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Write a short story (of three or so double-spaced pages) in which one of the characters below shows up and changes the lives of those he or she encounters. Place the story in the Fiction Exercise 1 folder on Google Drive. Don’t forget that your document should be named in this manner: YourName.CRWR106.FictionEx1.docx. Also, don’t forget this (from the syllabus): Assignments that suggest a lack of substantial effort and those plagued by persistent or egregious errors will be returned for revision and proofreading.

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I personally liked this story because I felt like I could relate to it in a way because we go to an all-girls school. On this day every year all of the boys in the school, except certain boys, skip school and go hunting because it is the beginning of hunting season. The story’s narrator talks about the school’s campus just having a softer, lighter feeling, and I can see how that would happen. The story is written in third-person omniscient, which means the narrator knows the thoughts and feelings of all of the characters in the story. I liked reading it that way because we can get to know what everybody is feeling and doing, and it’s not just from one perspective. We can see different people’s struggles like ones we don’t usually think about like the secretary or the teacher. There is really no story line other than the girl goes to school and she can hear the gunshots from the boys hunting. Rather than the story having one large problem, it has many little issues from all different people. The story kind of ends leaving you wondering if there was more to it. But it made you think about the deer in the end who comes onto the school campus but won’t realize that it is safe there until it is too late.

Boggs’ “Deer Season” was very interesting to read. I really enjoyed the shift of perspective throughout; to me it had a sense of stream of consciousness, but with more direction. The examination of a single point in time through the different lenses was both interesting and enlightening. The descriptions and narrative made me feel like I had an understanding of the school at large, with a small glimpse at a few people who weren’t even a good sample of the school’s population. With every shift in perspective, there was a clear shift in voice, which made me believe there was a new narrator.

            I found the continual air of mystery in Kirstin Valdez Quade’s “Nemecia” very interesting. From the beginning to the end of this short story, its peculiarity never wavers. Throughout the story, we come to understand (or not) Nemecia through the main protagonist’s interactions with her and information surrounding her. As the protagonist and Nemecia grow, so does the steepness of their oddities. At first, there are intense and polar interactions between the two in which the line between love and hate, of tragedy and trauma, is blurred. This is followed by more subdued but just as confusing and eccentric relations — where one refuses to acknowledge the other or small slights to one another occur. Through all of these interactions, ranging from the ritual scarification of the protagonist’s cheek to Nemecia’s refusal to accept a doll that the protagonist thought symbolized their childhood, the protagonist begins to understand herself within and without the context of Nemecia.

‘Who am I?’ the protagonist seems to ponder throughout this whole piece. Is she envious and filled with rage at her mother’s unconditional and extravagant love for her orphaned cousin– her surrogate sister? Or is she the pitying and saddened cousin who does not know how to manage grief and mystery and the strange fits of her traumatized relative?  Better yet, is she a child who grows up in a world of unknowns, who is marred and remolded, who is selfish and loving and trying?

She is all three.

To grow up is a complicated and strenuous endeavor. To do so within the confines and constraints imposed by another individual creates even more nuances within its complexity. To be a child who has a perspective on that individual as terrifying and exhilarating, as undeserving and befuddling, can make one angry and confused. To feel left out or less loved  in your own home by your family can make one deeply saddened and equally enraged. To feel continually slighted and await adoration or hate or something can be nerve-wracking.  To try to understand one’s self within these contexts, to try to understand others and love and grief,  is to understand that life is filled with uncertainties.  Many times ambivalence blankets life and we can only try.


I adored Boggs’ use of point of view in this short story. I have never read anything where each paragraph is being written from a different character’s point of view, and I think that because this story was short, it worked beautifully and wasn’t overwhelming. By giving the perspectives of the people left behind on opening day, Boggs is showing how the men who left affect the lives of each and every person in the school. The part that really stood out the most to me was the last paragraph where we get to see the events of the day through a young deer’s eyes. This stood out so much because it is fairly unusual to see this being done, and especially only over a single paragraph. I feel as though I got a massive amount of information out of a four-page story, which is very impressive to me, and shows the talent Boggs possesses to portray a series of events in a brief, yet effective manner.

I really enjoyed reading this story because it really drew me in and pushed me to keep reading until the end. It had moments of darkness in it that caught my attention and left me wanting to know more. When the narrator wants to know the truth, the reader also wants to know the truth. The story always kept me in suspense, and even after finding out the truth, I found myself wanting to know more.  The story narrates a person’s entire childhood in such little time but still manages to precisely explain hows she’s feeling. Being not that much older than the character and the same gender, I could relate to the story at times. It reminds me of the innocence and confusion of my childhood and the things that I was unaware of as a child but now completely understand. Even just having sisters, I found the story relatable. It also reminds me of the people I have grown apart from between now and my childhood. The entire story is very easy to visualize in my head. All of the settings I see as the home and buildings I spent my childhood in. I can easily visualize things like the cracked doll or the wings the main character was going to wear. Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this story and wished that it was even longer.

