The short story “Eastmouth”,(2014) is written by novelist and short story writer Alison Moore.
The storytakes place in Eastmouth, southern England. A newly graduate, named Sonia isvisiting 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 hasapplied for a job in Las Vegas and is waiting for the company to call her aboutthe position tomorrow. Peter’s parents are questioning why she would ever wantto leave England and do not seem to be excited at all for Sonia. Even though Soniais drawing all the attention, she feels trapped and alone. Meanwhile, Sonia iscontemplating leaving Peter, but with her recent discovery of her own pregnancy,it makes the decision all the harder.
The short story is told througha 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 toSonia’s thoughts. This implies that the narrator has unlimited implicitknowledge, when it comes to Sonia.
The narrator doesn’t have access to theother character’s thoughts, which implies that the narrator has limitedknowledge to the other characters in the short story. One interesting point tomake with the all-knowing narrator, who has access to Sonia’s thoughts, is thatthe pregnancy reveal is delayed. “She has not yet told him about the test she did inhis parents’ bathroom, about the white plastic stick with the little window inthe 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 anaeroplane window.” (l. 137-140). By using Sonia’s point of view thereader isn’t given all the information all at once, but instead is being evenedout over the course of the short story, which helps readers relate to theprotagonist.
In most short stories, thereis a massive change in mainly the protagonist’s personality. In “Eastmouth”, itis no different, although the change might not be too clear. When firstarriving at Eastmouth with Peter, the thoughts going on in Sonia’s head aren’ttoo bad, and can’t even be compared to the problems Sonia is facing later inthe short story. “Sonia stands on the slabs of the promenade, lookingout across the pebbly beach. It is like so many of the seaside resorts from herchildhood. She remembers one whose tarred pebbles left their sticky blacknesson her bare feet and legs and the seat of her swimsuit. She had to be scrubbedred 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 storyshe is just facing minor problems and thoughts. Being stuck for the weekend inEastmouth. At this point of the story, this is her biggest problem. As thestory continues, Sonia encounters bigger problems.
Peter’s parents not beingsupportive of her plans of getting a job up north and then saving up for a tripto Las Vegas. “If youlike that sort of thing, you should take an evening stroll along our room. You’llsee it all lit up.
It’s a lot hotter there, though. (in Las Vegas) It wouldn’tsuit me. We stick to England, the south coast.” (l. 39-41)Peter’s parents do not wantSonia to have this personal life goal. If they could make the decision, theywould have both Peter and Sonia living with them in Eastmouth, a plan Peterseems to be all aboard on.
Sonia is starting to understand exactly what Peter’sparents hidden agenda is, and the thought of settling down with Peter inEastmouth is terrifying. Sonia’s relationship with Peter does not seem to bevery passionate. In the short story, it is not stated for how long the pair hasbeen dating, but it does seem like Sonia at this point only is together withPeter out of habit. This is yet another thing affecting Sonia in this toughsituation, not to forget she just found out she is pregnant with Peter’s unbornchild. Sonia feels stuck in a very rough patch in her life.
“They goto bed early but Sonia lies awake in the darkness, in between the cold wall andPeter, who is fast asleep. She finally drops off in the early hours beforebeing woken at dawn by what she thinks is the sounds of babies crying, but itis only the gulls. She finds the noise depressing.” (l.
68-71)Sonia finds the noise of theseagulls depressing, because this is what awaits her, if she chooses to stay inEastmouth, marry Peter and have his child. She would have to let go of herdreams of travelling, having a meaningful job and finding true love. Thinkingof Peter, herself, her unborn child and being trapped in Eastmouth is too muchfor 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, butrealizes that no trains run on Sundays.
She is forced to spend at least anotherday in Eastmouth. Even though the story of Sonia definitely isn’t over yet, thestory examines different difficulties the protagonist faces throughout theshort story. Being stuck in a small city while being pregnant with her boyfriend’schild who she does not truly love and his family. Sonia feels reality when sheis to make an important life decision, contemplating if she is going to takethe easy decision, but give up her hopes and dreams or risk it all and try topursue the life she always wanted.