Z.'s Sleep-Away Camp For Disordered Dreamers Summary

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Karen Russel’s “Z.Z.’s Sleep-Away Camp for Disordered Dreamers” follows Elijah, a post-munition dreamer, among a group of sleep-troubled campers. Through a clever usage of character, imagination, and flashback, Russel has created an unforgettable story that also provides insight on how to make a story work well. Although a specific age is not given to the narrator, it can be inferred that Elijah is around or passed the onset of puberty. Given his age, the almost fantastical elements in the story are easier to accept. From a different narrator, such as an adult, it may be harder to accept certain components. Also, considering the narrator’s coolness toward the fantastical elements (which can be found in many of Russel’s stories and all have …show more content…

How often do people, whether in a work space, family space, or school space divide themselves, almost de facto, into groups based on shared characteristics? Not only does it layout the framework of the camp but it also illustrates how great of an impact the sheep’s death’s have on the campers which in turn strengthens the theme of loneliness, “Finally, the whole camp has a nightmare in common. It’s something to celebrate, like Christmas.” By having the divide bridged, the importance of the event to the campers can be truly …show more content…

When Elijah realizes that Oglivy can no longer remember his dreams, a divide grows between them. Readers develop sympathy for Elijah since he loses one of the few comforts he has in his “disorder”. Furthermore, the reference of specific tragedies adds to the story such as Mount Vesuvius, the Bubonic Plague, Tropical Storm Vita. By specifically mentioning a range of past events, all imbued with tragedy whether it be a natural disaster or an infectious disease, readers can glimpse the scope of what Elijah deals with and how difficult it can be to witness such events. Finally, Russel effectively employs the use of flashbacks to add to the story rather than draw away from it. One such example is where Elijah describes the first time he realized Oglivy and he shared the same dreams followed by their different approaches in handling them, “I appreciate Ogli’s pragmatism about our dreams. He refuses to try to interpret them with me.” This sentiment later reappears toward the end of the story when Elijah would like to find a way to prevent another sheep death from occurring. Although he is unable to prevent tragedy that occurs in his dream, he is determined to stop it in real life. On the other hand, Oglivy would rather “commemorate” the sheep in another way, though

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