I thought it was interesting how the author presented a few characters and gave insight to their perspectives. It felt strange for such a short story to have five different perspectives, but it was never confusing. They seemed to all talk about the absence or turmoil in a relationship. These feelings all came about because of the absence of most of the boys. It seemed to give the other people time to think and reflect on more than they usually would have because they normally have to keep their guard up. When reading this short story, I had flashbacks to when I was in high school. The first week of hunting season was a time when most people could relax and not have to worry about getting catcalled or spoken down to. The one day the boys are gone from terrorizing the school, they go out to terrorize the wildlife. The destruction isn’t gone, just redirected.

I found Quade’s “Nemecia” extremely intriguing. As the reader, I loved how there was no certainty given (through the entire first half of the story) to clarify if Nemecia actually killed her mother and father. Having the reader go off of what Nemecia said (just like how Maria had believed her) adds suspense to the story. The reader can almost feel the same nervousness during confrontations between Nemecia and Maria as much as Maria does.

I saw this story as a coming-of-age story that shows how certain life circumstances shape the person one becomes. Due to the violent acts Nemecia had seen her father commit towads her mother, Nemecia grows up lashing out uncontrollably, not knowing how to control her emotions, and in a way she is abusive towards Maria both physically and verbally; she takes on the abusive characteristics of her father. This story shows how a child might act when they have repressed their feelings and do not know how to express their emotions in a healthy way.

As Maria and Nemecia get older, there is always competition between them. Maria is jealous of how Nemecia gets favorable attention from her parents and does not understand why Nemecia is almost favored more than she is (especially when Maria still believes that Nemecia is a murderer). During a heated discussion between Maria and Nemecia about the Corpus Christi procession, Maria exclaims that Nemecia is the one who killed her mother and father. This begins the divergence between Nemecia and Maria that will change their relationship forever.

As Maria and her family arrive in California to see Nemecia’s wedding, the reader sees how time has changed Nemecia.

“Nemecia, hijita,” my mother said. She stepped back and looked at my cousin happily. “Norma,” my cousin said. “My name is Norma.”

This quote shows how time and distance between family members helps each member of the family grow in a way that they otherwise might not have been able to. At the end of the story, the reader is able to see how Nemecia’s character has clearly shifted from being abusive and emotionally unstable to happy and peaceful.

Nemecia held a wineglass up to the window and turned it. “See how clear?” Shards of light moved across her face.

I really liked how Boggs used point of view throughout “Deer Season.” The point of view changes at the beginning of each new paragraph and is an interesting way to not only move the plot along but also to provide some insight into the thoughts and feelings of some of the people at the school in this story. I also thought it was interesting that Boggs included the perspective of one of the boys who stayed behind and did not go deer hunting. I was surprised that one of the boys stayed behind because in the beginning of the story, the narrator says that “on the first day of deer season the high school is deserted by all the boys.” However, I like how including the boy’s perspective gives the audience a sense of what it’s like to go to this school and how the other boys (the “rednecks,” as the boy refers to them) treat girls and boys like himself who go to the same school. This short story is full of descriptions about the same class and the same school, yet they’re all different because they’re told from different perspectives. I like how the end of this story brings the story full circle and leaves the reader with a “take-away” feeling (in this story, feeling bad for the innocent deer the boys are out hunting).

I found “Nemecia” very frustrating at first—the older girl bullying her younger cousin in such quiet, unnoticed ways and Maria never defending herself—but also intriguing in the fictional, yet supremely personal and complex bad blood relationship presented. There are moments in the story, especially in the beginning (Maria’s telling of how Nemecia permanently disfigured her face) that the language and inner monologue displace and confuse the anger and hatred that the younger girl will later feel for her older cousin—the “miracle child”. Sentences like “It only hurt a little, and what did I, at seven years old, care about beauty?” (pg. 9) draw attention to the fact that at the time, she was only seven, and didn’t understand a thing about scars or what Nemecia was really doing to her, and the better question; why she was doing it.

I also thought the name and title “Nemecia” were interesting; my first thought upon reading the word for the first time was that it sounded eerily similar to “nemesis” which is almost the relationship being described in this reflective narrative. Though we never get Nemecia’s perspective, it is present in the way she acts and speaks towards our main character (making Maria afraid of her by confessing to “murder”, maiming the little girl’s face, taking away her goal of getting to lead the Corpus Christi event) that these feelings of resentment are mutual.

