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In the extract from "Sandpiper" by Ahdaf Soueif, how does the author portray loss,...

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jeetghodasara017 | eNoter

Posted September 1, 2013 at 7:59 AM via web

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In the extract from "Sandpiper" by Ahdaf Soueif, how does the author portray loss, loneliness and longing?

Extract: The heat of the sun saturates the house; it seeps out from every pore…….Yes, I am sick – but not just for home. I am sick for a time, a time that was and that I can never have again. A lover I had and can never have again.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted September 1, 2013 at 12:22 PM (Answer #1)

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The pain caused from loneliness and longing is communicated in the notion of being "sick."  Even though the supposed healing powers of the sun "saturates the house," there is a clear understanding that the speaker is fundamentally different from the world in which she lives.  The desire to recapture something that is gone, to rectify something that has gone wrong, also contributes to her loss, loneliness, and longing.  This can be seen in how the narrator is "sick for a time, a time that was and that I can never have again."  

The narrator is cut adrift in the modern setting.  The extract indicates that there is no way to reconcile the pain and suffering from the present and future in light of what once was.  There was a point where there might have been happiness.  Yet, it is clear that the narrator no longer sees this as a possibility now.  In reference to her own marital condition of loss and isolation, this is seen in the idea of "a lover I had and can never have again."  The author is able to illuminate the condition of hurt from loneliness, loss, and longing by casting the narrator as recognizing how there is little chance of escape from the predicament she lives.  This lack of escape helps to enhance how the narrator feels pain from the life she lives.

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