The L-shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks
The narrator's views of social prejudice are conveyed through the
experience of Jane the main character.
"My father and I hadn't said a word to each other when I went home for
my things. He's told me to go and I was going; he didn't care where
and so why should I tell him?"
The above opening quotation is from 'The L-shaped Room' written by
Lynne Reid Banks. It captures an insight into the attitudes of the
time. The author mainly focuses on reflecting the journey Jane faces
through her "unwanted pregnancy," coping with emotional difficulties
and the dilemmas that face her. I feel the novel made me sympathetic
towards Jane, as the novel kept me captivated; with many twists and
turns and several situations came across, each with a unique moral;
but I focused throughout towards Jane. I cared about her and wanted to
know how she fought through her struggles and eventually gained
strength. I intend to examine how the social morality of the time made
Jane's life a misery responding to use of figurative language and the
highly developed writing techniques used by the author.
The novel is set in 1960s due to the changes in society when few
opportunities were given to woman to experience some freedom, but
still not as equal to men. The narrative is told from the point of
view of Jane who is in her mid-twenties. This helps me to sympathise
with her as she explains her personal feelings of how she copes as a
young single woman. She was turned out her comfortable middle class
home by her father, who is shocked, hearing that she is pregnant. It
is a narrative that follows Jane through her journey of pregnancy to
self realisation and fulfilment. 'The L-shaped Room' is her room where
she buried herself to sink into her miseries; but on the other hand
she did not care about the room or neighbours. Yet these neighbours
eventually draw her back to life.
At the start of the novel Jane realised it was morally wrong in her
society to be pregnant but she tries to be strong to admit the truth
to her father:
“‘I’m pregnant' I said. These two words shocked even me with their
crudeness. I instantly wished I'd said the softer 'I' m going to have
a baby.' The blunt statement of the biological fact had the same
after- echoes as a slap across his face."
The writer has made me feel that Jane thought some weight would ease
of her mind by being strong and telling her father, as he may
understand as she is the only child with no mother. However the
sharpness of the truth hits Jane at the same time as she admits the
truth because she realises she is in the situation and she is not
generally stating something that will have no affect on her. I think
the dash reveals extra feelings, of how she now feels after admitting
the truth but in addition to this the sentence before and after the
dash is a vivid contrast. Before the dash it suggests what she said
was simple and straightforward...