The short story "Never" by H. E. Bates tells of a young woman named Nellie who decides to run away from home. She plans to take an evening train to London. Before she leaves, she considers the idea over and over again in her mind. Finally she packs her bag...
The short story "Never" by H. E. Bates tells of a young woman named Nellie who decides to run away from home. She plans to take an evening train to London. Before she leaves, she considers the idea over and over again in her mind. Finally she packs her bag and walks to the station. However, she arrives late and is cold and frightened, and so she walks back home, telling herself that she will leave someday.
If you read the story carefully, you will find numerous clues that clarify why Nellie decides to leave. In the beginning, her brows and lips have a "sad" expression. She experiences "restlessness." She is "confused." In her thoughts she says, "I'm tired here. I never do anything. It's dead, rotten." Bates explains her routine of eating, reading, mending, playing the piano, and playing cards is all done merely "to fill up the day." Every day is the same, and she never does anything different. The waltz that she plays before leaving is slow and mournful, just as she sees her life.
From all these indications, we understand that Nellie is bored by the routine at her home. There is no suggestion at all that she has been mistreated. She is merely dissatisfied with the complacency and lack of excitement in her life. She longs to do something different and unique. This longing for adventure is not unusual in adolescent girls and boys. They are not yet adults, but at the same time no longer children. They become impatient at the constraints that their parents impose upon them and want to get out and make their own ways in the world.
However, from Bates' description of Nellie's attempted flight, we can see that she is not quite ready to be off on her own. Although she is bored and dissatisfied, she is also timid and frightened, so it is right for her to go back home and wait for another time to leave when she has more maturity and confidence.