Chemistry by Graham Swift

‘Foster’ by Claire Keegan

Junior Certificate English

Quick Notes

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Table of Contents

Chemistry by Graham Swift 3

The Author 11

Outline 11

Analysis 11

Characters 12

The narrator 12

The grandfather 12

The mother 12

Ralph 13

Style and Structure 13

The narrative viewpoint 13

Genre 13

Language 14

Imagery 14

Alliteration 14

Comparison 14

Important Quotations 15

Theme for discussion 15

Relationships and Different Generations 15

Loyalty and Betrayal 16

‘Things don't end’ 16

Hidden and Invisible Things 16

Chemistry by Graham Swift

The pond in our park was circular, exposed, perhaps fifty yards across. When the wind blew, little waves travelled across it and slapped the paved edges, like a miniature sea. We would go there, Mother, Grandfather and I, to sail the motor-launch Grandfather and l made out of plywood, balsawood and varnished paper. We would go even in the winter – especially in the winter, because then we would have the pond to ourselves – when the leaves on the two willows turned yellow and dropped and the water froze your hands. Mother would sit on a wooden bench set back from the perimeter; l would prepare the boat for launching. Grandfather, in his black coat and grey scarf, would walk to the far side to receive it. For some reason it was always Grandfather, never I, who went to the far to side. When he reached his station I would hear his 'Ready!' across the water. A puff of vapour would rise from his lips like the smoke from a muffled pistol. And I would release the launch. It worked by a battery. Its progress was laboured but its course steady. I would watch it head out to the middle while Mother watched behind me. As it moved it seemed that it followed an actual existing line between Grandfather, myself and Mother, as if Grandfather were pulling us toward him on some invisible cord, and that he had to do this to prove we were not beyond his reach. When the boat drew near him he would crouch on his haunches. His hands- which I knew were knotted, veiny and mottled from ...

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