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A Place in the Sun

This study guide will help you analyse the text “A Place in the Sun” by Joanne Harris. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on the summary, structure, characters, setting, narrator and point of view, language, themes and message.

Presentation of the text

Title: “A Place in the Sun”
Author: Joanne Harris
Published in: Jigs & Reels: Stories
Date of Publication: 2006
Genre: Short story

Joanne Harris (b. 1964) is an Anglo-French author of novels, short stories, and cookbooks. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge, and was awarded an MBE by the Queen in 2013.

Excerpt

Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide: 

Title

The title of the short story “A Place in the Sun” does not immediately indicate what the story is about. Its meaning is both literal and symbolic.

In the literal sense, the title refers to the protagonist‘s wish to gain access to an exclusive beach called Platinum Sands™ (and, implicitly, a space for sunbathing): “THAT'S ALL I WANT, A place in the sun: a nice patch, six by four; room for a towel, cosmetics bag, suntan lotion, deck-chair.”.

The symbolic sense of the title is revealed by the fact that “a place in the sun” is an idiom (an expression, word, or phrase that has a figurative meaning). To have “a place in the sun” means to be in a good, happy, or favourable situation. It often refers to a situation where one finds perfection, wealth, or happiness.

Hyperbole

Hyperbole (exaggerated statements) is noticeable from the beginning of the short story. The protagonist calls the Platinum Sands™ “the Beach of Beaches, the ultimate in solar pleasure.”. This shows that it is the ideal place to be, because it sets the highest standards in luxury.

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A Place in the Sun

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