The Late Twentieth Century: 1960-2000 - Short Fiction Questions and Answers

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The protagonist in "Sandpiper" by Ahdaf Soueif has regrets about her life choices. Give examples from the text where you see these regrets made clear.

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One of the clearest sections of this incredibly moving short story where the narrator clearly expresses regret about the choices she has made in life, relating to what she did or didn't do, comes when she talks about her daughter, Lucy, and how now she is part of the culture of her husband and is therefore, in part, lost to her. Note the following quote:

But then she was born here. And now she belongs. If I had taken her away then, when she was eight months old, she would have belonged with me.

The biggest single regret that the narrator has is that she did not return to the UK with her daughter when the problems with her husband first started happening. Now, it is too late, and she is left stranded in a world where she does not belong and where she does not want to be, but is forced to remain in because her daughter now belongs there in a way that the narrator, her mother, will never belong.

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sapphyrblud | Student

The writer regrets a lot about her life, primarily the fact that she had not left earlier  with her child who later became her husband's child. However, it is important to note that the most obvious thing for her to regret was her passivity regarding her marriage. One would think that above all, she would regret not trying harder to fit in and remove her foreignness, or at least trying to keep her husband by her side. But she doesn't. She doesn't even regret turning away from a man she could have loved again. 

She also seems to regret her marriage a bit, especially since her culture did not correspond to his. It's like she regrets moving to Africa because it did not hold what she expected.

purplegrapes | Student

This story shows us how life choices shape and mould ones happiness. The narrator came to foreign land and made her mind to spend her life with her partner in her youth when evrything made sense. Now her life and identity are shaped with this new life which she cannot adapt to. She is exiled from  her European culture aswell as the Egyptian culture

If I tried to do the shopping the prices trebled.

This shows that even the local traders exploited herforeigness.No matter what she tried, planning the meals or blend in with the family she was always distant. And eventually the marriage grows estranged.

She regrets not leaving Egypt when she still had the chance and taking Lucie with her. The author narrates the womans experiences in a way which give a good understanding if both regret and foreshadowing and we see how those closest to us tend to her us the most.