Who am I? – Amanda Gorman
“Who am I?” is a short story, published in 2011, and is written by the young author Amanda Gorman, 18 years old. The story is about a young girl, no more than 16 years old, who is found on stone steps by the crime scene investigator Grace McColl. The girl is dirty, and had clearly been involved in some kind of fight with someone, and that someone is who Grace McColl wants to find, so she can unravel what and who did this to the young girl.
The entire story takes place in a park, where the investigators finds the girl on stone steps in front of a band shelter. The park is where Grace McColl talks and asks the girl questions about, what happened to her. Almost through the whole story we think that the girl is alive, because when Grace asks her questions, she is “awake” and answers like any other human being would have. But the girl is actually dead, which we can see in the end of the story: “the marks of the stranglehold that had killed her showed dark and ugly around her throat” This is the place in the text where the author directly writes, that she’s dead. But that isn’t the first sign, actually in the beginning of the story the investigator Grace McColl wears a disposable white suit, which you wear when you have to do an autopsy. This could have been a little clue for the readers to discover, that the girl is dead.
The weather outside seems to be cold: “the girl had her thin arms folded, as though hugging herself against the cold. And she must have been cold, to be out in the park in this weather.”
The feeling of the story is very cold and serious, because we in the beginning don’t know what happened to the girl, which create a very tense mood. This leads us to the genre of the text, the main genre is crime story, and the subgenres could be: family issues, murder and investigation.
There are to main characters in the short story; Grace McColl and the dead girl. Grace McColl is a very sweet and caring person. The reader can see that from the way she acts towards the girl, since she except for the girl’s cocky attitude and answers to her questions, still remain calm, nice and interested in founding out who killed her. The dead girl is outwardly unlike grace, very cocky, and seems like she doesn’t care about who killed her, and it feels like something is bothering her. The dead girl is described very dead like, with her clothes being dirty, dirty blonde hair, bruises in her face and chipped nails. This could also have been another clue to the girl being dead. Even though Grace and the dead girl are very different in terms of age, looks and behavior, they are still similar in their relationship to their fathers. Grace had a very distant relationship to her father, and so did the dead girl, with her father leaving her in a young age. The dead girl’s parents can also have affected that she is very quiet and shy, because of her father not being around and her mother being addicted to alcohol and pills, and therefore they did not have someone to take care of her, and give her comfort. Grace is the one controlling the conversation between her and the dead girl, but as the girl get’s more comfortable she starts to interact more with Grace, and she feels save in her company: “You’ll be back, though, won’t you?” She said “you won’t leave me?”
The narrators point of view would be third person omniscient, as this type knows everything that happens, which include their thoughts and their background story.
The message of the story could be something about learning to say no, and not feel pressured to do anything you don’t find comfortable, as the girl should have done when she said yes to sleep with the man, who ended up killing her.
Since Amanda Gorman is an activist and a believer, I think she writes this story to put focus on children, whose parents aren’t much around, she wants this message to be heard, so that the common problem can be taken care of the right way. There are so many kids whose parents are either alcoholics or drug addicts, in addition there are also many parents who leave their children, so the children must take care for themselves. Just like the dead girl in the story, who also comes out in trouble because no one looks after her: “If I’d had someone looking out for me,” the girl said, her voice bitter now, “do you think something like this would’ve happened?”
The story is actually all Grace’s thoughts, and most of the story the reader is inside her head. The conversation between Grace and the dead girl is something Grace imagines, and it doesn’t happen in real life.
This twist is what makes the story interesting to read, and it catch the readers attention, and the end leaves the reader wondering what actually happened to the girl, since we don’t get an answer to what happened.