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The Opposite Sex

             "The Opposite Sex" by Laurie Lee is a short story in which various techniques are employed to show the narrator undergoing a change.
             The story is set in the English countryside and illustrates the authors" first sexual experience with a sixteen-year-old girl called Ellie. Throughout the story the narrators" attitude towards sex is changed.
             The author uses a series of comical similes to describe his knowledge of sex throughout childhood, "sex a constant force like the national grid". Comparing sex to the national grid is unexpected and anticlimaxical this creates a humorous effect. The author also makes references to nature, "fumbling bees, loaded udders and swelling fruit". Nature is constantly refered to throughout the short story and is one of the major themes that run throughout the story, along with growing up, sex and betrayal.
             The narrators sexual experience as he grew older is described using a cricketing metaphor, "lazily inspecting the pitch", being fully aware of sex, his experience is described as "early practice at the nets", taking a small and unserious role in sex. The metaphor is extended and he is suddenly "called on to play" when he meets Ellie.
             The narrator and his friends discuss sex at length and are described as "painting the walls with our gaudy lies". Initially the author sees sex as something to boast about with his friends, "I thought of carrying this trophy back to the shed". The word "trophy" continues the cricketing metaphor and furthers the idea that the author sees sex as a sport rather than something serous.
             At the first meeting Ellie asks "seen any snakes" the sound patterning of sibilants creates a seductive sound. The reference to "snakes" creates an allusion to Adam and Eve and suggests a betrayal, which comes at the end of the story. This allusion is continued as Ellie is described as having "flesh as an apple". Comparing the author and Ellie to Adam and Eve suggests an element of seriousness and that the writer regards her as more than a "trophy".

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