Analysis and Interpretation of the Dress by Julia Darling

In: English and Literature

Submitted By hotguy327
Words 1226
Pages 5
English assignment 12
Analysis and interpretation of “The Dress” by Julia Darling “The Dress” is a short story written in 2006 by Julia Darling. The story describes how the strained relationship between the two sisters Rachel and Flora and their mother’s lack of ability to deal with emotions outside her working hours combined with a conflict concerning the loan of a dress become the factors that lead to the end of their life together as a family.
The plot unfolds on the mother’s fortieth birthday and spans less than a day, as we enter the story in medias res, when Rachel is standing in the hallway screaming for her sister after having realized that she has taken her dress. From here the story progresses chronologically until the point when Flora admits having borrowed and ruined the dress, an episode the author has chosen to describe using flashbacks. The story is told in an omniscient third person narrator, however the point of view switches between the three characters –for example is focus in the beginning of the text on Rachel and her anger when she finds out about her missing dress, then switches to Flora and how she feels wearing the dress, and then in the restaurant focus is on the mother and her discomfort being caught in the middle of the conflict between her daughters. This way the reader gets a more nuanced view of why what might seem to be a rather common conflict between sisters escalates and ends the way it does.
A part of the explanation to this question can probably be found in that the two sisters represent two very different kinds of people: Rachel is described as a very tidy person, who likes things to be in order, which is shown on page 9, line 38: “Usually Rachel locked her room and guarded her things carefully”. At the same time she appears very temperamental judging from the way she reacts when she finds out about the missing dress, her…...

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