The girl found in the park – the victim of an attack – is another important character in the story “Tell Me” by Zoë Sharp because she represents the way in which poor girls sometimes fall prey to a toxic environment that eventually leads to their death.
The girl’s outer characterisation reveals that she is “no more than sixteen years old but still a child, with dirty blonde hair” (p. 39, ll. 13-14). She has “thin arms” (p. 39, l. 15) and is dressed in a “mini skirt and a skimpy top” (p. 39, l. 17).
Her inner characterisation reveals that the girl is defensive and does not think much of herself, as she believes that her identity does not matter. However, she is slowly persuaded by Grace into telling the truth about her life, so she begins to trust the woman. At first, though, the girl lies to Grace, believing that she will be left alone:
‘What do you expect?’ the girl snapped. She gestured angrily towards the rhododendrons. ‘Being dragged through the mud, having him –‘ She broke off, bit her lip, looked away.
‘Your clothes were dirty before that,’ Grace said, no censure in her quiet voice. (p. 40, ll. 21-24)
Through her dialogue with Grace, we find out that the girl wants to look pretty sometimes, which is why she paints her nails. This is probably also a reminder of past times before her father left and her mother “lost herself in the bottle – pills or booze, or...