Dunmore presents the relationship between Carla and the head as if Carla despises him. ” He sees his staff together for ten minutes once a week, and as usual he had a pile of papers in front of him.” This quote shows that Carla finds him unpleasant, as 10 minutes out of one week is not a long time. She expresses this as if he should be more caring towards the staff of the school. I think Dunmore added this bit of information to give the reader a better understanding of Carla’s overall relationships with people in the school, as if they just glance over her, as if she is nothing. The part of “as usual he had a pile of papers in front of him” shows us that Carla is thinking of what it must be like to be the head, what it could be like to be of importance, this is why she despises him, because at the start, she sees herself as worthless with the way she describes her job.
During Carla’s voyage of discovery, she begins to lean a lot of things about herself which she had never come to realise were her main characteristics which together, all created the self conscious woman she is. Ashamed of her career, Carla is portrayed to under estimate what she is capable of. This assumption is created from the extrinsic feedback others give her and the way they fluctuate their personas. ‘Oh, er- Mrs, er- Carter’ Showing very little knowledge of his staff, the head teacher is illustrated to be an arrogant, audacious, aloof of a creature. With minute understanding of who this hesitant lady is, this shows just how little he cares and that he wouldn’t ever go out of his way to learn more about his staff and where they come from. Evidently he doesn’t even know Carla’s name, never mind her previous nationality. Hiding behind her facade, Carla is truly an ashamed woman who is embarrassed to tell her pen pal what her career really is all about. As a reader, I feel sympathy towards Carla as the writer has shown her feelings to be very emotional and hidden which is a way no one deserves to feel.
As a mother, Carla has to make herself feel more confident by doing things to others. For example, Carla wanted to ‘Let him think I’d written once and then not bothered.’ I feel this implies that Carla wants Steve to feel she isn’t interested; giving herself a confidence boost as this will make Carla believe that he is thriving for her to reply, also meaning that someone does actually want to talk to her. Writing to Steve has meant that he would become close to Carla because of who she is as a person, not because of her profession. Due to her lack of confidence, she believes that she’d ‘Never had letters like that before, and I was never going to again, not after Steve knew who I really was.’ However, her polish pen pal did actually like her for who she was