The opening chapter of ‘Cider with Rosie’ and ‘My family and other animals’ are written with very different approaches. ‘Cider with Rosie’ begins with Laurie Lee’s earliest memory, and already in the first paragraph, we learn his age, what’s going on and how he feels about it. ‘Cider with Rosie’ is written from the perspective of a three-year-old, whereas Gerald Durrell is writing his account of family life from an older child’s view, taking a more analytical and realistic view on life. As a child Laurie Lee looks upon everything in awe and amazement, especially his new surroundings:
“The June grass, amongst which i stood, was taller than I was, and I wept. I had never been so close to grass before. It towered above me and all around me, each blade tattooed with tiger-skins of sunlight.”
In the first chapter of his autobiography, Laurie Lee introduces us to his large and loving family, who have moved into the country, and are settling into their new found rural life. In Gerald Durrells ‘My family and other animals’ he introduces his family, as Laurie does, but in not such a loving way, Durrells family are clearly not as loving and fond of each other as Laurie Lee’s family are. In Durrell’s similarly large family, there are endless selfish complaints of illness. The fist chapter is titled- ‘The migration’, which suggest to the reader that the family will be moving or are moving away, but in ‘Cider with Rosie’ the first chapter is called ‘First light’ which tells us nothing about them moving away, just that it is his first memory.
In chapter 1 of ‘My family and other animals’ Gerald Durrell covers a wide time span in a short time. The chapter starts with the bleak description of where he and his family live in the dull and dismal town of Bournemouth. He tells of the bad weather conditions, and the general dullness of the sea-front town:
“The sort of weather calculated to try anyone’s endurance”
The chapter continues to introduce the family, their illnesses and reasons to move away to somewhere new, somewhere hot and somewhere where they could be healthy and happy. The family argues, and seem to be very self-centred unlike the family that Lee is very much a part of, Durrell seems to be detached from his family, standing back taking everything in, but not actually participating, whereas Laurie Lee’s family are all as one, working together as a team.
“You’re beginning to look like an Irish washer woman…and your family looks like a series of illustrations from a medical encyclopaedia”