Analysis and Interpretation of Tell Me
Analysis and interpretation of “Tell Me” “Tell Me” is written by Zoe Sharp, and was published in 2006. The story concerns the problems of a neglected, lonely and insecure pre-adolescent girl, and the problems of social inheritance. The story depicts the problems and worries of the troubled mind, of a young girl, who is the victim of a crime.
Crime scene investigator Grace McColl, has to look into the young girls case. Grace is trying to figure out what has happened to the girl, by interviewing her about the incident.
The girl is heartbroken, and feels as if, the whole world has turned its back on her. Grace digs in to her past by reading her hands, and by using the experience, that her job as an crime scene investigator have given her. “The girl looked unaccountably pleased at this praise and it occured to Grace that she must have received very little by way of approval in her short life.
She thought of her own mother, who lavished praise and nurtured self-confidence in her only child. Ironic, then, the pre-adolescent Grace had always been so desperate to win the approbiation of her more distant father” (p. 0 ll. 36-41) This passage of the text clearly illustrates the reason to why Grace can read the girl as good as she does.
It is probably because Grace have had a childhood similar to the the victims, without a present father figure, who cared about his daughters life and well-being.
The young girl’s story is tragic. Her mother is a prostitute since it’s the only solutiuon for her, in order for her to pay her rent, and keeping her and her daughter of the streets as homeless people. The father abandoned the family early on “Grace’s eyes opened. Your father left when you were young” she began. “Your mother blamed you and lost herself in the bottle – pills or booze, or possibly both”. (p.
41 ll. 17-19) This is the common denominator for Grace and the girl, and the reason to why there’s an understanding and acceptance from the girl, who under normal circumstances, never would let a crime scene investigator get close to her. At first, the girl is sceptical towards Grace: “You’re guessing” she accused. “No way you can tell that from looking at my hands”.
Her mouth twisted into a sneer. “Read tea-leaves as well do you? ” There’s a sarcasm and a disbelief in anything Grace says to the girl.
That is a typical feature of a person who has been neglect, and who has suffered a lack of love since early on. The girl is a prostitute herself, she can’t tell right from wrong, and does not think that it is an issue to sell her body in exchange of money – because her mother does the exact same thing! This ends wrong, and results in a crime, from a man that the girl is in love with.
She feels that he understands her, and that he listens, unlike all others. In the end, reality catches up to her, in the matter of her boyfriend, and he commits violence towards her. One of the main themes of the short story is social inheritance.
The girl is born into a poor family, with a father who leaves while the girl is still very young, and a mother who has an alcohol and drug problem. This is a really rough start, compared to the daughter, born into a happy marriage in a small suburb, where both of the parents have got a job, and a stabile everyday life.
If these two girls could switch roles, the girl from “Tell Me” would be living a good life, and the suburb girl would be living in misery, just like the main character of the story does. Your life is determined by your surroundings, your friends, and your family. Another theme in the story is trust.
The title of the story also represents this theme, as does the story. Grace wins the girl’s trust as the story wears on, and in the end, theres a friend-like athmosphere between the two.
Grace made the girl tell her story, and made her open up, even though this really recquired an effort beyond normal from the girl, who has a hard time letting anyone into her life, because she is afraid to be neglected again, like she has tried it way too many times. Another relevant theme is neglect, which both Grace and the girl have suffered in their lifes. This gives them trust issues, and they have a hard time letting people into their lifes.
Grace has obtained, despite the fact that she has had a father that was not there for here, to become a crime scene investigator, she broke the social inheritance.
Grace senses that the girl is stubborn and has got a strong will, and she will help her, to get a respectable life, just like herself. The story can be set into perspective to Tracy Chapmans “Behind The Wall”, which regards domestic violence – just like the girl from “Tell Me” experienced with her boyfriend. In “Behind The Wall”, the police says that they can’t do anything about domestic violence, and this symbolizes the lack of interference from the authorities in “Tell Me”, where the girl was in desperate need of a helping hand, but never got it until Grace showed up, which might have been too late.
Another parallel can be drawn to “Luka” by Suzanne Vega.
“Luka” indicates a certain hopelessness, in the many repeats of the lyrics, this hopelessness is the same that can be sensed in “Tell Me”. “Luka” is probably being abused, and ends up by having an emotional meltdown, where the main character isn’t even able to tell anyone about his feelings anymore, because of a constant fear of being let down – just like the girl from “Tell Me” is.
The main themes of the story; social inheritance, trust and neglect, are all issues that the main character is dealing with. Both the main character in “Luka” and in “Tell Me” needs a helping hand – a person that believes in them. In “Tell Me”, that person in Grace, she knows what the girl is going through, and wants to help. The story shows what loneliness and a lack of trust does to a person – it pierces their soul, and gives them very deep wounds, that are very hard to heal.