Overall, I believe Nemecia is thought provoking and extremely well crafted. The title is a touch of foreshadowing, the characters believable and very present in the story (ie., the use of a picture to begin, describing the two main characters and their outward appearances) and the portrayal of resentment, jealousy, and eventually an almost understanding between the two, or maybe some form of acceptance. “Nemecia held a wineglass up to the window and turned it. ‘See how clear?’ Shards of light moved across her face.” (pg. 26) There does not seem to be any underlying tones of resentment left in this sentence, just a form of accepting who Maria’s cousin is. I believe this to be true because of the revisiting of the scar left on her own face from Nemecia when talking about the picture of the little group on the beach. “My scar shows as a gray smear on my cheek.” (pg. 24) This is not a story about the mending of a relationship between two girls, but their acceptance and understanding of themselves, and in a way, each other.

What I found most interesting about this story is the portrayal of liberation and how it relates to the boys in the story. The absent young men in the story are described as being very overbearing, constantly bullying the rest of the characters into conformity and submission–including the students in Mrs. Hayes’s art class. Art is supposed to be something freeing, something that allows the individual to express themselves without fear, but instead, the main characters find themselves being constantly ridiculed by the young men in the class for their own passion. In their absence, however, the remaining students suddenly find themselves free to let go and fully enjoy themselves for the first time; the art students are able to work in peace, the girls are able to dress comfortably, and the staff members are able to relax a bit as well, not having to deal with all the problems that they usually experience from the boys. Out of violence comes the freedom to truly be oneself, with the cost of this freedom being the loss of life. The boys act as both liberator and executioner; with them in school, the deer would be free and safe, but the other characters in the story would be repressed as usual. Without them, the other characters are able to be themselves, but the deer are hunted down and killed. Either way, someone is going to win and someone is going to lose.

I thought it was really interesting how despite “Deer Season” being such a short story, there were a number of perspectives depicted that were all detailed.  I was able to get a sense of who each person sort of was relative to this very specific moment in time, although it was made more clear for some characters rather than others, such as with Mrs. Hayes (the art teacher).   The use of third-person omniscient and clear framing of time within the short story really helps with giving this effect to the reader.  I also got the sense that the perspectives were connected in one way or another.  Whether it was how the principal hovered over his secretary in the office, or how Jenny was in the same art class as Jason which was taught by Mrs. Hayes, or even the gunshot which concerns the deer who just happens to be standing outside the window of the art class — the perspective flows from one character to the other, each inhabiting roughly the same time and space, each affected directly or indirectly by the start of deer season.

There was also the juxtaposition of these perspectives as well, which helped show unique relationships and also helped to build the identity of each character from the way they perceived the normalization of the day to the difference in concerns each has to even the views one individual has of another versus the reality of why the observed individual is the way they are.  From how the principal thought it was pretty normal for the boys to be missing from school, compared to how his secretary sitting below his hovering figure was more concerned with the attendance and grades of the students missing, and her own kid’s safety during this hunting season.  From the way Jenny and Jason took comfort in the absence of the boys from school, although in different and separate ways, and to how Mrs. Hayes took notice of this despite her own private problems.  I don’t know if this was the intention of the short story, but I think there are  quite a few underlying message presented here of

I don’t know if this was the intention of the short story, but I think there are quite a few underlying messages presented here.  One is possibly the normalization of events despite the obvious consequences, such as missing school in order to go hunt deer.  Another could be that we’re all connected in this very overarching way to one another, and at the same time, very separate from one another as we each have our own inner turmoils and differing feelings that in most cases divide us, but can sometimes bring us together.  I think another message is that despite each fo us being so concerned with our very real and valid feelings or personal problems, the world is much bigger than ourselves, and everything has something that they are going through, even if that may not be completely visible or even unstable to others.


The night is cold and black in the musty New England room,

Curled up in bed by the warm candlelight,

Thoughts of the golden rays of summer days goes jogging through her mind.

The picture of beauty and grace lounging beside the pool,

Head thrown back in peaceful, gracious bliss,

Watching dragonflies twirl and dance above her in perfect time and grace.

In her chlorine soaked, pruning hand, a martini is held with grace,

Extra strong,

Extra pickles.

Ah the good ol’ days.

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Gracious Rabbit, Pickles,

Jogging through the open field,

With me, Hopping from place to place.


My rabbit’s name is, Pickles.

I know it seems odd,

But I take him on jogs.

