The structure in “Loose Change” by Andrea Levy is generally chronological and culminates in a huge plot twist as the narrator abandons the immigrant girl without helping her.
The narrator presents herself as a typical, unsociable Londoner, and she ends up confirming this impression as she selfishly abandons Laylor without offering her help.
Laylor is a young girl who has recently fled Uzbekistan with her brother and is now living on the street. Although she is unfamiliar with English ways, she kindly gives the narrator some of her last money.
The physical setting underlines the difference in situation between the narrator and Laylor. The story takes place in the National Portrait gallery, which is a place of high culture where the narrator feels at home. This provides a contrast to Laylor’s desperate situation where money for food and a bed is the main focus point.
The story is told by a first-person narrator. Despite being a third-generation immigrant herself, the narrator is highly biased in the way she sees Laylor and her situation. Her description of the girl is generally negative, which makes her unreliable.
The language is full of similes, which help describe Laylor and the narrator to us. The text also includes rhetorical questions and repetition. Finally, a couple of symbols underline the difference in situation between Laylor and people like the narrator.
A full analysis of the short story can be found in the following pages.