The Voice In Jonn Beard's Maybe It Happened

Words: 797
Pages: 4

While JoAnn Beard’s “Maybe It Happened” had an incredibly strong voice, I found that the point she was trying to make wasn’t very clear. The superficial story of the girl peeing herself and then falling down and getting a pebble stuck in her knee works only to obscure the true purpose of the piece which is revealed most evidently by the line “…girls pretended they were mothers while mothers pretended something else entirely.” This sentence along with the repetition in each paragraph work to create a remarkable, engaging voice; one that was dark, sardonic, and critical in lines like “perhaps they had dosed their coffee with [liquor], in order not to ‘kill the children’.” Despite being contemplative and acerbic, the voice is very clearly hesitant, repeating the words maybe, possible, perhaps, and likely at the start of each sentence; never making a definite statement, always backing away from its own bitterness. Throughout the piece, the sentences get longer and longer: it begins with a four-word sentence and in the …show more content…
Lamott’s voice is pretty clearly her own, unlike those of the first two passages, where it was unclear whether or not it was fiction. What was clear, though, was her voice: a piece that otherwise could’ve been very dull was just the opposite; the title alone helped to create a lax, lighthearted point of view. In this excerpt she writes that in the end, despite her shitty first drafts, her work “always turned out fine, sometimes even funny and weird and helpful,” which among other things is a perfect description for this essay. The voice in this essay is incredible: darkly humorous, casual, detailed, witty, quirky, sharp, honest, natural, and self-conscious; Lamott held nothing back and her candidness served her well. I hope that I can achieve such engaging candor in my own nonfiction