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“Faery Handbag”

Zofia has never seen such a place. There were trains and electric lights and movie theaters, and there were people shooting each other. Bombs were falling. A war going on. Most of the villagers decided to climb right back inside the handbag, but Zofia volunteered to stay in the world and look after the handbag. She had fallen in love with movies and silk stockings and with a young man, a Russian deserter.”

In this story “Faery Handbag,” Zofia is this magical figure throughout. The narrator describes her grandmother, Zofia, along with many of the stories she was told by her, all very fantastical about unknown worlds within her beloved handbag. The beginning we discover the grandmother had died, and it goes full circle at the end when she dies after wanting to go back into the handbag to search for Jake. The grandmother dying results in not only the loss of her imaginaUnknown-1tive, quirky and crazy grandmother, but also the loss of the handbag and the loss of Jake, too. Repeated through the story, the narrator is told she shouldn’t believe all the stories Zofia tells her and at the end, the readers are told we shouldn’t believe what the narrator has told us. These unreliable, fantastical stories of Zofia and the narrator leaves the readers wondering as we are kept in the dark about the truth.

We are told this story through a first person narrative, letting us enter the story through the narrator and experience what she is experiencing. It is a great choice of the author because it allows the readers to completely trust the narrator’s story and tales, meanwhile, it is not actually reliable at all, which the narrator herself lets us know at the end. We learn a lot from the narrator by being in her eyes as well because we see what she does and the audience tries to trust Zofia like she does. Not only is this a story about unreliable tales from others, but it is also a story about relentless hope as the narrator continues to search for the beloved, magical handbag, despite how crazy it may be. It is also a story about taking chances into the unknown, as Zofia does when she explores and stays in the real world. 

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