Analysis of Bernard MacLaverty's My Dear Palestrina

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Analysis of Bernard MacLaverty's My Dear Palestrina

My Dear Palestrina’ is a cleverly written short story by Bernard MacLaverty. It is about this young boy called Danny who discovers his musical talent and goes to this piano teacher called Miss Swartz. Their friendship develops and seem to be a formidable partnership until Danny is torn away from his beloved music lessons because of Miss Schwartz private life. Fitted into the story are some important themes that still continue to exist in today’s society. In this essay I will try to explain most of them to you.

The most notable theme is how the prejudice of people can never be overcome. This is weaved into the story by the relationship of Danny and Miss Schwartz working well together until the very end when Danny is stopped from going to Miss Schwartz because of other peoples prejudice. Bernard MacLaverty has focused mostly on this theme because of Danny and Miss Schwartz being the main characters so by focusing the theme with them it allows the readers to read more about the prejudice of people. The barriers of social class is another theme I noticed in the story due to the disliking of Danny’s father towards the local Blacksmith. I noticed that Danny’s father doesn’t like the blacksmith because he says “If he’s pouring the same poison into your ear, son, as he’s been spewing out in the pub he’s a bad influence” Danny’s father and the Blacksmiths feuds also represent some civil conflict between people in the story. The theme of friendship is also included in the story because Danny and Miss Schwartz do have a good friendship going through most of the story and there is also a bit of love in the story because Danny seems to have a bit of a crush on Miss Schwartz. I can see that Danny has a slight crush on Miss Schwartz because on page 10 it says, “In the darkness Danny had to get close to look along the line of her arm. He smelt her perfume and the slightest taint of her own smell, felt his face brush the texture of her clothing”. The language used in that phrase is what you would expect from someone who is in love with someone. The writer has chosen these themes to make the story more enjoyable and to spice up the relationships and characteristics of characters and has developed them with the growing of Danny.

The local Blacksmith is an unshaven and dirty character who has very passionate views about...

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...den and have very personal conversations. Its in the winter when Danny is stopped from going to see Miss Schwartz and it seems as though their relationship reaches a high climax and is then forcefully taken to a sudden stop.

‘My Dear Palestrina’ was an enjoyable little story which was really pleasant to read. It appealed to me because of the way it was masterfully written with plenty of hidden meanings. The authors chosen themes were really up to date and I think its that which is the reason that I liked it. Take the theme of prejudice for example, other peoples prejudice exist today in most peoples lives and is shown everyday. The theme of social class is not so much involved in life today but for me it added something different to the story to make it more enjoyable. The theme of friendship was in there to give the story a warm feel to it and I really liked it. If their was a fault in ‘My Dear Palestrina’ I would have to say it tends to be a bit slow to read in bits. All in all though I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I always know I like a story when at the end you feel sorry for a character and it just so happens that at the end of ‘My Dear Palestrina’ I felt sorry for Danny.

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