Download American Writers: Supplement by Leonard Unger, Jay Parini PDF

March 28, 2017 | Bibliographies Indexes | By admin | 0 Comments

By Leonard Unger, Jay Parini

This complement provides 18 acclaimed writers, together with Jim Harrison, Alfred Kazin, Bobbi Ann Mason, Thomas Merton, Gary Snyder and others.

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Whether the question at hand concerns saving one’s marriage or eating a hot dog, the response most often is expressed as “maybe”: “maybe” I’ll move, “maybe” I’ll stay, “maybe” we’ll have sex, “maybe” we’ll get a divorce, “maybe” we’ll have a baby, or “maybe” we’ll order a pizza. ” A good example is in “Perfect Things,” from Chroma. Jerry continually doubts his expression. His wife, Ellen, has informed him that she is having an affair with Toby, a younger man. When Jerry refers to their affair as “hankypanky,” he is separating himself from Ellen and from such behavior—making the behavior so foreign to him that he cannot even give it an appropriate or timely name, thus cutting Ellen off from their life together: “Hanky-panky” had just come out.

Sometimes, the actions of the characters become hyperreal, magnifying mundane incidents or actions. “Less is more” is the credo of minimalist artists. The opening sentences of Barthelme’s short stories define them as minimalist. Examples include “So I pass this woman in the hall” (“Restraint,” Chroma, 1987); “Harry Lang’s company Chevrolet breaks down on the highway fifteen miles outside of Dallas” (“Trip,” Moon Deluxe, 1983); “Sally meets me in the driveway” (“Fish,” Moon Deluxe); “My sister’s husband Byron called and asked how I would like it if he stayed a couple days at our place” (“Sis,” Chroma); and “Each summer I teach a course in BASIC at the junior college” (“Pupil,” Chroma).

Jerry attempts to rephrase his statement in order to redeem what he feels will be Ellen’s perception of it. ” He regrets this statement; as soon as he makes it, he “immediately wished he hadn’t. There were so many things wrong with it. ” Jerry thinks that he should have said “hot monkey” instead of rabbits and wonders if he could still use the phrase “hot monkey” in the conversation. ” Not only does Jerry question his word choice, he also is unable fully to commit even to a nod. Jerry is a primary example of Barthelme’s characters—always regretting, always changing, never content with what is being said or done.

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