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Close Reading Assignment

In Sachiko Murakami Skipping Stones, I believe that the theme she is conveying is how she has learnt to cope with trauma or baggage. Within the first sentence, we can already see how the writer is feeling in this scenario. She writes “my anger in the strangely angled pose” note she describes the emotion of anger; she has already given the tone of which the reader should be feeling while reading. She set the picture in the reader’s mind, the setting and the tone, a girl standing on the edge of the beach skipping stones in an angerly fashion. Now with already painting the scenario given, we can find more examples for the theme being how people deal with their baggage in life.
“Each beat’s concentric blip a sounds so odd it clarifies the brine to mellow blues.”, she goes into the description of the stones grazing across the lake, specifically the sound, as if the calm silences surrounding her has left only the sound of the skipping stones. Have you ever found yourself in the state of silence only for it to be broken by a single sound, not loud or any way destructive of the silence but in fact amplifies the calming aroma that the silence started? For example, it is the sound of an owl right before sunset, when all sound is absent and all of a sudden you hear the hooting of an owl right before sunset. This is the same concept but a different sound in this scenario. The writer is saying without actually saying it, that the sound of the stones hitting the water is calming her in that moment of undertoned anger. Allowing to calm herself and possibly clear her mind, which also can be proven by the writer needs to express how the heavily salted water also known as brine, becomes slightly less muddled when the stones skip through it almost as if the skipping of the stones is both calming and clearing her mind.
“My mother’s ex once skimmed his bottle caps down at the lake” this may very well be the baggage that the writer is currently overwhelmed with which is resulting in the skipping of the stones in the first place. The mentioning of another individual during this scenario can be looked at as the writer can be subconsciously reemerging her emotions again after beginning to subside them through the sounds of the stones calming her. If we want to be more critical we can make the assumption that a huge contributor to the feelings of anger that the writer is trying to cope with is this individual. Note the fact Murakami feels the need to explain that this individual skipped bottle caps and not stones. This may lead the reader to think “maybe the mother’s ex was a drunk man?”. Her giving subtle descriptions that give the further background information of the whole premise as to why she is skipping stones at the lake.
Lastly, a clear indication of the writer’s headspace following the mentioning of her mother’s ex she writes “Now I trust black, the solid strength of rock”, at this point the reader now has the writers mental state and how they cope with the baggage in life that they carry; whether it be from the mother’s ex or some other unnamed reason. She states that now she trusts black in the solid strength of rock. Black being absolute, it is black, it is dark, empty and cannot be anything else. It is ever solid and unmoving, possibly like the writer’s outlook on life. Again this can also be interpreted by the mentioning of the solid strength of rock. Maybe the writers’ way of coping is by painting herself hard and strong like a stone both emotionally and mentally. Murakami shows the readers her version of dealing with baggage.
Reference List
Murakami, Sachiko. “Skipping Stones”. Representative Poetry Online, 2013, https://rpo.library. dddddutoronto.ca/poems/skipping-stones.


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