‘Kiss’ by Elizabeth Baines | Analytical essay

The short story “Kiss” written by Elizabeth Baines starts in the London Tube where we meet a young kissing couple, on their way out of the Tube.

When a young man carrying a bomb in his backpack, is on his way in. The young man with the bomb got pushed from behind when he got off the bus and on to the Tube station.

Therefore, he is afraid and worried about the detonator might be damaged, and the bomb won’t go off.

The ending in the story is also open: “And here is the moment when his thumb touches the plunger

and if the fuse has become disconnected the crowd will keep flowing and the couple will complete their embrace and move on to wherever their relationship will take them

or the pulse will hit the fuse and the air around it will fly out faster than the speed of sound, and in the blast and the shock waves that follow, and the sucking vacuum created, those linear narratives will shatter, the fragments spin” (l. 96-100)

The characters in “Kiss” are really important for the story and theme. The three characters are also unnamed

which could be because their name is not important, but their stories and identity are central in the story. It could also be easier for readers to relate to their life situations.

When we look at the young woman inner characterization, which is the most important, we hear that she was sexually abused by her own father when she was growing up (l.36-38)

and she also felt unloved by her mother (l.48-50). It led to “years of anorexia” (l.61), “dropping out of university” (l. 62), but worst of it all it led to attempted suicide (l.64).

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