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Response: Connecting”the Outsider” and “The Red Sari”

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In the short story „The Outsider“ by Graeme Lay as well as in „The Red Sari“ by Apirana Taylor the author demonstrates the existence of things in life the main character, but also the reader might not be aware of. Possibly don‘t want to be aware of.

The awareness of both things have a great impact on the main character. In „The Outsider“ a young girl called Justine is confronted with the cirumstance that not all men have good intentions, after beeing left pregnant by her boyfriend Karl. She is very shocked although there were a lot of clues indicating towards it. He suggested in the beginning he would only „stay a bit“. it takes till the end of the story for her to realize she actually means little to him. Surfing is a „Life-Force“ for him and she just seems to be a „nice thing“ in his life. This is indirectly revealed in the expression: „ And Justine would already be at the bach, and the fire in the coal range would be alight(..)“ Only once does she think that he wont stay forever. „It was the only time he had ever mentioned the future (…) gave her the feeling that (…) he might leave (…)“ In the end the author uses the words: „(…) the sound of the waves, breaking violently against the distant reef.“ The waves symbolize Justine‘s feelings, swirling emotions like waves, they literally „destroy“ her plans for the future. Karl loved surfing those waves, leaving Justine for them, and so the waves destroyed her dream of a future with him.

Also in „The Red Sari“ the world of the main character changed after becoming aware of the poverty. He isn‘t meeting a „Bad Boy“ like Karl who may spoil his life, changing his life, but he experiences the savage poverty of India. Both Justine and the main character allow them to come into their lives and affect their feelings. However his experience in a traffic jam in New Delhi is only lasts about one hour, he spends this time trying to distract himself from it.(„Could we turn the radio up?“) A begging girl is asks him for some rupees, but he ignores her and justifies his decision by thinking that „there are millions of them“ and that God will look after them. („Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth“) He does have feelings of compassion and responsibility, but he is also disgusted by the sight of the „dirty, filthy beggars“. He seems to be dazzled by the great extent of the poverty. In the end there is no evidence shown that he will return to help them. Not only is Justine suffering in the end, not only is the main character feeling uncompfortable, so is the reader. The author is writing from the point of view of the third person so we also get to know Karl‘s emotions and thoughts.

The reader realizes earlier than Justine that Karl won‘t stay. For example the sentence: „He knew about places she had hardly ever heard of(…)“ shows how different they are. The reader might also think of personal experiences, where a friend or the reader himself got „used“ by a boy. The reader may experience memories and feelings of anger or sadness. The reader also could be upset, because Justine is loving him so blindly and also, because Karl leaves her without a note. The stories not only reveal their messages to the charaters but also to the reader. Some readers might be like Justine and tend to underestimate men. Those readers may learn from these messages. The text is written very realisticly and uses vivid imagary, which make it easy to relate to. It might be a little bit harder to get into „The Red Sari“ , because it is sometimes written like an interiour monologue of the main character, with short sentences and topic changes. (e.g. „New Delhi. Traffic Jam. (…) Better luck next time.“) The author probably picked that view, because one of the main conflicts is taking place within the character himself. The poverty is described with great detail and is the author is not afraid to tell it like it is.. („She‘s got no fingers on one hand and no hand on the other arm.“)

Not only the main character is becoming aware of this aspect of life so to is the reader. Apirana Taylor uses many stilistic devices to make the story appear more realistic (e.g.“(…)crunched up concertina car waring a traffic light for a hut(…)“ seeing the story through the eyes of the main charater you get to know all the feelings he has. Sometimes I felt the urge to stop reading and escape, I didn‘t want to know about „a fleshless old lady in rags picking bones“ or that the beggars take babies with them to get the people‘s attention. But the author captivates the reader with the story also, because it is someimes mercyless and you want to know if the main character will solves this „dilemma“ The author used sacarsm as a technique that became a cushion for the reader, it created distance between and the intense situation and the reader.

One of the author‘s purposes might also have been to create a feeling of wanting to be somewhere else, The authors purpose for writing the stories might have been entertainment and inspiration, but also as Ive already mentioned to inform people about the hard hitting topics. Especially in „The Red Sari“ This story shares the critical views against Poverty, the position of Women in India and also the differences within the society. The inducement might also be a personal one, perhaps Graeme Lay knew someone who had a similar relationship or he just wanted to warn girls from obsessive love. He may have had similar feelings himself of hurt after being „used“ or he wanted to make men aware of their responsibitly for women‘s feelings. Apirana Taylor might have visited India and wanted to make people aware of what he had experienced. There are no clues in the stories about whether they have had personal connections to any of the characters or places they have written about, but it is most likely the authors have related these story to something they have known.

Both stories share the theme of a lack of awareness about a certain part in life that the author want‘s to inform the reader about. To show contrast „The Outsider“ gives no evidence that Justine really thought about the existence of people with bad intentions, But the main character in „The Red Sari“ must have known about and given some thought to the poor, but didn‘t want to be aware of it. Both chararcters lives changed due to there cicumstances. and the readers perception and attitude towards these subjects may also change after reading these stories. The author achieved in both stories the reader‘s attention through a good story line and the use of stylistic devices.

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