This was written for an English assesment. Here's the criteria.

= Write a short story using the device of a double narrative point of view. Using this device to reflect certain aspects of our society.

There was also a commentary needed on the peice. It's at the bottom, but here's the criteria.

= Provide on page of reflective commentary about what you were trying to achieve through this use of double narrative.



The cat awoke with a jerk from where she was sleeping on the settee. No doubt that was the female falling to the floor in pain once again. The cat thought, yawning widely as she stretched and got herself comfortable once more. Now we wait for the male to start yelling, right before he comes storming through that door and leaves for the pub, only to come back drunk and in more of a mood.

"You know it's you're fault that I hit you. If you'd only do more around the house this wouldn't happen. Hell, if you'd just remembered to iron my favourite bloody shirt yesterday!" bellowed the male voice through the kitchen door, "If it hadn't been for you, I would still have my job!"

There was a small feminine whimper from behind the door. "I'm sorry Jimmy, luv. You're right. It is my fault. If only I'd done that shirt, then you'd still have you're job." The voice was all sincereness. Any sweeter and the cat would've been tempted to cough up a hair ball, if only to ruin the moment.

You stupid woman! The cat chided, hissing at the kitchen door as it was opened by Jimmy in a forceful manner. Can you not see that he is simply taking his frustrations out on you? It's not your fault that he lost his job. I'm a freakin' cat, an' even I know that we're in the middle of a depression! It's the 1930s girl - this is the decade of jazz and affairs and parties, not of homemakers and women bashers! The cat glared at Jimmy as his threw on his coat, went out the door and slammed it behind him.

Lillian, or 'the female' as the cat called her, sat down quietly next to the cat, staring at her hands. "He's right you know. Everything is my fault. I should do more for him." She said, as if answering the cat's accusing glare.

The cat continued her unwavering stare. Eventually Lillian went to bed and a few hours after midnight Jimmy returned from the pub, highly inebriated. The cat waited in silent anticipation. She did not have to wait long before there came the sounds of someone being rudely awakened by being shoved out of the bed in a forceful manner. This was a usual event in the household. Lillian would be pushed onto the floor and in the morning she would be forced to wash the newly cleaned sheets again, removing the traces of Jimmy's drinking.


Jimmy stayed home the next day, not bothering to go out and look for a job. He lazed about the house taking great care to criticize any work that Lillian performed around the house. When she washed the morning dishes he claimed that she wasn't scrubbing them the right way. When she fed the cat, he claimed that she gave it too much food. "You spoil it too much! Look how fat it's getting! It gets more food than I bloody well do!"

The cat, in turn, took time to mentally berate and belittle him, fearing no retribution. Look at you, mister High-and-mighty. Why don't you get off your lazy, fat arse and find a new job? Because you are a miserable little sod who needs to beat his wife to make himself feel bigger, that's why! The cat took a quick swipe at his shins before ducking under the couch, moving to the very back where she was out of reach.

Lillian though, agreed with her husband and halved the cat's food.

True, Lillian's act of total submission to her husband prevented her from being hit most times, and thus it was a good survival trait - but the cat hated to see another female being abused. Many a time the cat declared to the other felines of the neighborhood, "If I was that human's wife I wouldn't stand for it. I'd be sure to hit him over the head with something suitably heavy, or at least throw old boots at him, like he does to me now."

The cat had often thought on this. Jimmy's attitude towards her was as though he knew she was on his wife's side. As though he knew about her taunts and violent thoughts towards him. She'd quickly dismissed this train of thought on the sheer basis of Jimmy having the IQ of a mouse and the personality of a doorknob. An ugly doorknob.

Jimmy and Lillian had been married now for just under five years. The cat had been with Lillian from before the marriage, from before Jimmy started hitting her. The cat was frankly quite amazed that Lillian hadn't left already. Before Lillian had married she had been a very headstrong girl, immensely different from the woman that she was now.

The cat now spent her time waiting for the day that Jimmy would go too far. The day that Lillian would either leave him, or report him. Honestly, the cat wished that Lillian would do both. In fact, the cat often day dreamed about the look on Jimmy's face as he was taken away by the police.


After six days of staying at home and belittling his wife Jimmy finally went out in search of a job. Initially, Lillian just settled into her old routines - the ones that Jimmy had spent his time criticizing, "You'll never get anything done that way. It's the wrong way." This lead to Lillian actually showing some personality and speaking back to him, the cat mentally cheering on the sidelines.

