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Critical analysis

             "My Mother Told Me" is a short story from the book entitled New Axe Handle And Other Stories written by Robina Wright. It is a narrative that depicts a Maltese Mother and daughter attempting to adjust to feel at ease as part of Australian culture. Through thematic concerns, point of view, style and other narrative structures the story demonstrates to audiences a plot of cultural conflict.
             The female protagonist of the story is Ginny (Giovannia), a young Maltese girl attending an Australian school who wants to become accepted by her peers - the setting for this plot is at Ginny's birthday party. The other main character is Mrs Aldonza (Ginny's mother) who tries her hardest to make her 'little girl' happy but has difficulty understanding the large cultural gap between her daughter and the other children who come from different social, economic and religious backgrounds.
             The story is told from the third person limited point of view. "Giovannia was glad that her Mother was so enthusiastic. She had been a little worried." (p.91) This is done so that the readers can see only how the protagonist is feeling as this is where the writer intends for readers sympathies to lie, but yet still allows audiences to judge the issues involved quite objectively to a certain extent by including hints about characters that have disguised meanings. Whereas readers know how Ginny is feeling they can only assume what the other characters are thinking from technical devices used by the author such as symbolism, imagery and implied meanings (connotations).
             One example of implied meanings that is used can be found in the descriptions of personal appearance, in particular the hair of two of the girls at the party. "'Crikey, it gives you the creeps!' declared Melissa of the tight curled black hair." (p.92) The hair is representative of the girls nature. Tight here being with regards to her firm, impermeable attitudes and belief system - she does not make any effort to understand different cultures.

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