In the following pages, we will help you with the analysis of the short story “Life for a Life” by Alan Paton.

We will look at the structure of the text, outlining plot elements and narrative techniques like backstory and foreshadowing. “Life for Life” is structured by Alan Paton in five different scenes, separated by “***”. These scenes roughly correspond to traditional plot elements: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution.

We will examine the characters, focusing on Sara, who is the main character.

We will explore the setting of the story, taking into account both the physical setting of the Kroon, as well as social setting elements related to discrimination during the apartheid regime in South Africa.

We will present the narrator of the short story, which is written in the third-person. We will also look at how the narrator relies on the characters’ point of view to convey the events.

Finally, we will look at the language used by Alan Patton, considering the choice of words, metaphors, repetition, rhetorical questions, and symbols.

Read our full analysis of “Life for Life” in the next pages!

Further help

Do you want additional help with analysis of short stories? See our general guide for more:

Short story analysis

I denne vejledning får du Studienets hjælp til at analysere noveller (short stories) i engelsk.