Sorry for the loss is a short story written by Bridget Keehan and is from Eagle in the Maze- An Anthology of Stories from the Rhys Davies Short Story Competition 2008. Mainly the story deals with contrasts and how you see people. It is always hard to deliver bad news, especially when you do not know how the receiver will react. Evie, a female prison guard, shall in the beginning of the story tell about the death of a grandmother to Victor a prisoner. It is the first death notice she will deliver alone, therefore is Evie is worried about how Victor, a prisoner she does not know, will react when he hears the bad news “(…) her question is really about whether Victor is the dangerous, unpredictable type who might want to throw a punch at news of his loss.” This does not only show how her workplace is but also she had tried to tell bad news before, where the imprisoned acted violent. Even though Evie has been a prison guard in over 1 year she is still uncomfortable and find the environment of prison “abrasive and intimidating” . Evie is very religious and uses her “breaks” to pray and calm down, praying is her shot of heroin. Luckily, Victor does not tend to lose it . Actually is Evie confused over how well Victor receive the news about his grandmothers dead.
All he do is quoting Shakespeare´s tragedy King Lear ” Why should a dog, a horse, a pigeon have life and Nan no breath at all?” Evie get the feeling that Victor is more concerned about the pigeon which his neighbor teases than the death of his grandmother, whose death he is unable to show emotions. Victor is not like how Evie think he would be “Victor Zamora is not the angry man (…)but a slight, good-looking boy who appears barely old enough to be in an adult jail. ” ” His eyes have spark and his olive skin makes the blue of his eyes appear all the brighter” The prisoner is therefore a good-looking young man. He can quote Shakespeare which mean he is intellectual but his language is still poor “No I’m safe ta, would you?” He is catholic but does not show up to the Friday afternoon mass or our religious protagonist would know him. He prefer the imam instead of the priest and study the Qur’an. Evie is wondering how a boy like him, intelligent, religious and good looking ended up her. The answer confuses her. Victor stabbed another pupil at his school, who teased him. “She wanders back to the chapel trying to imagine a butterfly knife and the damage it could wreak and wondering at the strangeness of how a thing so hard and sharp, designed to cut, slice and stab, could be named after something so delicate and easy to kill.”
She compare the butterfly knife with Victor, how can Victor look like he does but still be so emotionless and be a murder? Nothing is as it seems like, don’t judge a book on its cover. The narrative technique Bridget Keehan uses, is the story stars in medias res, which means that we are thrown into the story without further introduction about the characters or plot. The plot of the story proceeds chronologically which means that the reader experiences the events at the same time as the main character (Evie) and without jumping in time. The short story is told by a third-person narrator, with a limited omniscient point of view, as it only has access Evie’s knowledge and experiences. The other characters like Victor are described from Evie´s point of view, which make the story subjective. Another narrative technique Bridget Keehan uses is contrasts The author Bridget Keehan has used many contrasts in her short. There is a contrast between the prison environment and the life outside, which is only separated by walls ” (…)it a wonder the thick stone walls that separate this world from the one outside contain the noise.
But they do” This can also include a contrast between being caught in a cell and being free as the people outside a big window, where Evie often looks out. Another big contrast is between Evie and the prison and prisoners. Evie i religious, goes to church every Friday, prays a lot, is a good girl and follows the rules. She is a woman, who want to help other people, and she is very emotional. On the other hand there is in the prison, some dangerous, unpredictable types, who do not believes in god, and obviously do not follow the rules, and is the bad guys. The prisoner, Victor, is a contrast himself. He has two different sides, one is a young good looking intelligent and religious man and on another hand he is a murder. Just like the butterfly knife, which is also a contrast connected to Victors contrast. The butterfly knife symbolizes him it looks beautiful and harmless.