An interesting aspect of the structure of “A Place in the Sun” is that it lacks traditional plot elements like the rising action, falling action, and resolution, and the climax is revealed at the end. Instead, Joanne Harris's story focuses on the protagonist’s psychology.
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.” (ll. 6-7).
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.
The protagonist believes that her “place in the sun” – meaning the place where she will be the happiest – is at Platinum Sands™. To become a member of the Platinum Sands™ beach means that one has reached perfectio...