Number Three

1023 Words5 Pages
Number Three

The postmodern society is constantly changing. All the old things such as buildings are replaced with the impeccable modern ones. Just like the former English Teacher, Miss Coral who is caught between a rock and a hard place. Today people have to be perfect and everything we are occupied with must be done flawlessly. The author Anna Metcalfe emphasizes exactly this issue in the short story “Number Three”, where Miss Coral is trapped in a culture clash. She´s replaced with a so called “Real English Teacher” – the contemporary ideal person, Mr. James.

Miss Coral is replaced with Mr. James who is supposed to be a better teacher than her. Her boss says he has done her a favour by making her an international hostess, in
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Again the setting plays a major role as it elucidates the main theme, owing to the fact that it underlines a culture clash.

The main theme of the short story deals with a culture clash between two completely different societies – China and England. Mr. James who comes from England is a disrespectful, snobbish and an ungrateful person, “He arrived to find the floor carpeted with insect corpses (…) what, his email said, was the school going to do about this?”, (line 122-124). The Englishmen is very arrogant compared to Miss Coral. The expectancy that he has about the apartment where he is going to live for the next six months are very different from the one of Miss Coral, “She expects him to be pleased like she would. He takes a quick look around, runs a palm over the arm of a beige, faux-leather sofa and asks when the flat will be cleaned”, (line 53-55). This quotation clarifies the big contrast between England and China - they differ greatly from one another. Miss Coral would have been pleased to live in such an apartment. Only senior teachers are allowed to live in an apartment by themselves, “Only the most senior teachers get their own apartments”, (line 52). Mr. James appears rude but the protagonist Miss Coral on the other hand is incredibly enthusiastic about the apartment and its vastness. Contrary to Mr. James she is very patient and humble even though she is taking in a lot from Mr. James and her boss, which is a typical behaviour for a Chinese
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