Themes - Innocence and truth

Like several of Donovan’s stories, ‘Hieroglyphics’ explores the innocence that we associate with childhood.

In this instance, Mary is an innocent victim to the shortcomings of adults:

  • her teachers’ disinterest in helping her academically
  • her mother’s inability to support her academically
  • the absence of her father, which is briefly referred to near the end of the story

By confronting the challenges that these shortcomings create for her, Mary starts to lose her childhood innocence and develop a harsher (yet perhaps more accurate and true) picture of the world.

Throughout all of her challenges, Mary is always true to herself.