Friday, January 15, 2010

In Dreams Begin Responsibilities

This story was good, albeit a little strange to me as it progressed. I liked the writing style of the author. He is very descriptive for every little thing, especially when describing the image of the movie within his head in the first paragraph, and the scene of the boardwalk and the beach. He uses some simile and a lot of metaphor such as "The moment before they (the waves) somersault, the moment when they arch their backs so beautifully, showing white veins in the green and black" on page 476 and "as if I were walking a tightrope one hundred feet over a circus audience and suddenly the rope is showing signs of breaking" on page 478. There are several other examples. These techniques combined with short, descriptive sentences makes the whole story more vivid and it actually feels real because you can clearly form a picture of it in your head. If I were a writer, this is how I would want to write.

So the story begins with the narrator watching a movie about the night his father asked his mother to marry him. And then at the very end, we find out it was all just a dream the narrator was having on the morning of his twenty first birthday. I feel like there was a lot of symbolism within the story, even in the small details. For instance, when the father was in the mother's house, the narrator was wondering where his uncle (his mother's oldest brother) was. He answered his own question by saying that he must have been studying for his final exams for college. So he was thought of in the story, but he was never in it. Then it says he had been dead from double pneumonia for 21 years. We find out at the end of the story that the narrator is waking up on his 21st birthday, so he obviously never knew his uncle. He knew about his uncle, but his uncle was never in his life, so he didn't get to be in the dream either.

I also like the part about the photographer. The narrator has an angry outburst in his dream about how nothing good will come of his parents marriage and they will only produce two children with monstrous personalities. Then, in the movie, the two parents try to get their picture taken at a photo booth on the boardwalk. The photographer puts them in pose after pose and takes picture after picture, but no matter what they do none of them come out right. I thought this was great symbolism for their marriage, and how the two apparently just aren't right for each other.

The end of the date was somewhat symbolic as well. The beginning of the date, and even on through dinner were good. It wasn't until the photo booth thing and the fortune teller that they got really mad at each other and the whole date fell apart. But before it can be resolved, the usher comes and takes the narrator out of the movie theater in the dream and it is finished. Symbolically, this could stand for the marriage as a whole. It starts out good, until they realize they are not right for each other (the photo booth), and the rest is nothing but fighting and neglect and each one not doing what they should be doing for the other. Perhaps it ended here because this is the point where the narrator's parents are when he wakes up on his 21st birthday. In the dream, the narrator doesn't get to see the end of the movie. Maybe that's because he hasn't seen the end in real life.

I also thought the usher and the old lady sitting with him in the theater had some symbolic significance. I thought maybe the old lady could be his mother, and the usher could be his father, although I don't have much to go on for that. The old lady was always there, and always telling him either that it was all okay, or warning him to calm down. She also consoled him when he was upset at least once. But she was always there to help him. The usher on the other hand came in momentarily every once in a while and only when there was a problem. At the end he had some words for the narrator, more than I would expect an usher to say to someone who they were kicking out of a movie theater. Basically the usher was only there for damage control. This would make sense if it stood for the narrator's father, because in the movie the father seemed to always be thinking about money, and his business and where it was going. He was always flashing his wealth by giving money to the younger uncle, or buying peanuts on the boardwalk or by taking her to the best restaurant. Perhaps the father was obsessed with his work, and never around. Yet the mother was always there to help. I guess it makes sense.

The story was good though, and it obviously had much deeper meaning than just a story about a dream.

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