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[T]hat single word, “love,” was trying to compress within itself a multitude of meanings, was trying to take many precise and separate feelings and crush them into a single mushy mass, which I was being asked to hold in m
y hands like a big sticky ball.

We’ve talked a lot about the choices a writer makes in this class, especially about point of view.  In “History of Disturbance,” Millhauser uses second person, which up until this point, we haven’t seen a lot of in this class.  The interesting thing about how Unknown
this story is told, is that at the beginning, the narrator is addressing Elane and using what seems like straightforward second person.  This begins to shift however, as we see that it’s really being told from more of a first person perspective addressed to a specific audience who is constantly being referenced.
The narration becomes much more of a self reflection as the story develops. One of the things I found ironic about this story was that despite becoming disenchanted and uneasy with the use of words, even refusing to write things down, he is still choosing to tell this story.

Millhauser also employs the tactic of starting the story at the end (in present tense) and reflecting back on what has lead up to this point.  If he had started the story at the lake, instead of at the end of the story the tone would’ve been less clear.  We wonder why Elaine is so patiently furious, what this narrator has done to her to make her so upset.  These choices Millhauser makes, set us up to maintain our interest throughout the story, they keep us reading, wanting to find out what happens next.

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