A Night’s Lodging by A.G. Gardiner
In A Night’s Lodging by A.G. Gardiner we have the theme of struggle, dedication, enthusiasm, respect and frustration. Taken from his Many Furrows collection the reader realises after reading the essay that Gardiner may be exploring the theme of struggle. Gardiner spends his entire evening trying to make himself comfortable in bed. No matter what he does (to the pillows or the bed) Gardiner does not feel as though he has been successful in achieving his goal of getting a good night’s sleep. However the fact that Gardiner wakes at seven and then sleeps for a further two hours may suggest that Gardiner does indeed beat the obstacle that is in front of him. It is also interesting that Gardiner never gives up in his attempt to sleep. This may be significant as it suggests that Gardiner is focused or dedicated to his goal of getting to sleep. If anything Gardiner will not be beaten. Something that is clear to the reader when Gardiner dreams about meeting Apollyon. In his dream Gardiner defeats Apollyon with ease. Which may leave some critics to suggest that Gardiner’s struggles and his pronouncement of his struggles may not be as difficult as he has suggested. He may be prone to exaggeration with regard to his predicament.
Though at the same time one should feel some sympathy for Gardiner. Particularly should the reader themselves have experienced a restless night or had the misfortune of trying to sleep in a bed that is foreign to them. Gardiner throughout the evening tries everything he can to make his sleeping arrangements more comfortable and feels that he has spent most of his time being unsuccessful. What is also interesting about the story is not only Gardiner’s dedication to the cause of getting to sleep but his determination too. He does not give up and his mind is energetic enough to place him in a position that he is able to imagine Apollyon and Wellington. It is as though Gardiner has his own personal battle and he is drawing on history to ensure success in his goal. Which is somewhat ironic as one would expect a person to be relaxed or winding down when they attempt to sleep. Yet this is not the case for Gardiner. His mind is active and he plays out various different scenarios which would be time consuming.
The determination or enthusiasm that Gardiner displays in order to try and get to sleep is mirrored by his enthusiasm when he wakes up. He is happy to have survived the night and fallen asleep. Feeling fresh enough to tackle the day ahead. In fact so enthusiastic is Gardiner that he feels like a child would on Christmas morning. There is a kick in his step and he remains undefeated and excited about what the day may have in store for him. Totally unlike how Gardiner had felt earlier in the morning or evening when he was trying to get asleep. Though determined to get asleep Gardiner was also frustrated. Which would have made getting to sleep that little bit more difficult. Though it is important to remember (again) that Gardiner never gave up on his goal of trying to fall asleep. It may also be significant that Gardiner does not recall falling asleep. He does not recall when his battle with the bed was won. This could suggest that Gardiner as mentioned might have been prone to exaggeration. The challenge that lay ahead of Gardiner may not have been as tremendous as Gardiner was making out.
The end of the story is also interesting as Gardiner never mentions the name of the lodgings he stayed in or the town that he was in. This may be important as it is possible that Gardiner is paying respect to the town by allowing for it to remain nameless. He does not wish to put others off who might wish to stay in the town or lodgings. It may also be a case that Gardiner feels somewhat responsible for the position he found himself in. Nobody forced Gardiner to visit the town or stay in the lodgings. The choice was his and his alone. Gardiner may accept this and know that he has at least a partial responsibility for what has happened. For this reason Gardiner may be deliberately withholding the name of the town and lodging. He is content to allow for others to find the town and lodgings and for them to make up their own mind as to whether the lodgings is a suitable place to sleep. If anything Gardiner has put the night behind him and is happy to move on to the next town. Where hopefully he will sleep better.