Tuesday, 29 September 2009

The Scorpion by Paul Bowles

This is a short story by Paul Bowles.  An old woman lives in a cave.  A man sits outside on a boulder.  Her son comes to take her away.  She dreams of swallowing a scorpion.  The old man says goodbye.  She ignores him.  At first reading it infuriates, as one tries to locate some kind of meaning. Eventually one must accept that this is a piece of surrealism.  It is full of mythic resonance but it is without message.  It is as pure a piece of escapism as can be imagined. What is left in the reader's mind is a series of images. It is a kind of gift to the reader's imagination. This can only be written with absolute authority.  The writer's mark is as indelible as the painter's signature. At the same time, there is no style, no "look-at-me"; the reader is not diverted. Masterful stuff.

1 comment:

  1. yes ur right, it's exactly as u say. Trying to find a meaning will get u nowhere, but the images it evokes are very nice. I like ur analogy, comparing a painting to his work. I read a lot of his work, not all of his stories are like this, but one thing is undeniable is that all his stories are infused with surrealism, this could be due to the fact that he's an expat, so exposed to different cultures and ideas....