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Monthly Archive for January, 2014

Time To Let Go

It was time. How stupid was this to have a funeral for a person whose body we did not even have? Shoot, we didn’t even know for sure that she was even dead. Ten years, three months, five days, a mere couple of hours since I had last seen her, flouncing out of the house […]

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On Bungalows

I’ve seen a lot of houses. I’ve read a lot of stories that mention a house. I have not read many that call these houses “bungalows.” First off, a bungalow has a very distinctive and specific image that goes along with it. The house is one story with a wide front porch and dormer windows. […]

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In her story “Walker Brothers Cowboy,“ Alice Munro deliberately chooses her words that she uses to describe certain scenes, especially those involving Nora and the narrator’s father, so that she leaves the reader with an impression of romantic conflict between the two, without stating it directly. Munro never spells out to the reader what the relationship […]

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Out of a class size of a whopping fourteen people, three (so far) have written about Munro’s “Walker Brother’s Cowboy.” As of right now, more people have posted about Strout’s “Pharmacy.” I find that rather interesting and would like to focus on that for a moment. Was “Pharmacy” a more impactful story than “Walker Brother’s […]

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Alice Munro

Alice Munro has a unique style of writing. For both of her short stories “Walker Brothers Cowboy” and “Dance of the Happy Shades” it seems that she has placed her characters in situations where they are on journeys of discovery, and simply reading the characters’ reactions to the scenes unfolding is magic. Though her characters […]

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Pharmacy

The emotions of Henry Kitteridge, particularly in his past memories, are shockingly vivid. Within the first few sentences I could clearly picture the tiny, wooded Maine town and feel the closeness Henry had with the place. I attribute this to the selective details Strout chose. The reader isn’t bombarded with details about Henry’s morning drive […]

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The choice of a “Pharmacy” as a setting for the story is interesting in that everyone needs “medicine” of one kind or another from time to time. Whether for a broken heart, a wayward habit, or an unrequited love, medicine can came in more than a chemical form, as the social interaction demonstrates. And although […]

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I really enjoyed Alice Munro’s use of descriptive detail to illustrate the scene. She went beyond, including minute details that enhanced the story. For instance, “Her arms are heavy, and every bit of her skin you can see is covered with little dark freckles like measles. Her hair is short, black, coarse, and curly.” (13) […]

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Pharmacy – Week One

It seemed like “Pharmacy” was the story of a marriage that, having grown stale and boring, is in the middle of its death throes. Both Olive and her husband seem to have started to search for other people in order to fill some type of emptiness in their lives. Even their son, Christopher, seems to […]

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Grundy, VA 2.0 OK, here’s how it all started. Walter n’ me, we wuz goin’ down to the race track to watch the Bristol Firecracker Five Hunnert, ‘cos we go ever’ year. We wuz even set to go in 2001 even after Dale Earnhardt was killed racin’ at Daytona. That was sure a sad day. […]

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Roots

The ability to create an intriguing and meaningful setting takes a sort of curious and powerful magic that must be harnessed and carefully shaped into the stories we all know and love. Authors, or at least the great ones like Alice Munro, have learned to wield this super power with the utmost skill so that […]

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Houston, Pennsylvania

That fucking bell. I’ve tried everything from scissors to a propane tank trying to get that bell off the door. Why do gas stations even need a bell on the door? Whose idea was it that I need to know you’re coming into the store? Maybe if I keep thinking of ways to get that […]

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Buffalo, West Virginia

Journey It all started with a sample of my DNA that I sent to a lab in order to aid me in growing my family tree. It is amazing what a few drops of spit inside a tube the size of my pinky can do. For me it changed everything I thought I knew about […]

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For me, the most immediately obvious aspect of “Walker Brothers Cowboy” was Alice Munro’s rich sensory details in every scene. Instead of reciting dry facts about the time period or about the poverty of Tuppertown, for example, Munro lingers over a walk to the store with her mother. In that scene, the mother’s dignified, formal […]

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The Button Factory

Eighteen people. That’s all it took to take away the place of Roy’s childhood memories. He watches the pick-up truck, as pale and faded as the blue in the wispy cloud-covered sky, roll away, towing behind it the little building perched precariously on a matching blue trailer. Although he knows he has chosen this, a […]

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Hercules, California

Mom says Dad only started drinking after he got back from fighting in the war, but I know she’s lying because Benny and me found all those beer bottles about a month before he even left. They were rattling around all together in the hall closet where Dad keeps his gun now. Mom told us […]

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Elephant Butte, New Mexico

The most common question when you meet anyone is where are you from? It  should just be a simple response and yet I constantly find myself dancing around a conversation, interrogating the poor soul who decided to strike up a conversation with me. There is nothing wrong with where I’m from, in fact I would […]

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Bad Move

Less than a month ago a last minute decision was made behind closed doors that were designed to keep me from hearing. I’d heard the argued-whispering for months coming from downstairs. I just assumed that my parents were finally going to get a divorce and were worried about how I was going to react. Everything […]

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Walker Giant

Micanopy, Florida is a town where every Monday morning for the past 193 years has gone in much of the same fashion. I was born here, raised here, got a job here, and married here. Now my son, Walker, who turned 14 three Mondays ago, is growing up into the same life I’ve lived, and […]

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Grundy, VA

Whenever it rains in Grundy, I can’t help but imagine another flood: the Levisa Fork River spilling over, frothing all coppery down Main Street, and the elm trees up to their necks in it, and the sidewalks buckling in the mud, and the parked cars floating off like rowboats, bumping each other’s bumpers and doors, […]

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Pocahontas, Arkansas

For years I had to listen to my parents yap about how proud we should be to live in such a historically valuable location such as Pocahontas, Arkansas, which only led me to grow to hate it even more. The first for everything, my father would always say, referring to Randolph County to which Pocahontas […]

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Still Blooming

I keep my head in the books. The land of fiction keeps me grounded and safe from reality, and so I often hide in the words of authors, from Hemingway to James Patterson. I stay in those worlds so often that I actually pretend that I’m an extra in the story, that way I experience […]

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Pharmacy – Strout

He sometimes thought in those days that the pharmacy was like a healthy autonomic nervous system in a workable, quiet state. The Pharmacy works as a place of peace and healing: “Any uneasiness at the way his wife often left their bed to wander through their home in the night’s dark hours—all this receded like […]

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Blood is Thicker Than Blue Ribbon

   About three tenths of Grundy’s eleven hundred citizens lived in single or double-wide trailers on massive green hills, speckled with horses and cattle here and there, at the base of the Appalachians and everyone else, including David, lived in houses surrounded by the dense birches, pines, and firs that blanketed the mountains. There was one […]

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Eros, Louisiana

With Eros deader than a doornail with the legendary Fisher tornado destroying half of the town, and Tremont Mill closing its doors about ninety years ago, having never truly recovered from fire, my food supply has pretty much sizzled away in this northern Louisiana summer. Constantly reusing the people that remain as fast food — […]

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