Summary Of From Ashes By Zachary Foster

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They say that grief comes in five distinct stages; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In contrast, it’s often said that everyone handles grief differently. How can these two concepts of loss not only coexist, but be widely accepted? Maybe it’s time we shift our focus to the latter. In the wake of loss, the last thing anybody should be feeling is judged by the ways they handle said loss. Yes, the stages of grief do present a general outline of how it’s handled, but it also marginalizes how a person is expected to react, when in reality, nobody can predict their response when they suddenly find the hands of grief gripped tightly around their throats. In the short story “From Ashes”, author Zachary Foster concludes his life-writing …show more content…

It’s a powerful and moving opening paragraph that sets the tone for the whole story, and gets the reader hooked right off the bat. This first sentence shows that grief had stiffened and exhausted his family. He remembers the incident “too vividly”. He doesn’t even say his brother’s name, and describes the carpet as “tired”. He goes on to describe the stench of the old vacuum, evoking the reader’s sense of smell and adding onto how unpleasant the entire situation was. The third sentence reads, “The ashes themselves gave no protest, of course” (Foster, 1). This unique way of personifying the ashes, that in fact used to be a person, shows how much things have not only changed, but how much it was all out of his control. Although he doesn’t explicitly say how his brother died, this leads the reader to believe that his brother’s death was sudden and probably accidental. The rhythm of the sentence is also matter of fact in a bittersweet and heartbreaking way; adding “of course” after a comma makes it sound conversational and casual. The second to last paragraph reads, “[My mom] and I were still bitter at that time” (Foster, 1). Having a short and choppy sentence once again makes it sound casual and blunt, but adding “at that time” gives some sort of hope to the reader that things will change. Zachary ends the paragraph by saying, “The ability to laugh openly …show more content…

He was “daunted” at the task of coming out to his Gram. He explained his fear by painting a vivid picture of her as a, “little old Catholic lady- the kind that works at a soup kitchen, collects rosaries and pretends she never had sex despite the blaring evidence of her two grown children” (Foster, 2). This humorous image of her as the little old Catholic lady stereotype is quite funny, and explains why he would be scared to come out to her. Not only does she own rosaries, but “collects” them. She claims to be a virgin despite the “blaring evidence” of having kids. He finally decides to get the “damned thing over with”, once again explaining his fear of disappointment or judgement from her. Setting his Gram up in this way makes her response of “So was Jesus,” even more shocking and hilarious. Blocking their conversation in their own lines also adds to the emphasis and naturally draws the reader to the goofy and surprising conversation. He goes on to say “That was it. Crisis averted. As she began to elaborate on her theory- 12 guys and a foot fetish or something- I was baffled” (Foster, 2). The first two sentences, once again choppy and blunt, show how a thing he feared so greatly could be over and done with so quickly. The nonchalant response also shows that it wasn’t nearly as big of a deal as he originally thought. Having

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