Sarah Butler's Short Story 'Number 40'

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It can be hard to see other people being happy, especial when you are struggling yourself. Sometimes you just whish you had a different life. This is the case in Sarah Butler’s short story “Number 40”. In this story we are introduced to Melissa, who has never taken control of her life, and has ended up being an observer of other peoples’ lives, without being aware of it herself. We hear the story through a third person perspective, which follows Melissa. We are fully in touch with Melissa’s thoughts, and the therefor the narrator can be subjective, which is the case here. Melissa lives in her own fantasy world; this is why she cannot remember small facts from the past . Melissa is convinced that her fantasy world is the real world, and so…show more content…
Another hint to Simon being a made up character, is the lack of dialog between him and Melissa. The rain plays an important role in the story as well. It symbolizes Melissa’s world being washed away, and therefor underlines the frustration that she feels. Towards the end of the story the rain on her umbrella symbolizes the blank spots in her memory . This is also where Melissa starts to realize, in glimpse that her memories may not be real. So when she looks at her hands in the end , they are almost translucent, which symbolizes Melissa’s reality fading away. Melissa does not want to accept that her reality is not right; therefor the last line becomes a powerful symbol. She thinks back on her trip with Thomas to Santorini and on the white buildings clinging to the rocks . The rock, and the trip, is the very foundation of her imagination. It is the oldest memory we hear of, and it is the place that Melissa dreams herself to when things goes the wrong way. It becomes her save zone, the solid rock that she can always return to. The white buildings on this rock are a symbol for herself, or her sense of reality, which is clinging to the rock, not able to let
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