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Word Count: 808
Australian Short Stories The Cost of Things By Elizabeth Harrower In The Cost of Things we are introduced in the first line to the main character Dan Freeman who as we discover throughout the proceeding paragraphs is somewhat spitefully frugal He resentful at the cost of his house that he hasnt yet paid for and dislikes his own children as they havent gone without in what appears to Dan as a time of need The significance of the title becomes apparent Dan seems to be unsympathetic towards his children Bill and Laura as he remarks to his wife Mary These two will end up in a factory if theyre not carefulTheyre irresponsible If they knew what a depression was like However Dans malice is not only reserved for his children he implies that in someway Mary is partly to blame for their behaviour Bill and Laura are quite innocently fulfilling their roles as children You encourage them to want impossible things Why To turn me into a villain when I refuse Once again when Bill and Laura are denied grown-up toys Dan justifies it Theyll end up bus conductors if theyre not careful While we are quick to judge Dan Freeman for the unacceptable treatment of his family we learn the reasons why he might be acting this way Dan has just returned from a transfer in Sydney We question what happened in Sydney for him to behave in this manner Mary an excellent cook has outdone herself and trying to please her husband explains I experimented while you were away Dan laughs this off and as if in a bragging-pubescent-boy tone he hears another voice in his head reply smartly So did I So did I It seems Dans distraction at the dinner table is caused by memories of an affair in Sydney with a woman named Clea While he hadnt
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