Realism In Sarah Hall's Vuotjärvi, By Sarah Hall

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Picture a lake that reflects the sky. It is still and has a surface as smooth as glass. Swimming in the warm water is ideal, so long as its red tint is not off-putting. The neighbors are close by, yet remain amicably reserved. Three small, red-tiled cabins sit on the lakeside’s edge deep in a Finnish forest. Luckily, it is light at all times, so there is no worry of being inextricably lost, never to be seen again. Despite the relatively uncomplicated premise of an unnamed woman gradually coming to the realization that her lover has likely drowned to death, Sarah Hall’s “Vuotjärvi” quickly turns to the darkly complex. However, this is fitting. Within one tale, there are two stories, the former supporting the latter: a loveless love story and…show more content…
Her name is never given, but her thoughts, memories, and feelings are the focus. “She would not ever love in this way again” she promises (184). But in the final paragraph, it is not the neighbor’s cottage that she rows towards, but the one “…where there had once been a wolf” (185). That she is able to let go of the love she spent a fair amount of exposition on may seem jarring, but again Hall uses Realism. In “Vuotjärvi”, love can only go so far. When she says that he must have known she loved him, it is it the midst of several irrational and decidedly untrue statements brought on by fear. No, he likely did not “know” that she loved him, and perhaps it was because she didn’t. It is not a story about love, but it is one about the will to…show more content…
Hall’s prose lulls the reader, contrasting a growingly eerie mood with an overall calm tone. Hall has no great love for her characters in the tone of the narrative, though she shows some sympathy for the woman’s plight. Only at the climax does the prose become fast-paced, and then only for a moment before a terrible calm once again takes over. This too, shows where the real priorities lie. There is no mournful pause for a dead man, but there is a solemnness to the woman’s retreat, allowing the reader to process what the woman’s safety has cost

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