In "Never", a short story by H. E. Bates, what was Nellie's motivation for leaving?

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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...

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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.

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Nellie's motivation for leaving her family's house was due to boredom and her desire for excitement. This motivation is clearly seen in the diction she uses to describe her life, such as: "restlessness," "slowness," "loneliness," and "I never do anything." Nellie's motivation for leaving home is that she wants to do something.

The monotonous daily routine she describes as a slow breakfast, playing piano, then cards, then bed, has become "oppressive" to her. In an attempt to escape that oppressive routine she decides to catch a train to the bigger city of London, where she will certainly find a new, challenging, and exciting life that will interest her and engage her mind in new ways. The story can be viewed as a feminist critique of the lives of young women of the upper classes during the early-twentieth century—born into a life of leisure but still considered the property of their fathers. The word "oppression", and the repetition of her father as a character embodying this oppression, marks the story as one primarily about a young woman trying to find independence and a sense of self in a world apart from what has been prescribed to her by a patriarchal society.

Although Nellie is able to leave—and even makes it to the train station—she misses the train and returns home, promising to herself that someday she will leave. This ending speaks to the difficulty for a young woman to find an authentic, independent life, but also to Nellie's determination to somehow, eventually, do so.

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In "Never," a short story by H. E. Bates, the protagonist is a "young girl" called Nellie who talks of leaving her home in the English countryside and going to London. Although she is described as a young girl, we are not told exactly how old she is. Her motivation for wanting to leave her home stems from her feeling that her life is empty. She describes her daily existence as one of "loneliness, slowness and oppression." While the story does not describe why she feels oppressed, the account of her days shows a life filled with solitude and lack of meaningful activity. She eats, reads, mends, plays cards and the piano, and then sleeps, one day following the next in a pattern that feels, to her, "dead, rotten." Her activities are performed slowly, drawn out, in order to fill up the time. Her years of sitting and doing so little have made her stiff, both in mind and in body, and she yearns to escape this existence.

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Nellie, the protagonist of H. E. Bates's short story "Never," profusely and repeatedly states, "I'm going away." Nellie gives three very specific reasons behind her motivation for leaving. First, Nellie states multiple times that she never does anything. Essentially, she lives the same life day after day. Second, Nellie states that she is going to leave because she hates everyone around her. Although she gives no real reason for this, her statement is blatant. Lastly, Nellie feels that she must leave because she has changed so much where she is that she "hardly knows" herself.

Ironically enough, Nellie's problem (never doing anything) ensures that she misses the train out of town. She is forced to continue not doing anything.

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