Behind The Scenes At The Museum By

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Behind The Scenes At The Museum By Kate Atkinson Essay, Research Paper E. M. Forster says that the first thing all novels have in common is that they tell a story. In your experience, what else do novels do? Discuss examples from the novel you have studied. In addition to telling a story, novels also communicate a vivid sense of experiences and attitudes to the reader. They do this by allowing the reader an insight into another person’s, or group of people’s lives. Experiences and attitudes are clearly communicated to the reader through the style that the story is told in, the language used and the ideas that the novel introduces to the reader. This helps the reader to feel a part of the novel as they share experiences with the characters. Novels make the reader aware of

an idea, which they may not have thought about, prior to reading the novel. An idea in Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson is how attitudes can affect the way people relate, change and develop. We see the significance of this idea through the differing family relationships shown through Bunty’s seemingly uncaring attitude to her children and Patricia’s negative disposition towards her family and her life. Bunty revealed her regret of being burdened with a family through her daydreams, thoughts and actions, ” ‘Get down,’ Bunty says grimly. ‘Mummy’s thinking.’ (Although what Mummy’s actually doing is wondering what it would be like if her entire family was wiped out and she could start again.)” (Behind the Scenes at the Museum page 14) As a

teenager, Patricia shows her aversion to being connected to her family by isolating herself from them and rebelling against society. Although Patricia’s facade appears to be one of toughness and self-containment, she, in fact, longs for the love and support that her family does not give her. To substitute for her family’s negligence Patricia finds a boyfriend who can make her feel wanted and loved. She confides her feelings about this matter to Ruby, who is too young to fully understand such emotions, “?’Romantic love’s an outmoded bourgeois convention!’? ‘But,’ she adds reluctantly, ‘it is nice to have someone who wants you, you know?’” (Ibid page 224) This, and other similar incidents, leave the reader questioning whether Patricia would have become so

“full of darkness” if Bunty had displayed a different, perhaps more affectionate attitude, towards her children when they were growing up. Behind the Scenes at the Museum by Kate Atkinson explores the theme of how history repeats itself for women through generations. Women in the novel all faced the same problems and issues that their relations before them had. The female character’s actions, quirks and qualities illustrate this throughout the novel. One issue, which all women in the novel faced, was that of feeling unloved and uncared for, and wanting to escape the boredom and drudgery of their everyday lives. The prospect of life continuing as it was, was often too much to bear, resulting in the women taking any opportunity that offered escape from their current

situation. The women took these chances without thinking of the consequence. They often overlooked the ensuing realities of the risk and although they escaped their original problem, the women were in fact no better off than before. Alice took the chance to escape from her husband and children, (who she was fed up with) and ran away with a French photographer, never seeing her family again. Nell spent much of her life trying to find someone who would look after her and make her feel wanted. For her, marriage was the means by which she could achieve this. She had two broken engagements (due to the death of both fiancees) before she was finally successful in her attempt to become married. Bunty tried to escape the drudgery of her life by escaping into a world of daydreams. She had