A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain Essay

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Hamilton is an English teacher at Cary Academy, an innovative private school in Cary, North Carolina. In this essay she examines how violence and death are subsumed under lyrical beauty in Robert Olen Butler's "A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain."

Robert Olen Butler has asked not to be categorized as a "Vietnam writer." "I'm a Vietnam novelist in the way Monet is a lily-pad painter," he insists. "For me, Vietnam is simply a metaphor in which I'm able to explore the human condition. Whatever Americans' attitudes are about Vietnam, historically or politically, are of no consequence to me or my writing." Certainly, the title story of his collection A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain seems to contain none of the didactic ghastliness that Americans have come to associate with literature about the Vietnam War. The story alters reality, portraying one of the key players of the...

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This section contains 2,321 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain Study Guide
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A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.