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A Quick Yet Powerful Read

Magazine Review by Katy Haas

In the Spring 2020 issue of Southern Humanities Review, Heather Corrigan Phillips dives into the use of language in “A Scattershot Approach.” Broken up into different sections, this piece looks at the idioms and metaphors relating to gunfire that English uses. Each section is a different phrase or word.

This nonfiction piece looks at a span of time immediately after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Her brother-in-law was a first responder at the school that day and we learn about him and the way his health and family were impacted. Phillips writes about this while living out of the country and learns more in spurts through Skype and phone calls, and readers subsequently learn about this in similar ways. Little bits of his story are revealed and then explorations of gun-adjacent language is placed in between.

Reading this really does bring to light the amount of idioms and metaphors that we use which relate back to guns, and this only scratches the surface. There are plenty more that weren’t included. We’re lead to question why this language is so prevalent while also seeing into the lives of humans who have gone through a traumatic event. Here is the perfect balance of fact and emotion, a quick yet powerful read.

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