A Gap of Sky
A Gap of Sky Anna Hope’s short story “A gap of sky” is about a young girl named Ellie - A Gap of Sky introduction. She is flowing in between expectations and desires. The story is a portrait of what drugs can do to a person, told through the description of what the city looks like, and Ellie’s own thoughts. Without the support and care of other people, humans will prioritize certain things before others; this story is a good example of such. The narrator of this story is all knowing, third person.
In this story, the narrating style creates confusion since the reader is told everything Ellie experiences, and in this story her mind is clouded by drugs, a lot of the time. Ellie is a young student, living in London. Recently she have had a lot of pressure on her shoulders because her parents made her take a course at the UCL, which she is about to throw away, if she doesn’t hand in an essay about Virginia Woolf. The only problem is that she wakes up Monday at half past four in the afternoon, only to realize that the essay which she has to do, and have not yet started, is due for Tuesday at nine!
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Ellie’s thoughts are out of order, and her actions hectic. The alcohol from the night before, combined with the drugs she took, has left her unfocused and slightly confused. Ellie’s printer runs out of ink, and she has to go the city, to get more, even though she knows the shops will be closing soon. She is far from sober, since the city is a jungle of distractions for her. She does have mission though, getting the ink, so she can complete her homework. She moves through the streets beside other Londoners with this mission, doing so, makes her glad, like her life matters.
On her way, she comes across an iron railing, where someone has left a glove, with its middle finger sticking up, like its flipping people off. Seeing this Ellie’s rebellious side is awakened. She thinks for herself that she is not accountable to anyone, she is young, and live in London, and she can do whatever she wants to, therefor, again, her distractive behavior is shown, and she momentarily forgets the ink, and follows two men into the British Museum.
The exhibit is “Living and Dying”, and Ellie is confronted with her own mortality, something that she is not ready to face at this point in her life. The description of the city is similar to Ellie’s feelings. For instance the trafficated streets are compared to Ellie’s clotted veins. In her head she quotes a philosopher named Thomas Hobbes view on life, which is: “Nasty, brutish and short”. Ellie discovers that she has let the wildness of the city take over her life, and suddenly realizes how dear her short life is to her. This decision comes after she sees a gap of sky, she has not seen before.
The reason why she has not seen this gap of sky before is because of all the tall buildings surrounding her. This is her chance to escape the iron claw, imprisoning her. Ellie wants to go to the river and throw herself in it – dyeing. Or she can wash herself clean – clean from drugs and alcohol. Someone opens a door to a little shop, and once again Ellie is distracted and follows the person inside, this door is the opening of her new view upon life. She is feeling old and worn out, as if her body and being are two different things.
This is described as such; “(…)rancid, as though the tide of her being has retreated and left her on the shore surrounded by plastic bottles (…)and syringes (…)”. Her body is left with all kinds of waste and leftovers from her drug addiction, while her mind is taking a new brighter path. This clarity appears when Ellie finds a Red Jasper stone in the little store very similar to one she was given by her mother. To Ellie, the Jasper symbolizes her mother’s care and protection, which she had just thrown away, even taken it for granted.
Ellie’s mother appears before her inner sight, making her understand that there is one thing she can do to reciprocate the love and protection that she up till now, have taken for granted, but further on can carry with her. She can do her essay and avoid an expulsion. This clearance fills her with light and happiness, and she starts to recognize this feeling in everyone else she sees, as she walks down the street. Everyone seems to have someone who cares about them, and this is what binds people together and gives them the strength to be alone, or in a confusing town like London.
She sees a big clock on a building, which tells her that it’s time to buy the printers ink. Again she is distracted by the river, but this time her mind is set. As she walks through the gap in the buildings to look at the river, she knows what she ought to do, and she likes the moment; “She wants to receive this night and it’s great dark pulsing (…)”. And in this moment she knows that her purpose in life should not be “(…) nineteen, only living, and (…) to dig to the core, to get the pith (…)” but to be “(…) nineteen and in London and she has an essay to write (…)”.