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The Low Ones

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Submitted By mullie34
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Essay:”Low Visibility”

The short story ”Low Visibility” involves Laura and her husband John. Laura is John submissive, and she has nothing to say at home. Before she met John, she was the kind of person who could make a room laugh; she had a good humor, lots of energy and a good spirit. But John changed her; from being full of life, he made her into a person who barely speaks at home out of fear. In the text it says “She wishes she could protest, but has forgotten how.” This clearly explains how submissive she has become, when she cannot stand up for herself anymore. When they watch television, one of his hands is on her lap, holding it tight - so hard that her thigh bruises. John is a very violent person, and at a time he moves his hand higher up her thigh and presses, this is his foreplay because he does not know romance. When the riots enter the apartment below theirs, John gets pissed and flings the door open, ready to fight. As he flings the door open, Laura says “Don’t” and she is surprised over her own act, because she has not spoken a word of command for four years. This shows that maybe she is beginning to find herself again – starting to be independent of John. In the end when John lies on the ground and “ask” for a hand, she turns around and walks away, meanwhile a window explodes behind her, she is not harmed though. Another proof of the fact that she has found out that she does not need John in her life.
The riots in the street are very violent. The rebels throw mono cocktails at the police, who stand with shields trying to protect themselves. As the police shuffle back, the rebels roar because they see this as a sign of victory. Later on a delivery van turns into the road, when the driver sees the riots, he quickly reverses to get out of it, but he hits pothole and loses control of the car. The rebels see this, and they run to the car thereafter they pull out the driver and they beat him up. When they have beaten him up, they roll over his car is set alight. On Lodge Lane the riots have turned in to steeling. Supermarkets are being emptied and people are taking what they can get. People are not thinking about their conscience, they take what they can get and what they need.
The story starts in medias res, where we land in Laura and John’s living room, while they watch the news about the riots. It is built so the reader initially gets sympathy with Laura. John is posted as the bad guy, whom the reader dislikes right away. In the start Laura is at the bottom, so to speak. She has nothing to say at home, and she is very afraid of her husband John. As the story goes, Laura gains more and more strength, and in the end she is strong enough to decline John. The two last lines of the story - “A window explodes behind her, sending cascades of glass, musical, deadly, to the pavement. Laura is unharmed.” – shows that she has found herself and that she is strong again. She believes in herself, and knows that she will make it without John. The glass does not hit her, because she is not submissive anymore, she knows who she is and nothing can stop her from trying to get a better life.
The title “Low Visibility” is a synonymous of Laura. She does not have anything to say at home, and she is John submissive. Margaret Murphy plays on this pun, by letting Laura feel invisible to her very filling husband, John. At the end of the story, Laura walks outside and joins the people of low visibility. Thereby she gets over John, and she does not want him to be a part of her life anymore.…...

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