Comment on the sensory details used to describe the kitchen in "A Christmas Memory."

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The kitchen appears at various points during this excellent short story, and you might want to do a thorough analysis of the kitchen and what kind of description is used to depict it. I will choose one of my favourite moments from this story which involves the kitchen, which is after Buddy and his friend have posted away their fruitcakes and they drink the remainder of the whisky together as a celebration. Although the kitchen is described as being "empty," consuming the alcohol together, it is clear that the scene is described as a place of happiness and joy. Consider the following description:

My dancing shadow rollicks on the walls; our voices rock the chinaware; we giggle as if unseen hands were tickling us. Queenie rolls on her back, her paws plow the air, something like a grin stretches her black lips. Inside myself, I feel warm and sparky as those crumbling logs, carefree as the wind in the chimney. My friend waltzes round the stove, the hem of her poor calico skirt pinched between her fingers as though it were a party dress: Show me the way to go home, she sings, her tennis shoes sqeaking on the floor. Show me the way to go home.

Note the descriptions that are associated with the kitchen. Buddy feels like "those crumbling logs" which conveys the sense of touch as he feels the heat, the sound of the logs as they crumble and the sight of them falling apart in the fire. There is tremendous movement in the dancing that they engage in which combines to create a festive, happy mood of celebration.

Read the study guide:
A Christmas Memory

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