Monday, February 7, 2011
Searching for the Right Words
I think both pieces use the silence motif in the same way, though at first the stories seem very different. "A Story" is addressing the situation of a young boy asking his father to tell him a story, a new story, and his father's inability to produce one. The father knows the pressure is on to come up with a story that the boy will like, but he can't make his mind come up with one. The father loves the boy so much, and he doesn't want to disappoint him; he thinks ahead, of when the boy is all grown up and the father will so want to return to this time and tell his son a story and make him happy, but it will be too late. The father cannot think of the right things to say now, and so because he doesn't want to disappoint the boy, he just remains silent. "The Dumb Man" I think is essentially about the same thing--wanting to tell just exactly the right story, not wanting to disappoint the other person, but being unable to come up with the right words and thus remaining silent. The narrator seems to feel that if only he could understand the characters in the story better, then he would find the right words and his tongue would be torn loose and the words would flow and flow and flow and he would have a fantastic story that people would love to hear. But he can't figure out the story, he can't tell it right, so to speak, and so he stays apparently silent. Both stories deal with the desire to tell a good story, to convey all the emotion and love and knowledge the people have in their heads, but feeling inadequate when it comes to expressing it.