Still on Gallagher Girls and matters of state…

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Okay, so there’s another scene in Out of Sight, Out of Time that brings to mind questions of nation and security… As Cammie drags the bleeding American Ambassador towards the gates of the US Embassy in Rome, she moves consciously towards safety. “‘The ambassador,’ I yelled to the marines at the gates. ‘The ambassador has been injured!’ / I don’t know whether it was my words or the sight of the man limping and bleeding, but the gates opened. / There were guards and marines, and a final, fading rev of a motorcycle engine as I dragged Preston’s father [the Ambassador] past the fences, safely onto American soil. [End of Chapter]” (226)

There is something momentous about these last words, and again the sense of a theme that comes through in American movies – the safety of the American Embassy in hostile countries. This ‘safe space’ is so trusted in by Americans (you notice this if you come from a small country which doesn’t always have an embassy – and may well not be manned, even if it does. We often share with Australia – hard to develop a sense of security in something that doesn’t exist!). It connects, I think, with the notion of safe-houses (a setting that fits perfectly into spy fiction). There are a couple of safe houses at least in this book – and a couple of safe places that are compromised… surrounding each of these places is the notion of surveillance and armed force.

What is it about these places? What connects them to notions of safety? How are they defined? What role do they serve in the imagining of a nation? How do they provide settings for stories about risk/safety? How do they connect with the real world? Where are we safe?

…Cammie always feels safe at the Academy, where her mother is headmistress, and where her best friends share a room with her – her home, basically… she is also encouraged to feel safe here (it is well staffed by excellent spies)… I’m back to the conspiracies surrounding spies, 9/11, home, national security… (these connections are not explicit in the text, I’m just saying, as themes go, they all seem connected)… thoughts?

 

Ref: Ally Carter (2012) Out of Sight, Out of Time. Orchard: London, Sydney

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