Past Tense In Ruth Benson's The Irish Poet

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Change is what forms our lives. It is what makes our life either different of similar to each other. It is complex, and we human tend to fear the face of change while lack of it also leaves us with thoughts of what could have been. Small choices form the both smaller and bigger changes of our life. Therefore, we are forced to always re-evaluate our choices and live with the shadow of the many possibilities our life may have had.
The short story “The Irish Poet”, written by Ruth Benson, shows how a person, years after the event, can sit back with a feeling of yearning towards a long lost dream in the past. All because of small events.
The main character, whose name is not told, is a woman who gets caught up by her past teenage love affair with the man Jed Cunningham, as she receives a message from him.
The short story is written in third person, past tense, however we are getting flashes of her own inner thoughts, feelings and emotions in first person, present tense.
She is clearly in a conflict with herself, and the shifting narratives show this. While the past tense symbolizes the part of her, which is caught in the past, the present tense is her present self, trying to be rational. Trying not to let herself be lost in what could have been.
Thus, she is split in one distant self, still living in the past, longing for the change …show more content…

She is bored. Everything in her life is the same. Thus, she starts dreaming about what her life could have been. And as this dream gets closer and closer, as Jed becomes a person in her life again, she seems more and more tired of her surroundings. For example: “The rest of the day hummed by in all those endless, exhausting tasks, which make up a day, tasks which don’t end but just repeat themselves over and over again, from emptying the dishwasher to walking the dog to putting milk bottles out on the step and loading and unloading the washing machine…”

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