In Snowdrops, the author, Leslie Norris, present a child’s of the world around him and the way that adults can protect children from sad and upsetting experiences. The story appears to be about a boy and his day at primary school. His teacher, Miss Webster promised the class that they could all go outside and look at the Snowdrops. Whilst they are looking, a funeral procession passes the school, one which the boy’s parents were discussing – the tragic death of a motorcyclist. The author refers indirectly by using hints and clues to the fact that the motorcyclist was in love with the boy’s teacher.
The boy learns that his teacher is, along with the Snowdrops, not what they are made out to be. He has great expectations of the Snowdrops however, when he does see them he realises that they are not anything special. He notices that Miss Webster appears to be hard on the outside, however, soft in the middle – appearing to be tough to every one else but revealing that she really does have feelings. We know this because the boy notices how brave Miss Webster was when she trapped her hand in the cupboard door – he is amazed that she did not cry.
He then notices that at her boyfriend’s funeral procession that she was very brave yet again. The author uses child like language to shape the story and its meaning: For example, when the boy was describing how his brother was eating the porridge – Norris used language that sounded as though it were coming from the tongue of a child itself – a form of a list, as in: ‘Then he did this, then he did that’ and so on, like a young child would do when they were describing something to an adult around them.
There are a lot of ‘direct’ or ‘vivid’ sentences, those that are simple and easy for a child to understand. For example: ‘The Boy Nodded. ‘ Line 186 and ‘The Boy Drew A Robin’ Line 103. Miss Webster describes the Snowdrops as being ‘asleep throughout the summer, underneath the ground! ‘ The boy believes that this is the key to understanding the world around him. It also symbolises the renewal of life that comes in the spring. The story has a main symbol in it: The snowdrop symbolising an emblem of new life.
Throughout the story the boy builds up an excitement and suspense as he waits to see the snowdrops, and it is finally rewarded when he actually sees the flowers. (When this happens the boy has a climax of mixed emotions: i. e. he sees them as both resilient and fragile. This also represents how things are portrayed differently through the eyes of a child and how emotions are ‘magnified’ or ‘amplified’, in effect. ) The boy notices that the snowdrops bend and survive even the most bitter winter weather, and they come back every year, burning with life, ready for the spring.
All of this represents the determination and willpower that some humans actually have, and how they can ‘bounce’ back after being knocked off their feet. This is exactly what the boy sees Miss Webster do – she makes her hand bleed by shutting it in the door and she had to have a bandage but she did not cry. He also sees how brave she was when she was watching the funeral procession – we suspect that he is amazed at how she can shrug off the things that weigh her down, in effect.
The end of the story is very significant as Miss Webster reveals her emotions by crying out loud in front of the children: ‘Miss Webster continued to cry aloud in the midst of the frightened children’ This proves, in effect, the boys theory of that his teacher is hard on the outside an soft in the middle as she finally shows her emotions to her dead boyfriend’s funeral procession, and so proves to the world that children portray things differently and not everyone, including life, is what it’s made out to be.