Explain how the author helps us to understand the children’s view(s) of Helen and/or Simon throughout the text.
Support your answer with references to the techniques used.
- Why are the children interested in Helen and/or Simon
- How the other children respond to Helen and/or Simon
- What children are like
The narrator of the short story uses listing when describing Simon, they begin with listing his flaws. “… his meaty hands, his arms and legs thick and slightly grotesque;” The narrator continues on listing the flaws that Simon has been stated to have. The use of listings, is a child like way of speaking. As children, especially young children stumble on their words they tend to use lists when describing something to an audience. Another aspect of child like speech the narrator depicted was that they used and very frequently. Children as stated above stumble on their words and tend to use short filler words to fill pauses, so the use of and could be suggesting that the narrator is speaking on behalf of a young person or presenting the text to a young audience. The narrator also used several similes in the text, this enabled us to develop an understanding of what the character (Simon/Helen) looks like in comparison to a thing we already know of in our current lives. A simile used in the text was directed to a description of Simon, “…skin like a malignant growth.” The use of malignant provokes connotative meanings, as malignant is often associated with a cancerous disease or a uncontrollable danger that won’t stop growing.
Perhaps the intimidating nature of Simon was what drew children’s attention towards him. In a room filled with children all basically identical to one and another in every way, a boy like Simon was only destined to stand out. Children are inquisitive by nature, so they tend to question social/everyday abnormalities. We are able to tell that Simon was viewed as abnormal by the use of ‘morbid’ in the third paragraph. In paragraph three, the narrator describes the school and their response to Simon and Helen. They’re viewed as dirty, they are picked on for their appearance. The narrator describes how the children began to make their existence’s a little more obvious to Simon, by calling him names. The only purpose of this was to get a reaction out of him. Children to things to see the reaction, they explore their curiosity’s without thinking of the harm/impact they are causing/having on Simon.
Even though the other children at the school may or may not realise, they pick on/judge Simon and Helen for things that they may not have personal control over in their lives. The children’s views at the school could be an indicative expression on how society views all walks of life. People make assumptions of those they see. They assume the worst, even though they have no evidence to back up or support their thoughts/opinions. We live in societies filled with presumptions of how people should be, how they should appear, how they should act, how they should appear. And children, they are so accustomed to that. Whether it is from a lack of mature understanding or from the way they were raised, We live in societies developing kids and teaching them how to be young judicators.