“Second Language” Write Up by Eva Kramer

One aspect that I found intriguing in Kristine S. Ervin’s “Second Language” was her form. It’s very broken and choppy as far as how it looks on the page. It begins with the first sentence. You aren’t exactly sure how to read it. It isn’t until you finish the entire story that when you go back to the first sentence it makes sense. As well, she doesn’t use normal punctuation to dictate when someone is speaking, etc., you have to infer from the context.

It looks more poetic than the traditional story format of Non-Fiction. However, it works to her advantage. Because of how it’s presented I found the piece incredibly confusing the first time I read it but I wanted to read it again. It drew me in. So I did, I reread it and reread it until it made sense. Each time I read it I found a new aspect I hadn’t considered the first time. That’s what I find powerful about this piece. She weaves meaning where you might not see it upon first look. Like the significance of the detachment from the word “mommy” or “mom”. She only calls her mom “mother”, which her family hates. But it shows how the detachment is easier for her to deal with. Making the death impersonal is how Ervin survives. And she doesn’t blatantly say that. Sometimes subtlety is the better choice for introducing information to the reader.

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