Physical setting

The events presented in “It’s Beginning to Hurt” by James Lasdun take place in London (p. 125, l. 22). Mr Bryar boards the train to travel home at Charing Cross (p. 125, l. 17), which is a train station in central London. The train is the place where Mr Bryar reminisces about the past.

The events take place over the course of a day, with flashbacks to the time when Mr Bryar was seeing Marie. Marie's funeral takes place in July, in what is referred to as “a baking summer” (p. 124, l. 14). The reference to the heat could point to the tension felt at Marie’s death and Mr Bryar’s oppressive marriage.

Mr Bryar’s office is the place he returns to after the funeral and the place where he spends his afternoon working, trying not to think about Marie. The stock room, filled with dead mice and insects (p. 125, ll. 12-15), becomes symbolic of Mr Bryar’s unhappy marriage, as well as of the things he does not want to think about. By storing the salmon there, Mr Bryar symbolically tr...

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