“At any one moment” uses context to give meaning to the story and and allow the reader to have a clear image of the events in their mind. The story was written in 2005 so the context it was written in was after the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004. Through the readers understanding and experience of this event the author is able to build images in the reader’s mind and allow them to fully understand the gravity of the situation occurring. Had the story been written in a time where a Tsunami had not occurred for many years it would be a lot harder to imagine and put into perspective the enormity of the tragedy occurring in the story.
Judy Allen builds on this idea through the specific language and metaphors used to set the scene and further build on the context. “It rose up like a mountain, either hiding or engulfing the distant boats”. Through using real locations in the text the reader can see and believe the story. The reader’s context is also used to build dramatic tension. As the water is drawn out before the Tsunami approaches the reader is mostly likely aware of what is occurring due to their context compared to Sherif, his brother and the villagers who were obliviouxs to the disaster about to occur. His brother started to laugh- it was all so extraordinary, a trick played by the ocean”. This situation creates dramatic irony and positions the reader to want to warn the characters in the story to get out of the water. Judy Allen builds and plays on the readers context which is most likely that of a busy Western life. Many people in society are always busy and never take time to think about other people. “Even so, most people are aware only of their own small world, and many believe their own small world, and many believe their own small world is all there is”.
Through the structure and the omniscient point of view the author positions the reader to imagine all the things happening in the world right now and how every action has a consequence. Allen then takes the reader down to one specific event which could be happening right now. This structure is especially effect because of Western Society’s desensitised view of disaster. The reader relates to a personal story much more than figures on the news. Allen’s use of emotive language and smilies also creates an environment for the reader to personally react to the story. “He stared as the vast sweep of water was pulled back like a huge bed cover”.
This imagery allows the reader to put themselves in the story and use their own personal context to make meaning to “At Any One Moment”. Through my own personal context I am able to react to the story and feel sympathy for the characters in it. Although I was not personally affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004 I can still appreciate the pain that Sherif goes through. This prose fiction work put the world into perspective for me and caused me to feel grateful for the things I have in my life. It made me realise how fragile life can be, how people can be alive one minute and dead the next.
Through all the tragedy in our wold I had become partially immune to the horrors in our world until I read this personal story. I have a strong sense of family and this caused me to react strongly to Sherif losing his brother and probably his mother. I cannot imagine losing one of my family members and it pained me to see that a whole life can be lost in a matter of seconds you just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether it is man-made tragedy or natural disaster we never know what life is going to throw at us and often we cannot stop it. At any one moment on this small planet… ”. Through the use of structure, point of view and context Allen encourages the reader feel small and insignificant. By allowing us to imagine all the events and people in the world the reader is positioned to feel as though they are helpless to the world around them and can do nothing to stop it. Through this realisation Allen then inspires us to come together as a global community that can make a difference, we are insignificant on our own but together we are much more powerful.