Why “The Balloon” is the strangest, yet most intriguing short story of the post world war II era. Complete summary of Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Balloon. Dive deep into Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion.

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The Balloon by Donald Barthelme

The participant or viewer then becomes an artist who constructs or manipulates whatever responses the balloon elicits. Furthermore, he is not so much interested in art that serves merely to reflect or imitate the world outside itself as he is concerned to create art works which are interesting in and for themselves.

To paraphrase Barthelme, it offers the possibility and the process of interpretation, where at “any intersection” one can react in any number of ways. Evan A rated it really liked it Jul 12, It is the extreme means by which Barthelme attempts to reach this truth that makes his fiction so difficult.

Karan Singh rated it it was ok Dec 19, Donald Barthelme was born to two students at the University of Pennsylvania. Books by Donald Barthelme. Subjects Discussed on Reading the Short Story. And yet the deeper irony is that the story ultimately does mean something.

Instill a student, he wrote his first articles for the Houston Post. Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War inarriving in Korea on July 27, the very day the cease-fire ending the war was signed. The persona of the story says that it is wrong to speak of “situations, implying sets of circumstances leading to some resolution, some escape of tension.

While in many ways his father was avant-garde in barthemle and aesthetics, he did not approve of the post-modern and deconstruction schools. Lists with This Book.

Reading the Short Story: Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon”– Short Story Month —Day 24

Dubliners Centenial One hundred years ago, the great collection of stories Dubliners by James Joyce appeared. There are no discussion topics on this book yet.


Want to Read saving…. Temporal Form in the Short Story 1 St.

The Balloon

With his third wife Birgit, a Dane, he had his first child, a daughter named Anne, and near the end of his life he married Marion, with whom he had his second daughter, Kate. No trivia or quizzes yet. This new reality, in the best case, may be or imply a comment on the other realities from which it came, and may also be much else. Modern Language Association http: In an interview, Donald Barthelme recounts when he first began writing, he wrote Hemingway-like stories but could see his efforts were awful and how donakd writer’s voice needed to develop in a radically different direction.

This was a gentle and almost convincing glimpse into another person’s opinion. Because they are satires, many of the stories are based ballooon on the lives of individuals but on the means by which that abstraction called society or the public is manipulated. The speaker, however, warns: A cute little whimsical short story about authorial intention, and the purpose and meaning of art. All, however, “interpret” it according to their own frames of reference, and Barthelme has a heyday tracing the gamut of responses.

But Barthelme has done this without any fixed, definable material behind his structure.

In other words, the meaning of the balloon is that the balloon has no meaning. Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what is the purpose? Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War inarriving Donald Barthelme was born to two students at the University of Pennsylvania. The Balloon does and is all of these things, and is the result of what, a trivial fight between two people? The problem of words, Barthelme realizes, is that so much contemporary language is used up, has become trash, dreck. Only later does the speaker explain: Since films tell a realistic narrative so well, the fiction writer must develop a new principle.

It lacks an absolute and fixed meaning as it simultaneously elicits a variety of responses and significations. Donald Barthelme’s brothers Frederick – and Steven are also respected fiction writers and teachers at The University of Southern Mississippi. The primary effect of this mode of thought on contemporary fiction is that the story has a tendency to loosen its illusion of reality to explore the reality of its illusion.


Thus, initially, the apparent purposelessness of the balloon proved vexing for all the hardheaded city officers and municipal officials. M Forster 1 E. The short story as a genre has always been more likely to lay bare its fictionality than the novel, which has traditionally tried to cover it up.

Short Story 2 Novella 2 novella as a form 1 Novels vs. Henry Award Part 2 1 O. The Genesis of a Cool Soundpublished in The story is simple, yet brings the mind across all manners of thinking and wondering. Alex Greig rated it really liked it Jan 12, The balloon is an extended metaphor for the Barthelme story itself, to which people try to find some means of access and which creates varied critical responses and opinions.

Barthelme’s independence also shows in his moving away from the family’s Roman Catholicism his mother was especially devouta separation that troubled Barthelme throughout his life as did the distance with his father.

These then inevitably color the reader’s experience. Beautifully written but entirely confusing. To plunge into a Barthelme story is to immerse oneself in the flotsam and jetsam of contemporary society, for his stories are not so much plotted tales as they are parodies and satires based on the public junk and commercial media hype that clutter up and cover over our private lives.

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