Searching for Rafters in the Dark

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If sentimentality is a sin, it is only because feeling can be so beautiful. One moment of sentiment in literature is worth a thousand failures. We often cannot see the rafters in the dark, but what a shame it would be to never reach for them.

In an essay published at The MillionsNick Ripatrazone describes the fear he once had of sentiment in literature. He writes that he avoided emotion on the page for most of his writing and reading life, because he was worried about emotions that ring false or are achieved by “cheating.” Ripatrazone had yet to realize, as John Gardner writes in The Art of Fiction, that “without sentiment, fiction is worthless.”


Serena Candelaria is a Rumpus intern, and a self-proclaimed fiction addict. This summer, she worked at 29th Street Publishing and began writing a novella. She is currently a senior at Yale, where she studies Literature. More from this author →