Sunday, November 13, 2011

Flash Fiction (Link)

Bats are flying around on the third floor again. Trapped. We live on a hill, so the height attracts them. Like a belfry. My husband is gone again. The beans he planted in the garden during the full moon are wilting. I’m not tending to the new shoots in this July heat. Like the jungle, he says, this heat. The news is bad lately. More troops killed this month than in any other. I keep the paper away from him, but he watches the reports on TV. This new war brings the old one back. In his sleep, he fights with the chain that hangs from the overhead bedroom light. He is always waging some past battle. Sometimes his hands find my throat. He leaves after these episodes. To be alone. At least he doesn’t wander the streets, like some. Doesn’t get lost permanently. He always comes back. Till then, I live with the bats. They flutter their wings of skin against the screens, while I lie in bed, staring up at the ghost of a light.

When I first read this, I immediately went back to The Red Convertible. There are some obvious connections, but instead of it being between two brothers, it is between a wife and her husband. This gives us another view to consider. We never really realize how many people are affected by certain actions. In this case, the wife (who is nameless) is struggling to keep her family together. She tries to hide the war from her husband, but he finds information about it anyway and it brings him back to when he was in the war. "Sometimes his hands find my throat," reminds me of when the eldest brother jumped into the river. They are not coming out and saying, he chokes me or he committed suicide, they are letting the reader experience the act, but describing it in a delicate manner. It's very effective in making the reader really "feel" the work and become a part of the work. 

As we talked about with the Red Convertible, the government plays a huge role in both stories, yet it is not mentioned at all. "This new war brings the old one back." That statement is very powerful and it gives this feeling of empathy toward the narrator, we want to help her, we feel for her, but we can't do anything because everything has already been done. Within these two stories, you feeling a sensation of defeat like, "Okay government, you win, take over," which leads to novels like Feed and Brave New World. 

Flash Fiction is an interesting genre, though it is very new, I think that it will be a great addition to the literature family. I like this story because they say so much without saying too much at all. It is much like poetry, where every word counts and in Flash Fiction, I feel like every word counts. 



Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Red Convertible

The Red Convertible
In this story we have these two brothers who seemingly have a tight bond. Because they both came across a bit of money, they were able to purchase a “red convertible” in which they drove all summer long together, “road tripping.” They met a girl and drove to Alaska and lived care-free. But then things changed and one of the brothers got called to War, the Vietnam War to be exact.  After he came back he was a different person.  The narrator tried to help his brother by destroying the red convertible so that he could fix it up, which worked for a while. Sadly, at the end of the story, the brother killed himself due to the post effects of the war and the narrator let the car run into the river.
Where to start?  In the beginning of the story I was thinking that this was going to be just a story about Native Americans in the “Americas,” but we learn quickly that it is more than that. First of all, we see a different time compared to now. These brothers decided to just take a road trip for the summer. In this trip they had no cares or worries, just free-falling in a sense.  When they met the girl from Alaska, I was thinking that she would become a part of their group and maybe be a bigger part of the story.  Her and her family really was just another story to tell.
I want to back track for a second. Let’s look at the beginning of the story, when the younger brother was talking about his luck with money and his job. I think that this is kind of foreshadowing because he is talking about how he “always had a way to get money” and basically he said that he was a little luckier than his brother. Which he brings this up again, when they get back from their road trip and his brother gets called to war and he says that he was luckier with numbers.
You really don’t see the ending coming at all. I mean it makes sense though. This kind of work was probably not given the respect that it should have been given during the time that it was released because people didn’t want to hear about the negative stuff in life, like everything we read in the beginning of the semester about Slavery, etc.  This story really sheds light on a couple of different aspects of  “American life,” even these kids aren’t exactly  “Americans” they are still subjected to the effects (negative and positive) of the “American” government.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Charlotte's Web

It has been such a long time since I read this book, that it brought back so many memories. A quick synopsis of the reading is that Charlotte is dieing and she teaches Wilbur how to be a good big and upon her death he saves all her babies and brings them back to the farm.

To begin, I want to point out that I hate spiders, but I think that Charlotte was not a spider, but something of a guidance counselor or spiritual guide.  She reminds me of a fairy god mother from Cinderella.  Charlotte is the wise old grandfather in a family (or grandmother). Something she said that really stuck out to me was, "We're born, we live a little while, we die." I think that what she is saying is that we need to take time to really smell the roses enjoy everything, bask in everything, and take advantage of all the opportunities that present themselves to you. It in a sense its the same as the poem we read for Monday, "Blossoms," We lived like death wasn't in the background.

Poor Wilbur has no idea what is going on until she finally comes out and says that she is going to die. His desire to carry on their friendship through her children (millions by the way, ewy) is interesting. As I was reading, I was asking myself, how would we classify Wilbur in today's society? He reminds me of the "good/nice guy" that none of the girls want to date, ya know the guy that would do anything for you, but because of that exact quality we (girls) don't want him.

Templeton, Templeton, Templeton. I wanted to break through the story and just give him a punch in the face. How funny is his role because in society everyone is always looking for the recognition in which they feel they deserve. "I notice that it's always me you come to when in trouble. But I've never heard of anyone's hearty breaking on my account. Oh, no. Who care anything about old Templeton." Though our perception of him is bad, what I see in this is that he just wishes to be loved or at least he just wants a little attention. It's like when my dog, Biggie, needs to go outside or something, he runs from one end of the house to the other, multiple times and cries at each door. Haha, it's not very subtle, but it def. catches our attention. Like, Templeton, in his abrupt way, he just wants some attention.