Boxes are also used for storing things, making the elderly lady feel as if she is simply being stored away to be forgotten about. No communication takes place between anyone in the flats, there is a very tense atmosphere. “Nobody would utter a word. ” The use of ‘a word’ shows just how little was spoken between everyone, ‘utter’ showing how eerily quiet the flats were. “All lost in themselves. ” Everyone is too busy thinking to themselves to talk. This developes the theme of isolation, as the lady has nobody to talk to, and nobody willing to talk to her.
Her old home felt comfortable, described almost as if they were friends. “A decent red sandstone block. ” ‘Decent’ connotates that although it wasn’t the best, the flats she lived in were better than what she has now. There are overtones of reliability; sandstone is strong, and red is a nice, warm colour. Taking this away from her leaves her alone and the reader feeling sorry for her and wishing they could help. The lady is clearly upset as she watches her old home being demolished. “Grey rain drizzling on the wasteground. ” Rather cliche, it starts to rain while the building is being torn down. Grey’ emphasises the gloom surrounding the area and scene, while ‘drizzling’ and ‘wasteground’ hint that she is having no progress in life no matter how she tries. Further isolating her from the rest of the building, it finally collapses and remnants of the inside of her home can be seen. “And where the fireplace had once been was the back of a blackened hearth and a broken chimney and a line of soot left from every fire she’d ever burned. ” The centerpiece of her old home would have been her fireplace, and here an important part of it is crumbled and in pieces.
It shows how her life now lacks the warmth of way back when. Readers feel sympathetic for her, as they could only imagine how they would feel in her position. At the end of the story, the lady decides to get milk from the van, due to the lack of stores nearby. As she was just about to leave, however, it turns out the lift is broken, and it would be too difficult for her to take the stairs. “When she pressed the button, the light didn’t go on. She pressed it again but it was no use. Only the click of the button and a dead, heavy clanking, echoing from far below…
Sadly, she turned away. ” Unable to use the lifts, she returns to her room, where she won’t be leaving until the next day. Her character is revealed as someone who is discouraged easily, and the reader is left feeling sorry for her yet again. In Alan Spence’s short story ‘Greensleeves’, he has created a character readers feel sympathy for by putting her through everyday situations that the reader can identify with. I feel very sorry for her, as it’s something lots of people are going through in today’s economy and nothing is being done about that fact.