The setting is a chapel in the Scottish town of Gallanach where a funeral ceremony is being held in a crematorium during a cold winter. The adjective ‘echoing’ used for the chapel shapes a grand image of the chapel. Giving attention to minute details, the author also mentions that the chapel has a ‘severe granite floor’, further emphasizing its formidable nature. The funeral is of the author’s grandmother. The author’s family has gathered for the occasion. This includes the author’s father, mother, younger brother, Aunt Antonia and Uncle Hamish. The author’s father and mother were appropriately dressed for the occasion.
The former even wore a black arm-band to pay his respects to his mother. However, the author’s father looked annoyed. Being an open-minded and secular person, he seemed to be annoyed by the religious music chosen by his departed mother for her funeral. Appalling as it may seem, Uncle Hamish is disinterested and is quietly snoring during his own mother’s funeral. The author’s younger brother, James, was completely out of place. This product of the new generation was constanly fiddling with his single ear-ring and perpetually had a Walkman with him, except on this occasion.
The author is quite disinterested himself. It is evident that he did not have any real attachment towards his grandmother. His manner of dressing, and attitude in general suggests that he was a young adult. The author was dressed in a pair of jeans, Nike trainers and a black biker’s jacket. In his highly descriptive style the author describes how he stood in front of the full-length mirror and smelt the cooking bacon and burned toast while getting dressed. During the ceremony, the Aunt Antonia draws the author’s attention to his socks.
Strangely enough, the author was wearing one white and one black sock. In an attempt to hide his obvious embarrassment, the author tries to pull his jeans over his ankles. The author notices a tyre mark on his right trainer which reminds him of his grandmother. Just six months earlier, the author was with his grandmother, pushing her wheelchair along the drive towards the loch and the sea. During another instance, the author had felt a pang of loss towards his grandmother. He was reminded of her itching moles and wished that she was somehow reborn.
He felt her absence, although the feeling was not very strong. In his trademark style, the author gives a vivid description of the weather in Gallanach in this personal anecdote. Every item of the author’s clothing is explicitly illustrated. The ‘crystalline mist’ obscures the author’s view from his high room at his aunt’s place. Also, in a wonderful use of simile, the author describes his mother’s hat as a UFO. In addition to this, the author uses a number of other literary devices. Through this passage the author tries to bring out the unfeeling nature of the today’s world.
The fact that the author wore a pair of jeans and a biker’s jacket to a solemn occasion such as a funeral shows that he did not have much respect for customs and traditions. Even Uncle Hamish was snoring during the funeral. All in all, the passage gives us the idea that old people are often neglected in the modern world.