Commentary on Lorna Sage’s Bad Blood
This passage, consisting of three paragraphs, out of Lorna Sage’s Bad
Blood, is presented by an all-knowing first-person narrator. It
revolves around a young girl’s, the narrator’s, school life and
childhood experiences. It follows the evolution of a friendship
between the narrator and her dear friend, or shall we say her “sworn
enemy”(l 11), who is first introduced in the second paragraph,
“Gail…had hair in ringlets, green-hazel eyes and pale, clear, slightly
olive skin stretched tight and shiny over her muscles…” (ll 11-13).
The narrator first encounters Gail by having “fierce contests in the
yard, duels almost…” (l 8) against her. At this point the relationship
between them is portrayed by their “duels”, “she was my sworn enemy”
(l 11). However before their fierce contests the narrator thought that
Gail would become her friend, as she refers to Gail as, “the one girl
who might have been expected to be my friend.” (l 9). This
consequently implies that the narrator was hoping to be friends with
Gail suggesting that Gail chose not to be friends with her and to,
instead, have “duels” against her. Gail’s choice of ignoring the
narrator’s hope of friendship depicts her as dominant and prevailing.
This can later be explained by her one-year advantage, “she was nearly
a year older than I was.” (l 13). The narrator also notices Gail’s
dominance, “She’d have won our war in any case…” (ll 13-14). However,
despite her realization of Gail’s overriding actions, she seems to
accept her insignificance in contrast with Gail, “I was convinced at
the start, anyway, that she was simply better at inhabiting her body
than I was…” (ll 17-18). This has considerable affects on the narrator
making her “feel like an unstrung puppet.” (l 20). Gail’s ascendancy
is further demonstrated at the beginning of the third paragraph, “Once
she’d thoroughly trounced me in public, Gail ignored me and held court
in her own corner every playtime.” (ll 21-22). This also represents
Gail’s physical advantage and her independent ability of holding court
in her “own corner”.
Regardless of their conflicts, however, the narrator seems to admire
Gail, which further demonstrates the idea of Gail’s supremacy;
describing her as, “wiry and graceful” (l 19) and “she was so
physically confident, in charge of her body even when she was
five.”(ll 14-15). The narrator’s reverence is emphasized through the
use of words such as “so” and “even” highlighting that it is unusual
and extraordinary of a child of five to be “so” physically confident.
The narrator is not the only one who looks up to Gail, “Other little
girls might admire the ringlets and the dresses with smocking on the
yokes, and the white socks that stayed up…” (ll 22-24).
In the second paragraph we read that the narrator...