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Elizabeth McCracken’s, “The Goings-On of the World,” held my interest throughout its entirety. I enjoyed the gruesome imagery and the naivety of the narrator. Although he was a prisoner who was guilty of murdering his wife, McCracken established his voice as one to be empathized with. He was sad, bitter and unable to acknowledge the extent of his own temper. The simple fact that he personally emphasized his educational background throughout the years at Fort Madison without acknowledgment for the advancements taking place in modern day society reigned successful as an identifiable characteristic fueling his anger and depression concerning the outcome of his life. One of the most effective sentences, I think, throughout the entire story is when he says,

Every night at Fort Madison, I dreamed up new ways to die.”

McCracken’s attention to detail allows his voice to seem genuine in that he doesn’t realize the extent of his temper, his Father’s aggression that contributed to his inability to control his fury and his interest, or lack thereof, with having a family. It isn’t until Evelyn visits that he acknowledges his abandonment of all things he once loved.

As a reader I found that it was easy to empathize with him because he would reflect on the events that prior took place to his incarceration and never once blamed another individual for his demise. He was unsure of himself and his mentality, insinuating bitterness towards another once or twice throughout the text, but he never fumed about the flaws he deemed irritable in the people he once called family.

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