There are several differences between listening to a story and reading a story. Podcast Readers have a large influence over the story as they provide a layer of presentation that gives the story and even the characters’ personalities and emotions. Much can be said about Mary Gaitskill applying her vocal performance to conjure emotion into the story.

Throughout the story, Gaitskill makes sure to keep her pacing very steady pace, allowing for the story to cause a stronger emotional impact for the reader. Her voice would occasionally crack to enhance the emotional impact as if she were the elderly couple that could not bear to reach for the telephone one last time. She perfects the ability to utilize pauses to capture the attention of the reader and to emphasize every sentence. Her vocal technique is well executed, which resulted in a steady pacing, which in turn, creates this powerful and heart-wrenching image in the reader’s mind.

The concept most prominent in her “storytelling” is “show, don’t tell”. By utilizing the very pauses and cracks in her voice, she can relate sad memories in my life to the story, especially when she finishes the story by disclosing the telephone ringing for the third and the final time. I can feel the pain and sorrow stream from her voice, which can be misunderstood for monotonous speech, but these subtle techniques were able to reach me on a personal level, invoking sympathy for the boy and his family. Overall, the vocal performance by Mary Gaitskill is one of excellence and elegant.


Works Cited

Hamrit, Jaqueline. “The Silence of Madness in “Signs and Symbols” by Vladimir Nabokov.” PsyArt: An Online Journal for the Psychological Study of the Arts. N.p., 19 Mar. 2006. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <;.

Luria, Alia. “Review: Signs and Symbols… Symbols and Signs.” Alia Writes. N.p., 17 Jan. 2015. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <;.

Nabokov, Vladimir. “Symbols and Signs.” The New Yorker. The New Yorker, 07 May 1948. Web. 20 Feb. 2017. <;.



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