Unprepared for the cold reception, she unsuccessfully tries to make him pray for his late grandmother, but all Victor cares for is the SORRY course that he has applied to. Shaken and more confused than ever, Evie leaves the cell and feels that she hasn’t done her job. Why is Victor indifferent, when he is informed of his grandmother’s passing away, but cares about unimportant things like the prisoner next door torturing pigeons? The narrator, a third person limited one, is centered around the chaplain Evie.
Evie has been working in the prison for a year, and Victor’s grandmother is the first death notice that she has to deliver on her own. She is a catholic Christian and has a religious mindset. She compares the feeling of praying “… feels comforted as though a fleece, gentle and soft, were enveloping her. ” (p. 3, l. 36-37) to some men’s description of how enjoying heroin feels “… like being wrapped in cotton wool, “all warm and lovely”. ” (p. 3 l. 39) which tells much about her innocence. The narrator’s point of view is placed with Evie in order to give the reader some insight of how she sees the world..
If she thinks something stands out or has an opinion about something, the reader will notice. Sound, or rather than the lack of sound plays a major role for Evie, she is very fond of silence, “Evie deeply treasures this precious quiet time before unlock. ” (p. 3 l. 31-32). She uses silence and calm to feel secure in an environment she describes as abrasive and intimidating. She also prays in the calm, almost like a junkie she waits for all sounds to disappear and goes to her favourite place within the prison to pray alone “She attains this calm through prayer.
The place where she stand now is her favourite meditative spot within the jail. She is on the ‘fives’, the highest landing, by the large arch window… ” (p. 3 l. 32-34). Her favourite meditative spot is described like a sanctuary, no one will disturb her there, which could be compared to a junkie’s safe haven as it has the same features in terms of security and freedom. The reader gets a good impression of how Evie feels about talking with Victor before and after she has spoken to him and the reader becomes just as confused as Evie is.
At first she doesn’t know how to feel, because there is no picture of him in his file, but she hopes that he is not the agitated man in the computer room. As she is about to enter his cell, the reader finds out that she is afraid of Victor being a “… dangerous, unpredictable type who might want to throw a punch at news of his loss” (p. 3 l. 67). To her surprise she discovers that Victor is a young, smart and open minded person “… a young man so intellectually and spiritually curious… ” (p. 5 l. 136-137), but she is completely appalled by the fact that he doesn’t even flinch when he is informed of his late grandmother.
She cannot understand that he does not show any emotions and feels that the conversation with Victor has taken all of her energy as she feels inadequate to speak with prisoners who might be upset about their family leaving. Symbolism and contrasts play a major role in the short story. The noises are everywhere in the story and it makes Evie uncomfortable, whenever the sounds are present. The noises are described as banging, scraping, clatter, calling, jangle and much more which creates a cacophonous din that makes Evie wonder how all walls manage to contain the sound inside of the prison.
At a certain point in the short story Evie says “God says love the sinner, hate the sin” which mighy be the reason why she dislikes the noises so much. She interprets the noises the prisoners make as the noises of sins, but the sins do now leave the prison “The mix of sounds creates such a cacophonous din that Evie considers it a wonder the thick stone walls that separate this world from the one outside contain the noise. But they do. ” (p. 2, l. 28-29). That the means that she cares for the prisoners, and loves them for being sinners, but hate their sins. The houghts of Evie make some odd contrasts. The thought of something as pure a baby Jesus wrapped in a swaddling and something screaming so badly for help as drugs and the ability to mug and bludgeon for nothing combined, makes quite the contrast. It is how she thinks of the prisoners, deep inside they are all pure and clean, but they have been corrupted with bad influence and have the ability to do many wrong things, such a taking drugs and mugging, which is the reason why they are in prison now. In the end the reader might realize that Victor does not play any major role in the short story.
It is Evie that makes the short story interesting, because she has a rare and innocent view of life. She thinks of the best in everyone and believes that they’re good deep down in their hearts. But when she is met with lack of grief from Victor, her world falls apart and she loses some faith in humanity. She believes in the best in everybody, but if they do not show any compassion at the death of their own grandmother, what should she then believe in? How will her view of the world stand if some individuals are pure evil?