The text as I see it has two themes: Homosexuality and society today (in the nineties). The relationship between Jaz and Tony as depicted in the story clearly shows that a homosexual relationship in many ways resembles a heterosexual relationship. Jaz and Tony have their occasional disputes as would any other couple – everything is normal. Yet they face some problems other couples would not. For example, it seems that Jaz has no contact (at least not very much) with his family anymore.
This sudden loss of contact with his family must come as a great surprise to him as he reacts very strongly to it. We are never told why Jaz’ family did not contact him that Christmas, but my guess would be that they did it on purpose, maybe by order of the father who was very much against Jaz moving in with Tony.
As we know that Jaz and Tony have lived together for almost three years, this must be the first year Jaz does not hear from his family.
If it was not, I do not think he would be as upset as he is. The way Tony responds to Jaz shows that Tony does not find it easy to express his feelings toward Jaz. He thinks that trying to comfort him would cause a worse temper whereas I believe that Jaz would like some words of consolation. Of course Tony knows Jaz better than I do, but most people like some comforting when they are upset about something.
(In the following paragraphs I presume that the city referred to in the text is London. This may not be correct, but I know of no other English city with an Underground). Miss Massey and her situation is not unusual in London. There are many destitute people living on a day-to-day basis just like herself. We Danes are not used to seeing homeless people walking around in the streets here in Denmark, but in London this is a normal sight. Some of them have chosen to live their life in the streets (just like our “bag ladies”), but the majority has been forced to live in the streets because of their financial situation. We are not directly told whether Miss Massey has chosen to live in the streets herself or has been forced to do so because of her financial situation, but I have a feeling that it is her own choice. She never complains about her life or the system, she seems to be very satisfied with her life as it is.
Her only problem is that she is sick. That is not unusual at her age, but in her case it is probably because she has lived in the streets for such a long time. The rough weather taxes any person’s health, especially if one is getting on in years. The picture of society as presented in the text gives us a very realistic picture of London today. The description of the homeless is very matter-of-fact, nothing is embellished to make it sound better than it actually is. Miss Massey lives in a cupboard in an Underground station. She is lucky – many people do not have a roof over their head at all. They have to sleep in the streets and beg for money to live for. This is one of the things that characterizes London: The destitute people. You see them on every corner and in every back alley in London. Miss Massey has lived in the street for many years. This is another thing which characterizes many larger cities. Once you are without a roof over your head, you stay that way forever. We see the same thing happening everywhere in the world today. More and more people are without a home today, and most of them will stay that way if not for the rest of their lives then for a very, very long time. A thing which is not depicted in the story is how homosexual couples are looked upon in general. This varies quite a lot from country to country, but in most countries gay couples are not welcome everywhere. I do not know how the situation is in England, but if gay couples had been very unwelcome in England, the text would probably have described the situation in some way. I think gay couples are widely accepted in Danish society, but I have nothing to base this allegation on, it is purely a guess.
Based on what we know about Tony and Jaz, the ending does not come as a surprise to me. They often talk at cross purposes and thereby misunderstand each other at times. This is exactly what happens in the end of the story. Tony wants to show that he really loves Jaz and wants to help him with all his problems as much as he is able to, but Jaz is not sure he understands him right and Tony is not sure he expressed himself clearly enough. This, I think, is the beginning of the end of their relationship unless something drastic is done. No relationship can exist if the persons involved do not understand each other. I believe that Tony and Jaz will work out their problems, but no one knows for sure if they are able to open up to each other and thereby understand each other better. A continuation of the story: When they got home, they were met by a foul smell of vomit. They immediately hurried into the living room where they found Miss Massey lying on the floor with her face buried in vomit.
“What has happened?!”, Jaz asked her with a strident voice while supporting her head with one hand. She did not look good – her face was very pale and her eyes had a very distant look. Tony had already gone to the kitchen to get some water. “It’s the medicine,” Miss Massey stuttered, “I think I’m allergic to it.” She had a fit of coughing and it sounded as if she was going to regurgitate once again, but she managed to keep it inside her this time. Tony came back with a glass of water and handed it to Jaz. “Here, have a drink of water,” Jaz said holding the glass to her lips. She sipped a few times and began to cough again. “We have to get her to the hospital,” Tony said to Jaz, clearly concered about Miss Massey. She was about to protest, but Tony and Jaz both gave her a look that could not be misunderstood. She was going to the hospital, no doubt about it. Jaz was driving the car to the hospital, Tony and Miss Massey were in the back seat of the car. Miss Massey had not coughed much since they left the apartment, but just before they reached the hospital, she went into a paroxysm of coughing. Her face became all blue and she gasped for breath. Tony tried to pat her on the back, but that did not help. “Then do something, dammit!”, Jaz screamed, but there was nothing Tony could do. When they arrived at the hospital, Miss Massey was unconscious. Jaz ran ahead to find a doctor.
Tony had Miss Massey in his arms when he arrived at the casualty department. In no time, a doctor and three nurses were working on her, stuffing needles and tubes into her. Tony and Jaz who were both paralyzed, were escorted to the waiting room by another nurse who told them not to worry about Miss Massey – she was going to be just fine. Neither Tony nor Jaz believed her, but they were both too shocked to protest. It was not twenty minutes before the doctor who had received them at the entrance entered the waiting room with a sad look on his face. Miss Massey had died. Tony and Jaz could not believe their own ears. They had never given any thought to how it would be to lose Miss Massey and how much she really meant to them. Now when she was dead, they had all the time in the world to think about it. And they did. Overs’ttelse: Why was Jack the Ripper never found? In the autumn of 1888, the inhabitants of London were frightened out of their wits. A murderer called Jack the Ripper had killed five women in the most brutal way. The victims were all prostitutes from Whitechapel, a slum area in London.
In spite of the fact that the police had concentrated all available manpower on the case, they never succeeded in finding the culprit, and the case was officially closed in 1892. At that time, many of the technical methods of investigation we know of today did not exist. In the nineteenth century, the police had difficulties solving a crime unless the culprit was caught in the act or an eyewitness was found.
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