In this essay I will analyse an interview I recently conducted with my interviewee about his life history, I will focus on major life events and look at examples of inequality that he may have faced past and present. I kept my interview in a semi-structured format; I asked a broad set of open answered questions about different themes regarding his life.
When asking Alan what kind of childhood he had he gave me a very honest and open answer, He said that his childhood was mixed. There was a lot of unhappiness due to his parents arguing, He mentioned how his home life was better if his father was not around. His father fought in the war and came back into his life when Alan was aged 7. He said that because his father had not been there for his early years that he had never bonded with him and always found it awkward when he was there. His parents split when Alan was 13 and His father sadly passed away when Alan was 15 of alcohol abuse, this left a huge financial strain on the family as they only had is fathers income. Although there were many troubled times in his household Alan highlighted the fact that there was a lot of laughs , Alan had 2 older sisters that helped to bring him up, he told me many fond memories he had of them. He told me that his eldest sister bought him his first bike as his mother could not afford to, and he told me about the trips she would take him on. When asking what Alan’s parents were like he said that his father was a product of his life, his father was an orphan and had a hard upbringing, His mother was quite Victorian and cold however his sisters were warm, funny and caring. His eldest sister sadly died of cancer when Alan was 33, 2 weeks after his first wife left him and his 2 children for another man.
Alan never felt much pressure to go to school, his mother never encouraged him to go, however he did enjoy school when he went. He enjoyed reading and English and was good at spelling, but didn’t enjoy maths or science, which at the time was seen as boy’s subjects. He mentioned that there wasn’t as much bullying as there is today as society and the world was so different back then. He said that kids pick up their behaviour from TV and that media is now their moral compass. Although Alan hardly went to school, he still did well and got 9 GC qualifications. Alan said that the teachers were so much more respected than they are now. The teachers wore capes and would cane children if they were to misbehave. Alan left school at the age of 16, he wanted to further study education but didn’t want to go to 6th form as he wanted to study the subjects of French, English and Latin but there were no other boys in the classes as it was seen as a ‘girly course’. Alan also felt the need to start work straight away after leaving school as he wanted to support his family financially.
From school Alan went to work in the steelworks, he mentioned that back when he was younger you didn’t really need any qualifications for many jobs; you could just walk into them. He said he didn’t mind his job, he had many good memories, laughs and made a lot of good friends there, he said men worked on the factory floor and the women worked in reception. He then made a decision to quit his job and train to become a nurse as he wanted to do something more worthwhile. He trained to become a mental health nurse as he always had an interest in what went on inside your head. He retrained at the age of 37 and became a fully qualified nurse at the age of 40. He really enjoyed nursing and liked the helping side of it; he enjoyed being there for people and families suffering. Reflecting back he said he’s glad he quit his job and went into nursing as working in the steelworks was a very unsatisfying job. He worked as a nurse until the age of 60. But now still volunteers with people with mental health illnesses.
Alan had many hobbies when he was younger, he enjoyed playing football up on the mountains with his friends ,