The setting of Norah Burke’s short story “The Blue Bead” has a great impact upon how the story unfolds. Discuss.
Or, How has the setting influenced the development of the story in “The Blue Bead”?
The Blue Bead is a fine story with a backdrop well-suited to depict the severe hardships of an adolescent girl’s life and her struggle against all odds of existence. The narrator chooses the locale of foothills of Himalayas as the setting of the story. Norah Burke presents Sibia, the protagonist as a representative of hard-working community of rural mountainous region. Her steadfast stubbornness and mental vigour are metaphorical equivalent to the rough and hilly region.
Again, our earnest reading of the story reveals the gradual unfolding strands of the story. Sibia is not presented at the very beginning following the straightaway narrative method. It is rather the writer’s subtle method to describe closely a large crocodile along with description of mountainous landscape only to emphasize Sibia’s fiery struggle for existence.
The beautifully projected description of the crocodile is thus a prelude to Sibia’s heroic deed as a part of her day to day existence. Such dramatic beginning with the device of visual imagery is most convincingly at work:
Out of black water curved with whirlpools and into the grill of gold shallows by the stepping stones.
The writer even humanises the crocodile to maintain a logical consistency in the plot:
He had lived by his brainless craft and ferocity.
In narrating such a tale, the writer shows a beautiful architectonic skill in the art of combining the setting and progress of the story. Sibia is the only human character in action in the story and her psychological exploration takes place with the development of the plot. The girl is shown possessed with audacious courage and source of vibrant energy. A close-knit narrative structure fastens our unflagging attention until the climax of Sibia’s ironic wish-fulfillment.