When discussing the short story "The Gift" by Karen Phillips, one of your exam questions asks you to focus on contrasts. Contrasts are an important device in the short story, as they help to show the narrator's state of mind concerning her divorce and her ex-husband's relationship with Amelia.

There is a contrast between life on the farm as the narrator remembers it and life on the farm now, when Amelia has moved in. When the narrator was married to Ron, the farm door was "boring old brown" (l. 14). Now, Amelia has painted it pink, which the narrator claims is " 'a nice, cheerful colour' " (l. 21). This is the first hint at a difference between the narrator and Amelia.

The difference is highlighted also by Amelia planting flowers in the narrator's vegetable garden. In this way, the contrasts show that the narrator focused only on practical aspects, while Amelia prefers to enjoy life as well. This is also illustrated by the idea that Amelia "never goes near the milk shed" (l. 37) and is, accordin...

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