been there to do her motherly duties – for example forcing her to go to school or helping her measuring pelmets, which Elli isn’t see as an act of love, as she has not taken care of her emotionally.
But by recalling the episode with the stone, she realizes that her mother loves her: “Whatever, it was still an expression of something, a distilled expression of something, of her mother, of her love (p. 4, line 110-111). She sees a black leather glove with the middle finger pointing towards the sky and then she feels free, like she doesn’t have to answer to anyone.
She can take on the world; do whatever she wants and not worrying about anything or anyone: “She was totally and absolutely free, and sat night she smoked a crack pipe and danced on the rooftop in East London and everything was grey and misty but beautiful still, and she didn’t want the night to end, but it did, and then she was alone, and that was fine, and now she could go and do anything that she liked” (p. 3, line 69-73). It seems like Elli is on an eternal search for freedom and as the word “free” is used frequently throughout the text it could be a suitable theme for the story.
But then her head starts to hurt and she gets very scared of dying. This is what the drugs are doing to Elli. They do not Just affect her hectically and mentally, but they also stand in the way of her interacting with other people like it’s also described in text 4 from the US Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile and Delinquency Prevention: “Consequences of youth substance abuse”, which also explains the risk of abuse among young people and the serious problems it results in, like academic difficulties, health-related problems and poor peer relationships – criteria which all fits on Elli.
It is clear to the reader that “A Gap of Sky’ reflects the thoughts of a nineteen year old. The stream of consciousness is very much affected by the spoken language. Also, there is a lot of short fragmented sentences and a language, which clearly is influenced by the state of mind and a vocabulary of a younger person as there are a great deal of swearwords, repetitions, self-pointing questions and a sharp, fast-moving Jargon: “Good plan. Good, this was good, fine. Coffee plunged, poured, slurped; hot, buck that’s hot. Anything else? Of course: printer, printer’s out of ink.
Student shop too. Fine. Time? Ten minutes to get there. Chit. ” (p. 2, line 35-36). The setting of this story is urban. As said earlier, it takes place in the center of London. There is an obvious parallel between the title “A Gap of Sky’ and Else’s observation as she walks away from the museum where the pain started. She sees a physical gap in sky to her right. It’s described as: “an emptiness, a vacancy that she doesn’t remember having seen before” (p. 4, line 92) and she doses ‘t know whether something has been destroyed or if something is being built.
This description has a metaphorical meaning as it also describes how she feels inside herself. It could be a hole of emptiness within her consciousness – a hole, which she’s trying to fill out by indulging drugs. She doesn’t know whether the main means she’s dying or if it’s a sign that she now has the chance to build herself up again and start fresh. The text indicates the last option, given that she says she will never do coke again: “doesn’t want any more coke, ever again” (p. 4, line 88). That is, at least until she feels better again.
Now Elli realizes she has a whole life in front of her and she wants to gain everything out of it. She will like to “suck the pitch from of sky could also be referring to her search for freedom, a blend between giving up her childhood and build a future for herself: “something destroyed, or being built” (p. , line 93) and freedom scares her, because along with it comes all those choices and responsibility in which she has to deal with and this is a very common problem for young people. Some figures it out along the way and some doesn’t, unfortunately.
In the end, when Elli realizes that her mother does love her, she finds that she has a substance inside herself, which makes her and everybody else incredible. Now she can see that love exists everywhere around her. Elli still wants to enjoy her life. She knows the ink-shop at the end of the street will open when she gets there. So now he gives herself the time to sit down by the river, promising herself she will buy the ink and write the essay because it’s a good thing and it’s the right thing to do.
She will change her life and move forward to something better. B) The urban setting plays a significant role in this story in terms of Else’s drug problem and her self-realization. The city is always awake – it’s wild as a Jungle, presenting many opportunities for her to hide for problems instead of dealing with them. It also makes it very easy for her to get a hold of the different things she abuses: “There will e plenty time for everything: time to get ink, to get cigarettes: maybe even to get a bit more coke” (p. 4, line 54).
She can get anything she wants and it’s right there tempting her to get it. The story would be completely different if she’d been all alone with nothing but her own thoughts and reflections, like the young girl in Claries Leashes photograph “Frances – Reflection in the water” from 2008. If this were Else’s setting, she would be forced to deal with her abuse and her problems, which would be visible in the reflection of the water – instead of Just moving from one place to another depending on where her feet and head led her and what she saw in the city.
But this urban setting also becomes her saving, it helps her. Despite of everything that’s happen – her walk around in the city results in a stream of alternative thoughts, desires and cravings and in the end to the shop where it occurs to her that her mother loves her. This she might never have figured out without the help from her surroundings in the city. Furthermore, London provides Elli with a number of different paths, so when she is ready she can pick one – because Elli, like all of us young people, is also chasing the green lights.