Changing Feelings Towards Peter and Andrea in Once in a House on Fire
'Once in a house on fire' by Andrea Ashworth
At the beginning of the Novel, A freak accident robbed Andrea of a
loving father at the age of five. Her mother Lorraine, widowed at just
twenty-five years old, was distraught, not least because she was left
alone to raise Andrea and her younger sister Lauren ( also known as
Laurie). By the time Andrea was six, she had a new 'father'...
When the reader first meets Peter, it is difficult to contrive a clear
opinion of him. He seems to show that he wants to be the children's
"new daddy" by "lugging home bulging sacks of misshapen Mojos for my
sister and I" He also appears to have a good relationship with his
wife but we soon realise this is not so. A Jekyll and Hyde character,
he swings between loving husband and father and violent, terrifying
bully. Andrea would watch as her "mother smiled through his kissing
compliments" but these soon turned into "vicious shouting matches
which half the street could hear." The reader immediately feels anger
towards Peter for his unjustifiable behaviour towards his family. But
if you look at the quote, it is clear that it is a "match" which
generally consists of two people or groups competing for supremacy.
This shows that although Peter started the shouting, Andreas mother
also played a part. This makes the reader feel annoyed. This is
because although we feel that she should defend herself, she is
contributing to the argument and therefore making it worse.
Another incident showing how Lorraine contributed to an argument is
when Peter comes home she has "got the kids cooking behind his back."
and he is angry because he feels "she is lazing on her arse when she
should be up and cooking" Although this is an unfound accusation,
Peter is certain he is correct and begins his regular routine which
begins with a torrent of swear words and of they have no effect, the
physical violence starts. Lorraine is defends herself and returns the
insults by insisting he is a "greedy sod." The reader is glad she is
doing this but feel a bit annoyed as it is not helping the situation.
"They stood facing one another, anger simmering in each of their
faces, like a mirror." Saying that their faces is like a mirror
surprises the reader as that implies that at that moment they are
exactly the Same. The reader may feel this is wrong but this is
through the eyes of Andrea and we believe her view is honest because
she is so innocent. This really makes the reader re-think their view
of Lorraine as they think maybe they have judged her too quickly.
Initially, Andrea's stepfather is the person labelled as the villian.
It would be quite straightforward to give him that label and leave it
at that but further on in the novel his erratic behaviour leads the
reader to believe that there are more complex issues involved. The
reader could just simply hate him, but we do feel some...