Ethan Canin, "Star Food"

What’s Dade thinking about up there on the roof when he should be stocking shelves?

(from Emperor of the Air)

I liked this story. Its world is pretty insular, limited to a few characters, one location and pretty much one quiet, slow tone. And it’s pretty from the revolving lighted star above the grocery store to the image of the sky disected neatly into stormy and pleasant. There’s a wonderful feeling of gentle movement. Still waters. But there’s also this overarching sense of possibility, of more world seen only in the distance from Dade’s rooftop vantage point. This story was right on.
Look at this, a couple links on how to discuss “Star Food” with students. Case you ever find yourself in that situation. Wish I could find a link to the actual story, but you could, once in a while, actually buy a book, a not previously read one. I’ve never done it, but I know people who have. Saints walk among us.

Neutral Milk Hotel, “Gardenhead/Leave Me Alone”

8 thoughts on “Ethan Canin, "Star Food"

  1. Anonymous

    i read the short story wheni was in high school, and i’ve been looking for it ever since. my only way of finding it now is tracking down my english teacher and asking him for a copy. a link to the short story would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Anonymous

    English teacher sprung this on us for our final exam…

    “How does the descriptions of the two neighbourhoods, pg 14-15, reflect elements of a person’s life?”

    Totally unrelated, everyone was complaining, so I don’t think anyone from my year likes this story…

  3. Anonymous

    i have this for a practiceexame to write a response…i cant figure anything out =( aside from techniques but is an ish ok story

  4. Anonymous

    Stupid story, or stupid me. What’s the theme? I think you’re looking into it too deeply. Ethan Canin is a big dummy head.

  5. Anonymous

    Its on our exam. Its okay, a bit too slow and could do without the strange woman. the only part i really liked was the last scene where he is looking out at the world passing by.

  6. Anonymous

    This book leaves much of its themes for the reader to look for and interpret. Luckily, my english teacher went through and helped us understand. The main parallels in the story are between Sky and Earth, which represent Ideas/Idealism and Hard work respectively. The young boy, Dade, is caught between these 2 worlds, mainly by his parents, of which his Mother is the Sky and his Father the Earth. The differences between the sides of the city, Arcade, are the differences between those who follow the paths of Sky and Earth. Those who follow the Sky and only dreams end up in the slums, and those who follow the Earth end up in nice, normal lives on the nicer side of town. In the end, though, the boy chooses neither and makes his own path, though in the end, we never really know what that path will be. Sorry for the long explanation, but thats how I interpreted this story.


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