13 September, 2012

Fredericksburg Academy comments

Hello to all the 9th-graders from Fredericksburg Academy who've been reading "Singing My Sister Down" in class and wondering and worrying about Ik and her family. I'm afraid I won't have time this year to go to your blogs and comment there, but here are a few remarks.

There are definitely clues in the story as to why Ikky is being executed; they're small, but they're there. It's a story you don't want to skim, because you'll miss out on important information.

A couple of you have asked why the community is using this particular method of executing Ikky. The simple answer is, because it's there. And it doesn't require any violence on anyone's part to bring on a person's death; you just send the criminal out to the middle of the tar and make them stand still, and the tar-pit does the rest. So it looks as if they kill themselves, really, and no one in the village needs to feel guilty, or to have any harrowing memories (except, of course, the family of the accused, who have to watch their family member's agonisingly slow death).

This story definitely takes place on Planet Earth, but I didn't want to pin it down any more specifically than that. I didn't want readers to be able to dismiss this ritual as belonging to another culture, and therefore feel that it wasn't their business to question it; I didn't want them to dismiss it as something that their own people wouldn't do. It's something that I feel it's not too hard to imagine that humans would do, even if they're not doing it down the road at my local courthouse.

I hope you enjoy reading and thinking about this and other stories in your course.

Best wishes,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you (: that makes a lot of sense. I never thought about it that way. If you give a specific setting it definatly would take away from the effect of the setting.

13 September, 2012 04:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing back! Wow! I never thought about how the society doesn't actually kill the people, the tar does. That is very interesting!

13 September, 2012 04:52  
Anonymous Brad said...

Thank you so much for this post. The way they use the tar pit so nobody feels guilty really makes sense. This was really helpful. Thanks again.

13 September, 2012 04:52  
Anonymous ksparks said...

Thanks for responding to all our comments. Our teacher even said something about (and this is a rough quote) "Go awesome writer Lanagan and her awesome writerly techniques!" She even said that this was the largest comment you've ever responded to us with, so we all feel really honored. Thanks again for responding.

13 September, 2012 04:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for answering all of our questions!! We really appreciate you taking the time to do that. I know that when I read this post a light bulb went off in my head as I realized what happened. Thanks again!

13 September, 2012 04:53  
Anonymous Carolyn said...

Thank you so much for answering all of our questions! I never thought about it that way, that no one has to feel guilty because they didn't actually kill her. Thank you for responding again.

13 September, 2012 10:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

im a ninth grader at Fredericksburg Academy reading singing my sister down and I had a few questions. Why is Mai not there at the start if the rest of the family? What prompted you to write this story? Do you think you could watch one of your close friends or family members do what Ikky did or would you try to save them and pay the punishment? If you would like to check out my blog the link is? http://fablogs.org/hsfa17/

17 September, 2013 11:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my name is Juliet, I go to a Fredericksburg Academy and I thought that "Singing my sister down" was such an amazing book.I was wondering what exactly happened with Ikky and the husband?

17 September, 2013 11:12  
Anonymous rodonnell said...

Hi Ms. Lanagan! I am also a ninth-grader from Fredericksburg Academy, and I found this post to be so helpful in understanding "Singing My Sister Down". I have a couple of questions to make sure I can appreciate the story to it's fullest potential. What inspired you to write a story about this? Also, what do you think about this method of execution: is it better or worse than methods used today? Thank you for writing this amazing story, and if you would like to see more of my writing about this story, you can read my posts at fablogs.org/rofa17. Thank You!

17 September, 2013 23:53  
Anonymous mstorage said...

Hi Ms. Lanagan, I am a ninth grader at Fredericksburg Academy. I found that your post has given me insightful details that have helped me get to the root of the story. I just have a few questions. If you were to be executed, would you rather be executed by tar pit or the electric chair? Why would you choose that type of execution? What gave you the idea that a tar pit could be used as a tool of execution? Did you learn about it somewhere? Thank you for writing such a complex story such as “Singing My Sister Down,” and thank you for giving up your time to work with us. You can find my post about “Singing My Sister Down” at my blog fablogs.org/msfa17. Thank you!

18 September, 2013 10:13  
Anonymous rlfa17 said...

Hi Ms. Lanagan! I am also a ninth-grader from Fredericksburg Academy, I have a couple of questions. Do you have any personal connections to this story? Why did you chose to indirectly explain what happened to Ikky rather than just telling the readers flat out? Thank you so much! My blog link is also www.fablogs.org/rlfa17 where I have a blogpost "Singing My Sister Down."

18 September, 2013 21:30  
Anonymous Nora and Sarah said...

Did you mean for "Singing My Sister Down" to have no resolution? Or does it actually have a small one?
-Nora and Sarah

16 September, 2014 02:03  
Blogger Jack and Cate said...

We thought it was interesting how you started with this simple idea: “A family is forced to watch one of its members die by sinking in a tarpit, after some misdemeanor.” From that idea you were able to make a very complex and twisted story with small clues as to why certain things were happening like they were. We thoroughly enjoyed the short story and we were amazed at how you could make such a hooking plot from an elementary thought.
-Jack and Cate

16 September, 2014 04:06  
Anonymous Brandon and Elaina said...

Why did you decide to have Singing My Sister told in a 1st person and in a child's perspective? Do you think you would've be able to hide the details as well as you did if it was told from Ikky's perspective?

16 September, 2014 04:43  
Blogger afrazier said...

Amber and Ashley: did you ever consider writing a sequel about the reactions and aftermath of Ikky's death? Did you ever think about writing a plot twist where someone pulls Ikky out? (btw thanks for noticing our questions and responding )

16 September, 2014 04:54  
Anonymous Junior, Gabe D, and Gabe H said...

Who was you intended target audience? What message were you personally trying to convey?
And when you watched the documentary what made the idea of a tar pit stand out?

16 September, 2014 05:00  
Anonymous Lindsay and Kyler said...

Lindsay and Kyler - I enjoyed reading your short story because it caused us to have to put the details together in order to find the conclusion.

16 September, 2014 05:06  
Anonymous Nora, Ben, Hannah! said...

Hi Ms. Lanagan. We were wondering if you think there was any part of you that related to any of the characters, and why? and also if you pictured yourself in that situation when you were writing?

16 September, 2014 23:46  
Anonymous Emma said...

I really enjoyed this short story because it engaged me as a reader because I was able to piece together most of the story, but it came in a very natural way. The story really held my attention because I had to figure out what was happening, but at the same time is happening. There wasn't ever really a lull, everything kept going This is why this is one of my favorite short stories.

17 September, 2014 11:09  
Anonymous Whit Williams said...

Did you ever consider a different ending to Singing My Sister Down? If so, what was that other ending?

17 September, 2014 22:16  
Anonymous Jada, Arielle, Dylan, and Sydney said...

Why don't you tell us the main character's name that tells the story? What is the wedding glitter, is it actual glitter rubbed or is it just an expression?

18 September, 2014 00:09  
Blogger Aubrey and Sophia said...

Ms. Lanangan,
We enjoyed your story very much and how primitive the situation was that Ik was in. If you don't mind us asking, where were you when you writing this story? Do you think your environment influenced the characters and the outcome in anyway? Thanks, Aubrey and Sophia

18 September, 2014 01:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've recently discovered your short story collectons (Black Juice, Yeloowcake, White Time) and I have a question about The Point of Roses. Whose grave is refferred to twice in this short story? Is Rose a nickname of Nance or a fantasized double/former self? where are Billy's parents? thank you for answering my questions.

29 December, 2015 07:35  

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