Themes and message


Despair and apathy

One important theme in Zadie Smith’s short story “The Lazy River” is despair. The story presents the struggles of life, the degradation of the environment, and the instability of the political sphere.

The main source of despair in the text is the narrator’s inner turmoil. The narrator describes life as a struggle. She is obviously affected by the hardships of life, since she appreciates songs that express pain without ridiculing or diminishing it. She is frequently thinking about death and has a fatalistic view on life, stating that “In truth, there is never a good moment”. She seems to be completely lacking control of her life, entrusting the current to support her, and as time passes she becomes increasingly desperate. She tries to protect her children from finding out about the current unstable situation of the world, feeling outrage and uncertainty. 

The whole setting of the story conveys an apocalyptic image that offers little hope. The guests seem to be mindle...

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