My Dear Palestrina’ is a cleverly written short story by Bernard MacLaverty. It is about this young boy called Danny who discovers his musical talent and goes to this piano teacher called Miss Swartz. Their friendship develops and seem to be a formidable partnership until Danny is torn away from his beloved music lessons because of Miss Schwartz private life. Fitted into the story are some important themes that still continue to exist in today’s society. In this essay I will try to explain most of them to you. The most notable theme is how the prejudice of people can never be overcome.
This is weaved into the story by the relationship of Danny and Miss Schwartz working well together until the very end when Danny is stopped from going to Miss Schwartz because of other peoples prejudice. Bernard MacLaverty has focused mostly on this theme because of Danny and Miss Schwartz being the main characters so by focusing the theme with them it allows the readers to read more about the prejudice of people. The barriers of social class is another theme I noticed in the story due to the disliking of Danny’s father towards the local Blacksmith. I noticed that Danny’s father doesn’t like the blacksmith because he says “If he’s pouring the same poison into your ear, son, as he’s been spewing out in the pub he’s a bad influence” Danny’s father and the Blacksmiths feuds also represent some civil conflict between people in the story. The theme of friendship is also included in the story because Danny and Miss Schwartz do have a good friendship going through most of the story and there is also a bit of love in the story because Danny seems to have a bit of a crush on Miss Schwartz. I can see that Danny has a slight crush on Miss Schwartz because on page 10 it says, “In the darkness Danny had to get close to look along the line of her arm.
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He smelt her perfume and the slightest taint of her own smell, felt his face brush the texture of her clothing.” The language used in that phrase is what you would expect from someone who is in love with someone. The writer has chosen these themes to make the story more enjoyable and to spice up the relationships and characteristics of characters and has developed them with the growing of Danny. The local Blacksmith is an unshaven and dirty character who has very passionate views about life. He isn’t religious and Danny’s father seems to have some sort of grudge against him because he sees the blacksmith drinking down at the pub quite a lot. The Blacksmith is also hated by Danny’s father for not being religious because Danny’s father says, “He’d have you into guns and god knows what. Denying religion at the top of his voice.” This shows us that religion is another theme hidden in the story.
Right from their very first meeting the Blacksmith tries to lure Danny away from Miss Schwartz and his family, he wants Danny to live his own life and make his own decisions soon become evident. When he doesn’t make bangs with his hammer for Danny to walk in time to, it symbolizes his want for Danny to live his life the way he wants to. It is also clear to see the Blacksmiths want for Danny to live his life the way he wants to when he says, “You ” re coming to an age now when you ” ve got to think. Don’t accept what people tell you – even your father. Especially your father.
And that includes me!” Bernard MacLaverty has included plenty of imagery and symbolism into a carefully constructed short story. For example, when Miss Schwartz pointed out to him when the flowers had fallen off the tree and each week they inspected the swelling fruit, that symbolizes the growing of music Danny is learning and also his growing relationship with Miss Schwartz. When Miss Schwartz says, “Lavish love and attention on growing things and they will not let you down”, shows how Miss Schwartz feels about Danny and how she’s trying to do what she thinks will keep Danny coming back to her for music lessons. When it says, “the apples on the tree had become ripe and she had given Danny one”, shows that it is Miss Schwartz that is helping Danny grow and feeding his brain.
... other people around her. With Miss Emily's father being in control of the things in her life she did not know how ... controlling person. The story mentioned that there was a picture in the house that showed Miss Emily and her father standing in the ... eyes lighter than his face" (32). The way the story describes Miss Emily, it sounds almost like her and Homer are just ...
When Miss Schwartz says, “How utterly lonely, the immensity of it all frightens me,” it symbolizes that she realise’s she doesn’t have many friends and is afraid of becoming completely alone with no-one as company, perhaps that’s the reason why she is having a baby without a father for it. When Danny says, ” caught between the heavens and the earth,” it symbolizes that Danny feels he will have to make a decision on whether to follow Miss Schwartz, the Blacksmith or his family.’ My Dear Palestrina’ is structured in such a way that it’s possible to take note of how the story progresses through the different times of years. The story begins in the month January and then moves into Spring, then the story moves into summer before finally finishing off on the Monday before Christmas and its then that Danny finds out he won’t be going to Miss Schwartz for any more lessons because she has become pregnant without a father for the Baby. It is also possible to see how Danny and Miss Schwartz relationship progresses through the months and seasons, the writer has done this exceptionally well by managing to convey to us that Danny and Miss Schwartz relationship is at its most productive in Spring because Danny gets his exam, he gets to know Miss Schwartz better and he meets new people. It also stands out that in the summer their relationship is at its strongest in Summer because Danny and Miss Schwartz usually have tea in the garden and have very personal conversations.
Its in the winter when Danny is stopped from going to see Miss Schwartz and it seems as though their relationship reaches a high climax and is then forcefully taken to a sudden stop.’ My Dear Palestrina’ was an enjoyable little story which was really pleasant to read. It appealed to me because of the way it was masterfully written with plenty of hidden meanings. The authors chosen themes were really up to date and I think its that which is the reason that I liked it. Take the theme of prejudice for example, other peoples prejudice exist today in most peoples lives and is shown everyday. The theme of social class is not so much involved in life today but for me it added something different to the story to make it more enjoyable. The theme of friendship was in there to give the story a warm feel to it and I really liked it.
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If their was a fault in ‘My Dear Palestrina’ I would have to say it tends to be a bit slow to read in bits. All in all though I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I always know I like a story when at the end you feel sorry for a character and it just so happens that at the end of ‘My Dear Palestrina’ I felt sorry for Danny.