Stone Trees is a short story written by Jane Gardam, which deals with the binding truth encountered after the loss of an important person. She skilfully presents the situation through an apparently hard to grasp manner, which seems quite confusing to the reader at first, but which will then end as being the most characterizing and vital part of the written work. Every segment of the story needs to be therefore analyzed, in order to fully understand and give the text a deeper value.
The story or it’s extract, talks about a woman, the main character who loses a very close person, perhaps her husband or parter with whom she was in a very close and important relationship. The part wich is emphasized in the story is the loss of the lady, and the feelings, how she reacts to it. It is very explicitly written, since the author follows the thoughts of the main character without a definite chronology or much sense. She (the main character) jumps from thinking about her husband not being with her, then about her job, and then about the island she is going to. Everything is really fragmented and confused. She seems to spend the days when the funeral is occuring at a friend’s house. “ So now that he is dead. They were at the funeral. Not their children. Too little. So good so good they were to me.” This suggest that they were very close friends, since they help her through such a difficult period. Also they were probably also her husband’s friends, since she specifies that Anna, the friend, cried a lot.Order now
As mentioned earlier, the structure of the story is quite peculiar. It looks like it follows the character’s thoughts without any sort of filters. This enables the reader to furtherly understand the character’s state. This is particularly effective, giving that it has to do with a topic which evokes such strong feelings. The extract is full of flashback, because of this stream of thoughts, that have no particular chronology. She transitions from the funeral to her youth years in Cambridge and then to the Isle of Weight, where she sees stone trees, which symbolize the death of her husband, and which give the title to the story.
The whole story developes from a first person point of view. The most eye campturing part of the piece is probably how she adresses her husband. We get that they were really close when instead of saying you and I, she rather uses you/I. Also, she first referrs to his death in third person to then switch, and proceeding with a direct conversation, using “you”. Except for adding meaning to the story and character, it gives the whole extract an extremely interesting and original touch.
We do not get very much information about the characters from reading the story. We do understand in depth the woman’s feelings, however nothing more. It is understandable that Anna and Tom are some close family friends, which knew both her and her husband quite well and probably from a long time. Tom was a priest and unlike the dead husband, he did not change throughout the years, as well as Anna. She is described as a really good person, someone who never did anything wrong, her view on having sex before marriage is clearly stated, adn delineates her character.
The language used by the author is very effective and memorable. She uses short and crude senteces, and repeats various word many times, as “now that you’re dead”, and “ you and I”, which are probably the key sentences in the whole extract. She uses such language to accentuate the confused and nostalgic state of mind that the main character has. She also uses sentences as “the boat crosses. Has crossed. Already. Criss-cross deck. Criss-cross water.” this also stressed her lack of concentration and ability to think about one thing only, which is caused by the difficult situation she is in.
Despite being a quite complex text, after having it read a couple of times, I can say that I really enjoyed it and I will definately remember it. The use of language and style to give meaning to the whole story is quite magnificent and rare. The thing that probably stick out the most is the ending which contains slight black humor, when the two young girls talk about getting rid of men in front of a woman who’s life has just completely fallen apart because her man passed away.