Setting

Personification is used to show that changes to the area have removed any sort of discernible, positive character:

quote
the flat-faced shops looked back at them blankly.

Despite Jackson's sense of nostalgia, the tenement and its surroundings is portrayed negatively. There are repeated references to dirt and hints of squalor in the references to mice, rats and drops of perspiration on the ceiling and walls. Even the colours suggest unpleasant conditions:

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walls were brown and a dirty blue below, pitted with scars.

Jackson and his wife walked into a dirty close. The colour brown has unpleasant, negative connotations. This is reinforced by the description of blue, more commonly positive in connotation, being below the brown and dirty. There is a suggestion here that positivity has been corrupted, and the scars that cover the walls suggest an unkempt, violent environment.

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his face bruised a fine Protestant blue.

The description of Mr Jamieson and his aggression against Catholics and his wife suggests something about the community. While the community may not have approved of his behaviour, they do not seem to outwardly condemn it – following his attacks on Catholics, Mr Jamieson would walk like a victorious gladiator. The silence that descends upon the flats after the beatings, both of his wife and Catholics, may be representative of the community’s silent complicity.

Any sense of community seems to have been removed when people were shuttled out to huge featureless estates. Despite Jackson’s nostalgic outlook, the area appears to have been bleak for a while.

When the community do interact with each other, there is bickering. However, a woman defends the group of children, telling Jackson that they’re no daeing onything to your caur in a voice that would cut through steel forever She seems to be fairly protective of them, and this sense of unity is furthered when the boys are describing as moving forward in concert, a ballet.

The characters who still live in the area have accents and dialects that contrast with the voices of Jackson and his wife. Jackson sounds like the tourist that he is accused of being.