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Pairing

Paradoxical Phrasing



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In Sherman Alexie's short story, "Every Little Hurricane," the life of young Junior is both violent and full of love. One way that Alexie renders this paradox is by carefully pairing words that are not usually seen together, describing Junior's circumstances with unsual—and beautiful—phrasing.

Here's a few examples, with the paired words in bold:
  • Victor imagined his father's tears could have frozen solid in the severe reservation winters and shattered when they hit the floor. Sent millions of icy knives through the air, each specific and beautiful. Each dangerous and random.
  • When he was five years old, an old Indian man drowned in a mud puddle at a powwow. Just passed out and fell facedown into the water collected in a tire track. Even at five, Victor understood what this meant, how it defined nearly everything. Fronts. Highs and lows. Thermals and undercurrents. Tragedy. 
This week, Poets and Wordsmiths, try your hand (and pen) at pairing words and phrases that aren't typically seen or read in sequence.