The headmistress

The headmistres' outer characterisation reveals that she is a “linguist” (p. 52, l. 3), that she is married and has three sons with her husband. From the mother’s perspective, she is “old” (p. 55, l. 24). She also has “short untidy fair hair” (p. 51, l. 25).

Inner characterisation

The headmistress’ inner characterisation in “Clara’s Day” by Penelope Lively is conveyed indirectly through her speech and attitude. In the beginning of the story, we find out that she tries to ignore Clara undressing in front of everyone in school, probably as a tactic to avoid giving the incident too much importance: “The Head hesitated for a moment – she was reading out the tennis team list-and then went on again, firmly.” (p. 50, ll. 14-16). The same thing is suggested by the fact that she sends for Clara later in the day: “Half-way through the morning one of the prefects came in and told her the Head wanted to see her straight after school.” (p. 51, ll. 5-7)

The description of her office suggests that it is a comfortable place, probably arranged to make children feel at ease. It also suggests that she has a happy family life (the photos) and she is fairly well-off financially (suggested by the renowned bag):...

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