These notes were contributed by members of the GradeSaver community.
We are thankful for their contributions and encourage you to make your own.
Written by people who wish to remain anonymous
“The image in my mind is always the same – if not so fixed as a painting, then perhaps more like some frames of underexposed film flickering on the screen.” ("Peaches, 1)
In this simile, the narrator is commenting on the nature of this specific recollection, that of him accompanying his mother while pushing a pram full of peaches, as well as on the nature of memory in general. Memory isn't steady and consistent like a painting; it's impossible to look at it as a finished and continuous whole. It's more like imperfect flashes of film, experienced one frame at a time and synthesized into a whole that is more or less fleeting and subjective.
Peaches and the Skin of Babies
“And like the downy skin of a newborn, each could be scuffed and bruised in an instant if my mother did not push the pram slowly and carefully.” ("Peaches, 2)
In this passage, the author is emphasizing the fragility and tenderness of the precious peaches pushed in the pram. In the spot where a baby usually sits are instead peaches, which the narrator and his mother are carefully transporting down the road. This simile further accentuates the value of the peaches and the importance of caution; if the peach represents (usually sexual) fidelity, as it does traditionally, this could be seen as a commentary on the difficulty of preserving purity.
The Bridge Tree
In "Peaches," the narrator's mother tells him a story of a relative who drowned herself when she was falsely accused of theft in a nunnery. She did so by crawling out on a branch of a giant plum tree by the lake and falling into the water. The narrator's mother insists that the tree "looked just like a bridge," even though she wasn't there herself. This image of a bridge superimposed on the tree brings to light the tree's function as the bridge between the young girl's life and death, a haunting and yet beautiful comparison.
A Tightrope Act
“... I recalled the scene as though witnessing a dangerous tightrope act.” ("Peaches," 8)
In this scene, the narrator remembers listening to a conversation between his mother and their family friend, a man who spent much time conversing with and doing chores for her. Being young, he wasn't sure what they were talking about (which was described as being "vulgar"), but he knew enough to know that it was a dangerous topic. This tension characterizing the narrator's mindset at the time resembles that of a tense witness of a tightrope act.
The Circular Pram Image
At the very end of the story, the narrator says, “What emerges from this [speculation] is the arcane spectacle of me as a boy, wheeling a pram that holds my infant self.”
Far from coming to any conclusion about the veracity of the memory in question, the narrator realizes that no amount of retrospection will conclusively prove anything about it; the nature of memory is too fickle and self-dependent. The metaphor of a younger version of himself pushing an infant self in the pram represents the tendency of the mind to substitute one's own version of history for the real thing, proving that in looking backward through his memory, he will only find himself instead of objective history.
Update this section!
You can help us out by revising, improving and updating