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What Is Graham Swift Trying To Teach The Reader About Human Nature In His Short Story Entitles Chemistry

714 words - 3 pages

The short story entitled "Chemistry", written by Graham Swift, is filled with rivalry between family members and the difficulties that come from trying to maintain a healthy relationship when everyday life is riddled with deception and insecurity. On a basic level the story is built around general human nature and as well as a Childs reaction to his ever changing environment.One of the biggest themes in the piece is undoubtedly the rivalry between the mother the grandfather and Ralph, and the tension that is created as a result of it. As early as the third paragraph swift shows the reader the uneasy relationship between the grandfather and Ralph, when he shouts `'why don't u leave her alone'. Ralphs outburst is brought on by grandfather yelling at the mother. This shows that both men are attempting to exercise their own relationships with the mother, Ralph is trying to gain her favour by protecting her whilst the grandfather is merely talking to her as a father would. He does however bring up the short squabble to spite Ralph and it is already clear that he does not like him. The grandfather is offended and resentful that his daughter is neglecting him however the child notices that she is not necessarily treating the grandfather worse, but is rather trying to prove her allegiance to Ralph. This situation could be referred to as a dysfunctional family and 'delicate equilibrium' that she has set up with her father and son is now replaced with an unstable and phony toleration of one another, 'I suppose the question was how far Ralph could tolerate not getting go with grandfather so as to keep mother, or how far mother was prepared to turn against grandfather so as not to lose Ralph'. Although his opinion seems to matter least Graham Swift makes it clear to the reader that the boy does not like Ralph for when he attempts to buy him a boat he enjoys turning Ralph down. He does this for the reason that he does not want him replacing his father and he wishes for things to remain the...

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