Long Distance Essay

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Poquette has a bachelor's degree in English and specializes in writing about literature. In the following essay, Poquette discusses Smiley's use of narrative technique, imagery, and symbolism in "Long Distance" to enhance the story's dismal mood.

Smiley has become a successful author in part because many of her works contain characters that, while not very flashy, usually elicit sympathy from readers. As Thom Conroy notes in his entry on Smiley for Dictionary of Literary Biography, "Often passive and usually sympathetic, Smiley's characters salvage self-knowledge out of the intricate histories and traumas of their inner lives." Yet in "Long Distance," a story that New York Times Book Review's Anne Bernays calls "the most compelling" of the short stories in The Age of Grief, readers are given a main character with whom it is difficult to sympathize. It would be very easy for Smiley to condemn Kirby, commenting...

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This section contains 2,021 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Long Distance Study Guide
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Long Distance from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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