Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pet Milk - Analysis

Pet Milk by Stuart Dybeck charts a character's development from a single, isolated personal fact outward. The narrator mentions his drinking coffee with Pet milk and watching it snow. Although neither of these actions intrinsically provide any genuine characterization, they both immediately segue into much more personal material. The narrator tells us why he uses the milk, that it is for aesthetic reasons and moves into a memory of his grandmother, and how the milk then is the same as that of the sky in snowing sky, and how that sky is the same as in a King Alfonse, a drink he and his girlfriend Kate shared. He then discribes the more basic elements of their relationship, their hobbies and relation to the drink. This description moves into very general events, giving the reader the feel for their relationship and their average interaction before finally moving into a scene that takes place concretely within time: specifically on the narrator's birthday. The scene plays out, and eventually the two board a subway train and begin to make love in the car. However, the story ends, in a way, as it began - with a single, characterizing detail largely divorced in itself from the rest of the piece (the boy at the train stop). The piece almost feels like an experiment in characterization, and in that way I myself would like to use its general structure as an exercise myself.

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