Archive for March, 2011|Monthly archive page

“Just Married” by Tony Earley

In Journal on March 30, 2011 at 7:48 am

Earley’s decision to format this story into one big scene between two small scenes serves the following purposes:

-format of the story corresponds to the small “window” of time the narrator had with the newlyweds

-the “appearances can be deceiving” theme is revealed through dialogue, which is less confusing if contained all in one scene

-a total of three scenes supports and corresponds to the cause and effect nature of random events, in other words, the younger man and wife are in apparent equilibrium in the opening scene, then all the action and dialogue occur in the large middle scene, and in the closing scene we are feeling the tension created by the event


More Scene Structure from “You Won’t Remember This”

In Journal on March 29, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Summarized Material:

-Angelina’s psychological handling of the pregnancy

-her and her Husband’s preparations

-the birth

Events that occurred before the ongoing present time of the story:

In most cases handled by summary.  Story contains two flashbacks, one in which Angelina remembers her Mother killing the bothersome fly, and the second, in which Angelina remembers seeing her old lover.


Character Sketch- “Nathalee”

In Journal on March 29, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Nathalee Durand, 17. Born 1913 in rural Tennessee. Named after a character in a children’s book her Mother saw once.

Received only two years of schooling.  Mother continued to teach her to read from the Bible after their move to Arkansas.

Third-born of 6 children.  The eldest girl, therefore a caretaker to her younger siblings. As the “middle” child, she generally feels pulled in more than one direction and is easily upset by the mood-movements of her family.


5’5″, thin with dirty blond hair that is always tangled.

Generally awkward in movement and has a tendency to start off in a trot whenever she begins to walk.

Wide-eyed and has a bursting laugh, all of this adding to her awkwardness.

When speaking, she is usually asking a question

Has an extensive repertoire of hymns, learned from her Mother. Singing is a hobby, as is reading from the family’s only book- the Bible.

Scene Structure in “You Won’t Remember This” by Kate Blackwell

In Journal on March 29, 2011 at 1:48 pm

The plot of this short story, which takes place over one day, contains 13 scenes, plus two flashbacks.

Scene 1.  Places Angelina in a “real” place, where she can remember (exposition!) things about the pregnancy.

Scene 2.  Contains a flashback that reveals Angelina’s awkwardness, her feelings of alienation from her own body, by showing the effect a black fly in her all-white bedroom has on her state of well-being.

Scene 3.  Describes the subtle details of Angelina’s neighborhood (filigree, fern, colors like mauve and honey) that show by contrast how very unsubtle, unattractive, then all the way to nonexistent Angelina feels.  This scene ends with a flashback to a memory of a former boyfriend literally not recognizing her as a pregnant woman.

Scene 4.  Places Angelina back at home, with her family, where she observes her Mother looking “young” and “attractive.”  This clues the reader in to her sensitivity about appearances.

Scene 5.  Creates tension between characters.

Scene 6.  Angelina begins to experience mood swings, to say the least, which is appropriate at this moment in story because she is standing on the threshold of labor.  The reader begins to suspect that she might be losing control, just a little bit, which is appropriate leading up to the fierce unpredictability of childbirth.

Scene 7.  Portrays Angelina as the Mammal that she is, eating “ravenously” and “tearing off chunks of bread” before she undergoes childbirth.  For all of her, and her Husband’s preparations, they are not so human as to be able to escape the experience of childbirth.

Scene 8.  Serves to transition Angelina into actual labor.

Scene 9.  Maintains the tension created earlier in the story between the characters surrounding Angelina.

Scene 10.  Illustrates her Husband’s inability to control nature, and his distance from Angelina’s internal situation.

Scene 11.  Climax- the Baby is born, told through summary.

Scene 12.  The tail end of the climax- Baby is born, but nothing is feeling resolved about the story.  Angelina is still experiencing a lot of unease.

Scene 13.  Resolution.

Character Sketch- “Jack”

In Journal on March 25, 2011 at 11:10 am

Jack Durand, 24. Born 1908, rural Tennessee. Named after his Grandfather.

Schooled for 5 years, taken out when Father was sent overseas in WWI.

