Do you remember the scary monsters who lived under your bed when you were a little child? And how scared you were to step out of your bed at night because it could grab your foot and do something evil to you? A monster under the bed is usually a fictitious creature that children make up when they are afraid of what they cannot see, and the fictitious creature especially appears at night. Do we choose to have a fear, or is it just something we cannot control? It all expresses itself in the short story monster under the bed written by Lezanne Clannachan and published in 2011.
The short story takes place on a bench at Waterloo station, which is a train in London, and it spans over one evening. The exact time setting is not mentioned, but we can assume that the story was meant to be contemporary to the time when it was published so in 2011.
Through the whole story is Eddie staying at the station where he meets different people, who are passing by. At first, he meets a sweet dog and its annoyed homeless owner. Later on, he meets the kind woman Angie.
Eddie is a 15-year-old schoolboy and the main character of the story. He used to have a girlfriend and a dog and used to go to football practice, but he had to give it all up because of his mothers sickness:
First she stopped going out whit her mate Lilian.
Then she wouldnt visit the neighbours. For my eleventh birthday she promised to take me to the cinema. She stood for ages with the front door open. In the and she gave up and lay down on the sofa and I took Beanie for a walk. After that she couldnt even go into the garden.
Eddie needs to take care of her all by himself because his dad got sick of looking after her so he slipped his way and never came back.
Eddie has an ambivalent attitude towards his mom. On the one hand is it obvious that he loves, cares and feels responsible for her. One example can be that he goes all the way to London to buy his moms favorite pastries for her birthday and meanwhile is he worried about leaving her alone back home. On the other hand, is he angered by the whole situation: like why he must worry about her, to give up the things he loves, and to take care of everything for her? He is tired of being so responsible for the whole time. He just wants to be a normal 15-year-old schoolboy.
Eddie is willing to make some terrible sacrifices to satisfy his mom, although these sacrifices hurt him, and which builds up this anger inside of him. She made him tire his lovely dog, Beanie, to a tree in Blackdown (a massive forest) and leave it alone. He could not get himself to leave his dog, so he said crouched behind a bush listening to his dog calling for him and hid. At the moment he is heading back home to his mom, he meets a homeless man and his dog. The dog reminds him of Beanie which he misses a lot and he truly regrets that he left Beanie alone by the tree.
Angie, however, is a woman older than Eddies big sister ( ) and younger than his mum . She has two children and sells insurances for a living. Angies physical portrait suggests that she is not a typical mother, she is concerned about not looking young, so she is wearing a lot of make-up trying to look younger than she is. Based on that Angie is the first person who interacts with Eddie, shows that she is a sociable, friendly and considerate person. According to her conversation with Eddie, it shows that Angie is a curious person. She wants to find out more about Eddie and she does that by questioning him a lot of questions.
The short story is written in third-person point of view, which means, that the narrator knows what Eddie thinks, feels, reacts and how he remembers. An example could be: Shes wearing a lot of make-up. Trying to look younger than she is. Like his mum, so careful with her make-up every morning. Whats the point? he thinks when hes feeling mean. Normally would it only be Eddie who knows how he feels, but since the narrator knows everything, she also knows everything about Eddies feelings. When the narrator writes a story with a third-person point of view, is it easier for the readers to relate to the characters, because we get to know nearly all about every single character in the story.
The main theme is about fear. Not about childrens fear of monsters under the bed, but about a mothers fear of going outside a door. It feels like Eddie have not quite understood why his mom is afraid, so to make him understand her fear she uses an analogy of the monster under the bed which Eddie feared when he was a small boy: Do you remember the monster under your bed? Its how his mum explained it to him once. You know its not real, but that doesnt stop the fear. Eddies mother might hope that Eddie would understand her fear if she tells him something he can relate to, so it is not so difficult to understand.
It is not only Eddies mom who is afraid. The first fear we hear about is from the homeless man whom Eddie meets at the station. He fears that Eddie might take his dog, so in a way is his reaction a bit aggressive: Get off my dog, the man says. He wont meet Eddies eye, but his face is all creased up with anger. You leave my dog alone. Mabey it is because the dog is everything he owns, and he does not want to lose it, or maybe it is because he mistrusts other people, and think that Eddie will take the dog away from him. Thats why he reacts so aggressively on Eddie when he tries to pet the dog.
I can conclude that fear is not something we choose to have, but something everyone on earth has. We just have to live with it even if we want to or not. That is the way life is.