Sunday, February 27, 2011

Critical Analysis of a Story

I went to quizzo on Sunday night. There were eight people on my team so they deducted two points from us. We lost by two points.

When I came home it was only midnight-something so I read a story by Ofelia called "Request" or something.

The first word of the story was "Wal-Mart?"

When I was a teenager I worked at Wal-Mart. It wasn't my first job. I worked at a cash register where they kept track of how fast you rang people up. I found that if I signed off and on and off and on, my score would go up. Like a video game.

They moved me out into the parking lot where there was a bunch of overstock merchandise nobody wanted. I didn't do anything for hours at a time.

There is a girl named Madison in the story and I have a sister named Madison. Madison has brown hair and brown eyes. In the story or in my family?

There are white tips of Converses and Converses do have white tips. Some people write words on the white tips. Other people write other things which are not words. I never wrote either words or not words on my Converses because the tips of mine were black.

The "I" character of a story is not necessarily or usually the author. "I explain this to Madison," the "I" character says or is written by Ofelia Hunt. Did she?

There is a man in a blue vest in the story, which is factually accurate for someone working at Wal-Mart. I owned a blue vest, or one was given to me. I also had a name tag that was clipped to the vest. It had my name typed on it in capital letters. When Ofelia writes, "'My name’s George.' George points to the name tag on his blue vest," she knows it is true. The name on the tag was "GEORGE," even though the story doesn't say that.

I had a friend in high school who never went into a Wal-Mart without stealing a tie. He had a lot of ties.

Madison asked if Wal-Mart has pornography. It doesn't. Or, not the one I worked at. Later, when I worked at Starbucks, some female employees got in trouble for posing for Playboy in their uniforms.

Things start getting weird, in case you didn't think there had been anything weird about the story so far. They talk about closet people who might get stabbed with sticks. The closet people are a theme. They recur.

The first time I read this story, something reminded me of a story by Lindsay Hunter but I can't remember what it was or what story. No, I just remembered. It was the thing about the penis. I think the story was called "Peggy's Brother," but I could be wrong.

Some other things happen, but I don't feel like it's the happening that is important. I stopped working at Wal-Mart. I stopped working at Starbucks. I started writing stories. But my stories were never like this story. In this story, like Ofelia's other stories, every word is, if not perfect, perfectly placed.

In her blog, she writes: "As I write a story, I must constantly edit the story. To write anything new, I have to read through everything I've written before, make little changes, and finally add a paragraph or two before I quit. This is taking for-fucking-ever."

I like it when George talks about whether or not the dirt pile is combustible. I wonder if it was. I used to try to figure out which of my household liquids were flammable. Packing peanuts are. They melt and shrivel.

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