After having read both these stories, one thing I could say that they have in common is such detailed imagery. Right from the beginning of “The Rememberer”, the reader can see the salamander the narrator is in love with. Her despair is put quite eloquently right in the third paragraph where she says that her lover “stares with eyes like little droplets of tar and I drip tears into the pan, a sea of me.” In terms of “Fires” by Rick Bass, the images are primarily of nature that demonstrate the beauty in the world around us. When talking of the fires themselves, the reader can visualize the effect of the smoke: “the fires’ haze never settled in our valley, but would hang just above us, turning the sunlight a smoky blue…” (39). Both stories contain beautiful images that really help the reader to appreciate the story being told.
When looking at the stories individually, there are several things about each that make them unique. In “The Rememberer”, it could be said that the whole story revolves around a quote spoken by Ben: “the world dries up when there’s too much thought and not enough heart.” As he becomes less and less intelligent, it could be said that he has more heart. In essence, the whole story revolves around this idea as Ben becomes smaller and smaller and experiences “reverse evolution.” Another interesting aspect of the story is that there is very little spoken dialogue written. As it is said in the story that Ben doesn’t want to talk, but rather communicate with his eyes, this could be a reflection of that idea. Overall, I found this story very interesting and it provides so many vivid images that are great to comprehend.
As said before, “Fires” is a story that centers on the idea of nature and that theme exists throughout the entire piece. Though the story centers on the relationship between the narrator and a runner named Glenda, the story could be generalized to be about love itself. The fires in the actual story can be said to be metaphors for the idea of love: controllable but uncontrollable and certainly unpredictable. Though the narrator wants more in his relationship with Glenda, he keeps her at a distance because he knows she will be leaving. In comparison, the fires in the story are said to be far off in the distance and controlled to demonstrate this aspect. Though much of the story is spent showing how their relationship grows, I found the most interesting part to be toward the end when she’s about to leave. A fire is started by Glenda and it burns all around them. In essence, this demonstrates how love is so close and surrounding her and the narrator but it does not consume them. They climb into the lake and the fire burns all around them but they do not feel it directly. The narrator has a chance to have what he wants but he does not take it, and the fire burns out representing a lost opportunity. The next day, Glenda runs away never looking back and I think this demonstrates how we run from things that make us feel unappreciated. All in all, the story combines the world of love and of nature and shows how the processes can be considered quite similar. Through many vivid images and the contrast between controllable and uncontrollable, the reader certainly feels an appreciation for the natural world in several aspects.