One Small Image (literary analysis)

Surrender, by Nina Boutsikaris made me realize something about creative non-fiction. Because it is true, the image it leaves with us has a weight that sinks a little deeper into the heart sometimes. After reading through the beautiful description of a hay loft where “Dust swirls in the yellow sprays of light that shoot through cracks in the walls”, I lost that image entirely when I found the “needle in the haystack” of this story, if you will (or won’t). Boutsikaris mentions hearing her mother talking about a boy who died in a corn silo accident. We find out that the brother tried to save the boy, but instead he had to watch him “drown” in the corn, and I can’t get that moment out of my head. What was it like to watch his brother sinking, so close that in some way he too was the one falling, empathy allowing him to experience his brother’s death, to know the horror, and to be helpless at the same time. How can we bury such heavy stories behind so few words? That, I don’t know.

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