Living Arrangements by Alistair Morgan tells the story of a fifty-eight year old woman, living a simple life in the quiet southern suburb of Cape Town, who becomes aware of a presence in her house. As the story continues, the woman not only notices food going missing but also discovers a woman, Honorata, sleeping under her bed. All of the situations that arise between the characters are directly related to the plot of the story. The sequence of events directly influences the interpretation of the characters, as well as the way in which the story is portrayed.
The main character portrays an immense sense of loneliness, which also influences the sequence of events. I will be discussing the way in which the woman reacts to Honoratas presence before and after she has been revealed, and how this influences the sequence of events in the story. I will also be discussing the conflict between the two characters and the conclusion of the story. I will also refer to the exploration of each character throughout my analysis, in order to prove that the sequence of events influences your interpretation of each character.Order now
The reaction of the woman in Living Arrangements (Morgan) to the presence in her house directly influences the sequence of events that follows. The woman is not alarmed by the presence, but rather she welcomes it, because of the immense loneliness she experiences in her life. The reader is given an introduction into the womans life. She describes her life as simple. One quickly becomes aware of the routine that the woman has. The woman comes across as quite silly and a bit disillusioned, for the circumstances in which she finds herself in, is quite odd.
She states that she once even caught herself chatting to them as she walked down the aisles of Pick n Pay (Morgan 177). Normally people would call the police when they notice someone is living in their house, but the woman welcomes the presence by leaving out food and talking to the them (Morgan 177). Her sense of loneliness becomes apparent in her reaction to this unspecified presence in her home. The first few events are significant to the reader, for it allows them a closer look at the woman. Her character does not need to be explored much, for all of her qualities are stated clearly and leaves little room for mystery.
It is odd though that the woman feels lonely, but states that she never had to compromise her domestic realm for a husband, children or grandchildren (Morgan 175). She is alone and always has been. When she notices miniscule amounts of food going missing, between the time she leaves for work and comes back in the evenings, she becomes aware of another person or presence (Morgan 175) in her house. She becomes neurotic about the presence in her home and states that such is her concern that she has taken to measuring and weighing some of the items in her fridge before she leaves for the office in the mornings. Morgan 175).
She is oddly comforted by this presence and the reader becomes aware of the immense sense of loneliness the woman is experiencing. As a result of the narrators loneliness, she welcomes Honoratas presence into her home. This leads to her unusual reaction to finding Honorata under her bed. (Morgan 178). There is a delicate balance between the two characters from this point onward. Once Honorata is revealed there is an air of tension in the story. The woman is rather lonely and has a set routine every day.
The woman is used to her routine she is even a bit neurotic about her routine. But the woman changes her routine to accommodate Honorata in her life. Instead of cooking for one she cooks for two and finds. The woman finds comfort in Honoratas companionship. This is apparent when she states that she is struck once more by how comforting it is to have someone to share a meal with. (Morgan 182) and that she must admit that its pleasant to have ones cooking appreciated. (Morgan 181). She welcomes this foreigner into her home, with no questions asked.
The woman finds herself in a dilemma but she appears to be is in no hurry to solve it when she states that when morning comes she still has no desire to evict Honorata. (Morgan 181). The woman knows that she should feel alarmed or scared, but she rather ignores those feelings, although its fair enough to say that she is feeling ill at ease. (Morgan 180-181). The woman suppresses these feelings, because of her loneliness and the comfort that Honoratas company brings her. The woman, as the narrator of the story, does not reveal much about Honoratas character, other that her own thoughts.
Honoratas character subsequently has an air of mystery around her. The reader knows she is from DRC and in the context of the story the reader can assume she is a refugee. The woman does not know how long Honorata has been living under her bed or what Honoratas intentions really are. The reader never sees Honoratas character develop, but rather the reader only experiences the womans opinion about Honorata and what the woman thinks Honorata might me thinking or doing. This is an important fact, because the woman has never compromised her domestic life to accommodate anyone other than herself.
As a result of Honoratas silence, the woman keeps putting off the inevitable talk, about their living arrangements, with Honorata. This causes immense tension and leads to the arising of conflict when Honorata is not home when the woman returns from work. Honoratas presence made her feel safe and at ease, but when she arrives home and does not find Honorata, the woman feels that the lack of Honoratas presence is disconcerting. (Morgan 182). The woman becomes angry at herself for letting Honorata into her life. Honorata has unsettled her life once again.
Realising this, the woman makes the simple statement that they cannot live like this. (Morgan 184). This brings the story (Living Arrangements, Alistair Morgan) to a simple and precise end. The woman was comfortable with the presence of Honorata before she had met Honorata face to face (Morgan 181). The woman also states that things were more straightforward (Morgan 181), before Honorata became a physical reality to the woman. The woman has the desire to return everything to the way it was, before she met Honorata face to face (Morgan 181). She states that they cannot live like this. The only way is that they never see one another.
I amWhen she gets back she doesnt want to know that Honorata is here, or that she even exists. If Honorata can do that then they wont have a problem. (Morgan 184) This reveals just how unsettling the whole experience is for the woman, yet she still craves Honoratas presence and companionship. The womans solution to her living arrangement with Honorata is to simply ignore the fact that she discovered her. In conclusion the sequence of events directly influences the way in which the readers interpretation of the characters. One feels the same way as the woman, because she is also the narrator of the story.
The reader finds Honorata odd and quiet, because the woman never waits for answers to her questions. The story (Living Arrangements, Alistair Morgan) is portrayed through the eyes of a lonely woman, seeking companionship, but she is also unwilling to compromise on her routine. The sequence of events contributes to the atmosphere of the story by building up tension from the very first line, when the woman states that someone, she doesnt know who, is living with her in her house. (Morgan 175). The tension quickly escalades and leads to conflict. This leads directly to a very abrupt, simple and precise ending.