Comparing The Adult World With A Child's Perception In Snowdrops

2045 words - 8 pages

Comparing the Adult World with a Child's Perception in Snowdrops

Through a child's eyes, the significance of death and all that
surrounds it is somewhat different from the reality. 'Snowdrops' is
narrated by a boy of the age of six, who actively takes note of the
everyday happenings or abnormalities around him but who is not yet old
enough or learned enough to associate these with the feelings and
responsibilities of adults.

One cold March morning (note that the cold weather is significant as
it deliberately outlines the community's feelings about the young
man's death) the boy overhears his parents talking about a death at
breakfast time. His father enters the room and "fills it with
bigness", emphasising the seemingly superior position of adults in the
view of a child. The boy's father tells his family of the incident in
which the boy, whose family they are in contact with, lost his life.
He claims that "the Meredith boy" was "friendly" with one of the
teachers at his son's school. Without the boy realising, his mother
has to warn his father not to give away too much information - the
teacher involved is the boy's own class teacher and the mother intends
to protect her son from the realisation. Luckily, their son fails to
make the connection from his father's mispronunciation of the
teacher's surname ("Webber") to his own teacher, Miss Webster. This is
an example of the adult world - parents having to look forward in
advance to keep their young children protected.

It becomes apparent to the reader that the boy is besotted with the
idea of his teacher having promised to take the class to see the
newly-sprung spring snowdrops. He has never seen the flowers before,
and can scarcely imagine them; only as "one flake of falling snow,
bitterly frail and white, and nothing like a flower". On this day, the
day of the Merediths' boy's funeral, Miss Webster arrives late,
obviously in a great deal of emotional distress. The boy, having
noticed her black dress and lack of jewellery, fails to associate her
appearance and previous absence with his parents' talk that morning.
He obviously has complete faith in the teacher, as shown in
"Everything would be all right…After play they would surely go to see
the flowers".

The boy, whose name we are not told, has a best friend named Edmund
Jenkins. The boy obviously has a great deal of respect for his friend,
as he seems to be more mature and wise about things. The boy finds
Edmund rather amusing. "Edmund was very brave" indicates his
fascination. When, at breaktime, the boy is unsure of the filling his
mother has provided for inside his sandwiches, he asks Edmund to take
a bite and to inform him of the contents. Edmund tells him, "It's only
bacon", but "the boy was incredulous". He appears to have more of an
innocent sense of wonder...

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