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Sweethearts

I began reading this story trying to figure out what was going to happen. I was trying to use the clues in the writing style to be smarter than the author and predict the surprise ending. I’m glad I learned early in the semester that not every story has to have a twist ending, and that sometimes, things just are what they are. From the start I imagined the narrator as a woman. The passive-aggressive tone seemed bitter in a way that a jealous woman would behave. In a sense, he is relatively jealous of the relationship Arlene once had with Bobby. In many ways the narrator made me uncomfortable. For starters, Russell’s seemingly feminine reacations to situations made him untrustworthy and unrealistic as a narrator. For example, in the opening paragraphof the story, Russell begins explaining in a neurotic-seeming run-on sentence that drags along his feelings of the Bobby character. This portrays a sort of sassy jealously that seems feminine to me.

2013-06-12 17.59.54The narrator also made me uneasy in his strange descriptions of his daughter. The way he described his daughter, Cherry, seemed to be either childish or uneducated. For example, “I wanted Cherry to go to school, and for the day to flatten out and hold fewer people in it. Just Arlene and me would be enough.” I understand the reason why this sentence was used, and how, from an author’s standpoint, it was a very creative description; however, I don’t believe that we know enough about the character to understand why this strange analogy was used. Previous to that comment, he also says his daughter “looked pretty as a doll herself.” This description seems to me as if it is only worthy of being said if it is being said to his daughter. An adult audience is not interested in this type of description, because we are experienced enough to understand that dolls are not always pretty. I do not think that this consideration was made in the use of this description, though, and it does not mesh with the age and character of the narrator. If it does, however, the author did not develop the character well enough for the audience to feel comfortable with his voice.

Generally, though, I believe the development and action of the story could use more purpose, but I appreciate the ending message and really enjoyed the sentiment behind the final dialogue between Arlene and Russell.

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