The Narrative Elements In Sandra Scofield's A Little Burst

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Strout is extremely clever in her endings. In Pharmacy, the tension was high. Readers perhaps held their breath, wondering if Henry would finally say what he kept to himself. We were hopeful he would tell Olive just a little bit of what was going on inside. He did, with his comment: ‘You're not going to leave me are you?’ (Strout 29). But that was all. He went right back to being the static Henry that Olive knew best. The ending of A Little Burst is very similar. It seems on purpose, too, for it’s Strout's way of showing us how these characters are missing one another, how they are dynamic and flawed and known best through their individual stories. Readers are involved in a similar suspense in this ending, when Olive tucks the shoe she has…show more content…
In this section, Scofield reviews seven narrative elements. The one we will discuss in relation to Olive Kitteridge is interiority. Here, Scofield discusses the specific kinds of interiority, but before examining the types, Scofield makes an important claim later in the chapter. It is one writers (and readers) can and should refer back to when reflecting on their own use of interiority with a protagonist. When comparing interiority to exposition, Scofield says, “Interiority should deepen the engagement of reader with character. Its purpose is not primarily expository; it should not be necessary to the action, though it is usually triggered by action. It is enriching and emotional. When it explores a character's emotional conflict, it adds to dramatic tension. And it brings the reader into deep empathy” (Scofield 39). Looking back at the moments of interiority from the last two close readings in Olive Kitteridge , this is exactly what happens. Think about Olive laying on her son’s bed , internally obsessing about her weight. What is the purpose of this? One could say it’s the writer’s way of showing us what Olive looks like: a big woman. This image through interiority is important, yet, what is most important, is the fact that readers feel as if they are laying beside Olive and listening as she tells some of her deepest insecurities. The hard exterior she wears is cracked wide open for us. And because of this, we are brought into a deep empathy for Olive. It is especially important that we have this moment of interiority first and early on, because later, when Olive overhears the wedding guests making fun of her dress, we feel even more empathy for Olive. We knew she was proud of the dress from the indirect interior monologue, but we also knew she worried she looked like a fat sea creature. This moment hurts Olive, it’s
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