My jogging rabbit, Pickles.


Thankful for my Pickles.

My perfect Pickles gives me tickles,

Like dragonflies in my tummy.

It feels great to be his mommy.


Exercise 3

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Some Trees


These are amazing: each

Joining a neighbor, as though speech

Were a still performance.

Arranging by chance


To meet as far this morning

From the world as agreeing

With it, you and I

Are suddenly what the trees try


To tell us we are:

That their merely being there

Means something; that soon

We may touch, love, explain.


And glad not to have invented

Such comeliness, we are surrounded:

A silence already filled with noises,

A canvas on which emerges


A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.

Placed in a puzzling light, and moving,

Our days put on such reticence

These accents seem their own defense.


John Ashbery’s “Some Trees” is about a relationship between two people and how it relates to the natural ebb and flow of nature. The first stanza of the poem, “These are amazing: each joining a neighbor, as though speech were a still performance. Arranging by chance…” expresses the speaker’s amazement for the day-to-day encounters between human beings (the nature of this particular meeting goes unsaid, but word use i.e. “touch” and “love” may depict a romantic encounter). In nature, one will see trees’ branches outstretched and overlapping one another, like the way Ashbery describes them in a “still performance.” The chance meeting of the two people in Ashbery’s poem are surrounded by a “silence already filled with noises” which is similar to the oxymoron of the “still performance.” These two references show the first moment of hesitation that arises upon meeting another person for the first time. The people may be quiet for the sole reason of not knowing initially what to say, but on the inside, they are nervous and anything but silent.

“From the world as agreeing” is a mention of fate or destiny, as the speaker believes that everything happens for a reason and there are no coincidences in the world. The trees are a metaphor for the people in Ashbery’s poem. This becomes evident when the speaker says, “With it, you and I are suddenly what the trees try to tell us we are: that their merely being there means something.” In this, the reader can decipher that the meeting of the two is not accidental; it is happening for a reason. The “canvas” could represent a fresh start for the two people, as it is painted with “A chorus of smiles, a winter morning.” The speaker could have possibly meant that the meeting of the these people “this morning” is the beginning of a new life. The emergence of the “chorus of smiles, a winter morning” are the first of many memories that these people will make throughout their life together.



God goes, belonging to every riven thing

he’s made

sing his being simply by being

the thing it is:

stone and tree and sky,

man who sees and sings and wonders why


God goes. Belonging, to every riven thing

he’s made,

means a storm of peace.

Think of the atoms inside the stone.

Think of the man who sits alone

trying to will himself into a stillness where


God goes belonging. To every riven thing

he’s made

there is given one shade

shaped exactly to the thing itself:

under the tree a darker tree;

under the man the only man to see


God goes belonging to every riven thing.

He’s made

the things that bring him near,

made the mind that makes him go.

A part of what man knows,

apart from what man knows.


God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made.

There is a music-like fluidity in this poem that makes it more and more beautiful every time I read it: Wiman’s use of repetition with the line “God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made” and changing choice of punctuation in this sentence ( “God goes.”, “God goes. Belonging…”, “God goes belonging. To every…”) in each stanza is extremely effective in drawing the reader’s attention to not only the rhythm of his words, but the message within them. Wiman’s placement of the words “he’s made”, each given their own line in every stanza, also further draw attention to the very religious tones of this poem and work to glorify God as the creator. His use of the word “riven” also draws on religion, for God does not make broken things, yet he is belonging to them nonetheless. This word in this context seems to contradict one of the main principles of Christianity (that God is perfect and does not make mistakes), but offers comfort and a moment of deeper thought on the reader’s part: God will not deny or forget the broken because they are broken.

I also enjoyed the ryming couplets in each stanza, especially the last one “A part of what man knows, / apart from what man knows.”, as they added even more to the musical qualities of this piece. The last in particular, though, because despite the nearly identical wording, the lines mean far from the same things; the first drawing on man’s knowledge of the world and the second highlighting that there is still much to be learned, but ending with the same “God goes belonging to every riven thing he’s made” to once more showcase the knowledge that He is ever present and all powerful. All in all this poem is a beautiful testament of faith, in my opinion, despite whether or not the reader agrees with Wiman.


“I tore myself out of my own mother’s womb.

There was no other way to arrive in this world.

A terrified midwife named me Monster

And left me in the pine woods with only the moon.

My mother’s blood dripped from my treed head.


In a dream my mother came to me and said

If I was to survive

I must find joy within my own wild self.


A woman found me and took me to her mountain home

high at the end of an abandoned logging road.

We spent long winter evenings by the fire;

I sat at the hearth as she read aloud myths of the Greeks

while the woodstove roared behind me.

