Is This Alright?

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From an article in America’s Best Newspaper Writing titled “Tastykake Retiree Marie Byrne” by Jim Nicholson:

“Her house was a gathering place for all of her children’s friends and occasionally would be a refuge for the youngster who had a rip at home.”

Although I really appreciate how the author pays homage to the deceased, I think that this sentence seems inappropriate for an obituary.  An obituary, as I see it, is a formal article.  What does he even mean by “who had a rip”?  And the fact that the book said that the “down-to-earth language” was good confounded me more.  What do you think?  Dr. Jerz, is this kind of language really alright in an obituary?

On the bright side, I do think that some of the little details were nice.  It did not “sugar-coat” Marie yet did not make her sound bad either.  I really liked the sentence, “Nor was it her ability to tell a good joke; she usually popped the punch line first, if she remembered it at all” (70).  This sentence is really endearing and it is something that most people can relate to.  Everyone has met a person at one point or another that constantly messes up when they attempt to tell a joke.  This type of detail really makes Marie seem like a person who should be mourned and celebrated.


To read more, check out Richelle's blog entry.  As she said below, we both had similar ideas about the Nickolson's writing.



Richelle Dodaro said:

I agree with your point about the casual language, Angela. I think it gave a laid-back feeling, which was nice, but at the same time, it's not something we're used to and I think it threw us off a little. I was reading further into your blog, and I noticed how we both used the term "sugarcoated" when talking about how the writer presented Byrne. I just thought that was interesting we both chose that word.

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