Themes and message

The main themes explored in the short story “Same Same but Different” by Anne Hayden are identity and loss and grief. The story shows how difficult it is for people to deal with the loss of a close relative; how death can make people question their own sense of identity. The author’s message with the story is that rejection and trying to run away from grief are never a solution. 

Loss and grief

The theme of loss and grief is explored through the characters of the narrator, her parents, and Molly’s boyfriend. The death of 21-year-old Molly shocked both her twin sister and her parents.

The parents found it hard to interact with the narrator because, as Molly’s identical twin, the narrator was a constant reminder of Molly’s death: “I couldn’t stand their sadness anymore, their voices had changed, become flatter. I once caught Dad listening to an old voicemail from Molly…” (ll. 48-49)

Unintentionally, the parents’ grief makes them push the narrator away, who ultimately decides to move to Melbourne.



The theme of identity is explored through the character of the narrator and the story’s plot. The story follows a female narrator whose identical twin Molly died after being hit by a car. The girls’ physical resemblance and the fact that they were constantly together, makes it hard for the narrator to gain a sense of individual identity.

Furthermore, when Molly was alive, she dominated the relationship and often took the lead, making the narrator feel inferior and frustrated. Now, after Molly’s death, the girl still overshadows the narrator’s life because everyone who looks at her thinks of Molly...


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