The Dress Essay
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She wants her daughters to make an effort for her, to show her that she is worth something and that she IS loved, but the girls are too caught up in their own business to even notice her. When Flora suddenly brings up Rachel’s mood all hell is loose “”What are you angry about”, asked Flora in a lightly whipped voice… “. Rachel answers: “You know why I’m angry”, but Flora denies all knowledge of the dress’ whereabouts, making Rachel even angrier, eventually making her decide to never see the sister again.
When back home Rachel packs her things and gets ready to leave. When her sister finds out that she is leaving she is shocked and confused, but still denies knowing anything about the dress, not yet ready to confess her sin and take the fall from power, and oblivious to the fact that this is not just about the dress anymore. It is about their life. “”It’s only a dress”, whispered Flora, “only a scrap of material””. For Rachel this is not true. The dress is for her a symbol of her power and status and it is HERS, not Floras.
Flora has crossed a line so great, that Rachel cannot forgive her, even after Floras has admitted to steal the dress, wearing it out drinking cocktails and ruining it by accident. Flora knows that she has done something wrong by taking the dress, and she knows that what she did was serious and dangerous, but not why – thus she buried the ruined dress in the garden. Flora knows inside that her actions have more meaning than just taking a dress, but does not know exactly what, and therefore just followed her instincts, which told her to get rid of the evidence and to deny everything.
Now that all cards are on the table Flora feels terrible, she is scared and she knows that she has broken something that cannot be repaired. Her sister leaves with a “Happy birthday” as her last, sarcastic words to her mother, and leaves Flora alone with her mother, who is devastated and furious: “Everything is ruined. You are a thief”. The mother feels as though the last piece of normalcy and happiness has been taken from her, that her family is now completely ruined and that she will never be a part of a happy celebration like the one at the restaurant.
“”I want you to dig it up and give it back”, “But it will be all dirty”, moaned Flora, “You will pay your sister back! ” she snarled. ” She feels as though her life is shattered in bits and pieces, and in a desperate attempt to resemble it she orders Flora to dig up the dress, to make everything go back to normal. She suddenly has someone to blame for her broken home and for all the things she did not accomplish in life, for example her dream of becoming a jewelry maker, to live a fun, vibrant life and have a husband and two sweet children and to be truly happy.
Suddenly Flora and her stealing of the dress represents everything she has not accomplished in life and all the things she never will, and crying she throws Flora, who does still does not understand the reactions of her mother and sister, out of the house, and the dress, that really is not important, is forgotten. The story is structured into four parts which you could headline 1. Rachel’s discovery, 2. Flora and the dress, 3. The denial and build-up of emotions, 4. Letting off steam.
The way the story is structured gives the reader an in-depth insight in the three women’s emotional life and reason of actions, and the relationship they have with each other from each of the persons’ point of view. The chronological way that the story is structured builds up frustration and anger in almost every sentence, making the reader aware that something has to happen in the end, somehow all these emotions cannot stay bottled up forever, and it is a very effective way of writing.
The main themes of this short-story are probably jealousy, family and hierarchy. The jealousy and rivalry between two teenage sisters, and their constant pushing and testing of each other and fight for being number one in the hierarchy, the mother’s jealousy towards people having fun, living the good life that she has always wanted and never can have. The question of how much or little it takes to destroy a family and how something as simple as a dress can take on so many meanings.
The short-story “The dress” deals with just how dangerous emotions can become if not dealt with and talked about, how small things can ruin everything and push people over the edge, and how rivalry, jealousy and betrayal can break up a family, and last but not least how everything is not as it seems. Rikke Juelsgaard Petersen Til d. 22. oktober ’08. Engelsk aflevering 3e, EG 1 Show preview only The above preview is unformatted text This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Miscellaneous section.