Analysis of Insignificant Gestures

848 WordsJan 26, 20134 Pages
Section B Insignificant Gestures The short story deals with the aspects of life when you are terrorized by a foreign memory. It is written in 2007 by Jo Cannon. The short story is told by a doctor and psychiatrist looking back at his time in Africa. He had a young girl named Celia as a servant, who he developed a close bond to, during his time in Africa. One day, she was found bruised and dying. Later it was discovered that she died of meningitis. The doctor is now haunted by the memory of her death, especially because he deeply regrets not saving her. The narrator remains unnamed throughout the short story. He claims that he was 28 when he was in Africa, and several times afterwards tells that it has been 10 since he has been…show more content…
When he talks about how he didn't want a servant because it was wrong, he states that “Things were clearer then, I have lost my old certainty”. He is no longer sure what is wrong and what is right, he made an error of judgment which resulted in the death of someone he loved. Celia is the young servant who came with the house he received. They develop a bond one evening when she is watching him sketch his drawings, which among others is the focal point in this story. That the insignificant gesture, just watching concentrated for instance, can bond to people together. The doctor has a fear of cockroaches, and Celia sees this, and acts upon it, “She seemed to feel it her duty to protect me from cockroaches”. Again, an insignificant gesture touches him, and makes their bond even stronger. The nurses tell him that it was her boyfriend who beat her up, and he takes their word for it, even though he has earlier stated that “An African hospital is as much a gossip factory as a British one”. When the doctor later receives a letter, which reveals that Celia died of meningitis, he is beyond shocked, “My body changed temperature as though I had missed my footing at the top of a flight of stairs”. He remembers then that she had gone home early because she didn't feel well, and he realizes he could have saved her from death already then, with an injection of penicillin. Instead he “had acted on a second hand story from a frightened village woman who
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