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Sorry for the Loss

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”Sorry for the Loss”
- by Bridget Keehan

“Sorry for the Loss” is a short story written by Brigdet Keehan. The story is a about a woman named Evie, who works at a prison as a chaplain. She has been working as a chaplain for over a year but she is still not completely comfortable with job. Evie has to inform one of the prisoners named Victor of the loss of his grandmother. His reaction to this is surprising. By analyzing examples from the text, this essay will describe Victor’s reaction to Evie’s news and the symbolism within this text. Furthermore, how Evie thrives at her job.
Victor’s reaction to the news about his grandmother, who I will refer to as Nan, is unexpected. Evie has never delivered a death notice before but she definitely did not expect it to be easy. “I hope she was stoned. No straight up. She was a pot head, serious. She said it was for her MS4, but I think she’d have been a pot head even if she wasn’t sick. But good luck to her. Whatever gets you through right?”. This example shows how Victor stays calm and it appears it does not affect him. The loss of a family member normally exclaims emotions rather you are a sensitive person or not. (p.4, l.99) “He sniffs hard then looks to the small thick…..”Why should a dog, a horse, a pigeon have life and Nan no breath at all? Evie finally gets the courage to break the bad news surprisingly he just change the subject and refers to Shakespeare. The reason for this might be that he is hiding his emotions behind a façade. (p.4,l.76-79), “Despite having already served five years most of it young offenders’institute….”. He served five years, and will probably serve another five years so he needs to find a way to make it. Victor is a young and handsome person, easy target and in this environment, he knows showing weakness will not make it easier. Victor knows that no matter if he cries he can neither come to the funeral nor do anything about it, so why breakdown now when it will not make a difference.
The animals in this text symbolizes Victor’s feelings and circumstances. (p.4,l.99), ”He sniffs hard then looks to the small thick barred window where a pigeon is perched, cocking its head from side to side”. The moment Evie comes in to tell him about the news, Victor is looking at pingeons through the barred window. This is very relevant because pigeons symbolizes freedom, which he obviously does not have. Another animal that is mentioned is the butterfly. Victor is sentenced for a murder which he committed with a butterfly Knife. The butterfly symbolizes life, death and metamorphosis, which is relevant in his case. The butterfly symbolizes how he took another man’s life the price for that was growing up. Victor also tells a story about his cell-neighbor who earns the pigeons trust by feeding them in order to kill them, which symbolizes how the prisoner has betrayed their freedom.
Evie has worked as a prison chaplain for over a year but has still not settled in her working place. (p.1,l.14)” She likes to walk over from the chaplaincy to whichever wing she is working on before the prisoners are unlocked, this allows her time to try and feel comfortable in her surroundings before the landings become choked with prisoners”. The fact that she needs to prepare herself before working proves how insecure she feels at work. She has not even after a year found the right security in her job in order to feel safe in her workplace. The noises coming from the prisoners and the guards are enough to startle her and make her unfocused. The way she describes the noises gives the reader the impression that the sounds are louder than they actually are. (p.1,l.27-29),”The mix of sounds creates such a cacophonous din that Evie considers it a wonder the thick stone walls that separate this world from the one outside contain the noise”. Even the guard’s keys can make enough noise for her to feel uncomfortable.
In conclusion, Victor’s unexpected reaction is caused by his necessity to keep his façade up in order to survive prison. Victor see no reason for him to show weakness or emotions to the news because he knows he cannot do anything about it, and it will not make a difference. The symbolism shines through, as said earlier in this essay, where the inmate tricks the pigeons into coming close enough for him to kill them. The betrayal of freedom and trust is clear examples of how they belong in the prison. The example with the pigeons is therefore a symbol of their personalities and how they never changed into the butterfly. Evies feels uncomfortable at her working place because of the circumstances of working in a prison.

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