Monday 4 December 2023

Going Places

Going Places

                          By A. R Barton

Analysis : 

·       The story ‘Going Places’ written by A. R. Barton is about Sophie, a schoolgirl and paints a vivid picture of her dreams and ambition, and her family dynamics. 

·       A. R. Barton is a modern writer, who lives in Zurich and writes in English. In the story Going Places, Barton explores the theme of an adolescent fantasising and doing hero worship.

·       The lesson explores themes of economic struggle, family dynamics, and the contrast between dreams and reality.

·       The chapter deals with  Sophie's ambitious dream of leading a more glamorous and sophisticated lifeHer aspirations act as a driving force for Sophie, providing an escape from her life of constraints. Sophie's fantasies about a glamorous future stand in stark contrast to her family's daily struggles. 

·       The chapter conveys that this world is full of surprises, secrets, irony, complexities and uncertainty. Each day we learn something new and sometimes we fail to understand the reason behind the things happening in our life.

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Summary / Synopsis :

·       In the chapter 'Going Places' Sophie, a schoolgirl, expresses her ambition to open a boutique in the future. She also dreams to become an actress or fashion designer. Her classmate and friend, Jansie, being practical becomes skeptical of her dreams, citing the need for money to start a business. Sophie envisions herself as a successful manager or even an actress, dreaming of a sophisticated life. Jansie advised her to be sensible. Both of them were earmarked for the biscuit factory after passing out from High School.

·       The chapter describes Sophie's family life, revealing the financial struggles her family faces. Sophie's father works hard, and the family lives in cramped conditions. Sophie's aspirations clash with the harsh reality of her family's economic situation. Sophie's elder brother, Geoff, is portrayed as a quiet apprentice mechanic and was quiet. Sophie was jealous of his silence and stable personality.

·       Sophie could only open her heart to Geoff and shares an encounter with a football prodigy, Danny Casey that she met him in an arcade. She invented details about his green eyes, not so tall stature, familiar accent and clothing. Despite skepticism from others, she claims to have had a personal conversation with Casey and plans to meet him again for an autograph as they didn't have paper and pen that time. Sophie's family, especially her father, doubts the authenticity of this meeting calling it one of her 'wild stories'. Her father was a big fan of Danny Casey and and wished him to be great player like Tom Finny.

·       The chapter focuses on Sophie's yearning for a richer and more fascinating world beyond her current circumstances and limitation. She idolises Casey and dreams of a connection that transcends her ordinary life. Her desire for living in a world more lucrative and unrealistic is evident in her secrecy about the meeting with Casey and her reluctance to share the details with her family. Despite that her friend, Jansie came to know about it and Sophie feared that she would spread it in the whole neighbourhood.

    Her family went to watch a football match. United won two-nil and Danny Casey hit the second goal. First time she saw her in person and in action.

·       As Sophie waits for Casey in a familiar place, she grapples with her fantasies, faces the disappointment, and fights the burden of carrying her dreams alone. She again imagines to meet Casey and ask for his autograph. The chapter ends with a vivid description of Casey's football prowess, emphasising Sophie's admiration for him and her desire to escape her ordinary life.

·       Overall, "Going Places" paints a vivid picture of Sophie's dreams, family struggles and the contrast between her aspirations and the harsh reality of her circumstances. The imaginative encounter with Danny Casey becomes a symbol of hope and escape for Sophie, offering a glimpse into a world beyond her current limitations.

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Themes involved in the chapter

The chapter "Going Places" revolves around several interconnected themes, providing insights into the aspirations, economic struggles, and family dynamics of the protagonist, Sophie, as well as offering commentary on the contrast between dreams and reality.

The narrative sheds light on the financial challenges faced by Sophie's family. Her father's labour-intensive job and the family's cramped living conditions highlight the economic hardships. Sophie's dreams clash with the harsh reality of their financial difficulties.

Sophie's encounter with Danny Casey, a football prodigy, serves as the contrast between dreams and reality. While she idolizes Casey and envisions a connection with him, this contrast highlights the disparity between her extraordinary dreams and the mundane reality of her life.

Character Sketch of Sophie

Sophie is ambitious, sensitive, secretive and courageous girl who knows what she wants. Owing to her dreams and aspirations she fails to accept her family background and financial limitations. The chapter highlights Sophie's ambitious dream of leading a more glamorous and sophisticated life which is expressed through her determination to become a boutique owner, an actress, or a fashion designer. Sophie is a complete contrast to her father and brother who unlike her, respect and accept their reality. She prefers to live in a world of her dreams and does hero worship. She imagines that she personally met her idol, Danny Casey but this dreams remains a dream only. Her aspirations act as a driving force for Sophie, at the same time, providing an escape from her life of constraints.

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Important Question Answers

Q1. Sophie and Jansie were class mates and friends. What were the differences between them that show up in the story?

Ans. Sophie and Jansie are the students of a senior class. Only a few months were left when they would pass out of school. They are good friends too. But in tastes and temperaments they are poles apart. Sophie is not a girl of this world. She floats constantly in a fairyland. She has fantastic dreams and doesn't want to come out of them. She is an escapist. On the other hand, Jansie is every inch a girl of 'this' world. She keeps her feet firmly planted on land. Sophie and Jansie have different attitudes towards life and things. Sophie wants to open a boutique. She also entertains the idea of being an actress. She aspires to be a fashion designer too or anything that could secure her a luxurious life. She doesn't know how she can do all these things. Jansie knows well that 'they were earmarked for the biscuit factory'. She even advises Sophie to be sensible and practical. Possibly that's why Sophie can't open her heart to Jansie as she has no faith in her. She feels Jansie is 'nosey' and tries to know every new thing about others. She fears that Jansie can't digest the news of her meeting with Casey. The whole neighbourhood will come to know of it soon. The basic difference between the two girls is that Sophie is unrealistic and escapist while Jansie is sensible and practical

Q2.  What socio-economic background did Sophie belong to? What are the indicators of her financial status? Why does she fail to accept her reality unlike her father and brother?

Ans. Sophie belongs to a lower middle class socio economic background which is reflected by her brother Geoff's occupation. He is an apprentice mechanic. He travels to his work each day to the far side of the city. His jacket is shapeless. Her father lacks sophistication. He grunts and tosses one of little Derek's shoes from his chair onto the sofa. The family doesn't own a servant or a car. All these confirm that they belong to a lower income group. Father accepts his reality. Even little Derek understands his unrealistic sister as well as knows that her wild dreams need a lot of money. He tells his father, "She thinks money grows on trees... Dad?" Except Sophie, everyone in the family understands and accepts the reality.

Q3. Did Sophie really meet Danny Casey? Which was the only occasion when Sophie met Casey in person?

Ans. No, Sophie didn't really meet Danny Casey. She was so much fascinated by the young Irish footballer. She imagined his coming to meet her. She sat there waiting for Casey. She knew that he would not come. She felt sad and disappointed. She was always lost in a dreamy world where she imagined nothing but Casey.

She saw Danny in person only on one occasion when her family went to watch United on Saturday. She watched how United won two-nil. Her idol Casey drove in the second goal. She saw how he goaled beating the goalkeeper. Sophie glowed with pride.

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