In the short story, we follow a man named Lewis. Lewis is the main character, who keeps dreaming about the same thing over and over. He dreams about him at the strand. He used to have a terrible experience there. He moved to the core of England, to escape from the terrible trauma. But now he has returned to his mother’s house, where he gets clear images in his mind. Lewis is a teacher, in the text it says, “The second envelope contains a note from the Headmaster…come in and discuss matters” This quote supports the statement about Lewis being a teacher.
He seems to be a person who wants to change the way things are, but he has been taught by his mother, that he needs to blend in, and she also says “it’s the survival of the fittest”. The environment he has been raised in has stopped him from doing the things, which he wanted to do. That is expressed in the text where it says, “Sometimes he imagines he’s the kind of person that challenges teachers like Stott and Walker, the kind that the Headmaster takes seriously. ” He is not the kind of person who stands out. He was probably bullied in school when he was younger, because Lewis gets to identify himself in a boy called Paul Fry.
Paul Fry is a boy who gets bullied by some boys. Lewis always feels the need to help him. No one had helped Lewis, back in the days; he also stopped telling about his problems to his mother, because he felt it was hopeless. She had told him that he just should fit in. In the text it says, “But he took her words literally, became expert at running away… ” He doesn’t face his problem, because that is the way he is raised. The author has used flashbacks in the text. The use of flashbacks makes the reader more informed. By using flashbacks, the story becomes more interesting and dynamic.
The flashbacks also give the story a timeline and they widen the time. The story begins with a flashback about Lewis’ bad experience. This flashback is about him committing suicide. He is falling from the dunes at the strand. Another flashback is where he sees Paul Fry getting bullied, by some guys. The flashback affects the story. They give the story a meaning and reveal information about the character as well. By reading the flashbacks, we get to know Lewis better. His past tells us about why he is the way he is now, it defines him. E. g. Lewis wants to help Paul Fry, because Lewis once where victim like Paul Fry. In the ending of the story there is a quote, “Lewis puts his stones in his pocket. He will stop running he thinks. He has survived after all” This quote indicates that he is now ready to let go of his pebbles that he used to lick. He also comes to the strand when things are difficult as it says in the text, “When things were difficult, he would go to the strand and find his mother a new piece of quartz” He has now stopped is previous behaviour and he is changing. The themes in the short story is bullying and facing serious problems.
The bullying part is because both Lewis and Paul Fry get bullied, and it ends up with them wanting to commit suicide. This is a serious problem, which Lewis is trying to escape from. He keeps running away from his problem. That has become his nature, because of the way his mother brought him up. That was the only solution he knew, but in the end of the story he comes to the conclusion that he must accept things and face them. By doing that he can move on.