You remember it differently. You remember that the cold settled in stages, that small curve of light was shaved from the moon night after night, until you were no longer surprised the sky was black, that the chipmunk ran to hide in the dark, not simply to a door that led to its escape. Our visitors told the same stories people always tell. One night, giving me a lesson in storytelling, you said, "Any life will seem dramatic if you omit mention of most of it."

in this sentence I don't get what the writer purpose is by " most of it"

Dose it mean: Any life would be theatrical and moving if you omit good things?

This context is from a short story named: Snow by Ann Beattie

2 Answers 2


No, it doesn't mean if you omit good things. The hint of what she means is earlier in the story, when she says:

"So many people visited, and the fireplace made all of them want to tell amazing stories; the child who happened to be standing on the right corner when the door of the ice cream truck came open and hundreds of popsicles crashed out; he man standing on the beach, sand sparkling in the sun, one bit glinting more than the rest, stooping to find a diamond ring."

I bolded "amazing stories" there. She means that if you omit the things that are every day and boring--all the times the ice cream truck passed and didn't spill hundreds of popsicles, all the walks on the beach where the guy didn't find a diamond ring--people's lives seem theatrical and full of drama.

  • Dramatic is not theatrical here.
    – Lambie
    Jun 15, 2019 at 16:59
  • @Lambie Dramatic events such as those that might be highlighted in a theatrical retelling, where the events depicted are the ones that are the most interesting, and boring everyday events are condensed or omitted.
    – Katy
    Jun 15, 2019 at 17:25
  • I really don't think the word theatrical is justified. The storytelling is around a fire. There's no theater in the context at all.
    – Lambie
    Jun 15, 2019 at 22:41
  • @Lambie I don't know how old you are, or where you're from, but in my demographic and local area, saying someone is theatrical is synonymous with saying that they're dramatic.
    – Katy
    Jun 16, 2019 at 3:14

"Any life will seem dramatic if you omit mention of most of it."

She actually means: All lives have dramatic moments, leave out the boring parts.

The author is using irony, a typical literary device.

most of it=most of any life.

Merriam Webster definition of irony:

Irony | Definition of Irony by Merriam-Webster https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/irony 1a : the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning. b : a usually humorous or sardonic literary style or form characterized by irony. c : an ironic expression or utterance.

dramatic is not just theatrical. It means full of ups and downs that are powerful moments.

The character is saying that most lives are boring. Life is not made up of grand dramatic moments. If you leave out the boring parts of someone's life (omit mention of most of it), what would be left is the ups and downs, the drama, the important and significant moments in that life.

Generally speaking, one would say: life has its dramatic moments, for example. You probably wouldn't say it the way the author did to make her point. She is saying it ironically. Of course, this type of irony calls for what is called "reading between the lines". And that's why she is a good writer. She is avoiding clichés.

  • Lots of thanks for your good answers but I did n't expect that my question get negative point. I am learnig english. Jun 15, 2019 at 20:37
  • @ViserHashemi It's because you asked about meaning without any other "work". It's basically a question of interpret unless you show some effort at interpretation yourself. :)
    – Lambie
    Jun 15, 2019 at 22:43

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