Samphire Essay, Research Paper
In the story Samphire by P O´Brian the writer make us feel sympathetic towards Molly by making the character extremely annoying, bullying Molly into doing things she doesn´t want to and appears to be a know all. All through out the story Samphire by P O´Brian Lacey is being annoying. The most annoying trait about the character Lacey is the fact that he is pompous and big headed. When right e.g. in the discovery of the Sampire he boasted to Molly and The Jones family that he could recognise the Samphire from a distance even though he had only seen specimens in a hortus siccus and illustrations in books. Molly´s reaction to this behaviour was not to joke or chastise him but a resigned silence as though it was an everyday thing. For example O´Brian writes, “He had already told them about the Samphire and he had said how he had recognised it at once from lower down”. This quote tells us that Lacey wants everyone to know about his achievements even people he doesn´t know like the Jones family and the hotel keeper. Most people reaction to this behaviour with silence probably embarrassed silence! Lacey treats Molly very badly all through the story. He is always telling her what to do and how to act. He also treated her in a patronising way as if she was not his equal. In quotes such to the hotel-keeper that “Molly was becoming quite the little botanist” he patronised her. In could not show affection towards her publicly, he stopped caressing her once the coast-guards appeared. He could easily have left his arm around her. Until the incident on the top of cliff she always walked behind him as in Asian and Japanese cultures where women are as valued differently than men.
Molly also clearly suffers from vertigo; Lacey has dominated her so much that she can be forced to climb higher and higher cliffs. From quotes such as “the round of her chin was trembling like a Childs before it cries” we can see the physical evidence of the domination of Lacey. Even the use of having a secret night-voice is sinister rather than intimate. The writer also paints an unflattering physical picture of Lacey in that although he is balding he combs his fine hair in such a way as to disguise the fact. Not only is he mean to Molly but he is also mean with his money, only so much can be spent per day and any overspend by himself on a walking stick meant Molly must go without her tea. In the text Molly was never offered an alternative present to compensate for the money Lacey had spent on his stick. In pre decimal times (the reference to shillings) it was difficult for women without independent means to get a divorce so Molly must have felt stuck with Lacey. Even after her desperate attempt to kill Lacey, once he had convinced himself that it was an accident, her reaction was giving up all hope. We know this because of the quote, “ she turned her dying face to the ground”. The closing line of Molly marching down the path suggests that nothing has changed. The whole story is written in favour of Molly and the hopelessness of her situation, only once in “ whether was it possible that he saw beauty there” does it make you feel that Molly had once loved him and he had thought her beautiful. This makes you feel sad though at Molly´s lost love. Lacey leads the story and most of the paragraphs are about his activities such as cliff walking and the purchasing of a walking stick. The reactions are always described through either Molly´s or another third persons eyes. This style of writing gives the reader no opportunity to know why Lacey is as he is. O´Brian portrays Lacey as snobbish and likes to act more important than he really is. The language that he uses to describe Lacey is very negative in its inference. The best example of this is, “… the nice couple from Letchworth (They where called Jones and had a greedy daughter: he was an influential solicitor.” This shows that he thought of anyone with power as nice people. Molly is always described as being weak O´Brian uses words such as, “Jelly” and “baby” and phrases such as “staring unseeing” and “trembling lips”. This makes the reader feel protective towards her. O´Brian does this to emphasis the treatment of women in unhappy relationships at the time the story was written.