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In my other workshop, the class just worked on short pieces that began with a focus on a concrete object and then expanded out to a wider, more abstract lens. Tattoos were an example of a concrete object that could easily be expanded upon. Though this technique is obviously more prevalent in creative non-fiction, I couldn’t help but think about it while reading “It’s Bad Luck to Die.” In fiction would we simply call it metaphor? To me, it seems too obvious — tattoos represent the mark Tiny has made on Lois, how they have developed together, and that he is still with her when he passes away.
I think the last sentence (“I told him that I apologized, that I understood, but really; I am not a museum, not yet, I’m a love letter, a love letter.”) is massively effective. As I just stated, I thought the metaphor was too simple, but this adds depth or another layer of understanding. A museum is where valuable things of no use are donated; a place where people admire things that exist from the past. Their love is still present, so she is still a love letter, not an artifact. I also found Lois’s relationship with her mother very realistic. It would have been too easy to make her the villain. She could have easily shunned her daughter, but that often isn’t how families work. Most stick together regardless of their divisive differences.

I also am curious about the effectiveness of the story. I am interested to know if it resonated with my classmates in the same way it did for me. I have a strong personal connection to tattoos and what they mean that others might not have.

One Response to “Thoughts on “It’s Bad Luck to Die””

  1. Nice post, Maggie. We’ll be talking quite a bit, I suspect, about metaphors and symbols and the ways in which writers put them to use in their stories.

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