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India Arie

“You will never be white,” she said.  “Just because you talk proper and straighten your hair, and you have a good education doesn’t mean that you will ever be more than an ugly black girl.”  I stopped smiling and stood completely still.  It was as if her words had cast a spell on me and […]

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Plastic Santas

  My Parents got divorced when I was very young, so there are a lot of things I thought were normal that I have since found out were not.  For example, Most people don’t have two sets of parents, or keep a calendar of which holidays will be spent with which parent, or have two […]

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The “Rent” Effect

Before Rent, I was a moderately terrible person.  Not horrible, mind you.  I was nice to my classmates, polite to adults, and a generally happy person.  My main flaw was how I secretly viewed other people.  My family, you see, is full of conservatives who have difficulty seeing things from someone else’s point of view, […]

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I was always one of those girls who was completely oblivious to the presence of guys.  Up through the end of middle school, and even into high school, my main priorities were homework and my horse.  In those years, the Dixie Chicks song “Ready to Run” was my mantra.  Why did I need to worry […]

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The Smile Sessions

I really enjoyed the readings for this week and I was pleasantly surprised by them.  I was expecting a dry review of the albums, but instead they were interesting writings on the effect the albums had on people.  I found the topics intriguing because often with art the most important part is not the art […]

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Meaning in “Politik”

I have never listened to Coldplay very much, and I probably couldn’t recognize one of their songs off of A Rush of Blood to the Head, unless it was “Clocks.”  Maybe it was because I was still very young when this album came out, but I have never felt the need to dislike Coldplay the […]

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Sand and Smiles

Elise Burke’s homage to her sister stirred near forgotten memories from when I was twenty-three and purchased Brian Wilson Presents SMiLE. I wanted to know what The Beach Boys were about, more importantly, what they were about that had been put away for so long. How could rejection and something that sounded so joyous be […]

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A Rush Of Blood To The Head

In comparison to The Beach Boys, Coldplay is very similar in some ways but they are also very different. The Beach Boys are happy and carefree in their music; their music is the kind that you hear in older movies where the setting is somewhere like California. I also noticed while listening to the music […]

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Amy Hempel writes with great insight into human nature. She writes in a way that makes the imperfect most poetic. In “Today Will Be a Quiet Day” Hempel uses the sincere, familial love to express humanity and humility. Early in the story a glimpse into the father’s psyche elicits such sentiments, “He wanted to know […]

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Thoughts have been speeding into and spewing out of my head; I wouldn’t be surprised if aura readers and the like can see sparks. This increase emerges as a result of true moments of awe. Reading Steven Millhauser’s “Dangerous Laughter” marks one of these moments. I was inspired to new thought upon reading the title. […]

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Throughout Amy Hempel’s short story “Today Will Be A Quiet Day,” the reader gets the sense that something is absent in the family’s relationship, and that they fear whatever it is.  After reading through the story, the reader discovers that it’s the mother who is absent– it can be inferred that, based on the lack […]

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Amy Hempel’s story, “Today Will Be a Quiet Day,” uses a minimalist writing style, similar to one of her other stories that she wrote, “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried.”  She provides sparse details about the setting of the story, and does not even properly name her characters, but readers are still provided […]

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“Burning Bright” by Ron Rash

This story was by far my favorite out of the bunch.  As the reader, I felt it was easy to put myself into the story. I was able to connect and understand the protagonist’s emotions.  The characters, of course, found some sort of emotion with anyone reading it.  Rash captured the reader’s attention and kept him […]

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“Today Will be a Quiet Day”

Amy Hempel’s story was a bit interesting. I really enjoyed how the story started off with dialog and the dialog continued throughout the story. However, I felt like the story bounced around so much I couldn’t honestly say what the story is about.  The types of things that I wanted to know as the reader […]

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The Best Fiend

The most interesting part of Amy Hampel’s “The Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” is when The Best Friend leaves when she knows the extra bed was brought in for her.  She chooses not to stay for what could be her friend’s last hours.  The narrator is afraid to stay with her friend even though […]

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The narrator of the story “In the Cemetery Where Al Jolson is Buried” is a person with many fears. We are privy to many of her trivial fears – like flying – but we must infer much of her greatest fear, which is her fear of visiting her dying friend. The narrator visits her terminally […]

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“Rapture of the Deep”

The words of Ron Rash successfully encompass multiple meanings, as artfully executed in “Chemistry.” By using water as central to the theme of this short story, a fluidity of intertwining relationships emerges. The basic necessity, simplified H20, provides a body in which elements of emotions, connections, heredity, and memories find sustenance. Rash creates a sense […]

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“Miniature Man”

At first, when reading Carrie Brown’s story, it was difficult for me to follow.  I couldn’t understand who the narrator was and who this story was really about.  I had read that Tomas was the cousin, but I felt as though she should have mentioned that previous to when she said it.  However, I thought it […]

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“Burning Bright”

The greatest victory of Ron Rash’s “Burning Bright” is his ability to create a setting that is not out of thin air.  When it comes to the location, he does not have the luxury of fiction.  He chose to write about a real place and it is my opinion that he did an amazing job. […]

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Spark and Kindle

When I was young, I started a fire. My parents had recently removed the old Christmas tree from the living room, and they’d left it lying a few feet away from the end of our brick patio. Spring was coming rapidly, and the whole family was outside. My brothers and I were playing together, racing […]

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