Monday, April 4, 2011

On "Fried Chicken" by Lee Smith (3879 words) ****

In fewer than four thousand words, Smith takes us into the contradictory life of a murderer's mother. It's contradictory because the mother simultaneously claims a normal life and eschews what normality is offered to her. In her own mind, she is so much more than the mother of a murderer; yet in her mind, all the towns folk think of her as is the mother of a murderer. But when people are friendly to her, is it because they're trying to be extra nice to the mother of a murderer or just being nice the way they always were. The limited perspective here doesn't let us know. But what it does let us know is how lonely this woman is. Her son was everything to her, and now he is in jail. She can't think about what he's done. She can only justify him. And cook chicken, hoping for someone to take her away from what her life has become. Read the story here at Blackbird.

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