Themes and message

Suffering and regret

The short story “It’s Beginning to Hurt” by James Lasdun explores the theme of regret. This theme is explored through the main character, Mr Bryar, who becomes emotionally affected by the death of Marie, his former mistress. 

During the three years in which Mr Bryar and Marie had an affair, he was happy and carefree. For him, the relationship with Marie was “an adventure” (p. 125, l. 27) and brought “reckless joys” (p. 125, l. 28). However, the relationship ended when Marie confessed that she had started to feel hurt by their affair (p. 125, ll. 32-33). Even though Marie never asks Mr Bryar to leave his family for her, we can assume that their affair makes her suffer, as she is not a permanent part of Mr Bryar’s life. It is interesting that Marie chooses to end the affair when she falls in love with Mr Bryar, rather than asking him to leave his wife. This is perhaps because she wants to avoid the pain that can come with romantic relationships.

After seven years in which Mr Bryar has not seen Marie, his feelings for her ...

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