Mary Lavin Writing Styles in In the Middle of the Fields

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Landscape as Symbol

Lavin's evocative descriptions of the landscape reflect the woman's character and situation. At the beginning of the story, Lavin uses natural figures to describe the woman: she appears “like a rock in the sea,” suggesting both her strength and isolation. Lavin turns the word “island” into a verb to reinforce this sense of separation when she claims that the woman is “islanded by fields.” The grass, with its “ugly tufts of tow and scutch,” give the farm “the look of a sea in storm,” symbolizing her own struggles with memories of her married life and fears of her lonely future. Maurice Harmon, in his article on Mary Lavin in Gaéliana, finds that these descriptions provide a “clear analysis of her own state of mind” and determines that the detail is “compact, flexible and capable, adjusted to her character.”

Narrative Silence

Lavin conveys a pervasive...

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This section contains 325 words
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Buy the In the Middle of the Fields Study Guide
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