Before I start an essay about a short story, I take copious notes from the text having to do with my central question. These are some of my notes for Deep Eddy.
Disorder in the house- “where no one ever ate anymore”
Sign that the grief is affecting the son – “Without more bourbon I would not be able to sleep.”
Conflict explicitly described – “If only we could win a tournament, then I would finally kill off the demon of his negativity.” THE STAKES FOR THE SON.
Conflict implicitly described – Father believed that bass fishing was a racket, and he just had bad luck so could not win. If he can’t win, he does not want to play. He is making excuses so that he doesn’t have to deal with yet another loss. THE STAKES FOR THE FATHER.
Tension – narrator gets fishing interest from his friend. He asks his father not expecting him to agree. “He hadn’t done anything fun since my mother had disappeared.” Then they go fishing and his father catches a big fish.
Tension – There is outer conflict. They are at the tournament and have four hours left to fish, but his father begins to get to the quitting mood and starts to think about curses and bad luck.
Action by father – reveals the way that the father gets what he wants. The son’s wife gets a job in Cincinnati, and so he has to travel a great distance to fish with the father. He breaks off the fishing. The father tells him that he’s gotten a new partner, but the son disapproves. The son decides to return to fishing with his dad. NOTE THAT THE FATHER IS A ROUND CHARACTER.
Point of change – son is thrown from the boat and the only reason that he is not killed by the boat’s engine is that he accidentally threw the ignition switch with his body’s side when he fell off the boat. A stroke of good luck.
Conflict – They decide to go to Deep Eddy even though going there would mean reliving the death of his mom. The son drives. His father takes action again and forces him.
Point of change – The father catches the biggest fish that he had ever caught and actually gets to see it. He is amazed. He is not negative that the fish gets away, just happy that he got to see it.
Resolution – The father meets Judith and travels to Pascagoula to meet her mom. He has moved on.
These notes will form the paragraphs used to support my claims. Later, I might contact other people who have read the story and compare notes. If I use their ideas or words, I attribute. They do the same for me. This usually doesn’t happen until papers are written.
In team projects, there is frequently one note-taker who writes down what everyone says after reading or during the process of reading a work. That person is responsible for keeping the sources straight. A Google Doc is sometimes employed also if people don’t have the opportunity of speaking face to face but can connect over the internet.
Next time, you will see my first draft. Eek! I will reveal the rough shape of a monster ready to turn into a beauty.
If you like, you can choose a piece and do the same.