I think that the relationship between the aunt and the niece is a one-sided relationship.
This is because the aunt’s view is not taken into account. The house was not chosen by the aunt but is instead chosen by Catherine. She does not really like the house but chooses not to voice it out. The sentence ‘Catherine, my niece, went to a lot of trouble to do it up’ shows that Catherine did all the choosing.Also, the accommodation is a retirement home. This can be seen as it is ‘self-contained’, has a ‘security entrance’ and has a ‘communal garden’. This gives me the impression that Catherine’s idea of taking care of someone is to make sure that the person is cared for, and by doing that, she has done her duty.
This also shows that her aunt is a burden to her.The idea of a ‘security entrance’ gives me the idea that it is for locking the old people there so that they will not run around. It also gives me the impression that the place is like a prison.The aunt also tries to be appreciative but is unable to because Catherine does not understand what she needs. She knows that she is ‘lucky’ and she did not ‘mean to be ungrateful’ but the house is just not what she wants.It can also be seen that Catherine is bossy.
She says the sentences ‘better than where you were. You had no view there. You are so lucky’ in an accusing tone.
This gives me the impression that Catherine expects her aunt to be appreciative of what she has done regardless of whether it is useful.The aunt also needs someone to understand her. When she tries to explain her pain to Catherine, she just says ‘uh-huh’ in a dismissive tone like she is not bothered about it. Also, she does not even stop what she is doing but continues arranging the ornaments.The aunt’s life is also taken over by Catherine.
She is also expected to take Catherine’s point of view. This is because Catherine wants her to ‘put photographs in albums’ or ‘watch TV’. She even tries to make her watch certain programs. This gives me the impression that Catherine has to be busy at all time and cannot understand what it is like to ‘daydream, dawdle, or drift’.
The aunt is also sensitive to Catherine’s feelings. Even though she does not like her new home, she does not say it outright but just keeps it to herself. Only from the narrator’s description of her thought can we see that she does not like the house.Also, when Catherine told her aunt to watch TV, the aunt did not say anything but saying ‘oh, is it?’ to try and sound interested. Even though she did not want to watch TV, she preferred to please her niece so that Catherine would not get angry with her and refuse to visit her.
This gives me the impression that she needs company.How does the narrator’s voice affect your view of the situation?The narrator writes the entire passage in the aunt’s point of view. In the extract, he includes the aunt’s thought and feelings but leaves out Catherine’s. In this way, readers tend to side with the aunt as they are able to know what they feel.The first paragraph is also told from the aunt’s point of view.
This paragraph tells us about how she does not like the flat that she is living in now. This makes us sympathize with her as no one likes to live in a house that they do not like. However, we soon realize that the aunt just likes to complain about almost everything.
We also realize that the aunt has nothing interesting in her life from her description of the Zimmer. This is because she spends her time describing a Zimmer, which is a daily item. She also wonders about its name and the sound it makes. This tells us that she is bored enough to do it.However, even without the narrator doing that, we would still naturally side with the aunt. This is because the aunt and the niece are separated by a generation gap. This is because of different trends, different attitudes and different ideas.
This would then cause an estranged or strained relationship which would lead to anger, helplessness, confusion and frustration. There would also be a lot of disagreement which would lead to conflict.This is natural as young people are often unable to understand how the older ones feel. This is because the society changes very fast and ideas often change. Older people are often unable to change fast enough to fit into the new and improved society. Also, younger people care more about convenience than comfort. This explains why many things are self contained.
The last paragraph also tells us more about Catherine. It lets us know that she is like an ‘office stapler’ which holds things together. It also tells us that she is just like an instrument.
This allows us to understand why she acts in such a way and does not sit and ‘daydream or dawdle’ but has to be busy at all times even when someone is talking to her. This also lets us know why she expects other people to be busy at all times too.We also find out that Catherine is not rich because she has to take a bus to work.
This makes us wonder how she gets the money to pay for her aunt’s stay at the retirement home. We then pity her because she has to leave her aunt at a retirement home so that she would not have to listen to her complaining all the time.