Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Nordan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nordan. Show all posts

07 March, 2017

Lewis Nordan, "Sugar Among the Chickens"

The first person story takes Sugar from young boyhood to boy who has decided to be responsible for his behavior. He's been "fishing" for chickens because his mother won't let him go down to the pond by himself. The descriptions are wonderful and believable even in their absurdity.

The story is in past tense except for the final scene that begins in present tense. I cannot tell how far in the future the narrator is telling the story. "I look back at the day I caught the rooster. I see the familiar yard, then fence of chicken wire."

One of my favorite descriptions: "And the feet--they were blue-colored but blue like you never saw before except in a wound."

The scene of the mother sewing is poignant and almost turns the story towards her. She's a woman who finds what joy she is able. Her husband appears to be an alcoholic. Their son is, at least a time or two, is cruel. Sugar tells his mother that even though she's sewing a dress from a Simplicity pattern, she will not look like the woman on the cover. "You ain't going to look like neither one of those ladies." He doesn't know why he said that. "She got up off the sofa and went into the bedroom and closed the door."

The final scene is quite remarkable and visual. "It stood on my head like an eagle on a mountain crag. I strode toward my parents and they toward me. The three of us, and the rooster, moved through the chicken yard in glory."

"Sugar Among the Chickens" was reprinted in the 2013, issue #15 of Ecotone. It appears the story was first published in Harper's Magazine, in 1983.

There's a biography of Lewis Nordan at the Mississippi Writers Page.