“All that glisters” by Anne Donovan includes tragic, moving and emotional scenes throughout the short story. Anne Donovan has used effective Glasgow dialect. Donovan introduces the protagonist Clare by the use characterisation, as a young and sincere girl who goes through a sad experience and who is initially in denial about her father’s looming death. Clare’s belief of glitter giving life to her father breaks apart which leads to a massive change in her personality. The reader sees Clare develop in to a more mature girl, yet a turning point occurs when she makes a controversial decision to wear red on her father’s funeral. Donovan’s theme of relationship between Clare and the characters changes throughout the short story, involving conflict, love, trust and most importantly hope. Clare symbolises glitter as an asset to bring liveliness into her father, as glitter has the ability to brighten up anything.
Donovan highlights Clare as an innocent and naïve girl who is a symbol of life itself. The asbestos dust and the true life of glitter pens add vibration to the story. Clare has high hope for her father’s life because she is in denial for her father’s approaching death. Donovan shows conflict between Clare and her auntie when Clare appears dressed for the funeral in her father’s favourite colour red that’s when the turning point occurs. The relationships with other adults are not that strong towards Clare, Donovan shows the relationship with other adults within the story and their influence on the young Clare.
Clare’s character has a very unique touch to it. Her childish yet innocent behaviour is shown throughout the short story, however her character itself shows us the love between her and her father thus it is highlighted in a very childish manner:
“... ah made a right neat wee card for ma daddy.”
Donovan’s effective use of the word “daddy” and “wee card” gives a childish connotation yet Donovan also adds a slight innocence in Clare’s naïve character. Clare focuses on the positive aspect of the relationship between her and her father, and leaves the unwanted truth behind:
“The imprint of ma finger
left sparkly wee trails a light.
He smiled, a waverly wee smile
Aye, hen. Subtle.”
Donovan clarifies Clare giving a colourful life by adding glitter to his weak and hopeless hands. Clare’s character turns to more mature and civil, after the death of her loving father. Her speech turns to more sensible than before. Clare had to make sacrifices just to buy the glitter pens and make a nice card for her very ill father thus the main incident of the short story takes places:
“Ah couldnae bare the fact we’d never said goodbye...”
This reveals the love that she had in her relationship with her father. Her love to her father is astonishing as Donovan expresses Clare’s love in a very loving and caring manner yet in immature way. Even though her father no longer lives she still had this adulation inside her for her caring father....