The relationship between Miles and Fenella

The short story “We Can’t Be Good at Everything” by Emma Sloley focuses on the relationship between Miles and Fenella. 

Miles’s relationship with Fenella appears to be strangely formal. He calls her by her full name, instead of ‘mom’, or ‘Fenny’ as “everyone else calls her” (l. 27), which highlights the distance between them. Miles’s sarcastic remark: “ ‘I would have liked to have had two parents, you know?’ ” (ll. 119-120) suggests that his mother was mostly absent during his childhood. It also points to Miles’s resentment of Fenella for not being there for him and focusing on her career instead. To him, having his father around was not enough.

Fenella understands what is behind Miles’s request to look after William: “ ‘I’m sorry I failed your test, Miles....

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