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Nairobi Case

Essay by   •  October 25, 2012  •  Essay  •  1,332 Words (6 Pages)  •  5,528 Views

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It is always important to stay true to yourself no matter the pressure from the outside, with people telling you to be someone else. There are only on true you and that's the one where you can recognize yourself in your actions and feelings. In the story Nairobi we meet a woman who loses herself when being affected by a man from a whole other world.

Nairobi is a short story from 1984 written by Joyce Carol Oates. It is a story about the upper class Manhattan, and its social hierarchy. The story starts in medias res where we meet our main characters Oliver Lehay and his female companion Ginny on the shopping street Madison Avenue. It seems like they didn't know each other before this day: "(...) the man who had introduced himself as Oliver took Ginny to several shops on Madison Avenue (...)" . It's a Saturday afternoon and Oliver is taking Ginny to luxurious shops to by her clothes, earrings and shoes. The purpose of this is to ensure that she can look appropriate for the visit with Herbert and Marguerite Crew in their fancy apartment with a view over Central Park. The visit is short and after they have left the Crew's apartment, Oliver signals a cab for Ginny and they are separated.

The story is told by a 3. person narrator with a limited point of view through Ginny. We read how she reacts to different questions or situation: "Ginny felt her cheeks color slightly" . The narrator is also present in the story because of the fact that he tells the story through her eyes. This makes it a bit subjective since we read about her point of view on things.

The language in Nairobi is very simple and modern. The lines are written as indirect dialog or monolog. This style makes it easier to add emotions and thoughts to the speech as it can be written in a flowing style.

The two main characters Oliver and Ginny seem like contrasts to each other. With the looks they are like contrasts to each other, where Ginny has thick chestnut red hair and Oliver has thin and colorless hair. By Ginny he is also described as a man in the age of approximately 34 and "Oliver's skin was coarse; his nose wide at the bridge (...) his lower jaw was somewhat heavy". They are also contrasts in the way of living their lives. It seems like they come from two different worlds. Ginny acts like this whole upper-class environment is new to her and we know Oliver is used to it because he is the one with the money and the one who's friends are living in an expensive apartment. We see that he has money when he is taking her shopping on Madison Avenue, the street with all the expensive shops. When Oliver buys her new shoes Ginny later on looks at them and think: "(...) certainly the most beautiful shoes she'd ever owned. The price had taken her breath away too."

Ginny's character develops through the story from a fresh and happy woman with beautiful hair and life to a tired woman with lifeless hair. But why does her character take this turn into something so lifeless? The answer is that the upper-class man Oliver is for one day giving Ginny a look inside the superficial and harsh environment of New York's upper class. Here we find the social hierarchy where you have to wear the right clothes, make a lot of money and live in amazing apartments to keep your social status high. Oliver materializes her when he buys her new clothes and makes her throw away her beloved shoes: "No, to hell with them, she said. They're too much trouble to take a long. -Which she might regret afterward: but it was the right thing to say at that particular moment" . I this quote we see how she tries to hide who she truly are and replace it with how she thinks a stylish upper class woman

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