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In the short story “Burning Bright” Ron Rash is very effective at describing the characters and the events of the story by showing instead of telling. When he does make direct statements, he is sure to then prove the statements later on in the story. This is very effective because it immerses the reader in the story and doesn’t break them from the story with the feeling of being told what to think and being preached at.

There are many details casually placed in the story that provide facts about the story without directly stating them. On page 108, Marcie is thinking about Carl, wondering when he will be home and she thinks about a wedding gift she gave him. This detail quickly tells the reader that Carl is her husband instead of a son or a father or another male figure she might be waiting for that lives in her house. The small descriptions of the setting also show instead of telling directly where it is, although North Carolina is mentioned specifically later on, details such as the “red dust” and the crops that are being grown (like tobacco) help orient the reader in a specific place through showing instead of directly telling. Instead of directly saying Marcie’s age, the author chooses to say “foolish, maybe, for a woman of almost sixty.” With this sentence, Rash is able to subtly tell the reader the age of the woman without having to pause the momentum of the story in order to do so.

In the same manner, the mention of the girls, her daughters, by the grocer, was an equally subtle way to let the reader know that Marcie has children and that they are having problems. This is later proven in the story when Marcie explains why her daughters aren’t talking to her and it uses specific scenes and dialogues to back it up again. It’s mentioned in passing and then brought up again. This is effective because the reader has time to see it in a real life situation, digest it, think about it, and then find out the rest of the information.

Another example of presenting information and then proving it later on is on page 113 when Marcie says that “there were days when Carl spoke no more than a handful of words” and then, later, on the same page, Barbara, the grocer, says that a bartender tries to flirt with Carl and he doesn’t say anything back to her. The reader gets to feel like they are given this piece of information about Carl and then get proof from another character that the information the narrator has given is true.

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