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Monthly Archive for September, 2011

There are a lot of endearing qualities in Lee Smith’s “Toastmaster.” The concept of place is prevalent throughout the story, and we are very aware of the setting.  We are constantly reminded that there is something special about Jeffery- the use of “(word)” to denote a vocabulary word he has used experimentally, keeps us in […]

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This whole story sits with me a weird way. I didn’t really enjoy it, yet, didn’t really think it was awful. It was just…there.  The concept was interesting enough. A woman, Ruth Lealand, is in a state of incessant suffering from the death of her child and attempts to, apparently, find comfort in the fact […]

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A sense of place. What exactly is a sense of place? Well, honestly, it doesn’t have to be a physical place on this planet, at least to me. As place in a story can be somewhere such as Washington, DC, Space, or even a mind set. When one is told to go to their, “happy […]

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What exactly is place? It sounds like an easy question. There can be a place (or a setting) of a story. Without the setting, it would be hard to make a story. Place could be a real coordinate on earth such as Raleigh, North Carolina. Place could be the dialect of a certain area in […]

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The whole underlying theme of this story is the importance of place and how it changes your upbringing.  The character associates certain places with certain kinds of people, and while we see that to a certain degree these stereotypes hold true, Jake seems to break all of these rules.  He’s a northerner so this coupled […]

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The jaguars-in-South-Carolina issue didn’t seem to be the point of the story. It was just a unique plot line through which we could learn about Ruth. Instead, I was interested by a kind of parallel between Ruth’s loneliness and the missing child flyers. The missing children could be important to Ruth because of her dead son, but to […]

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What I found interesting about Rivecca’s portrayal of this young woman, was the way that place was used as a personal identity. We dont really get a look at what the hotline office of cubicles looks like, or really a whole lot about what other people look like except for a few initial descriptive details. […]

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Ultima Thule

Ultima Thule is my favorite story I have read by Lee Smith so far. This story has such vivid descriptions, and so many unexpected twists. I love it. The way Smith sets up the story, her short, to the point sentences gave me a better understanding of Nova and her character. The line “She rubs her flat […]

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In this story, I noticed that Nova never says that she loves Jake. Actually, I don’t think she ever mentions feeling an emotion towards him except maybe a kind of implied pity when she says that he’s too sensitive for this world. She doesn’t seem upset when she describes her miscarriage or how Jake’s mother […]

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The biggest thing that I noticed in this story is how it is written. It is written in the second person using “you” for the character. The character has no name and no description of any sort. At first I didn’t notice it, but as I kept reading I kept searching for a name before […]

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If you look at the title of this story by itself, “it sounds like you’re feeling”, as opposed to “it sounds like you’re feeling [insert adjective here]”, it seems to identify any and all human emotions as the problem. Since this is one of the comments that the helpline interns are taught to say to […]

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I love Rivecca.  If I ever get the chance to meet her I might stutter and pass out like a fool.  Her ability to clearly articulate exactly what the character is feeling without ever explicitly saying what is going on in her head is just brilliant.  We can feel that the narrator has some insight […]

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A delightful “coming of age” story about the precious boy, Jeffrey (albeit only 11 years old.) A barrage of details, both of place and character, pull the reader along. Among the details are lyrical passages: “the sun hangs like a Day-Glo red yo-yo on a string above the horizon and “it looks like a flaming […]

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Big Girl

When I started off reading this story, my first thought was the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes. The narrator in the story clearly has a weight problem and has had it all of her life. She puts a clear description of how it has effected her over the years, which personally, I have seen people go through […]

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Big Girl

Reading just the beginning of Lee Smith’s “Big Girl” elicited from me a number of different emotions. First, I was amused that I would read a story that I could relate to, for I am myself a big girl. Yet, second, I was appalled that this narrator, this voice was insulting the women of her […]

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Big Girl

The title of this story gives me the impression that it was going to be a struggle of an overweight woman with the social pressure to be thin. Once I started to see that this story was apart of an interview over some crime and there was more plot to it than just a fight […]

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Big Girl

I was getting frustrated with the beginning of this story. We have been focusing on place and the main character wasn’t giving us any setting. She was just giving us voice and we didn’t even know her that well. I might have ranted for a little bit. And then I kept reading. It turns out […]

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Big Girl

Thinking about this story after I finished it, I got the impression that the narrator snapped after realizing that Billy was cheating on her. But that didn’t seem quite right. She gained mental clarity, and not until after her employers confronted her (however nonconfrontationally) about her embezzling. In that light, the last lines make sense, and […]

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Big Girl

When I first started reading this story I thought the voice sounded like a child’s. For the entire story I was just waiting for her to finally grow up. The desperation with which she dreams about Billy, and with which she tries to make her happy, reminded me of a kid trying to appease an […]

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Dead Confederates

I like that this story started off with the ending, but not what I thought was going to happen. It makes it seem that the narrator killed him, but come to find out that’s not what happened.  The voice in this story was confusing for me to follow at first, but it got easier for […]

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