Number 40 - Analytical Essay

In: Novels

Submitted By christiangade25
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Analytical Essay – Number 40 ‘’When she picked up the receiver, Melissa realised she didn't know Simon's number. She always just scrolled down to his name on her mobile.’’ This is how the narrator of Sarah Butler’s short story ‘’Number 40’’ describes Melissa’s loss of memory, which is chasing her throughout the story. The numerous attempts to fantasise her away from her lonely invisible everyday life culminate in the end, and she has to face the reality. These are some of the difficulties we are dealing with in the short story, through the actions and thoughts of the Melissa.

The story is told through a third person limited narrator, who follows Melissa throughout the story. The narrator describes the story through Melissa point of view, and we get an insight of what she thinks and feels, though it’s told in third person: ‘’Melissa watched his face. His jaw moved in a chewing motion and she wondered if he ground his teeth in his sleep. He turned to her, lips pursed.’’ (p. 2, l. 106-108). Because of Melissa’s memory loss and strange behaviour, the narrator becomes unreliable. As a reader, we don’t get any other information than from Melissa, and it’s difficult to assess whether it corresponds to the reality. Through the confusing point of view, the reader creates it’s own interpretation of the story.

The main character in the short story is Melissa, which seems very anxious and unbalanced. She is very confused about life, and though she hates forgetting things, it happens quite often. She feels neglected on the job, and is not sufficiently appreciated: ”She couldn't afford to miss the team meeting ‒ it was hard enough getting noticed in that place, never mind promoted.” (p. 1, l. 9-10). This is perhaps why she invents things, and keeps on thinking about memories with Simon. It is complicated to…...

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