58 pages 1 hour read

Morley Callaghan

All the Years of Her Life

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1936

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more. For select classroom titles, we also provide Teaching Guides with discussion and quiz questions to prompt student engagement.

Symbols & Motifs

Toothpaste, Compact, and Lipstick

The toothpaste, makeup compact, and lipstick that Alfred Higgins attempts to steal from Mr. Sam Carr’s drugstore symbolize the scale and degree of “trouble” Alfred has been getting into. They are small and likely rather low-cost items, indicating that Alfred’s thieving is also low-scale and relatively minor. Like Alfred himself, the items are relatively “petty.” Furthermore, while the two tubes of toothpaste may be counted as necessities, the makeup compact and lipstick are not. This indicates that Alfred is likely not stealing from the drugstore out of need; Mr. Carr speculates that he has been stealing items he can sell, and Alfred seems to confirm this when he tells his mother that he has been spending money with his friends (presumably in a wasteful way).

Notably, the items that Alfred steals are all related to personal hygiene or appearance, suggesting the story’s interest in performance—e.g., Alfred’s show of confidence when Mr. Carr confronts him. That two are specifically coded feminine foreshadows the mask Mrs. Higgins adopts when she comes to Alfred’s rescue.

The Drugstore

Mr. Carr’s drugstore symbolizes an important turning point in the life of the story’s main character, Alfred. It is here that readers meet Alfred in the middle of shoplifting, about to get into “trouble” with his employer as he has apparently done several times before.

Related Titles

By Morley Callaghan

Plot Summary


More Joy in Heaven

Morley Callaghan

More Joy in Heaven

Morley Callaghan