Internal Conflicts. the Other Hand, Chris Cleaves

Analyse how the author used a main conflict in the text to express important ideas.

In the book “The Other Hand” by Chris Cleave, Cleave uses Little Bees’ internal conflict to express ideas about Refuge.   Little Bees conflict with her thoughts shows us that there is no refuge from your own thoughts or memories and her conflict also helps us to understand Andrew’s suicide.   Her conflict also helps us to understand more about the importance of identity in the novel.

In “The Other Hand” Refuge is an important theme, Little Bees conflict with her thoughts helps us to realise that there is no escape from the horror in thoughts and memories.   Little Bee states early in the novel that; “for me and the girls from my village, horror is a disease and we are sick with it.” (pg66).   This implies that all the girls from Little Bees village have experienced a horror and the memory of that horror is eating away at their minds like a disease they are dying of.   Little Bee says that “we ‘are’ sick with it” as if the horror of the memories are always there for them. Throughout the novel Little Bee keeps saying “if the men come suddenly, I will be ready to kill myself” (p68) suggesting that she has witnessed something that the “men” have done and she is so terrified of what they might do to her, that she will rather seek refuge in death from it than experience it again.   Little Bee has witnessed things in this novel that the memory of them are so horrible that she would rather die than experience it again.

Little Bee’s internal conflict with her thoughts is also reflected with Andrew’s conflict with his thoughts.   This helps us to realise that fleeing from a country is not the only type of refuge that someone can have. Just before Andrew commits suicide he says to Little Bee, “It was a long time ago, Okay?” a long way away.   Why don’t you just stay over there?” (p274).   This implies that something happened in Nigeria and Andrew has been trying to forget it....