On the following pages we give you inspiration for analyzing “The Gift” by Karen Phillips successfully.

The short story is constructed using a flashback structure. The events are not told in chronological order. Instead, the story begins in the middle of events and takes readers to past events that help them understand the present situation.

The most important character in the story is the narrator from whose perspective the events are recounted. She is a woman going through an inner conflict as she is struggling to accept the failure of her marriage. The relationships between the narrator and the other characters are important for her characterization, especially the relationship between her and her ex-husband Ron, which is the cause of her inner conflict.

The story is set in the main character’s homes: in a flat in the present and on a dairy farm in the past. Elements of the physical setting have symbolic roles which are conveyed through contrasts. The social setting explores issues related to farm life and divorce.

The first-person narrator has a subjective point of view. She gives readers access to her memories and her thoughts.

The language includes elaborate metaphors and similes that help convey the narrator’s perspective on her relationship with her husband and the causes that led to their divorce.

Contrasts is a crucial element in the short story. For instance betwee life on the farm before and now or between the narrator and Amelia.

Read on to learn more.

Further help

For more advice about analyzing short stories, you can read our general guide to short story analysis.