McEwan, Ian-a corpse in the cellar
The narrator is Jack, the eldest boy in the family. The four children have to decide what to do with their mother’s corpse. The action takes place at night. Little Tom is upset and he’s crying so loudly that the other children are unable to talk. He’s to be comforted and put to bed. At midnight, Tom finally falls asleep. Jack now can tell his sisters that in his opinion, Julie’s idea of hiding the corpse in the garden is not a good one: first, they would have to dig deep, which would take a long time; secondly, If they did it during the day they would be seen, while if they did it at night they would need torches; lastly, it would be difficult to keep it secret from Tom. Jack has taken a leading role; however, when talking to his sisters he feels his stomach turned, which reveals his fragility.
Jack and Julie go upstairs to the room where their mother’s body is hidden. He opens the door, but it’s Julie that enters the room first.
Julie proposes to wrap the body in a sheet.
Jack catches his mother’s body, half closing his eyes and avoiding her face, and puts it on the table so that it will be easier to deal with it.
When they put her on the sheet, she looks like a bird with a broken wind and Jack for the first time cries for her and not for himself. It’s very difficult to wrap the body in the sheet because it’s too contorted.
The two children then carry the body downstairs, where Sue has fallen asleep. In the last line of the passage the reader is informed that the children have decided to hide their mother’s corpse in the cellar. The language is simple and familiar, which makes the scenes described realistic and concrete since the protagonists are four children and one of them is also the narrator. The sentences are short and there’s a lot of punctuation, which increases the sense of mystery and fear as well as the rhythm. However, there are a few formal words, such as “conceal”, “quieten” and “billowing”.