Literary Analysis of Patrick Waddington’s ‘The Street Got Mislaid’

Literary Analysis of Patrick Waddington’s ‘The Street Got Mislaid’

‘The Street Got Mislaid’ is a short story written by Patrick Waddington. Its main protagonist is Marc Girondin who is a clerk working for the city’s engineering department. His experience in his job has made him an expert in identifying the roads and different passageways within the city. That is why his familiarity is sought after by people who sought to know in-depth about Montreal. However, his job remains to be monotonous and often taken for granted by people. This changed when Marc discovered that Green Bottle Street got mislaid. It is through his search that he is able to find the location and forever change the outlook he has over the place and its dwellers.

One of the themes that Waddington provides in the story is the concept of new beginnings. Looking closely, Marc Girondin was living a monotonous life as a clerk in the city hall’s engineering department. He has become so familiar with his job that he is able to memorize every place within the city and trained his brain to become a map (Waddington 1). This particular knowledge arguably becomes crucial for him to be confident that he was an expert in his craft. However, upon finding out about Green Bottle Street, it clearly fascinated him and through his search found a place resolute and isolated from the rest of the city. This mislaid street arguably offered new beginnings for Marc wherein he gladly accept. Here, the idea of living in an isolated place devoid from bureaucracy and social control appealed to the protagonist which in turn made him decide to stay.

Equally, Waddington offers readers the chance to recognize that within the absence of control or authoritative figure, people or groups can continue to live in harmony. Upon Marc’s discovery of Green Bottle Street, he came to find out how the inhabitants of the place were able to thrive and develop a positive relationship with one another. Despite having no people who would enforce rules and regulations, the people were able to live peacefully (Harcourt, Brace & World 64). This in turn fascinated Marc further as he came to realize that the values of these people are relevant to what he aspires to become. Though Green Bottle Street may have gotten mislaid by accident, its discovery clearly opened the protagonist eyes to a community that continues to thrive and survive by living harmoniously with one another.

Lastly, Waddington also utilizes symbols in order to convey meaning to readers. Looking closely, the index cared with the name ‘Green Bottle Street’ is a valuable aspect in the story. Figuratively, this represents the life and career of Marc in the office. It represents his ideals and personal belief that is influenced by the social system he lives in. However, with his decision to tear down the index card, it shows his acceptance of the customs and traditions of the people living in the mislaid road (Ajaikumar 1). It brings forward the acceptance of a new life within Green Bottle Street and in order to maintain the secrecy of the location, Marc had to pledge his commitment to the individuals living in the community. For the protagonist, this remains to be a significant decision due to his continued fascination with maps and city road.

Overall, Waddington’s ‘The Street that Got Mislaid’ is a wonderful short story depicting new opportunities and beginnings. Offering readers the story of Marc, they are able to uncover his monotonous life. Due to a subsequent error he found concerning Green Bottle Street, he embarks on a journey that would later influence his perception of the place and ultimately decide to stay and live with the people in secrecy. By carefully crafting the storyline, Waddington is able to convey this transformation to audiences and offer lessons surrounding life choices and the potential new beginning it carries.

Works Cited

Ajaikumar, Nimisha. ‘The Street that Got Mislaid by Patrick Waddington’ Prezi. 2 May 2013.  Web. Accessed 2 September 2014.

Harcourt, Brace & World. ‘Patrick Waddington’s ‘The Street that Got Mislaid’ Companion series: adventures in literature, volume 5. US: Harcourt, Brace & World. 1962. Print.

Waddington, Patrick. ‘The Street that Got Mislaid’ Classic Shorts. n.d. Web. Accessed 2 September 2014.