Sounds of Summer

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Summer In the City

Katharine Byrne sets out to describe her summer life as a child in Sounds of Summer. Although the events that she recalls take place in a city, she brings the images to life and gives them a beauty of their own. She looks past the industrial nature of the city and shows how it can be full of life. Byrne opens by saying that she is "not now remembering the bird songs at dawn or the lapping of waves against a shore or a rustle of leaves in sunlight"(Byrne 31). She uses the conjunction "but" to show that her memories of summer are much different than what she was previously describing. Her sounds of summer are extraordinarily unique. The childhood memories that she describes take place in a "city of sweltering summers". There are many instances where the city life that Byrne describes takes on a beauty equal to that of nature. For example, her description of the "alley noises of the local commerce" project lively image in my mind. She hears "the clomp of the milkman's horse; the crack of the iceman's chisel; the cry of the old-rags"(Byrne 31). It sounds like she could be describing a farm instead of a city. Instead of hearing the beeping taxi cabs or the hammers of a nearby construction site, these are the sounds that are implanted in her memory. These are the sounds that keep her images of the city positive. As a child she ignored all of the normal city sounds and focused on the sounds that made her happy. For Katharine Byrne, music created many of the sounds that she associates with summer in the city. In the beginning, she describes the musical sounds that could be heard in her home. She recalls the children playing Bach for Beginners on the upright piano, and the Caruso records that her father used to play on the wind-up Victrola. Towards the end, Byrne dives deeper into music when she talks about the "singer of sad songs". This man would sit out in the light of a street lamp and sing songs about a boy named Danny. You could tell that she...
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