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Burning Bright

This was a sad and lonely story.  We learn about Arthur and Carl at almost the same pace, and I liked how the story jumped back and forth from past to present.

The setting really brings to light what is happening to Marcie.  The new roof, and the new garage come about with the presence of a new lover.  The rest of the buildings are still old and dilapidated–Marcie is much older than Carl–and we can see the disconnect in their relationship because of age.  Also with the idea of the farm being empty of cows, it parallels the house and how it too feels so empty to Marcie with the departure of her children.

Even the landscape mimics the feel of the story.  Bone dry.  Rain brings richness to landscape, it allows things to grow and change and flourish (yes, flourish), and we can clearly see that this is lacking in Marcie’s life.  Carl doesn’t talk and isn’t particularly present in their life together, he is conspicuously silent, and everyone notices it as much as they notice the absence of the rain.  I found this particularly interesting at the end of the story when Marcie chooses to pray, and she prays for rain.  She doesn’t pray for him to stop burning things, she doesn’t pray that he is innocent, she prays that the rain will come, and she knows that will stop the fires.  If we look at this in Marcie’s life, it is like she is praying for her quality of life back, something she wishes Carl could give her.  She mentions she thought the longer they were together the more he would talk, but it’s not so.  Just like you think the longer it doesn’t rain, it has to rain soon.

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