Sarah O’Rourke Characterization

Sarah O’Rourke is a 32 year old woman who lives in Kingston upon the Thames London. She is married to Andrew O’Rourke, who dies during the story, and together they have a four year old son named Charlie. Sarah is the owner of the fashion magazine “Nixie”, where she and her best friend Clarissa work. Before the book starts Sarah had an affair with a man named Lawrence. When Andrew finds out about Sarah’s infidelity, he wants to leave her. Sarah manages to convince Andrew and together they undergo a second honeymoon to Nigeria, where they both meet Little Bee. During this chapter of their life, Sarah shows herself to be brave and selfless, as she cuts off her finger to save Little Bee’s life. This is one of the many contradictions that Sarah’s personality shows. In the one moment she is selfish betraying Andrew and in the next, risking her own finger and perhaps her life to rescue a stranger. This is where Sarah starts her transformation. She is never the same after having met Little Bee, even though she doesn’t see her again for another said two years. Before this fateful encounter, she is a sheltered, naïve working mother, who has become rather passive in life without really noticing it. Little Bee acts as Sarah’s trigger, she unfolds Sarah’s full potential to be an active member of society, although we cannot be sure if the potential wasn’t always there. Sarah shows bravery, selflessness, and that she can care through Little Bee. At one point in the book Sarah asks in relation to her magazine Nixie, why they stopped publishing “real life” articles, when the discussion comes up to publish her article about a woman trying to escape Bagdad and Clarissa’s about the “B-Spot”. She says that five years ago they would have run the Bagdad piece without a thought. Later in the story Sarah goes back to her roots, by continuing Andrew’s work and going to Nigeria to help Little Bee. Little Bee gives Sarah the chances to show her potential. Sarah has a very important role in the book, not only is she one of the main characters, narrating five of the eleven chapters, she is a key character who always propels the story forward. The whole story comes down to Sarah and Little Bee; neither would be the same without the other. Sarah would still be married to Andrew and working at Nixie and Little Bee would not be dead. In conclusion I believe Sarah to be a confused woman, who transforms in the novel to one we all wish to be. She leaves her comfort zone and risks the well-being of her son and herself to help Little Bee. Without Sarah the story would not exist and for that reason alone is worth mentioning. Word Count: 471
Reilly Katherine Lenihan | April 25, 2012 |

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