Write about the ways Baines uses the symbols of the compass and the torch to convey important ideas in ‘Compass and Torch’.
‘The road ends at a gate.’ From the very start Baines is using symbolism, the first sentence symbolises the relationship between father and son – it’s a locked barrier, a closed door, the relationship is already broken but there is an uncertainty as of to whether it will be back to normal. ‘The boy… The man.’ The boy is living in the shadow of the man, they aren’t described as father and son, but boy and man, this could symbolise the broken relationship, but could also symbolise that it could be a scenario that many families encounter.
Symbolism is important in short stories as writers can say a lot in a short space using symbols, and there a 3 main symbols; the torch, the compass, and the horse. All of the symbols used are connotations. The horse could connote to the protective mother, the compass could connate to the boys lost relationship with the father, and the torch could connate to the possibility of the re-uniting of the father and son.
‘Not looking that way, ahead. He is watching the man’ this quotation shows us that the boy wants to be like his Dad, he wants to be able to talk to his Dad and have him back into the family, and for the Dad to except the boy as his son, this is further emphasised by the quote, ‘watching Dad. Watching what Dad is.’
As the boy comes downstairs, Jim – his mother’s boyfriend – he asks ‘Is it all in working order?’ and the boy ‘forced himself to put the torch into Jim’s big out-stretched hand’. The boy doesn’t want to hand the torch to Jim, it is something that he only wants his Dad to do ‘But Jim isn’t his dad’ this quote adds emphasis to this. However, when the boy tells his father that he has a torch, he doesn’t seem to be bothered – ‘He isn’t looking at the torch’. The boy wants his Dad to inspect the torch, but he doesn’t even look at it, this symbolises that the father is growing further and...