The first arriving at Eastmouth with Peter, the

The short story “Eastmouth”,
(2014) is written by novelist and short story writer Alison Moore. The story
takes place in Eastmouth, southern England. A newly graduate, named Sonia is
visiting her boyfriend, Peter´s, hometown. While Peter wants to live a relaxed,
small town life, Sonia is more eager to leave England and travel the world.
Sonia announces while staying with Peter’s very hospitable parents that she has
applied for a job in Las Vegas and is waiting for the company to call her about
the position tomorrow. Peter’s parents are questioning why she would ever want
to leave England and do not seem to be excited at all for Sonia. Even though Sonia
is drawing all the attention, she feels trapped and alone. Meanwhile, Sonia is
contemplating leaving Peter, but with her recent discovery of her own pregnancy,
it makes the decision all the harder.

The short story is told through
a third-person narrative that takes on the point of view of the main character,
Sonia.

“She remembers one whose tarred pebbles…”
(l. 2)

The narrator has access to
Sonia’s thoughts. This implies that the narrator has unlimited implicit
knowledge, when it comes to Sonia. The narrator doesn’t have access to the
other character’s thoughts, which implies that the narrator has limited
knowledge to the other characters in the short story. One interesting point to
make with the all-knowing narrator, who has access to Sonia’s thoughts, is that
the pregnancy reveal is delayed.

“She has not yet told him about the test she did in
his parents’ bathroom, about the white plastic stick with the little window in
the middle, the vertical line that proved the test was working, and the sky-blue,
sea-blue flat line that made her think of a distant horizon seen through an
aeroplane window.” (l. 137-140). By using Sonia’s point of view the
reader isn’t given all the information all at once, but instead is being evened
out over the course of the short story, which helps readers relate to the
protagonist.

In most short stories, there
is a massive change in mainly the protagonist’s personality. In “Eastmouth”, it
is no different, although the change might not be too clear. When first
arriving at Eastmouth with Peter, the thoughts going on in Sonia’s head aren’t
too bad, and can’t even be compared to the problems Sonia is facing later in
the short story.

“Sonia stands on the slabs of the promenade, looking
out across the pebbly beach. It is like so many of the seaside resorts from her
childhood. She remembers one whose tarred pebbles left their sticky blackness
on her bare feet and legs and the seat of her swimsuit. She had to be scrubbed
red raw in the bath at the B. Her hands are wrapped around the railings,
whose old paint is flaking off. When she lets go, her palms will smell of rust.”
(l. 1-5)

In the beginning of the story
she is just facing minor problems and thoughts. Being stuck for the weekend in
Eastmouth. At this point of the story, this is her biggest problem. As the
story continues, Sonia encounters bigger problems. Peter’s parents not being
supportive of her plans of getting a job up north and then saving up for a trip
to Las Vegas.

                      “If you
like that sort of thing, you should take an evening stroll along our room. You’ll
see it all lit up. It’s a lot hotter there, though. (in Las Vegas) It wouldn’t
suit me. We stick to England, the south coast.” (l. 39-41)

Peter’s parents do not want
Sonia to have this personal life goal. If they could make the decision, they
would have both Peter and Sonia living with them in Eastmouth, a plan Peter
seems to be all aboard on. Sonia is starting to understand exactly what Peter’s
parents hidden agenda is, and the thought of settling down with Peter in
Eastmouth is terrifying. Sonia’s relationship with Peter does not seem to be
very passionate. In the short story, it is not stated for how long the pair has
been dating, but it does seem like Sonia at this point only is together with
Peter out of habit. This is yet another thing affecting Sonia in this tough
situation, not to forget she just found out she is pregnant with Peter’s unborn
child. Sonia feels stuck in a very rough patch in her life.

                      “They go
to bed early but Sonia lies awake in the darkness, in between the cold wall and
Peter, who is fast asleep. She finally drops off in the early hours before
being woken at dawn by what she thinks is the sounds of babies crying, but it
is only the gulls. She finds the noise depressing.” (l. 68-71)

Sonia finds the noise of the
seagulls depressing, because this is what awaits her, if she chooses to stay in
Eastmouth, marry Peter and have his child. She would have to let go of her
dreams of travelling, having a meaningful job and finding true love. Thinking
of Peter, herself, her unborn child and being trapped in Eastmouth is too much
for Sonia. She decides to leave Peter and his family the following Sunday morning,
when everybody is at church. Sonia makes her way to the train station, but
realizes that no trains run on Sundays. She is forced to spend at least another
day in Eastmouth. Even though the story of Sonia definitely isn’t over yet, the
story examines different difficulties the protagonist faces throughout the
short story. Being stuck in a small city while being pregnant with her boyfriend’s
child who she does not truly love and his family. Sonia feels reality when she
is to make an important life decision, contemplating if she is going to take
the easy decision, but give up her hopes and dreams or risk it all and try to
pursue the life she always wanted. 

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