The Go-Between by Ali Smith
On the tenth of December 1948, the UN General Assembly adopted The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The short story “The Go-Between” was written by Ali Smith in 2009. It is one of the short stories in the collection of short stories that was written to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of this event. As said in the afterword; Ali Smith found his inspiration to this story from Article 13 in The Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the right to freedom of movement.
The protagonist in the short story “The Go-Between” is a thirty-three year old African man, who is originally from Cameroon, but he now lives in a Spanish town called Ceuta, right by the coast in northern Morocco. He is a border-crosser and helps refugees get across the border from Africa and into Spain and the rest of Europe. The protagonist is a “go-between” between the refugees of Africa and the French doctors. “…I help the French doctors. Borders are not always visible! I can go between people and places. I can go to the bits of the city they can’t…”
The short story is written in first person, which means that the reader is included in the protagonists every move and the protagonist’s feelings. Occasionally the protagonist talks directly to the reader: “I was telling you about the fences” After this comment, he begins to describe the fences as if the reader is having a conversation with the protagonist. He also says: “You know what Europe is?” After this question it seems like he is talking directly to the reader and explains exactly what Europe is – at least to him.
The short story is not written in a structured way, where the protagonist tells his story chronically. The protagonist begins the story by talking about how Spain is so close to Africa, yet it is so hard to cross the border. He continuously goes back in time, describing the time his ear got left on a fence, his finger was cut off by an underwater fence, how, back when he was in Cameroon, he...