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I've been reading through some of the short stories written for the (now largely defunct) weekly writing exercise in the Writers SE chatroom. On 28 February this year, the writing prompt was "Something new", and the user Kit Z. Fox wrote a piece with this title which can be found here on her blog.

This short story is about a woman who's soon to be married and her interactions with her mother. I wasn't quite sure how to interpret the very last paragraph:

I looked out the window to the yard where guests were gathering. I held my breath until I thought I could speak. “I’m already wearing Gramma’s necklace,” I said quietly, touching the locket at my throat.

What emotion is making her so speechless? Is she choked up at the thought of a gift from her father, angry at her mother for her presumption, or something else? This passage seems ambiguous, and I wonder if there's enough elsewhere in the text to make the answer completely clear.

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As you mentioned, there are basically two ways to interpret that last paragraph. The bride's speechlessness can either indicate that she has become "choked up" about her mother's thoughtfulness, or it can tell us that she is upset at her mother for offering this gift. After reading the story again more closely, I believe that she is upset at her mother. Here are two reasons why:

  1. The story begins with many pieces that indicate that the narrating bride is upset at her mother. For example, in the first sentence: "she was probably totally clueless that she was not wanted there." In the second paragraph: "I pulled a smile as tight as my hair." In the entire six-paragraph story, the first five paragraphs uniformly include some indication that the bride is not happy with her mother or her mother's actions. If the final paragraph were to include some change to that theme, I would expect some indication that is more clear than the ambiguous speechlessness that you ask about.
  2. In that final paragraph of the story, the bride also tells her mother "I’m already wearing Gramma’s necklace." This, to me, sounds like an objection to the new blue necklace that her mother has just offered to her. She doesn't want it, because she's already wearing her grandmother's necklace, and so continues to be upset about her mother's actions.

As an aside (and this is not really a part of the answer), I think that some more thought is needed regarding the exact objection the bride has to the new necklace. Is it merely, as she claims, that she is already wearing a necklace? I read this paragraph that the narrating bride doesn't want the new necklace because she's wearing Gramma's necklace, specifically. Gramma's necklace is connected to something older, perhaps a tradition, and the bride does not want to give that up in exchange for a new necklace from her mother.

  • Re your last paragraph: I think a very relevant question is which grandma, maternal or paternal. – Rand al'Thor Jul 17 '17 at 21:45
  • It's probably impossible to tell, but why should that matter? She is allowed to have a better relationship with her maternal grandmother than with her mother. (I automatically read the story as maternal grandma, by the way.) – Shokhet Jul 17 '17 at 21:54
  • Sure, but I think I'd read the story slightly differently according to which grandma. If it was the paternal one, then she might already feel she's wearing something connected to her father, what he would've wanted her to wear, which would likely make her even more annoyed at her mother's presumption. – Rand al'Thor Jul 17 '17 at 22:09
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    It was my maternal grandmother's silver locket, which was my "something old". I already had something new and blue (my underpants), and something borrowed. If my mother had been involved in the wedding, she would have known this. But she wasn't because she didn't care. So basically she just wanted to fuck with me an hour before I said my vows. – Kit Z. Fox Aug 12 '17 at 18:59
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    Also, I was very close to my father, which is probably apparent in my other stories, so because she presented it as a gift from him, she was forcing me to refuse my dead father's wishes, which weren't his wishes but she was making it out that way because she's a horrible, emotionally damaging person. – Kit Z. Fox Aug 12 '17 at 19:05

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