“The Pelican Bar” Write Up by Talis Bradbery


So for the story “The Pelican Bar” by Karen Joy Fowler, I focused on setting and images. This story is full of images as it is constantly describing how Norah is feeling and exactly what’s going on. The journey the character takes is much wider than the amount of places or relative locations mentioned and described in this story.

So for the people that DID NOT read the story, the first thing I want to say is that YOU SHOULD READ IT. This story’s plot and the things that that occur really make you question your life choices and the way you handle certain situations. I wouldn’t say it CHANGED my life, but it defiantly made me think. So the second thing I will say is that this story’s plot is AMAZING. The main character Norah, encounters so many situations that question who she thinks she is and who she really is. The journey she takes and the experiences she endures are quite rough and cruel, but she learns.

Now onto the topic of setting. The setting was obviously a HUGE part of the story, and every place in the story had a really deep effect on Norah and she took in her surroundings and voiced her opinion on them. Obviously the main place in the story is an old motel, but the Pelican Bar is a more emotionally connected place to Norah, and that’s what she looks forward to when she eventually gets out. After she gets out, after 2 years, the first place she goes is to the ocean which could represent the “warm embrace” that she got from her parents when she got out, which burned her wounds and rashes, but she knew it was helping. I still think that the Pelican Bar was her only destination and since she had been ruined as a person, she had nothing and nowhere else to go. The Pelican Bar represents home in this story and is her “secret” which she kept for so long. The Pelican Bar is the story.

So now onto Images, which are everywhere in the story, making me want to throw up, but they are crucial for a GREAT story, and they are very prominent in this story. For some reason the line, “They seemed to think there was water in the pool, fresh fruit at lunchtime,” stuck out for me and the author included selection of details like these and it really built up the story. This helps the story in ways most authors cannot achieve and sets all sorts of tones and themes.

There are many ways I could incorporate this author’s writing techniques and fluidity of writing into my own. The tone of this story was deliberately created like this, and a lot of times with my writing, the tone just comes naturally as I write, and I would love to learn how to control that exampled. I would love to, over time, learn how to incorporate those small details that really build a story and make it unforgettable. So many of the details of the way she was living, the description of the other people there and the setting really put you in her shoes, and I would love to be able to do that with my writing. I think that sometimes my writing can get vague and uncontrolled, but this author was able to stay on topic and make it super cool and flowy.

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