How we form and structure our life is self-elected. We have the freedom to make our own decisions. We may swim with the current but we follow it in our own personal way. We are all dealing with personal issues which some times make our life a living hell. Opposition sometimes turns life into one big mess, but we all need it in our lives. With opposition we can be aware of things that we wouldn’t appreciate if we didn’t have opposition in life.
Suddenly we see things clearly and we love them more than ever before.
The short story “A Gap of Sky” written by Anna Hope in 2008, deals with the issues of a nineteen-year-old girl. The short story takes its beginning in media res where our main character finds herself in an unhealthy and chaotic environment filled with alcohol, drugs and essay deadlines. Ellie our main character is living away from her parents in London. Ellie’s character is wild and confused.
She misses a sort of guide to show her the right direction, since she seems to be easily persuaded. Ellie wakes up from a wild night in the city with only a vague memory of what happened. One thing she remembers is saying a name out loud. “And then getting up and saying, Virginia Woolf! very loudly in the middle of the room. And everyone laughing”. Ellie is aware of the essay deadline, and it fills up her mind.
The fact that Anna Hope has chosen Virginia Woolf to be a part of her short story shows that there exists a sort of connection between the two characters.
Virginia Woolf’s writing is written in a stream of consciousness. The books of Virginia Woolf are dealing with the person’s thoughts and feelings. Beside that her work is very experimental and innovating. Virginia Woolf was a woman fighting with her personal issues but anyhow she managed to find the strength to overcome the issues and to become a success. Through the text we learn how Ellie reacts in certain situations, and how Ellie and Virginia Woolf have some similarities. Ellie’s character also has a lot of inner strength. She wants to write the essay, not only because of the deadline but also to fulfill her parents expectations.
A third-person narrator tells the short story with access to Ellie’s thoughts and point of view. Consequently the language is told as a nineteen-year-old girl would express herself. Ellie’s personal perspective is shown in the text. The fresh air will be a good thing. The air is cold, makes her gasp. In the first sentence we are almost literally located in Ellie’s head reading her thoughts. The subsequent sentence is a description of how Ellie reacts to the fresh and cold air that meets her when she steps outside. With an inner view to Ellie’s thoughts we also develop the impression of a hectic and chaotic existence.
The stress Ellie is suffering from is shown in this line: Student shop too. Fine. Time? Ten minutes to get there. Shit. There appears alternately a comma and a word, which is a way of expressing stressful situations. The fact that the lines are short and written as a stream of consciousness, as in Virginia Woolf’s books, gives the impression of a very confused main character. Ellie does not have a lot of control over the situation and her thoughts are all over the place.
There will be time for everything: time to get ink, to get cigarettes. In one minute she seems down to earth and she is radiating positive thoughts. And the next she throws it all on the ground and gives up. Fuck Virginia Woolf. She’s never been in there before, and so, why not?. Almost every tenth sentence Ellie changes her mind about what to do. She has a hard time controlling her thoughts and actions. That may be the reason to her drug consumption. When Ellie is on her way to finding the printer ink she discovers the glove, which she interprets as a sign. The glove was a sign, for sure it was a sign.
Ellie is the kind of person who believes that things happen for a reason. The world is not created by coincidences. The clove affects her and her way of direction. Suddenly she follows two random South American-looking men. Ellie is not afraid of jumping into new adventures and she keeps postponing the essay deadline. Ellie is constantly in an inner conflict with herself about the essay deadline.
Ellie is trapped between expectations and freedom. She thinks of this past year, of university, and it feels like sludge, like thick dark sludge in her brain. Ellie is not taking her education seriously and she knows that she has to write the essay in order to stay on the course. She is just not quite sure for whom she is taking the course. Is it for herself? Or is it to fulfill her parents expectations? In the end of the text Ellie feels guilty. A distilled expression of something, of her mother, of her love, and Ellie had just shoved it away, taken it for granted. This feeling of guilt causes her next action.
An action of a nineteen-year-old girl who is taking her future and education seriously and is fulfilling her parents expectations. She will write her essay and that will be a good thing. A good thing and the right thing to do. The importance of the city setting is expressed in the end of the short story. She ends up finding a place to buy printer ink and the story ends happily. When everything is hopeless and chaotic the only thing she wants to do is to go to the river. To see the wide river and wash this feeling clean.
Ellie wants a clean slate so she can start over. When Ellie finds herself in the museum she also responds negatively to the many cultural surroundings and the many people. “She wants to be outside, to stay outside, to walk and walk and walk”. Through the whole text there are examples of Ellie preferring to be outside in the fresh air than being inside. Ellie likes the idea of a world full of freedom without expectations. Her long time longing after freedom is expressed in the city setting and what part of the city she enjoys the most. Youth is not always as easy as it sounds.
Ellie is part time living a life in freedom and she is able to make her own decisions but she is also the one who has to live with the consequences of her decisions. Her parents expectations and the essay deadline are putting a lot of stress on her shoulders. Her drug and alcohol consumption is a way of escaping from reality. The consumption has been rough on her but it has helped her to realize what the most important things in life are.