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Karen Russell writes “Dougbert Shackleton’s Rules for Antarctic Tailgating” without the use of a linear narrative. In constructing the story as a guidebook written by the fictional speaker, Russell can regulate the amount of exposition given in the story in a unique way. The “Food Chain Games” require quite a bit of exposition, and while Russell’s decision to write in a guidebook style lends itself to that exposition, she also leaves out just enough detail for there to be some grey area in the mind of the reader about what exactly the games are, and why the speaker and so many around him are obsessed with this ritual of travel and watching. This sort of intentional ambiguity is similar to what we had previously discussed with George Saunders’ “The Semplica Girl Diaries,” in that the main questions the reader would like to see answered more fully and completely, are never directly addressed. In the case of both stories, this device is effective in allowing the reader to realize what the main characters’ accept as a part of their operative realities. It is interesting as well that both Saunders and Russell chose a personal first-person sort of writing as another approach to most effectively use the device of direct exposition without total omniscience.

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