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Stephanie Vaughn’s “The Battle of Fallen Timbers” paints death in an interestingly humorous light. The awkward voice of the narrator acts as a parallel to the universally, often uncomfortable concept that sometimes human beings have trouble accepting and adapting to morbid news, our reactions deeming more unconventional than expected.

The narrator in this story, for example, describes his Uncle’s death without emotional reservation but rather judgment, his expression being,

Uncle Roofer was a diabetic who drank bourbon. Uncle Roofer was an alcoholic who ate lithium for lunch. One day Uncle Roofer and the bourbon and lithium got into the same car and drove to a Browns game in Cleveland. On the way back, they met a concrete retaining wall.”

The formality of the expression allows readers to infer a disconnection the narrator felt towards the relationship he had with his Uncle, which later in the story evolves to act as an element of understanding between him and his family members. This story is essentially a coming of age story and demonstrates an individual’s ability to take his/her bias towards one thing to turn it into something more constructive. In this case, the bias was alleviated and replaced with the coming together of his family. Although Roofer’s death was the cause of his own detriment, it allowed the narrator and his family to grieve not through misunderstanding and bitterness but love and communion.

I enjoyed the shift in perspective and genuinely believed in the narrator’s voice and his coming of terms with Roofer’s death. The discovery of his own personal bias without comprehension of the possible heartache that led to his Uncle’s unfortunate demise also allowed him to establish a sense of familial resonation and I enjoyed the reality of the story.

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