Themes

Human Vulnerability

Like many of Brown’s stories, particularly ‘A Time to Keep’ and ‘The Eye of the Hurricane’, ‘Andrina’ includes characters who are flawed and vulnerable. Because of his lack of courage and loyalty towards Sigrid after she falls pregnant, Bill spends the vast majority of his life running from a situation that he isn’t brave enough to face. It is safe to assume that he pays for this with his true happiness – he is ‘haunted’ by the episode. Like Barclay in ‘The Eye of the Hurricane’, Bill does not truly emotionally recover from the end of a relationship.

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a few words from her would be like a buoy to a sailor lost in a hopeless fog
Buoy in the fog

Bill is a character who needs the support of others. He has human weaknesses, and Andrina’s support of him is extremely important to him, though it perhaps took him too long to notice.

Natural Cycle of Life

The characters’ lives in ‘Andrina’, like those in other stories by Brown, are dictated by the seasons. Though this can be a challenge for the characters (in this instance, winter brings a literal and emotional darkness that Bill finds difficult), it also instils an air of resilience (‘a tough old salt like me’).

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a new time was brightening earth and sea

Like many of Brown’s stories, ‘Andrina’ ends with an air of regeneration. Though the story has been touched by death, Bill ponders ‘a new time’ for Andrina. Like in ‘The Wireless Set’, there is an acceptance that life for the community must go on.

Forgiveness

At its heart, ‘Andrina’ is a story about forgiveness. This is symbolised through the character of Andrina, who innocently tells her mother that Bill ‘must have been a good person […] to have been loved by you.’ Andrina’s kindness is enabled by Sigrid, who only tells her ‘sweet’ things about Bill, despite the hardships that he inflicted upon her.

Alcohol

Though not as prominent as in other stories such as ‘The Eye of the Hurricane’, alcohol is mentioned in line with negative decisions. Bill chastises himself for drinking ‘too much whisky […] (like a fool)’ during the harvest time.