A short story by Bernard MacLaverty called Secrets. ?. It explores on the way the author conveyed loss and suffering as the main themes of the story. It helps us to understand how easily life can change instantly : from possession to loss; happiness to suffering. The story Secrets. ? is written in a form of a flashback and as it progresses, it introduces the reader to the Story’s protagonists: Aunt Mary and . the boy. At the beginning of the story, the author introduces the dying aunt Mary and her nephew she seems distant from.
The author then creates a flashback that progressively explains the reason behind the boy’s and aunt’s cold relations. The reader also discovers how the central characters were not always on distant terms, but that they used to share a very close bond. After aunt Mary dies, the boy remembers moments of childhood he shared with aunt Mary, how he betrayed her trust and how aunt Mary never forgave him. Throughout the plot of the tale, the reader is brought in to the themes of loss and suffering. In the beginning of the story, Bernard MacLaverty introduces the reader to the death of aunt Mary.
Her nephew is the only person she had a close relationship with. This shows that the boy was the one exception to her isolation. I think that aunt Mary wanted to try to finally be able to lay her trust in somebody. However, a day came when boy’s childish curiosity took over and made him uncover aunt Mary’s private correspondence that was her secret.. . Anything else, yes! That section, No! Aunt Mary’s warning shows her commitment for the privacy she treasured. She was certain that a warning would be enough to discourage her nephew from revealing her secret..
However, she was soon let down as during her absence her nephew read the majority of her private correspondence she exchanged with the man she loved. This was the secret. she protected. The boy had been caught reading her letters soon after he heard his aunt approaching “You are dirt. ” she hissed, and always will be dirt. I shall remember this till the day I die” Aunt Mary had taken this situation very seriously as it was something very personal to her and her trust had been let down as soon as it was given. Here aunt Mary faces loss of her privacy been taken away from her.
She had promised to remember this until the day she dies and the fact she kept her promise shows that she was very committed. Here we conclude that each person has his own secrets and life which is a private issue. she forgot that she was dealing with a small child that should be forgiven. “You have been reading my Letters…” The boy could say nothing. She struck him across the side of the face. the boy feels guilty and ashamed as he could say nothing. Aunt Mary slapping the boy across the face represents her anger and punishment.
His reactions prove his pity and shame: he can not find words to defend himself. the side of his face stinging and red, put the keys on the table on his way out. Boy’s awkwardness suggests his shame; his defense was destroyed but he would not want to defend himself in the first place because he well knew he was Guilty. From then onwards, the boy considered his own fault and aunt Mary’s secret as his own . Bernard MacLaverty takes the reader back to the presence after the secrets of the protagonists had been revealed.
The boy had spoken with his mother after the passing of his aunt Mary’s personal things. She took off the elastic band and put it to one side with the useful things and began dealing the envelopes into the fire. She opened one and read quickly through it, then threw it on top of the burning pile. Boy’s mother had been burning aunt Mary’s correspondence to protect the privacy she protected during her life. However , a.. she read quickly through it, means that even boy’s mother wanted to peak into the big secret.
The burning of the letters had a symbolic act, as if, along with aunt Mary, died her secret. One man’s treasure could be another’s man’s garbage. Boy’s guilt never left him ,therefore, in the end, he must have hoped that at the hour of death, aunt Mary would forgive him. Therefore, he was hoping his aunt would not keep her promise. Did aunt Mary say anything about me? Here the reader sees the suffering the boy have felt for all these years , and all because of something he did as a child. One has to bear the consequences of his actions which sometimes are irreversible.