Alright, since there were quite a few stories to read on this week, I’ll go over some of my select favorites from each author (Borges being the only one with multiple…).
The Cooked Cat:
This stood out as a very weird, fragmented story to me. The nature of the characters are sadistic, and the writing style he had seemed very chaotic – I can visualize all of the characters and spaces in the story to be rugged, messy and unorganized – it’s just the general feeling I got from the narrative. Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy it, but why we studied it, I’ll never know… I could name a collective of stories that have similar themes, like Story of O or any number of episodes from Ulysses. Also, just when I thought we hadn’t had enough translated texts in the course…
This was yet again another odd piece. I derived the theme of deconstructing expectations from this, as we find ourselves reading about a man, Horatio, quite bourgeois, recreating pornographic scenes with dolls. In what seems to be yet another sadistic piece, I want to believe that it has to do with the staleness in Horatio’s life that makes him accountable for his weird tastes. The narration doesn’t even give the protagonist a name until part way into the story, perhaps illustrating a lack of self-identity in the household? Whatever way you want to look at it, Daisy Dolls is worth a read – perhaps one of the most obscure short stories I’ve read in recent memory.
Now, with Borges, it’d be unfair to talk about just one of his stories… at least that’s how I view it. It’d also be rude to try and summarize his writing style, as quite a few of his stories are completely contrasting to each other. However, probably my favorite two from the lot would be Lottery in Babylon and Library of Babel, as they seem to share the same type of intense, critical imagery that Borges is most likely infamous for – many of his ideas are so abstract that I think the only way to process them would have to be through the medium of a short story – trying to understand any sort of message or implication from something like film or a picture would be confusing. There’s this looming discussion of infiniteness throughout his stories, and specifically Library of Babel, which I really enjoyed. These discussions are infinite in themselves, and I had a great time trying to understand what the stories were all about. But perhaps that’s the point in itself – why do are we pre-occupied with always finding answers for things?
Why can’t we just bask in the mystery?