She sometimes paused to watch the wall of shadows

cast by my antlers. The shadows danced

across the entire room like an oak’s wind-shaken branches.


The woman was worried when I would not wear dresses.

I walked naked through the woods.

She hung the wash from my head

on hot summer days when I sat in the sun to read.

The woman grew worried when I would not shed

my crown with the seasons as the whitetails did.

“But I am not a whitetail,” I said.


When I became a woman

in the summer of my fifteenth year,

I found myself

suddenly changed in the mirror.

My many-pronged crown had grown

into a wildness all its own;

highly stylized, the bright

anarchic antlers were majestic to my eye.

The woman saw me and smiled. “What you are I cannot say,

but nature has created you.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”


When night came it brought a full moon.

I walked through the woods to the lake

and knelt in the cool grass on its bank.

I saw my reflection on the water,

I touched my face.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

The Girl with Antlers by Ansel Elkins

As someone who isn’t a huge fan of poetry, I was surprised how much I enjoyed reading this poem. The haunting imagery (“solitude’s blue woods”, “my treed head”, “bright anarchic antlers”) and just how surreal the narrative is in general made me really feel for the girl and her struggle–I wanted to hear more of her strange story. The final line “You are fearfully and wonderfully made.” evokes a feeling of triumph that our main character has managed to reach a certain level of self-acceptance. If you have ever faced ridicule for your appearance, or ever struggled with feelings of inadequacy or difference, you will definitely be able to connect with the girl on a personal level.


From Poetry:

Introduction: The Golden Shovel

The Golden Shovel is a poetic form readers might not — yet — be 
familiar with. It was devised recently by Terrance Hayes in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks, whose centenary year this is. The last words of each line in a Golden Shovel poem are, in order, words from a line or lines taken often, but not invariably, from a Brooks poem. The results of this technique can be quite different in subject, tone, and texture from the source poem, depending upon the ingenuity and imagination of the poet who undertakes to compose one. As Robert Lee Brewer has pointed out, such a poem is part cento, part erasure. But don’t let the word “erasure” mislead you. A poem in this form adds something even where it subtracts; the sum isn’t necessarily greater than the parts, but in keeping with the spirit of paying tribute, it is more than equal to them.

Hayes’s inaugural poem in the form gave the form its name, and takes its title — and much else — from Brooks’s cherished “We Real Cool.” In fact, the Hayes poem absorbed every single word from the Brooks poem, and it did so twice. “The Golden Shovel” is a tour de force, so practitioners of this new form have both Brooks and Hayes to live up to. In Brooks’s poem, you’ll recall, the pool players — 
“Seven at the Golden Shovel” — are larger than life, facing mortality and bigotry with defiant, memorable verve. These young men will “die soon,” perhaps; but in poetry, they are, like the poem itself and Brooks’s legacy, immortal.

The appeal of the form is straightforward, and induces people of all ages to give it a try: established and neophyte poets, school children, and people who’ve never tried to write poetry before. So 
attractive is this new form that hundreds of them have been carefully and entertainingly compiled by the poet-teachers Peter Kahn, Ravi Shankar, and Patricia Smith for The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks, which will be published this month by the University of Arkansas Press. Poetry, which is proud to have first published Brooks’s wonderful poem in 1959 and many others besides, is a fitting place to present the following sampling of Golden Shovel poems in her honor. As her acolyte Haki Madhubuti wrote in these pages, Brooks’s “greatest lesson to us all is that serving one’s community as an artist means much more than just creating art.” I hope you’ll agree that far more than serving as an exercise in poetic form, Golden Shovel poems are a fresh and vital way of embracing and documenting voices around us that must be heard and felt.

You will never be alone, you hear so deep
a sound when autumn comes. Yellow
pulls across the hills and thrums,
or the silence after lightning before it says
its names – and then the clouds’ wide-mouthed
apologies. You were aimed from birth:
you will never be alone. Rain
will come, a gutter filled, and Amazon,
long aisles – you never heard so deep a sound,
moss on rock, and years. You turn your head –
that’s what the silence meant: you’re not alone.
The whole wide world pours down.

Sometimes it isn’t big productions that give us strength and reassure us. There have been studies shown that nature calms people down, and people often have oceanic feelings of sorts when interacting with nature. I read this poem and knew exactly what Stafford meant by this because I’ve sought solace in the forest or on a hike or in the breathtaking chaos of a thunderstorm. Even if you don’t believe that there’s a Gd in nature, that He is among His creations, it’s as if nature takes on its own form, it is alive. You aren’t alone.

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