Sorryfor the Loss
English and Literature
Submitted By ayuush
Sorry for the loss
A big part of our future is in our own hands, we create our own future by ourselves in this modern society, despite being born with the knowledge that everybody is going to die, somehow death still remains a taboo and it is something we do not talk about. Everyday all around the world, babies are born while others are dying. This is a natural process of any individual, and that is what the earth has to offer any living chromosome. While imagining that, how it is to tell a stranger, that one of their dearest family members has departed. You do not have any idea about, how the person you are going to give this message would react. You don’t even know who the person is at all, or how he looks like. The message is not meant to hurt him, but it is possible that the person will get hurt. This is a hard situation that awakes many thoughts, while trying to find some answers. Therefore it is good that, the short story written by the narrator Bridget Keehan called “Sorry for the loss” from 2008, deals with these anxiety provoking issues, which raise questions about different lifestyles, and how to handle difficult situations like these.
Bridget Keehan tells the story by a 3rd person narrator, with a limited omniscient point of view, as it only has access to the main characters knowledge and experiences. The other characters are described from the main characters view, which means that the story is subjective, but that subject is something I’ll bring up later. What I want to talk about now is this story, which starts in media- res, where we get introduced to the chaplain Evie, who has worked in the prison for over a year, despite that she does not like to work there. She does not like the atmosphere in the prison. It intimidates her; noises over there make her feel uncomfortable. That is the reason why she treasures whenever the prisoners are outside. Evie is this, religious girl, who behaves properly. She follows the bible and likes to use her quite time to mediate and pray. Evie is described as a very fragile and feminine person, which is completely opposite to the prison’s harsh environment. The prison is described as something that’s very loud and cold, and it is surrounded by thick stone walls. Besides that, the prison is full of big men and ‘testosterone voices’ so Evie’s gentle and feminine character doesn’t really fit in. Evie is also a contrast to the prisoners, since Evie follows God’s rules, while many of the prisoners have committed murder or rape etc. which is completely against the catholic believes. Everyone one knows that prisoners are in jail, by the fact, that they have done bad things-nothing serious for Evie, but it does not change her mind. She tries to understand how the prisoners feel. She likes to put herself in others… shoes, but she can still get nervous too, and that is something she does, when she gets the duty to deliver the message about the loss. She has to carry forward the message to Victor. The loss in this case is Victor’s Nan, who is dead, from where the title also comes “Sorry for the loss.” Victor is this young, good looking boy, who has olive skin, sparkling eyes and a big white smile with a glint of gold filling. Because Victor is very young, Evie’s heart immediately feels sorry for him, and that is the reason, why she is scared to give him the message about the loss of his Nan. Victor has been in prison for five years, but although he has been there for a long time, he is different, than the other prisoners. He is not even close to look like the other prisoners. Victor seems quite immature, but even though he seems young and not clever. He spends his time in prison on studying, and takes part in the book club where he refers to the tragedy; when he talks to Evie. Though he has a quite interesting interpretation of the Shakespearean tragedy, he imagines Cordelia as being a stoned pothead.
Evie and Victor have some differences and similarities. The difference between them both is, Evie follows the bible whereas Victor is catholic, he does not practicing the religion as much like Evie do. He likes to explore new things and other religions instead. The similarity is that they both are very kindhearted persons; this is shown especially where Victor behaves well, when Evie visits him, despite that they do not know each other. When Evie visits him, he does not seem to care about his Nan; instead he shows some emotions for the pigeons outside his window. It can be related to, that the other prisoner’s cells in jail are filled with family photographs or pictures of women, but Victor’s cell is completely empty
As I mentioned, Victor shows some emotions, for a Pigeon. It is a symbol that the author uses. A pigeon is a bird, and it is a symbol of freedom. This is one of the themes, to yearn for freedom, but the text also depicts about trust and sincerity. The prisoners know, more than anyone that freedom can be taken away from everyone in the blink of an eye. Another symbol the author uses is the window. It is used as a symbol of the prisoner’s dreams about freedom, when they look outside the window. They dreams about a life on the other side of the bars. In prison they only see “a slice of road leading out of town.” It says that the window is an object, which allows you to look and see the different parts of the world. The window is not only used as a symbol, but also as a contrast between free and captured. This contrast is also shown through the office workers on the street. When the prisoners look outside the window, they can see the office workers on their way to work. The office workers are free men who have jobs and lives, while the prisoners don’t really have any purposes in their lives, since they are trapped behind the bars. Another contrast in the story is Victor. Victor is a contrast himself, because his outer beauty camouflages his inner murderer. In the beginning, the reader almost feels sorry for Victor, because he seems so genuine, but once the officer tells Evie that Victor is a murderer, we realize that it’s just a facade. Victor is a contrast, because he is both good and bad, and that’s why the butterfly knife symbolizes him – it looks beautiful and harmless, but it can cause extreme damage, because a butterfly knife is a symbol that shows how beauty can hide something cruel. The text puts focus on the fact that everyone has their own secrets, whether it is shown or not. It remains me about the quote: Never judge a book by its cover At last, the story leaves a strong reference to the message of the title “Sorry for the Loss”. I believe the title to be short allegory, which refers to both the death of the Nan and the loss of Victor’s future. He faced a destiny to which freedom was just a dying hope, all because of one wrong choice, a trapped child in the nest of the devil. Worst of all, only Evie felt sorry for him.
[ 1 ]. Evie is the second most important main character.
[ 2 ]. The place, where he stands now is her favorite meditative spot within the jail.. (page 2 line 33)
[ 3 ]. Page 1 line 25
[ 4 ]. She also imagine jesus as being one of the prisoners..(page 2 line 41)
[ 5 ]. Shown in the text at the page 3 line 75 and page 4 line 136
[ 6 ]. SORRY FOR THE LOSS
[ 7 ]. The tragedy: King Lear , by Shakespeare
[ 8 ]. Page 4 line 114
[ 9 ]. Victor’s neighbor treats the pigeons badly, he feeds them with crumbs, so they get to trust him, then he catches one of them and traps it. (page 4 line 128)
[ 10 ]. The prisoners can look at the office workers with envious eyes (page 2 line 50)