Queen of Knives - a Close Reading

1509 Words Jan 30th, 2013 7 Pages
It Might Have Gone Something Like This In “Queen of Knives”, Neil Gaiman exemplifies how unreliable our narrator is in dealing with death and derangement. Through this naïve narration, we are presented with a story in which the narrator; a young boy at that time, recalls how a magician vanishes his grandmother during a magic show. Upon closer analysis we will see that Gaiman actually implies that the grandmother has died causing the grandfather to go crazy from the death of his wife. In order for our narrator to cope with traumatic experience of losing a loved one and witnessing his grandfather lose his mind he blends the story with memories. The poem is set up as a flashback which further gives credibility to our narrator’s erroneous …show more content…
Before the story begins a quote looms above the passage reading “The reappearance of the lady is a matter of individual taste” (Gaiman 122). This should be an initial signal to readers that a woman disappears. What we believe to be the initial act of the show is in fact the entrance of funeral. Gaiman uses subtle imagery to hint at what is really happening. Early on in the poem we see a line where the boy recalls a gray walk with his grandmother along a promenade. Then during the show thunder rolls - this is to create a melancholy mood and represent Pearl’s sadness along with depression at the funeral. We are told that the people there are all elderly - friends and family attending the ceremony. The boy references looking at a dancer and seeing flowers appear. Perhaps what actually happened is that a lady came in to the viewing and brought customary flowers for the deceased. When the magician, symbolically representing God, appears on stage with a box that strikingly resembles a coffin both in size and color he points to the boy’s grandmother. In italics the grandfather tells Pearl to “go on up with the man” (Gaiman 124). This is a clear hint that he has is dealing with the death of his wife. The scene where she obliges the magician is portrayed as her walking down the aisle and up the steps. We could

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