'The Go-Between' by L.P.Hartley
"It did not occur to me that they had treated me badly"
What Sympathy do you have for Leo in the Go-Between?
This essay is to assess how much sympathy is deserving of the young and naÃÂ¯ve Leo Colston after being permanently emotionally damaged from a visit to a school friend in the country in the summer of 1900.
The prologue acts as the introduction to the elder character of Leo Colston, a man in his sixties, and it is here that we are presented with the impact of his summer visit to Brandham Hall, over fifty years before. From the opening of the novel with "the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there", the reader is immediately made aware of the themes of past and of memory. Although these themes are initially conjured up, from the tone of narration, there is a much greater sense of distance and of being wistful.
Not only is this sense of distance represented by the narrator talking in the past, but by the choice of grammar, "they" instead of "we" and "do" instead of "did", suggesting that the past could be of a foreign nature, causing the reader to believe that memories have become foreign due to their burial deep in his mind from many years ago. From this opening line, there is a distinct suggestion of an alienation of events that have occurred in the past, which have greatly affected Leo, and consequently he has attempted to block from his mind.
The obvious choice by the author to set the story in the year 1900 was done so to convey the idea at the beginning of the novel that Leo believes he is entering a year of great promise. Due to the fact...