A Gap of Sky
“I'm flying over London on a cold November night
Unlit parks like bullet wounds on the blanket of electric lights
The city is a living creature on it's own
And we all push like blood through it's veins, so close together, so alone”
Tina Dicow – London
In the short story A Gap of Sky (2008) by Anna Hope we meet a young girl, Ellie. Ellie is a seemingly regular teenage girl who lives in London and studies at UCL. The only thing that might separate her from the crowd is how she spends her nights. Instead of staying home or doing homework, Ellie likes to party and do drugs. The basic storyline is that Ellie has a paper due for the next day, which she hasn’t yet started, ...view middle of the document...
It seems like Ellie has felt alone ever since her mother left, and this feeling of abandonment might have been the reason why Ellie started doing drugs in the first place.
Being a teenager isn’t necessarily a very nice experience. You evolve in so many different ways and people start to demand and expect some things from you. It is at this point in your life that you are expected to really create an identity, and some people – like Ellie – can’t stand the pressure. Ellie might have felt like everyone (her parents) had too high expectations, and therefore decided to join a specific circle of friends where she knew she would find sanctuary and freedom.
Towards the end of the story, after Ellie has run through half the city’s streets, she suddenly sees what is described as a gap of sky, which is also the title of the story. This “gap of sky” can be interpreted in a few different ways. The first would be that the gap is an emptiness, which could be translated into the emptiness Ellie feels after the loss of her mother, and tries to fill with drugs and alcohol.
Another interpretation would be that the gap is an opening, a possibility. A way out of the swarm of people and buildings that she is surrounded by in the city, a kind of sanctuary, where she can be free from other peoples expectations or her own vices. In the story Ellie sees the gap as “an emptiness, a vacancy that she doesn’t remember seeing before, something destroyed, something being built” (p.4, l.92-93), which lets the reader make up their own mind about the title, and at the same time reveals that Ellie herself doesn’t know exactly what the gap means.
The city itself plays a pretty big part in A Gap of Sky. For almost the entire short story Ellie walks around the city’s streets in search for something. Wandering around in a city as big as London can make you feel small or a bit lost and living there doesn’t make it easy for the individual to create an identity. It is much easier to just ‘go with the flow’ instead of standing out and make an effort.
The fact that Ellie’s route through the city is described pretty detailed, and that she doesn’t interact with any people or living...