One Stair Up: An Analysis

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This essay sample essay on One Stair Up offers an extensive list of facts and arguments related to it. The essay’s introduction, body paragraphs and the conclusion are provided below.

Essay A “One stair up” by Campbell Nairne The fragment describes how two youngsters, representatives of the working class, – Rosa and Andrew, went to the cinema. We see them in the hall of the cinema, after that observe them in the showing room.

There is relatively little action in this story.

The author’s attention is mainly focused on the details, so that we could see, smell and feel everything that surrounds the main characters. The text can be described as partially narrative and partially descriptive. The exposition is rather long.

The author’s aim is to plunge us into the atmosphere of the luxurious salon: we can even hear the “soft whirring of fans” and “a cup grate on a saucer”, feel the “hot darkness” and draw a realistic image of the showing room. The complication begins with the Rosa’s question “This a comedy? ” Now our attention is fully devoted to the leading characters, depicted skillfully by the author. Campbell Nairne reveals the nature of his characters through actions, details, dialogues, and, mostly, through showing their thoughts. He uses interior monologues to build up the thought patterns of both the main characters.

One Stair

The tension grows as we “hear” what Rosa thinks of Andrew, because her thoughts come in strong contradiction to his ones. The culmination takes place when Andrew breaks out, “forgetful in his excitement”.

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Full of delight, he wants to share his impressions with Rosa, but meets only cold misunderstanding. He starts making excuses to her, looking abject and miserable. The denouement lies in the sharp answer of Rosa. The elements of the plot are ordered chronologically, the story ends on the sour note, but the end of the story is not clear-cut and conclusive.

It gives the reader much room for suggestion, forces himher to fancy a possible reaction of the young man and the further development of the relationships between Rosa and Andrew. The plot is of minor importance in this story, if we compare it with the work of mind, feelings and emotions. We pay attention to what the characters think rather than to what they do. The author speaks first in his own voice and presents events in the third person singular, but there are moments when we realize that the author’s words are substituted by interior monologues of the youngsters.

Nairne uses such a device to make his story a remarkable insight into human character. What is also characteristic of the story is that we cannot fully trust the narrator’s judgment, as he sometimes speaks with irony. A vivid example of it is the description of the forthcoming attraction “Mothers of Broadway”. The author mixes the quotations from an advertisement with his own remarks, which are even more swelling and exaggerative than the advertisement itself. He says “The film seemed to have smashed all records”, and we have to doubt deeply, whether he is speaking frankly.

Next to this pompous review of the film Andrew’s comment follows: “Not much good, I expect”. Here we can observe a complete change in the point of view, and, accordingly, in the atmosphere. The mask seems to have been removed, and the emphasis in the episode turns great. Now let us examine the characters in details. Except for the main ones, Andrew and Rosa, we also meet “a trim girl in a chocolate uniform with blue pipings’, which ‘silently emerged, glanced at the tickets and admitted them”.

The author pays attention only to her appearance and actions. On the contrary, we find nothing about the look of the main characters. And it’s not by chance: in this particular fragment their look has no significance. We explore only their inner world, knowing nothing about the outer, and it doesn’t prevent the characters from being round and full-blooded. They are fully believable, and as in real life, sometimes act inconsistently. In the best way it can be seen in the ending of the story, when Rosa’s retort “was uttered before she had command of it”.

Another example concerns Andrew: he promised himself he would keep silent during the film, because Rosa had forbidden him to talk to her in a cinema. After that he broke the promise and it led to their tiff. The two heroes are faced with the problem of misunderstanding; moreover, an inner conflict, associated with Rose’s inner world, domineers from the very beginning of the story. “It pleased her to be seen in the dress circle, even with Andrew”. The detachment “even with Andrew” shows us that she doesn’t enjoy his company.

Finally, her attitude to him is voiced in her thoughts: she supposed him to be stupid, just “a big hulking kid” and looked at him with contempt. Her irritation grew and the inner conflict turned into an external one. The roots of the conflict between the characters lie in their different attitude to things, different tempers and motivations, and particularly, in their attitude to cinema. Rosa’s attitude is much more serious than that of Andrew. For him it was just a sort of fun. He was going to “enjoy himself“, and nothing more. But for Rosa it was a way to go one stair up in the world, may be even the means of self-development.

Moreover, it was not by chance that she “surveyed the dim amphitheatre in the hope of recognizing some of her acquaintances”. She wanted to be seen in the dress circle and to keep the track of events. The title of the story is a suggestive one. It helps us to single out the main idea of the story: some people are not content to live in obscurity, and their aim is to go one stair up in the world by any means. Now let us see what helps this story to affect our feelings so deeply… In the given fragment the author uses a wide range of stylistic devices.

Here are examples of epithets (“voluptuous (stillness)”, “rapid-fire (drama)”, “soft (whirring)”, “hot (darkness)”), metaphors (“a shower of stars”, “a shaft of white light”), metonymy “young bloods”, simile (“a carpet that yielded like springing turf”). He also exploits ellipsis “This a comedy? ”, “You see all right? ” to imitate the colloquial language and to show the low education level of the speakers. To render the peculiarities of the thought stream, he uses simple syntactical constructions, many one-member nominative sentences (“Custards all over the place”, “Oh, yes, a stick of dynamite. ), rhetorical questions (“Where was it going to put that? ”), exclamatory sentences (“Oh, this was good! ”). Personification is used throughout the text (“pot-plants and palms leapt up”). The extract “I thought — it was quite funny, you know — I mean, people laughed. I wasn’t the only one. But if you don’t like it — ” is especially remarkable. It sounds unconnected, the same idea is repeated twice (“I thought … I mean”). The speech is interrupted: hesitation pauses are shown with the help of the dashes. Evidently, poor Andrew had a lack of words. Moreover, aposiopesis is used.

All these expressive means show us how great was the extent of the boy’s confusion, and unwillingly the reader’s heart fills with sympathy for him. No doubt, he author has a fine and remarkable style, everything seems to reflect the feelings of the heroes, and as a result, the events emerge in our mind in the most realistic way. The reader is immersed deeply into the life of those two youngsters: we see, hear and feel the same as they do. We get access to their thoughts and judgments, we can easily put ourselves into their shoes. And we realize that there are so many Rosas and Andrews among us…

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One Stair Up: An Analysis. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

One Stair Up: An Analysis
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