The Power of Sound in Narratives: The House on Loon Lake

I’m choosing to write about “The House On Loon Lake” because I think it moved me the most, both as a story and as a type of narrative.

The most important part of the narrative was tone.  Verbal tone, as in the actual way people talk, acts like an unspoken adjective.  While in written work, tone often has to have some sort of explicit description to even be implied, a lot can be said with just a simple change in tone of voice.  In a way, it’s more honest than words on a paper.  People try to to influence how people will perceive the tone in modern text by bolding or italicizing or changing font size, but there’s no substitute for the human voice.

Honesty was the theme I derived from this work, at least in the way it was narrated.  Words were carefully chosen to dictate specifically the details of importance.

The interviews of people close to the narrator and people from the town were the most honest, but only the mom’s interview seemed emotional.  The real emotion, to me, stemmed from the narrator himself.  Although people in earlier posts have commented about the frustration of the pace, I think the narrative’s pace makes the narrative have the effect it does.  The slow pace brings thoughts of sentimentality, the way he hangs on words and pauses.  If this narrative was typed, you could not trust the reader to have the same pace, therefore the sentimentality might be lost.  The slow pace also leads to suspense.  Sure, if this was told in any other way the story could have been dictated “there was an old abandoned house, a kid found it, got excited and thought something more interesting happened, but it just turned out people, like many others, just cared about money and left it to rot.”  A quicker pace would have not complimented the interviews and would not have achieved the same story.  Also, the different voices and pacing added a contrast that also cannot be achieved in text.  This provides the listener with another dimension to the story.

Music also played an important role to tone and pace.  It tied certain segments together, it illustrated in a more colorful sense the tone, and placed emphasis on certain points of the narration.  (In particular, I think of when the mother is being interviewed.  The music adds a very haunting quality, that seems to set in exactly how haunted the mother was by this abandoned building and the family that left it there.)

“The House on Loon Lake” tells a story beyond its words and tone.  It tells a story of human emotion, of sentimentality, and of how big and important it can be.  It also compliments itself with a sense of dualism: the family of which the narrator is so sentimental to, does little to reciprocate any of this sentimentality.

The narrator genuinely makes you feel like this house is interesting and it is important, with the aid of tone, pacing, contrast, and music.  The story itself may not have been as interesting in print as it was a verbal narrative, and it certainly wouldn’t have been as honest and sentimental without all the voices shared in the piece.

~Aly Ferguson


~ by notsinthetix on January 31, 2011.

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