This was my favorite piece that we read this week. I attacked it after reading the article on "Lightness" and am glad I did. After the quote "I must have coal; I cannot freeze to death." I had the gut feeling that the narrator had already frozen to death and the rest of the story is his spirit's progression towards "the regions of the ice mountains." The speaker has already been swallowed by his cold environment his voice nonexistant, as it is "burned by the frost and muffled in the cloud made by [his] breath." And after the reading the lecture of "Lightness" in regards to this piece, I feel as if he is as light as a spirit, his actions unnoticed by the living, though he was able to reach out to the Coaldealer through his desperate energy. The wife, shaking out her apron outside before going to bed, wafts the speaker away where he is "lost forever."
Perhaps I'm wrong but this was my thought process in approaching this short story.
Andi Smith: I agree, the transition in Pet Milk from the grandmother's coffee to the cocktail at the restaurant was deeply profound in how our thoughts connect through the web of memory.
Hilaryyyyyyyy: Thank you for saving me Google time. I was going to look as soon as I finished the story because I was a a bit confused by the label myself. Though, I feel that the initial memory of the grandmother worked as a transition from the present to the past memory with Kate.
Kate: Your analysis on tone was excellent. I had not consciously realized the word pairs of "bucket-empty" "shovel-useless" etc. though your keen eye picked them out. Thanks!