Sunday, October 22, 2017

At Hiruharama by Penelope Fitzgerald Analysis

The short story "At Hiruharama" was written by British writer Penelope Fitzgerald. Some interesting facts about her as a writer:
- she started publishing her works at the age of 60;
- she was one of the most awarded English writers.

The style of this story is rather specific: it focuses more on describing life in general rather than revealing the plot of the story. The narrator, who was the grandson of the main character and had the same name, used a pretext for describing the life of the first migrants in New Zealand from England. This is the first paragraph:
"Mr. Tanner was anxious to explain how it was that he had a lawyer in the family, so that when they all decided to sell up and quit New Zealand there had been someone they could absolutely trust with the legal business."

The plotline of the first paragraph has very little in common with the main plot line. It is quite a usual situation when somebody had suddenly seen something and it aroused the memories in somebody's mind and we could hear a vivid, detailed story about the past. The author used the short introduction "That meant that he had to say something about his grandfather" and started telling the story about the life of the new settlers in New Zealand.

This is a story about the first settlers in New Zealand from England. Mr. Tanner worked for a well-to-do family in Auckland. He met a 16-year-old girl, Kitty, who worked for another family. They married and started their life in quite a remote place, named Hiruharama which means Jerusalem.

There were no people in that place. When Kitty said that she was expecting a baby, Mr.Tanner rode to Auckland city, where he found a doctor. On his way back to Hiruharama he was given a few post pigeons which he wanted to use to call the doctor when his wife would be about to give birth. The language which the author used, drew out the vivid picture a simple life. A lack of convenience, the absence of civilization and strong character of people - it is what Penelope Fitzgerald presented to the readers.

At Hiruharama by Penelope Fitzgerald


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