- Title: The Ward
- Author: Nadine Banna
- Published: 2017
- Rating: 4/5
The Ward tells the tale of John and his wife Clarisse. We are made to believe that Clarisse is visiting her husband in a psychiatric ward, however we are not told why. For the majority of the short story we are focusing on Clarisse’s efforts to comfort her husband but we’re left in suspense. With a surprising 360 turn of events we discover that everything we thought we knew was incorrect.
It’s difficult to pinpoint the genre of this story as it would be restrictive to categorise it as simply being a ‘thriller’, a ‘mystery’ or a ‘drama’ because it has elements of each conventions. This cross using of specific genres adds a certain elevation to the reading of the short story as the suspense and intrigue from this makes it even more exciting. This is never more noticeable than at the beginning of The Ward. The use of the singular nominative pronoun ‘she’ restricts our understanding and knowledge of the events of the story. The repetition of the pronoun and use of simple short sentences adds a speed, quickness to the narration, further adding to the intrigue and thrill of the piece.
My initial thoughts when reading The Ward was that through the minimalistic information about the characters and events it meant that we were experiencing and following John and Clarisse’s journey with them. That we are experiencing these events for the first time just like the characters. The only way we begin to understand what is going on is through the description of the characters behaviours and use of adjectives ‘reassuring smile’, ‘reanimated by her sound’, ‘face lit up with a smile’. We begin to see a development and progress in the storyline and their relationship.
Furthermore, we are following the story through Clarisse’s perspective which adds a certain air of mystery, especially through the use of ellipsis. Her conviction that she was visiting her husband in a psychiatric ward and the use of ellipsis suggests that something is being left out either on purpose or by mistake of the character, either way it draws the reader’s attention to the mysterious element of the story. Later on, during the couple’s conversation about their son, the ellipsis adds weight to the emotion and tension. However, the repetitiveness of this device seems a bit excessive. At first it added to the atmosphere and suspense but after the first few it didn’t seem necessary to create this. However, the ellipses at the end of the story adds an emotional element, a sense that their heartache and psychological trauma within the narrative can’t be fixed.
Besides the overuse of ellipses and the occasional change in tense I really enjoyed reading this short story. It was beautifully written and the author has a real talent for making the read enjoyable.
If you want to read @NadineBanna short story the URL is: https://nadinebanna14.wordpress.com/2017/06/22/the-ward/