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Monthly Archive for March, 2014

The Progress of Love – LL

The Progress of Love I positively love the last sentence of this story: I wonder if those moments aren’t more valued, and deliberately gone after, in the setups some people like myself have now, than they were in those old marriages, where love and grudges could be growing underground, so confused and stubborn it must […]

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Hope in “Basket of Trips”

Strout, like in “Tulips” is depicting Olive going to visit someone during a difficult time in their life. We, as readers, understand that Olive is ultimately doing this to ease the pain of her own life (So I wish it wasn’t stated directly because I gathered as much from just reading the story). “No, she […]

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“Moons of Jupiter” by Munro

Some of Alice Munro’s titles confuse me. For example, I had a hard time understanding why she chose the title “Dulse” for Lydia’s story when the seaweed seemed like such a minor detail. In the case of “The Moons of Jupiter,” however, I find it easy to see the title’s significance. Every aspect of the […]

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The Moons of Jupiter

There are a lot of things about this story that I enjoyed. Probably the shining light on “The Moons of Jupiter” were the characters because their dialogue was brilliant and their interaction seemed incredibly natural. The relationships between the characters were real. You felt how fed up her children were at the fact that she […]

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Endings

I don’t mean to be brief, but that’s exactly what Okparanta’s ending to “Grace” was. In her normal style of writing Okparanta’s stories follow a typical arc with an ending that is often more tidy than what life really has to offer. Perhaps it is because of the nature of the story and the fact […]

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First, I would like to point out the strong point of view in this story. I enjoyed the way that Munro chose to make this first person. As a reader, we get to see the narrator as a daughter and what is filtering through her head in respect to her ill father, while also getting […]

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Labor Day Dinner

Alice Munro chooses an omniscient narrator to guide us through this story. The details used in each paragraph are very focused on the surroundings, such as the red bricks,and the carrying of the lawn chairs. The narrator is so focused on so many details that it reminds me of a fly-on-the-wall-reporter, whose job it is […]

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Grace – Okparanta

Grace – Okparanta This is a love story set in a university where the divorced professor finds that love appears in the most unusual places. The learning taking place in both the student and the teacher has the Old Testament course as its backdrop. The calling out, and condemnation, of certain practices in the Old […]

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Labor Day

Munro gives “Labor Day Dinner” a unique detached, omniscient dramatic narrative. In this way we are able to get into each and every characters mind, understanding though that this story is seen mostly from Roberta. Since the narrative is written as it is, we get see  the two faces of each character as well. Characters […]

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American Hustle

American Hustle (now out on DVD) is quite the movie. When I first walked out of the theater I left with the lack of fulfillment that you almost never feel when you watch a movie. Movies traditionally follow some sort of generic story arc that inevitably ends exactly as you thought it would and with all the […]

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“Tulips” by Strout

As with the previous story in this collection (“Winter Concert”), “Tulips” has a complex, unusual POV in that it begins as 3rd person omniscient, then goes through a few rapid switches: first to a limited POV to reveal Henry’s perspective, then back to omniscient, and finally to Olive’s perspective, where it stays for the remainder […]

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It’s complicated, but…

I really admire Okparanta’s skill of portraying the voice of each individual narrator. All of her short stories have very distinctive voices, I have never confused one story with another in this book because of that. “Shelter” is a great story for discussion on Okparanta’s distinctive voices. The simplicity of the first paragraph struck me. […]

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Gobble, gobble – rough draft

This story is all about assumptions. The main character has a lot of wisdom. When they are faced with an employee they all cannot stand the characters, as an adult, questions “Why did none of us complain?” (275). Her self-awareness is just one hint of her intellectuality. Herb once asks, “are you Educated” (267). Yet […]

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Alice Munro – Transitions

There is something jarring about Alice Munro’s stories. She manages to dance around every subject she writes about in a completely poetic way. She’s able to jump through time and space masterfully, creating smooth, and most importantly, readable, transitions. It may take a moment or two for the reader to become accustomed to this style, […]

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Shelter – 3/20 Blog

In Okparanta’s Shelter, the protagonist, through a first person, limited omniscient POV, is telling the story of how she and her mother tried to escape domestic violence, only to be thwarted by governmental red tape. It was perhaps mid 80s – early 90s Boston, judging by fact that she, a young girl of eleven – […]

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Shelter – Okparanta

Shelter – Okparanta In Shelter, the author chooses to tell the story from the viewpoint of the child, at the child’s age as opposed to looking back on the incidents as an adult. The simplistic viewpoint is also enhanced by the youthful perspective of the events of wife/child battering compared to the movie “ET.” It […]

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“Dulse”, Alice Munro

Alice Munro’s writing style in her short story “Dulse” introduced me to an entirely new perception of how fiction writing doesn’t always have to answer every question the reader has about the story. Munro’s sentence structures were quite short, simple and even choppy at some points in the story. I found a certain beauty in […]

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Munro’s “Dulse”

What first struck me about Munro’s “Dulse” was the varying length and complexity of the sentences. For most of the story, the sentences are rather short and choppy-sounding, or Munro constructs them to sound repetitive. For instance, the repeated format of “He __ed, he ___ed” at the top of p. 263: When she had been […]

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Flaws and All

Strout never fails when it comes to imperfections in her characters. The flaws in the character tie to the environment, making places in the story very emotional. The emotions lead us to a belief that what the characters are expressing are genuine and compelling. In those instances when in the “Winter Concert” Strout gives us […]

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Dynamics in Dulse

Munro’s short story “Dulse” incorporates a  couple of different scenes that refer to the past. As I went through this incredible roller coaster Munro created, I found the scene with Lydia and her doctor to be the most intense, and overall the best scene in “Dulse”. It seems as if Lydia is a different person […]

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Winter Concert

In Strout’s story, “Winter Concert,” Strout writes, “The music took over the church. It took up all the space that wasn’t filled with people or coats or pews, it took up all the space in Jane Houlton’s head.” This quote is a beautiful description of almost all the stories we have read thus-far. Every page […]

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Alice Munro once again uses subtlety in her detailed writing, but in “Chaddeleys and Flemings” there are different techniques used as well. One interesting choice in this story was Munro’s use of time. The narrator would float in and out of past and present, exactly how people do think in real life. Munro’s transitions with time are concise and […]

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Okparanta’s stories are all eye openers for me when it comes to the condition of women in Nigeria. “America” is no exception to the consistency. I was incredibly surprised by the information concerning the oil spills happening all the time in Nigeria, but it was a big deal in America seen on page 97. Other […]

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The Locket

Eleanor had always loved collecting things. It didn’t matter what it was, if she could have it, it would be hers. She told me once that her obsession to have everything started when her father brought her home a silver locket that was engraved with delicate roses. She grew up in a poor working class […]

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“A Different Road”

Surreal is how I would describe “A Different Road.” It consisted of the same, hovering elements of despair in old age and discontent between husband and wife and children and parents, yet the main, horrifying event in the chapter seemed utterly out of place, like something from an action novel and not a nostalgic, meditative […]

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