"Well if this isn't the right way why don't you get off your arse and do it yourself?!" Unfortunately, Jimmy, being the person that he is and having no sense of humour, didn't take this all too well. Lillian ended up with a black eye and a large hand-shaped bruise in the morning. She was nursing it as he went out to find a job, and, predictably, come home drunk.

Again, the cat spent some time deliberating over why Lillian was still in this distorted relationship. Why on earth doesn't she leave him? The cat thought despairingly as she watched Lillian scrub the kitchen floor. What is it about Jimmy that makes her stay? It can't be his intelligence, Lord knows he's not clever. And he's in no way handsome, even by a human's standards. He's not kindly either. The cat mentally ticked off her fingers (or would have, if, in fact, she had any). Come to think of it, why in blue blazes did she marry the numskull?

Had the cat continued this train of thought she probably would have come to the conclusion that there was no real reason for Lillian to have married Jimmy, let alone put up with him for so long.

When Jimmy came back home that night, smelling of alcohol and cigarette smoke, the cat observed the wheels practically whirring in Lillian's head. She kept shooting Jimmy surreptitious glances as she made him dinner. "Any luck?" The cat could have sworn that there was a hint of malice in that sentence.

Jimmy looked at her sideways before backhanding her. "Of course bloody not. It's the depression! What are you? Mad?" Jimmy snarled before going back to his dinner. Lillian was quiet for the rest of he night, as was Jimmy - unless, of course, he was ordering her to get him something that was usually only a few feet away from him.

The next day when Jimmy went out once more in search of work Lillian began packing, stopping briefly to answer the cat's look of incredulous wonder. "I've been thinking out why he does this, about why he hits me." Lillian murmured, and were it not for the cat's good hearing she would've missed it. "I've come to the conclusion - it's not my fault. It was his own fault that he lost his job. It had nothing to do with me. I'm sick of him," Lillan's voice was getting louder and more convinced as she spoke, "I'm leaving, going back home."

It the cat could have, she would have grinned triumphantly. It appears she has finally come to her senses. Now she realizes that it's not her fault that he hits her, that he is to blame for all the things that go wrong in his life. The cat purred happily as her carrier was put into the taxi that had come to take Lillian away from this hellhole of a marriage.

Funnily enough, just as the taxi pulled away from the curb, Jimmy came home. At first her stared at the taxi, as though he'd never seen one before. The realization hit. "Lillian?!" He started running after the taxi cab, banging on the boot of the car when he was close enough. The cat was overjoyed. It was almost like how she had imagined it. To add insult to injury, she hissed at Jimmy through the back window as the cab turned the street corner, and away from Lillian's life with Jimmy.




Through the use of the double narrative I intended to show two sides to what was going on in the short story and how this issue was not being dealt with by the characters, nor the source of the issue being recognized or the actual reason for the issue.

In this short story the persona known as "The Cat" provides an objective, although slightly bigoted, view of what the second narrative persona is being subjected to. The Cat sees and hears what is happening around her and recognizes the real reason for the abuse inflicted upon Lillian by her husband, Jimmy.

Unlike the Cat, who understands that Jimmy abuses his wife in order to feel more in control of his life, Lillian justifies the reasons that Jimmy provides for abusing her physically and vocally. Lillian acts as the other narrative persona in this short story. Although we hear very little from her, and the only thoughts she has on the issue are the ones she voices to the Cat. Lillian's small speeches help us understand how small and timid she feels after the years of torment inflicted upon her by her husband.

Through the Cat's reminiscing we view small portions of what life was like for Lillian before she and Jimmy were married. The Cat recounts that she was a head strong and outspoken girl who never would have tolerated how Jimmy was treating her now.

The setting that I chose for the short story - in the 1930s, during the depression - was chosen in order to give a stronger reasoning for Jimmy's actions. Jimmy acts the way he does not only because he feels empowered by doing so, but also because of how frustrated he is in the world outside the apartment that he shares with Lillian. This is not to say that they are stone broke, but that they are still struggling to have any money to spare.

Through the use of double narrative I aimed to provide two sides to the story and how this can be applied in order to fully understand the situation and he actions of those involved.


Read? Tell me what you think.