Loose Change

This study guide will help you analyse the text “Loose Change” by Andrea Levy. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as inspiration for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: “Loose Change” (2005)
Author: Andrea Levy
Genre: Short story

Andrea Levy (b. 1956) is an English writer of fiction and non-fiction. She was born in London to Jamaican parents. Most of Levy’s fiction concerns topics such as culture, national identity, ethnicity, and immigration.  “Loose Change” was first published in The Independent on Sunday.


Here you can read an extract from our study guide:


A few elements mentioned in “Loose Change” by Andrea Levy have a symbolic role. The most important symbol is the coins, as indicated by the title of the short story. For the narrator, those coins are nothing but loose change, but they are an essential part of Laylor’s survival. Consequently, the coins function as a symbol of the gap between the rich and the poor — one person’s fortune is another’s loose change, you might say. The loose change also function as a symbol of Laylor’s kindness as she hands it over without expecting it to be paied back, despite her desperate situation.

The different attitudes expressed in the text towards the tea and the coffee are also symbols of the discrepancy between the rich and the poor. Laylor cannot afford to waste spilled sugar and drinks her tea with bits of crumbs and a hair in it. In contrast, a British woman at the next table can afford to complain about her coffee having too much froth on top.

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Loose Change

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