Eldest of 6 children- highly accountable, has become his Father’s equal in the management of their land.


5’11”, thin, with brown eyes and brown bushy hair.

Smiles mainly on one side of his mouth, which makes him look like he’s also winking.

Has a relaxed gait, but he doesn’t know it.

Voice has a rich quality, but he is a terse speaker- this is due to a lifetime of watching his stoic Parents endure hardship .  His siblings consider him to have an impossibly long perspective on everything.

Never considers the possibility of doing anything other than farming the family’s land for the rest of his life.  Repairs are his only hobby.


Extremely self-reliant (internally and externally.) There is an intensity to his thoughts and actions that prevents others from ever seeing him as a person with abstract needs, but he isn’t necessarily aware that his own behavior is causing this. This then serves to reinforce his self-reliance, which discourages any romantic developments.

Important Memories:

A lot of farming, death of an infant sibling in 1916 and aftermath, followed by Father’s departure to WWI in 1918. More farming and a move to Arkansas in 1920.

Wants– Peace within the family and a profit on the cotton.

Why– Incapable of being self-centered.


Setting and Perspective, cont.

In Journal on March 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm


Anxiety covered over Jason, and kept him from breathing deeply as he concentrated all his efforts on driving past Montgomery Plaza without thinking of the woman he knew lived inside.  The glaring red letters, perched high above the real world and out of reach of the average man- just like Wendy- never failed to extract hatred from his memories of her.  Large windows, each with at least 20 panes, taunted him from every angle; windows that let men and women see the world approaching from inside their fashionable condos, but never give way to the gaze of outsiders.

Setting and Perspective, cont.

In Journal on March 24, 2011 at 11:15 am


Irena felt like an undecided idea walking on two legs as she moved between the sharp green lines of manicured grass that marked the boundaries of Montgomery Plaza.  The building, as a whole, was large and obvious, yet Irena felt that the individual storefronts could conceal themselves from unfamiliar eyes.  The woman who called to arrange the job interview told Irena that the shop was in front and center of the building.  These seemed to be clear enough instructions when Irena heard them over the phone, but she now stood directly front and center of the building and thought desperately of what could be wrong with her.  She only saw a road; a paved road, running completely through the middle of the Montgomery Plaza, and out the other side!

Same Setting, Different Perspective

In Journal on March 24, 2011 at 11:03 am


An elderly man peered through the windshield of his daughter’s car, looking past the changed city they drove through until he saw the word “Montgomery” blink into view.  The letters, perched seven stories high, glowed red in the blue-black night and cast a warm light on the surrounding grounds.  Many years ago, when the building was brand new, the Man had worked as a stock-boy for Montgomery Ward & Co.  He knew from relatives that the area flooded, badly, not long after he resigned and moved away, and he suspected the complete removal of the middle section of the building had been part of the post-flood renovations.  Despite the chic, sidewalk cafe-lined avenue that now ran through the center of “Montgomery Plaza,” he still felt well-acquainted with the place.

So I Too See

In Poetry on March 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

He wrote poetry after tragedy.  That stands

out.  The desire to think.  And I too

could tell someone, maybe my Mother

how 2 < 33 = ad infinitum

in life and grace.  I say

my Mother because she would be

mad too if I was suicidal

(in a poetic way) just like yours.

What is it about higher

learning, yearning that causes

violent insanity under steeples,

hallowed halls alike.  We are still

evolving with text

books full of blasphemous

hypotheses- like “races don’t mix.”

This offends me.  I wish I knew

how it would feel to be a non-member

of the group that catalyzed

racial tension and be confronted

by that phrase in a cage

of a desk of metal and wood.

On second thought I would not

because then I fear I

would understand all-too-well

insanity, have to smash an apple

against my face and scare the hell out

of people who dissect the human

race, looking for a theory that ends



*Note-  In this piece, I am imitating Bob Hicok, who wrote “So I Know” following the VT massacre.  His poem, which is reprinted in my textbook, is my new favorite.

Found Poem

In Poetry on March 12, 2011 at 10:18 am

Vendors fight friends,

marketing materials

break down

gently-used views.


Expanding campaign

of measurement

eliminates participation

in rate of walking crashes.