Essay about Erosive

1063 Words May 24th, 2016 5 Pages
Erosive – Ali Smith

“The waking thought of her, sunlit and new, then the all-day hopeful lightheadedness, and behind it all, dull as a blown-out light bulb, the fact of the word never.” (ll. 5-7 p. 1). The quote is from the nameless main character in Ali Smith’s short story “Erosive” from 2003. As the quote implies Ali Smith tells the story of unrequited love. Through post modernistic techniques he portrays the main characters coping with hopeless love. A distinctive feature of post-modernistic literature is that they are often open to interpretation. The story can therefore be analyzed in multiple ways, and the observations I have made are not “set in stone”.

The main character in “Erosive” is a first-person narrator who falls in
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Hereby the story ends with the beginning. The author therefore uses the technique “temporal distortion” to jump backwards in time. After telling about the meeting he jumps back into the present: “Days later, weeks later, possibly months, I am in love (…).”(ll. 25, p. 153) This indicates that the story is back in the present, where he is just as much in love as in the beginning. Naming the part “beginning” could thereby also be referring to a figurate beginning, and not the literal beginning of the story. More specific, that he is exactly where he started in terms of his feelings. The odd structure could symbolize the cycle of unrequited love. If we assume that the tree represents the narrator himself and ants represent his damaging feelings, he tries to fight them in every way. He first tries to calmly remove them with paint and chili, and in the end he cuts down the whole tree to remove himself from his feelings. However, as before mentioned, he does not manage to get rid of the infested apple tree, and he is back where he started: absorbed in love with a girl he can’t have.

Besides a post-modernistic structure, Ali Smith uses post-modernistic techniques. One of the features is “hyper reality”. Hyper reality characterizes the inability to distinguish between reality and fiction. While reading, we assume that the narrator cuts down the tree. However, in the last paragraph we find out that the tree is still standing,

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