By offering a variety of sensory details in her short story “Stone Animals”, Kelly Link creates a crowded, unsettling atmosphere. Through the narrative, Link regularly provides the reader with lots to see, smell, hear, touch, or taste.
In the third paragraph, for example, Link says that the real estate agent “yanked at the hem of her skirt of her pink linen suit.” In this one clause, there’s something to see (the pink linen suit), something to touch (the agent is touching her clothes), and something to hear (the sound of the agent yanking her skirt).
Perhaps the agent’s early actions don’t seem so consequential. Yet the sensory details of the agent contribute to the fidgety, anxious atmosphere of the story. They give the reader a clue about the eerie amount of sensations that exist in and outside the family's new home.
The rambunctious atmosphere of the story is further reinforced with the sensory details attached to the children. Link has Carleton “running up and down the staircase, slapping his heels down hard.” The reader can see Henry and Catherine’s son running down the staircase, they can hear the slapping sound of his heels, and they might be able to imagine the way his heels feel on the staircase.
Link's startling quantity of sensations result in an atmosphere that allows for an array of increasingly unusual sights, sounds, and so on. These include a lawn occupied by an army of rabbits and a host of possibly possessed appliances.