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Longing for the Stars


And though I have thought otherwise, I now think that hope is the essence of all good men.”

“Emperor of the Air”, by Ethan Canin, told the story of a man faced with the struggle of aging and forced to reflect upon his own life.  The narrator refused the request of his neighbor to cut down the insect-infested, elm tree, that came to represent old age and the fight to preserve life.  The narration was revealing, and felt like a progression of the narrator’s moral insight.  If the narrator were not sixty-nine years old, it could certainly be considered a coming of age story.  Canin used a delicate technique, within the narration, to evoke feelings of regret and sadness.  The narration was consistent and his thought processes felt organized.

Although the regret of the nostalgic narrator was apparent, the subtle narration created a disconnect with the reader.  His longing for child was sad, but the separation between the narrator and the reader did not allow for great empathy.  There was a melancholy undertone within the narration, but failed to provide the reader with a deep connection to the narrator.

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