Characterisation of Laylor

Laylor is the second important character in the story “Loose Change” by Andrea Levy. She is only presented from the narrator’s subjective perspective. Her characterisation is conveyed through the narrator’s observations, the girl’s actions, or through what she says about herself.

Outer characterisation

Laylor’s outer characterisation is more complex than that of the narrator. Firstly, the narrator conveys a detailed description of her physical traits:

She had the most spectacular eyebrows. I could see the lines of black hair, like magnetised iron filings, tumbling across her eyes and almost joining above her nose. (...) She had wide black eyes and a round face with such a solid jaw line that she looked to have taken a gentle whack from Tom and Jerry's cartoon frying pan. (p. 1, ll. 16-21)

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Inner characterisation

Laylor’s inner characterisation is less detailed. Because she is the only one who offers loose change to the narrator, we can assume that she is kind and helpful. Furthermore, she does not expect the change back and goes inside the museum.

She claims that she likes art (p. 2, l. 36) but her preferences are very different from the narrator’s which suggests that she does not know very much about art:

Alan Bennett with his mysterious little brown bag didn't impress her at all. She preferred the photograph of Beckham. Germaine Greer made her top lip curl and as for A. S. Byatt, she laughed out loud, ‘This is child make this?’ (p. 2, ll. 20-23)

The narrator believes the girl helped her and got her to talk to her because Laylor was looking for a target; for someone that would be willing to help her and her brother: “She had sought me out - sifted me from the crowd. This young woman was desperate for help. She'd even cunningly made me obliged to her.” (p. 4, ll. 27- 28)

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