Elephant by Polly Clark
Polly Clarks “Elephant” essay Polly Clarks ”Elephant” is about a author named William who deals with his problems every day. William is a writer. His work consists of young female pop-singers biographies.
The story starts in media res, we just jump straight into the story without further information. The story takes place in William’s dark his house and it is set in a normal afternoon in William’s life. The curtains are closed, so William cannot watch his garden, which is overcrowded with weed, and boring. It reminds him of the things he has not done.
At the time, he almost lives in his office. It is hard for him to find the words. The story is told by a 3rd person narrator, but the narrator tells a lot of things through William’s thoughts and therefore it is easy to identify yourself with William. The narrator tells the story in a way that makes you feel sorry for William, because of his problems. William likes to write, but he has had some problems writing lately: “His inability to write disturbed him, made him feel blundering and awkward.. ” (p. 3 line 2-3). William is not really happy about just writing about pop-singers.
He dreams about writing biographies of actors in their ‘golden age’, because he means that, that is something people would buy and read. Those biographies have been claimed by someone, who was quicker than William and that is why William is writing short biographies with information he has found on the internet:”… From the facts William could glean from the internet. ” (p. 1 line 21). William possesses a great deal of knowledge that it takes to produce a masterpiece, because he is familiar with old, recognized history literature. He mentions the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.
He fantasises about having written “Ulysses” by James Joyce, but in real life he is stuck writing the insignificant biographies. He is surrounded by a lot of women in his life. He is married to a women named Ginny and then there are the pop-singers of whom he writes about. His relationship to the pop-singers is paradoxical in which he, in a way, could not care less about them: “The slim volumes reflected the slim lives of his subjects, and his slim interest in them” (p. 1 line 28). Ginny calls William to say that she will be home in twenty minutes. Hereafter the third-person narrator arranges two similar situations in contrast to each other.
In a flashback from William’s childhood, William remembers his mum bringing home a present for him. He especially remembers the excitement he felt, before he received the blue elephant. I think that William and his wife needs time together and are very separated because of their jobs. Even though, William loves her. He compares Ginny with the blue elephant he got as child, in which he was very happy. (p. 2 line 25-33). When Ginny comes home, they make love and it seems to be too organised and without passion. Ginny mentions that she has taken a test and that it is the “right time” which could mean that she is trying to get pregnant.
Their relationship could be compared to the garden outside their house in the following conversation where they talk about what they should do with it. “It seems fine”, but they do not care much for it. “Should they lay a deck over it or sell up and move to Australia? ” William does not really care as his response is to “see what happens”. Characters William: He really wants to be “someone” and be a big famous writer. He is tired of waiting for it and just wants it to happen soon. He is stuck in his biographies-writing and wants to make a living from writing.
William’s wife wishes to have a baby but William is not that sure. I think he wants to get control of his own life first. Ginny: She is William’s wife. She really wants to get pregnant and knows exactly when it is the best chance of getting it. I do not think that she knows how William feels. There are some themes in this short story, one of them could be ‘chasing your dreams’ because of Williams’ wish to be a important biographies writer and he continues to write about the non important female pop-singers, because he knows as soon he gets the chance to write what he want, he will take it.
Even though he does not seem to do something for his’ carrier, it shows in the text: William would have preferred the film stars (male, golden age of cinema) but those had been claimed by someone quicker o the mark… ” (p. 1, line 22) Another theme could be ‘fate’ because as William expresses in the beginning: “William had made the best of what he had been given” (p. 1, line 23). He does not believe that you can change your destiny but I think he is willing to try.