GCSE AQA English - short stories (Your Shoes + Flight contrast)

A set of comparison cards for 'Your Shoes' and 'Flight'. Hope it helps!

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Your Shoes

The plot

The story is about how the mother cannot escape her upbringing, and how she can't adapt to a different generation. The daughter had run away because the she was found with contraceptives in her bag, and was thought to have lost her virginity at such a young age.


The story is cathartic - an outpourring of emotions

It is a monologue - in this story, the monologue is a journey through the mother's break-down after her daughter had run away from home. 

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Your Shoes


Language is very emotional, Roberts uses different ways of presenting the mother's feelings, and how she is breaking-down; 

'At least this paper has ruled lines my writing can't fall off.' 

This particular line symbolises the ruled lines on the paper as herself, as she is falling off or breaking-down.

Other symbolisms - The shoes themselves, they represent the daughter;

'The right shoe on the right-hand side and the left shoe on the left. In their proper places, no fuss, like a husband and wife. I'd like you to get married one day.' 

The mother also goes on to talk about how she is cuddling the shoes as if they were her daughter; 

'I hold you to my breast and rock you like my mother never rocked me.'

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Your Shoes

Other things to consider

Roberts makes the mother a cleanse freak, which alters her view on the matter of her daughter apparent loss of virginity, 'Delicate white sheets, rustling, uncreased.' She also mentions how clean the shoes are, trying to show how she wants her daughter to be, 'White laces, that I washed and ironed'.

Euphamisms are used within the story by Roberts: 'some unfortuante expressions', which, in this particular example, is added for humour.

There is a lot of emphasis on the mother's 'old-fashioned' view, as she keeps referring to how her childhood was like, 'but my father was very strict. It didn't do me any harm'. As well as this, she only thinks of herself, 'You didn't mean to hurt me, did you.' The mother's very stereotypical of modern teenagers, and so shes very critical of her daughter. 

There are many contradictions in the story, like how the mother seems to be perfect, whereas later in the story, she admits to losing her virginity before she was married, 'Of course I never told my mother I wasn't a virgin.' (hidden hipocracy).

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Flight - Your Shoes comparison

The plot

The story is about how the Grandfather's remaining granddaughter is going to marry, and how he doesn't want to let her go. It is also about freedom, as he keeps pigeons in his dovecote, who are set free after his decision to let go of his granddaughter.


Unlike 'Your Shoes', 'Flight' is not a monologue. It is written in third person but is mainly focused on the grandfather. Loneliness.

Relationship theme between the grandfather and the granddaughter is one very similar to the relationship of the mother and daughter in 'Your Shoes'. 

Some emphasis on the landscape and the setting + objects described in the story.

Colours mentioned in the beginning bring in semantic field of variety.

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Flight - Your Shoes comparison

Language, comparing with 'Your Shoes'

- Dovecote mentioned in the beginning bring in romance, connotation to the romance between the granddaughter and Stephen. 

- The use of the 'frangipani tree' symbolises the granddaughter, 'her long bare legs repeated the angles of the frangipani stems'. This is similar in 'Your Shoes' as Roberts symbolises the shoes as the daughter. 

-Symbolic use of the birds in the dovecote being locked in. The birds symbolise the granddaughter and the action of locking refers to how the grandfather doesn't want her to leave. Shows how the grandfather is lonely. 'shut the bird into a small box and fastened the bolt.' The symbolic use of the shoes being locked in the cupboard show how the mother in 'Your Shoes' doesn't want her daughter to leave, also a sense of loneliness. 

-The grandfather treats the granddaughter like a child despite the fact that she's 18 years old. This is similar in 'You Shoes' as the mother 'molly coddles' her daughter.

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Flight - Your Shoes Comparison

Language, comparison with 'Your Shoes'

Colours - Red : Pathetic falicy to portray the grandfather's feeling. Similar to the mother in 'Your Shoes', as she mentions white a lot to emphasise on her being a cleanse freak.

'The garden was empty', shows how the grandfather's life is empty as all of his granddaughters are matrons (married with children), and now he only has one left who is going to marry soon. Similar to 'Your Shoes' as the daughter's room and the house is empty as the mother is on alone on the bed, symbolising the daughter with the newly bought shoes.

The action of the grandfather releasing the birds (symbolising the granddaughters), and saying, 'Now you can go', is similar to 'Your Shoes' as the mother is in realisation that her daughter has left but she doesn't want to believe it. The language creates the semantic field of loss, and this is also present in 'Your Shoes' but it's different in 'Your Shoes' as the mother is breaking-down.

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Flight - Your Shoes comparison

The last few paragraphs in 'Flight' show how the grandfathers life is ending as twilight approaches, how his life is more empty now that all of his granddaughters are gone. Similarly, in 'Your Shoes', the mother has gone slightly mad and locks out the world from her and the shoes (symbolising the daughter), 'I've locked the bedroom door so he can't get in. I want to be alone with you for a bit'.

Overall, if the question asks you to compare the emotions / relationships in both of these stories, you can refer to the themes and language more so than anything else. 

Comparison tips

When comparing, always mention a point and then compare, never write a block about several things and then compare it with the other story! Make sure you've mentioned points from each side selectively so that they are compared well, and draw up a conclusion where you mention both sides! 

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Really Good....Thank You! =]



Thank youu! This helped a lot :D

Hassan Cabdi


Excellent !

I wasn't feeling confident about the Literature exam. And I felt more assured about the Poems from Different Cultures. But you have made me feel re-assured about Literature. This is very useful notes if comparing Your Shoes and Flight. Now I have noticed the similarities and differences of the Flight and Your Shoes, language, styles and The PEE is shown in here. 

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