Themes and message


One of the major themes in the short story “That Summer” by Safia Moore is that of childhood and the start of growing up. This theme is explored by mostly using a child’s perspective in a rather challenging context. Set during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the story mostly follows the point of view of a child living in a small Protestant town, who is also the narrator of the events some time after they happened. The narrator notices how the only Catholic family in the community is treated like an outsider, but he also experiences personal challenges.

As a child, the narrator's life is about playing and being outside with the other boys or climbing trees. However, being a boy is also challenging because he is also confronted with violence when he needs to face Noel or when Noel is beaten because he mocked another child’s mother. Verbal violence is also common among the children as the narrator calls his friend Ivan ‘fat’ to maintain a certain reputation in front of Noel.

Although still a child, the narrator begins to grow up that summer. He experiences a sexual attraction to a woman, Mrs Walsh, whom he and Noel spy on and see topless. Furthermore, the narrator takes the golden chain Mrs Walsh drops because...

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