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Are We Nearly There? - Analytical Essay

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Kate Smalley Ellis

Are We Nearly There?

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The fictive short story “Are We nearly There?” was written by Kate Smalley Ellis in 2015, it takes on the subject of being a confused teenager. We tag along the protagonist Jen, who’s 17 years old, whom keeps having these thoughts about her last night where she lost her virginity. She’s driving a car down the motorway toward her grandparents, which she has been bugging her dad about for a long time[1]. But she is still hungover from her last night with Simon[2], and you hear throughout the story that she is feeling sick and dizzy.

Jen is an sexually uncomfortable person who is also particularly insecure about her driving. She seems almost anxious when she drives down the three laned motorway. Her family aren't exactly helping her either. We feel throughout the story that her relationship with her family isn’t perfect to say the least. We get to hear about her mother nagging her throughout the ride, her dad who doesn't really seem to care that much, and her little sister Shelly, who seems immature.

All these characters comes into play in this parallel storytelling. Where we get an insight in how it feels like being a teenager, and all the anxiety that follows with it. And as the story unfolds we slowly get the feeling that Jen is trying to be a person that she is not. She i clearly an emotionally driven personal. But she tries to fight it, to invalidate her dads statement calling her “so sensible”[3].

She is clearly a sensible person, she keeps on backtracking the night with Simon, rephrasing every detail. But at the same time she tries to be emotionally distant, when she doesn't express any emotions, when describing her sex and feelings towards Simon[4]. It seems like she is having a hard time acknowledging her own feelings, she is in a constant fight inside her head, whilst being on the motorway. And she has every good reason to be that way. Her mother who constantly mistrust and judge her, is what makes her an anxious uncomfortable teenager. And her absent father who’s characterised as an individual who sleeps through the whole trip. And her sister who keeps on making her uncomfortable. With all these elements of an dysfunctional family, it shapes the main character Jen and makes her who she is.

The composition of the story is very innovative, we get pulled into a parallel story, where we follow Jen in the car, but at the same time gets pulled into her thoughts about last night. The storytelling therefore switches between present time to flashbacks revolving her night before. But they are also connected, her actions in past time affects her in present time. As her mind wanders in the her flashbacks the story progresses in present time. She connects the two times, when she sees the massive land rover getting closer rear-view mirror, at the same time she sees Simons wall moving closer and further away[5].

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