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Monthly Archive for October, 2013

The Meaning of Life Is 42

Tobias Wolff’s “An Episode in the Life of Professor Brooke” seems tragic in a more subtle way than many of the other stories we’ve read this semester. As a love story, it’s undeniably dysfunctional–and I would argue that it is definitely a love story, not a “lust story.” Yes, Professor Brooke has a one-night stand, […]

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The Trip Back

Robert Olen Butler’s “The Trip Back” is a first-person narrative about a Vietnamese man picking up his wife’s grandfather from the airport. I am just a businessman, not a poet.” Do not misjudge me. I am not a cold man.” Mr. Kháhn continuously reminds the reader of what type of person he is, but his […]

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An Episode

I was confused as I read “An Episode in the Life Of Professor Brooke.” I know that this was supposed to be a love story because we are in a love story class, but I did not feel that it was in fact a story about love. This is a story more about desires and […]

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Moral Judgment

Tobias Wolff’s “An Episode in the Life of Professor Brooke” was lavished with irony in the telling of moral judgment through a third person narration that focused on various and well developed characters. Professor Brooke had no real quarrel with anyone in his department, but there was a Yeats scholar named Riley whom he could […]

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In the Life…

Tobias Wolff’s “An Episode in the Life of Professor Brooke” does not register to me as a love story through out its entirety. I feel that at the beginning and end of the story is when there’s love; the middle seems more like temptation or desire. Throughout the entire story I kept considering Brooke and […]

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Butler’s “The Trip Back”

As we talked about in class, a story is always about the narrator, even when it appears to focus more on someone else. “The Trip Back” is a story about an old man losing his memory, but it’s also about Mr. Khanh, the businessman. Butler uses Mr. Chinh to give the reader valuable insights into […]

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Robert Olen Butler

So now Mr. Cohen and I will go to some restaurant that is not Chinese, and all I have to do now is sit here and listen very carefully to Grandfather as he talks to me about time. –“Snow” I found that I myself as no longer comfortable with the old ways.  Like the extended […]

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The Trip Back

Butler’s “The Trip Back” threw me a curve ball that I wasn’t expecting: Mr. Chinh doesn’t remember his granddaughter. And just like the narrator, “I was trying to hold off the feeling in my chest that moved like the old man’s hair was moving in the wind.” You see, like Mai (though luckily with more […]

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Snow

My friend Mr. Butler wrote a wonderful love story called “Snow.” What makes this story so wonderful is the use of voice. Butler, in all actuality, is not a female from Vietnam. He is, in fact, a balding man with grey to white hair who was born in Illinois. In the story “Snow” he takes […]

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The Most Girl Part of You

Amy Hempel’s “The Most Girl Part of You” felt almost-immediately unsettling.  The narrator’s casual mention of Big Guy’s mother’s suicide was a disconcerting introduction, and Big Guy’s reaction was even more ominous, “Any place I hang myself is home”.  The voice of the narrator seemed so detached from the events within the story and she […]

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Fireworks

    In Richard Ford’s “Fireworks”, an outside narrator told the story by giving insight into the protagonist’s thoughts and his perspective toward other characters.  Although it was written in 3rd person, “Fireworks” read like a 1st person story.  Unlike many 3rd person narrators, Ford’s narrator allowed for a deep connection between the reader and […]

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Truth and Guilt

In Tobias Wolff’s “An Episode in the Life of Professor Brooke” the idea of truth and guilt are presented to the reader. From the beginning we see the main character, Professor Brooke, judging Riley whom is a flashy professor in the same department. He first judges Riley on his outward appearance and then for the […]

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Drop Me in the Middle

Something about Carver’s writing that intrigues me is the fact that he has a tendency to simply begin a story abruptly without care for what a reader knows. In any one of his four stories, he shocks a reader into paying attention by describing dynamic, painfully realistic situations and introducing their plots in a very […]

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What Moves You

Aggression. Fear. Hiss. Steam. Iron. Fire. Rape. Hate. Loving. Peaceful. Soft. Reminiscent. Fuzzy. Relatable.   After hearing such negative assertions against “Beatrice” and such positive affirmation of Hemple’s works, it becomes apparent to me what we traditionally assert as a love story and gravitate toward as a love story. I have  decided out of pure […]

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Wolf’s story did not read like a love story… it felt like judgment. Throughout the narrative, we hear Brooke’s judgment of everyone, including himself. He prides himself on his loving marriage while judging Riley, he judges Abbot at a panel. It is funny that after he had juged Abbot, he berates the panel’s chairwoman for […]

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Snow by Robert Olen Butler

While Butler’s two stories definitely have unique styles of writing, however I believe they are a lot less similar than I expected as they are both from the same author. I enjoyed Snow quite a bit more than The Trip Back. The ending of The Trip Back was especially confusing and the entire time the […]

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So Much Water

In many respects, Raymond Carver’s “So Much Water So Close to Home” reminds me of Ron Rash’s “Burning Bright.” Most obviously, both are stories about a wife suspecting that her husband is responsible for a terrible crime and having to decide whether to act on the information or not, and both draw the reader’s attention […]

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Gazebo

Drinking’s funny. When I look back on it, all of our important decisions have been figured out when we were drinking. Even when we talked about having to cut back on our drinking, we’d be sitting at the kitchen table or out at the picnic table with a six pack or whiskey. Carver’s “Gazebo” brings […]

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In his story’s “Gazebo” and “So Much Water So Close to Home” Raymond Carver effectively employs a strong voice in order to develop the plots and emotions of the story. Without the use of a strong and definable voice of the narrator the stories would not fall flat, but they would lose an element that […]

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Going Green

Carver points out Holly’s green eyes early on, so it’s no coincidence that Holly becomes jealous. The pool the narrator stops cleaning fills with green algae as Holly and Duane grow farther apart. Carver makes the state of the hotel reflect the state of their marriage. He writes, “But things here were going downhill fast. We […]

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