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Objects Tell the Story

I often talk to my creative writing students about the importance of objects in a story. Often at a moment of heightened emotion, when every gesture of a character seems fraught and weighty, the author will retreat from analysis and let the simple details tell the story. It's the way Anse struggles to straighten a wrinkle in the blanket covering his dead wife that tells us so much about their relationship in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying; it's Gatsby's beautiful shirts that he throws around like toys that tell us about his newfound wealth. The fact remains that our lives are cluttered with Stuff, and our interactions with this Stuff often speak volumes about our lives. (Read more »)

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