About the Author – A. R. Barton is a modern writer, who lives in Zurich and Writes in English. His story, “Going Places” is about a adolescent girl living in her fantasy world. Sophie is a hopeless romantic who takes refuge from the harsh monotony of everyday life by creating her own world full of fantasies. Reality did not concern her. She dreams of things that are unrealistic for a teenager belonging to a middle-class socio-economic background.
Summary of Going Places by A. R. Barton
In the beginning of the story, Sophie expresses to Jansie her desire to have her own boutique. Jansie responds to her wish by pointing out that it is an impractical idea as it takes a lot of money to do something like that. Sophie replies that she will become a manager and save the money needed to own her boutique. Jansie attempts to make realistic statements by telling Sophie that she knows that both of them are meant to work in the biscuit factory. She hoped that Sophie would be more practical and mature. When Sophie says that she wants to become an actress or a fashion designer and earn enough money to buy a boutique, Jansie tells her that if she ever has enough money then she should use it to buy a decent house to live in.
As Sophie entered her house, Sophie saw her father grubby and sweaty from day’s work. The steam from the stove and the dirty washing piled up in the corner made Sophie feel claustrophobic. She went to look for her brother Geoff who was an apprentice mechanic who travelled to his work each day to the far side of the city. He was almost a grown-up and Sophie suspected areas of his life about which she knew nothing. Geoff didn’t speak much of his work which made Sophie jealous. She presumed that when he wasn’t speaking, he was thinking of the places that she had never seen. She wished that Geoff would take her along with him. Even though she knew that her father would forbid it from happening and that Geoff thought her too young, she was impatient. She imagined herself riding off to places behind Geoff in a yellow dress with a kind of cape that flew out behind. She pictured the world applauding their arrival.
Sophie told her brother that she met Danny Casey in the arcade. He was sceptical of his sister’s claim but she convinced him eventually. Sophie told him that she was looking at the clothes in Royce’s window when Danny Casey came and stood beside her. She described his appearance to convince her brother. When her father entered the room, Geoff told him about Sophie’s encounter with Danny Casey. Her father responds that if Danny remains focussed then Casey might be a better player. Sophie said in favour of Danny that his ability is not to be questioned. When the father is informed that Sophie said that Danny was going to buy a shop, he dismisses them by calling it another of Sophie’s wild stories and sates that she is going to get herself in trouble one of these days.
Sophie goes up to her brother and tells him not to tell anyone about her encounter with Danny. Geoff warned her that Danny must have a lot of girls in his life and that she shouldn’t get carried away. To this, Sophie replies that he wasn’t anything like that. She told Geoff that on recognizing Casey, she asked him for his autograph but since neither of them had a pen or a paper, they just talked a bit. She said that Danny told her that if she could meet him the next week, he would give his autograph. Geoff further warned Sophie not to believe that Casey was actually about to show up.
The next Saturday, Sophie went to watch the customary United match with her family. United won two-nil and Casey drove in the second goal/ Sophie’s face glowed with pride at the exemplary genius of Danny Casey. The next week Jansie interrogated her about her encounter with Casey. She told her that Geoff had told her brother, Frank, about the meeting, who let Jansie know. Sophie wished that Geoff had kept it a secret between them but then she convinced Jansie that it was indeed the truth and made her promise to keep it a secret. Sophie was relieved to know that Geoff hadn’t told Frank about her meeting with Casey the next week.
After dark, Sophie walked by the canal and sat down on a wooden bench under a solitary elm tree where lovers sometimes came. While waiting, Sophie imagined Danny coming. She imagined her own excitement at the prospect of his arrival. Not until some time had elapsed, she began to think that Danny wasn’t coming at all.
Sophie still decided to wait for him. She began to wonder what she would tell the people who did not believe her. She becomes distressed at the thought that now she would never be able to tell people that they were wrong to doubt her. She had a burden to carry- the sadness of waiting and knowing that Danny would not come. On the way back home, Sophie again imagined Danny outside Royce’s. She told him that she watched him every day with her dad and her brothers. She looked at him and noticed every detail of his face. She asked him for an autograph but neither of them had any pen or paper. She imagined Danny again on Saturday.
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