The story follows a 15 year old school girl from London named Clara and takes place around the 70's. One day, during the school assembly, Clara decides to undress in front of her classmates, teachers and the Headmaster, but does not achieve the desired reaction as all she gets are pats on her back from her school mates and a calm and collected talk with the Headmaster.
Clara returns home, a while after school is finished and finds her mother sitting at the table. The only acknowledgement she gets is a casual greeting. Her mother's boyfriend Stan, a man Clara has some aversion to, is not home.
A couple of days later, her mother gets a letter from the Headmaster describing the incident at school. Both she and Stan finds the episode amusing, and merely laughs at the event before leaving Clara alone at the table, crying.
2. Characterization of Clara
To the people around her, Clara looks and behaves much like the average 15 year ...view middle of the document...
While this signifies that she has no interest in the Head's concerns for her, it could also be understood as Clara having no idea how to express her frustrations and thus not knowing how to ask for help.
Stan talks and acts kindly towards Clara when they're together. However, while keeping up appearances around him, Clara has trouble coping with him in the house. His smell disturbs her and his touch makes her go rigid. She likely considers him an obstacle, as her mother's attention is often on him instead of her.
Clara is searching for a role model and someone to relate and look up to. Unfortunately, her mother seems more focused on exploring her own sexuality, and living her own life, which leaves Clara in emotional despair, struggling to find a mother figure to help guide her through the fears and doubts she has about her own sexuality and the changes her body is going through.
Clara has a hard time connecting with her mother who is trying to emancipate herself from the norms of her time while being noticeably fascinated by the concept of an open sexuality, as evidenced by her interest in the magazine "Orgasm: Fact or Fantasy?" and the praise she gives her daughter despite Clara's objectionable behavior. She is so caught up in the feminist movement that she neglects her, perhaps because she wants her to grow up under different circumstances than she did.
Curiously, her mother's name is never specified. All other characters of less consequence are named or titled (Stan and the Head), while she is simply addressed as "her mother" thus emphasizing Clara's desired role for her.
The Head can be perceived as the story's secondary mother figure. Unfortunately, she doesn't provide much aside from what is expected of a woman in her position, She forms no actual bond with Clara and solely focuses on her as a student, choosing not to question Clara's well being any further.
In conclusion, the story concerns itself with the child of a woman who herself is confused about her own sexuality during the women's liberation of the 1970's.