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Folk Art

My first thought as I read the opening paragraph of Folk Art was that I would be annoyed with this narrator’s language for the entirety of its eleven pages. Though, I instead became entranced in Lily’s stories, and grew quite fond of her by at least the third page. Very few explicit images are created in this story, but I found that with Lily’s unique vernacular and interaction with the art professor, I had no problem picturing Lily Lockhart a plump woman sitting on a slightly weathered bench in her front yard sporting a floral, collared shirt with three-quarters sleeves and white pants that don’t quite touch her ankles. I imagined her having a slow, but energetic Southern drawl in which she animatedly raised her eyebrows to emphasize a name or an important part to her stories. Her image became apparent not in Smith adding in a line where Lily talks about appearance or her own characteristics, but builds them implicitly through her voice. Smith crafted such a strong character in this monologue of a story… and I envy her for it.

As I took little snippets of time to reflect as I read Folk Art, it was inevitable for me to think about my own characters and my own production of voice.  I feel as if I use the same voice for all of my characters. They are always sassy or humorous, never modest, unpretentious, or dainty. I want to experiment more with voice and strengthen my consistency of the said voice throughout the span of my stories. I think Folk Art set such an amazing example of beautiful evocation of voice and character, and I hope to follow it.

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