Structure

The short story “Diary of an Interesting Year” by Helen Simpson is structured in the form of a series of diary entries. The narrator, a 30-year-old woman living in 2040, writes about the struggle to survive in a world dealing with the consequences of global warming. The diary begins in February and ends in November, marking an eventful year for the narrator, who remains alone and struggles to reach Russia to find a better and safer place to …

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Beginning

In the exposition, readers are introduced to the context and to the main characters – the narrator and her husband, G.:

February 12, 2040. My thirtieth birthday. G. gave me this little spiralbound n…

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Middle

In the rising action, the narrator presents the way in which she and her husband struggle to survive – preserving food rations or trying to prolong the usefulness of certain items. An important foreshadowing element is indicated through the narrator’s obsession with not becoming pregnant:

Did the face masks first, then the rags from my period. Took forever. At least I haven’t got to do nappies, like Lexi or Esmé—that would send me right over the edge.

April 27th. Just back from Maia’s. Seven months. She’s very frightened. I don’t blame her. 

A tension point in the story is marked by the “compulsory billeting”  law imposed by the government. This law forces citizens to offer a lodging place for other people (such as refugees). Consequently, the narrator and her husband are forced to share their house with a …

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Ending

In the falling action, the narrator finishes her diary by presenting her decision to bury it along with the remains of her baby:

November 13th. I’ve wrapped your remains in m…

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