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English Literature

Your Shoes

Themes - Test

The shoes are symbols that help to carry many of the themes in the story. Consider whether the shoes in the title refer solely to the white trainers, or also the narrator's mother's shoes.

Here are some comments referring to the use of shoes as a symbol. Match each comment with a relevant quotation.

The narrator cradles the white trainers as though they are her missing daughter.
The narrator has no control over her daughter, so she locks the shoes in the cupboard instead.
The narrator keeps the trainers safe. She wishes she could have kept her daughter safe from harm.
The narrator criticizes the way her mother used to dress. She thinks she looked cheap.
The women in the family all have the same sort of feet: small but strong.
The narrator admires the shoes because they have never been worn. Like them, a tiny baby might be described as perfect and new.
The narrator's mother's shoes are worn out: they show she was vain and old.
The simile comparing the laces to sweets shows that the narrator is sad that her daughter is no longer a child, and perhaps regrets the passing of her own innocence, too.


"I've tied the shoes' laces together so they won't get separated or lost."


"She looked a bit of a tart, let's face it, stiletto heels, charm bracelets, the lot."


"Laces like strings of white liquorice"


"Someone half-mad, with grief that is, might pick up a shoe from the rug and hold it like a baby."


"Rows of high heels, all of them too small for her, she was so vain, all of them moulded to the shape of her poor feet."


"Sturdy, with a strong arch and short toes"


"I locked the wardrobe door on those rebellious shoes."


"They are perfect because they are new, they've never been worn."