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Sweet Ladies

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Sweet ladies
“Sweet ladies” is a British short story adapted from the original story written by Rachel Cusk and published in 2003.
Sweet Ladies is about a woman named Sylvia Furnish who owns a candy store. One day a small group of women come into her store with all of their children and she catches one of the children stealing candy. Sylvia confronts the mother, and the son, named Troy, starts defending his mother, but ends up apologizing and returns the candy bar.
The story stretches over a day, and it is written from Sylvia’s point of view. The story takes place in Doniford, which is a city in the southern part of England and it is described as a cold and windy city because it is near the sea. Mostly the characters in the story are in the candy store, which is a two story building where Sylvia lives on the upper floor. The store is not described as good as I could be, but when you read the story you assume that it is a small dark store because she describes the smell as a “chalky smell of sweets” (page 1line 33) and there is a bell over the door that chimes every time someone walks in. In the store Sylvia sells candy, tobacco and some stationary (page 1line 31).
Sylvia Furnish is a very strong minded and bitter woman, but deep down she turns out to be kind and loving (page 4 lines 132-133) because she decides to give Troy a candy bar, the next time he comes to the store, even though he just tried to steal from her. The reason why she is so bitter could be because she lost contact with her own children and her husband, who had left them when the children were only twelve and fourteen. (page 3 line 95) She had cared so much for how her children would turn out and been a little harsh on them, which is why the children chose to move away. She barely sees them anymore and she gets a little bit jealous when she sees Troy defending his own mother and therefore shows that he loves her and takes care of her, even though he is barely three years old. She is also a little afraid of the “sweet ladies” who are walking around in the streets with their strollers (page 1 line 28 – 30). They remind her of something that happened a while ago, but she does not tell what it is.
The Sweet Ladies are described as very arrogant people. They walk every day with their children, and with their faces lifted slightly to the sky (page 1 line 22) . They are very young, around 20 years or so and not very talkative. When they arrive in the candy shop Sylvia tries to small-talk with them, but none of them answers (page 2 line 58) . They appear to think better of themselves than others when they barge into the store, instead of just entering (page 2 line 39) , and that might intermediate someone like Sylvia.
Many things show that the women do not have a lot of money. One of the women named Terry, is missing a front tooth ( page 3 line 87-88) and apparently cannot afford to get a new one, and one of the children tell Sylvia that his mother does not have enough money to buy him candy(page 3 line 106).
One of the Sweet Ladies catches Sylvia’s attention because she is standing alone with her little son, in the corner of the store. Her son, Troy, steals a candy bar and that might refer to his name “Troy”, as in the Trojan horse. He looks really innocent but in reality he has another purpose. He also breaks through the barrier that Sylvia had built around herself, and makes her like him. He is very mature of his age since he can speak for his mother and know that she has financial problems (page 3 line 106). Troy is dark skinned like a gypsy and reminds Sylvia of one of the poor children in the streets in Brazil. Especially his hands are in focus and she describes them as small and naughty (page 2 line 75).
The situation with Troy leads to two of the themes of the story: poverty and theft. The differences of the social classes are also a theme because the Sweet Ladies actually are poor but do not appear that way. Frustration and children are themes as well and one of the reasons could be because Sylvia is very frustrated about her own children and the fact that she does not see them anymore, and how their life’s turned out.

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