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Monthly Archive for November, 2011

Dangerous Laughter

This was one of the most bizarre stories I’ve ever read. While first reading I was expecting laughing club/laughing parlor to be a code for something bad or unacceptable these young teens were doing. I found it very ironic that Clara died from laughing because there are so many sayings about laughter being the best medicine and […]

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The last time I read this story I was looking for elements of the fantastic. Since I had trained myself to do that, it was a little difficult rooting myself in the place of the story. With a little thinking I decided that this story, like most of Millhauser’s stories, are deeply rooted in the […]

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Lincolnites

Being a big fan of American history made this story really enjoyable to read. It really shows how strong military wives have to be in order to keep their lifestyle the way they want it. Which is still seen today. I had a feeling that Lily was going to do something to the soldier when […]

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Chemistry by Ron Rash

The story started off fairly normally at first before the religion came out at you. I didn’t understand the sudden turn towards religion and thought that it was a tidbit of information before we broke into the heart of the story. Then the story kept going and I realized that the religion was more than […]

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Lincolnites

What struck me about this story was how unperturbed Lily remains through everything that happens. At the beginning, she is knitting, thinking about her family, the plowing, and how she’ll go hide the horse and chickens soon as if all those things are perfectly normal. We already know that the story is set during the Civil War, […]

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Stevie and Mama

The story “Stevie and Mama” surprised me in a lot of ways.  I found that I had to read it twice, because by the beginning I had almost forgotten when Roxy had come from.  Lee Smith is able to weave present and a huge chunk of past all together and make sense of all of […]

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Waiting for the End of the World

This story really wasn’t what I had expected from the title, but it was interesting. The details given by the narrator of what he sees, who he is around, his life story and the lives of his friends, made it easy as the reader to create the scene of the story. Everything that Devon states […]

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Lincolnites

This story is very short.  There is so much packed into such a small amount of space, and we are able to fully understand exactly how desperate the times are, and how Lily has just come to accept this as the way things are, and she doesn’t take it negatively, but does what she can […]

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The Happy Memories Club

This craft of this story proves Lee Smith is an expert.  The story jumps from the present, to the past (which is also generally in story form in the club), and each time the narrative shifts we can follow it seamlessly.  I never felt like it broke the stream to shift, but rather it seemed […]

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Waiting For the End of the World

This story felt much different from Rash’s other stories.  The voice of the narrator seems to have less melancholy to it than the others, for some reason this story felt more depressing, which is strange considering when you really look at the story it’s a pretty pathetic place to be in life.  There’s something about […]

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None of the Above

This story had so many characteristics of a Rivecca story.  She has lots of similar themes throughout the collection, like school, abuse, and the most prominent, confusion.  Each story has a different level of confusion that the narrator is dealing with, a sort of A vs. B type of dichotomy that they are trying to […]

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This was not the story I expected it to be, but so much more. I was not so much surprised at the setting- a nursing/retirement home- as I was with the fantastic character of Alice Scully. Her attitude was on point. I was taken aback at the point in which Martha Louise dictated that the […]

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None of the Above

I have always enjoyed Rivecca’s stories. This one, however, has to be my favorite. Even though it was longer than some we have read, it didn’t drag out. I never once got tired of reading it, nor did my attention stray from the story. I felt like the narrator was easy to relate too because […]

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Alma’s character is a do-gooder. Her name, meaning “soul, nourishing” even identifies her as such. Her relationships are earnest and honest and true, but she is still missing something. Her husband Kurt had a past she did not know about until his interjection in this story. We don’t recognize Kurt as an important character until […]

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This story by Ron Rash was unique in a few ways. The main character, Devon, has had everything go wrong in his life, and yet I don’t believe we are asked to feel sorry for him. Despite the depressing conditions all around him, he doesn’t seem to feel sorry for himself, either. The plot action […]

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Waiting for the World to End

I was halfway through the story when I caught myself thinking: wait, this is really good old dry Ron Rash in this story? This story is anything but slow and dry. It is teeming with sound and movement, but it is almost still at the same time. The most defining characteristic of this story is […]

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none of the above

The first and last sentences of the first paragraph – “When she first began teaching, Alma promised herself that she would never wear a sweater with an apple on it… In two years of teaching third grade, the apple veto was the only vow she managed to keep” – do a good job of setting […]

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What first really struck me in “Fried Chicken,” was the way Mrs. Pegram accepts they way she is shunned. “Who could blame [Mrs. Calhoun] for firing the murderer’s mother, for not wanting the murderer’s mother to be the one who knew where she hid her Xanax in the false bottom of her jewlery box, who […]

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After reading the entirety of Rivecca’s story, I returned to its beginning to recall just how the escapade began. There is a lot of change that happens within this story, without a whole lot of physical changing and movement involved. The change is truly denoted in the way that the main character, Isabel, thinks of […]

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Fried Chicken

Right away I felt compassion for Mrs. Polly Pegram, even though she was “the murderer’s mother”. From the beginning it felt like she was a sad women even before I got to know her throughout this story. Mrs. Pegram has had a hard life, but she still goes through the routine of her day even […]

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