In Beth Thomas’s text “The Fear,” a 17 year old girl named Lena gets dressed up and goes out to a nightclub. Thomas suggests within the first few lines that the narrator of the story is Lena’s mother when she says
What else can I do? She’s 17, nearly 18, so I have virtually no control over her any more.
The narrator’s identity is confirmed when Lena says “Night, Mum.” Once it is clear that the story is from the mother’s perspective, the reader begins to understand Thomas’s overall messages about parental fears.
It is not specified how exactly Lena’s mother is tracking her daughter, but she is somehow able to use her computer at home to follow Lena and see the same things she sees. It’s thus a bit ironic when the mother sees Lena with a boy and says “he makes me uncomfortable.” The reader is also a bit uncomfortable knowing that Lena is being so closely watched without her knowledge.
However, even though the mother wants to know where Lena goes, it’s clear that she is not attempting to control her. Instead, she just wants to keep her safe. For example, she comments on how Lena’s smile “reminds me of when she was little and wasn’t so obsessed with what she looked like.” The mother’s nostalgia here shows the reader that she cares about her daughter and is invading her privacy out of fear that adolescence will make her a different person.
Overall, there are a lot of ideas to reflect on in this story. For instance, the title “The Fear” could refer to many concepts, most notably the mother’s fear that something will happen to Lena. Her constant concern is reflective of common parental worries about the dangers that come with teenage freedom. But the mother’s use of her computer to invade her daughter’s privacy could also make the reader afraid about the increasing power of technology.