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Return and Folk Art

The two stories we read for today were very different from the other things we have read this semester.  For starters, they were quite short.  They were written with a different sort of style than the others as well.

Return might be my favorite story we have read this semester.  I know, it shocks me too since it wasn’t from “Death is Not an Option”.  It was so simple, and the descriptions of the land just steal you away and you can feel his ties to his home.  Without even explaining the relationship between the main character and Peterson we clearly understand it through their interactions, and learn so much about the character from the simplest actions, how he takes the cross, how he imagines a life for the Japanese soldier, how he takes one last moment for himself and drinks from his helmet before going inside and attempting to ease back into his old life after the war.  There wasn’t a huge plot.  There wasn’t a plot twist.  There wasn’t a lot going on, but it is able to evoke so many different images and a sense of place and home and how it has such a huge impact on us in such a brief glimpse of this man’s story.


Folk Art was a little confusing.  The style took some getting used to and to be honest I wasn’t always entirely sure how reliable the narrator was, but that tied into the story as well.  The narrator was able to essentially give us her life story by giving a tour of her yard.  Everything that she was and anything that could help her when she needed to remember anything was at her disposal, and so the entire story is told in relation to setting.  It is used incredibly effectively.  The flowers everywhere and the colors mirror the colorful family, and the statues of the family members show us how she pictures and remembers each one, and no matter what changes in the yard with the seasons or what she changes they are concrete in her little world, they will always be remembered by her.

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