Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye

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VISION OUT OF THE CORNER OF ONE EYE Luisa Valenzuela (Argentina) It’s true, he put his hand on my ass and I was about to scream bloody murder when the bus passed by a church and he crossed himself. He’s a good sort after all, I said to myself. Maybe he didn’t do it on purpose or maybe his right hand didn’t know what his left hand was up to. I tried to move farther back in the bus--searching for explanations is one thing and letting yourself be pawed is another--but more passengers got on and there was no way I could do it. My wiggling to get out of his reach only let him get a better hold on me and even fondle me. I was nervous and finally moved over. He moved over, too. We passed by another church but he didn’t notice it and when he raised his hand on his face it was to wipe the sweat off his forehead. I watched him out of a corner of one eye, pretending that nothing was happening, or at any rate not making him think I liked it. It was impossible to move any farther and he started jiggling me. I decided to get even and put my hand on his behind. A few blocks later I got separated from him by a bunch of people. Then I was swept along by the passengers getting off the bus and now I’m sorry I lost him so suddenly because there was only 7,400 pesos in his wallet and I’d have gotten more out of him if we’d been alone. He seemed affectionate. And very generous. Vision Out of the Corner of One Eye: Literary Analysis The main character of "Vision out of the Corner of One Eye ", a short story by Luisa Valezuela, goes through a complete one hundred-eighty degree change over the course of the story. In the beginning of the story, the main character is completely distraught. A man on the bus continues to fondle her, but rather than call attention to him she would rather save face for him. She hates the situation but she wants to believe he's a good person so she begins to make excuses for him: "maybe he didn't do it on purpose" or "maybe his right hand didn't know what his left hand was up to". All the while trusting, and having her trust broken. The second phase the main character went through was the attempt to flee. When she finally tried wiggling out of his reach it just gives him a better angle to touch her. As she moved away, he was right there. She was like a fox hunted by wild dogs. No matter where she went, she was trapped. The final phase was getting even. She figured she would put her hand on his butt and show him how it felt to molested. It turns out, she got more than the satisfaction of revenge, but also his wallet. The main character has lots of moral and emotional choices to make. Though in the beginning she wants nothing more than to put the incident behind her, by the end she ironically throws all of her morals out the window and steals the man's wallet. Literary analysis: Vision Out Of the Corner of One Eye The main character of «Vision out of the Corner of One Eye «, a short story by Luisa Valezuela, goes through a complete one hundred-eighty degree change over the course of the story. In the beginning of the story, the main character is completely distraught. A man on the bus continues to fondle her, but rather than call attention to him she would rather save face for him. She hates the situation but she wants to believe he's a good person so she begins to make excuses for him: «maybe he didn't do it on purpose» or «maybe his right hand didn't know what his left hand was up to». All the while trusting, and having her trust broken. The second phase the main character went through was the attempt to flee. When she finally tried wiggling out of his reach it just gives him a better angle to touch her. As she moved away, he was right there. She was like a fox hunted by wild dogs. No matter where she went, she was trapped. The final phase was getting even. She figured she would put her hand on his butt and show him how it felt to molested. It turns out, she got more than the satisfaction of revenge, but also his wallet. The main character has lots of moral and emotional choices to make. Though in the beginning she wants nothing more than to put the incident behind her, by the end she ironically throws all of her morals out the window and steals the man's wallet. The Open Window by H. H. Munro (Saki) (1870-1916) "My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel," said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen; "in the meantime you must try and put up with me." Framton Nuttel endeavored to say the correct something which should duly flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing "I know how it will be," his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat; "you will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice." Framton wondered whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one of the letters of introduction came into the nice division. "Do you know many of the people round here?" asked the niece, when she judged that they had had sufficient silent communion. "Hardly a soul," said Framton. "My sister was staying here, at the rectory, you know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here." He made the last statement in a tone of distinct regret. "Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?" pursued the self-possessed young lady. "Only her name and address," admitted the caller. He was wondering whether Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An undefinable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine habitation. "Her great tragedy happened just three years ago," said the child; "that would be since your sister's time." "Her tragedy?" asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place. "You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon," said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn. "It is quite warm for the time of the year," said Framton; "but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?" "Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favorite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window--" ANALYSIS "The Open Window" is narrated by Mr Framton Nuttell who has been ordered by his doctor to take a rest in the country. His aunt has given him letters of introduction to several members of the gentry and he is making a round of visits. Mr Nuttell is waiting in the parlor of one of the houses he is visiting with the 15 year old niece of the family he is visiting and has not yet met. The niece points out to him the open widow in the parlor and says he is probably wondering why they keep a window open in the middle of October (a cold period in England). The niece explains it to him: "Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its selfpossessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do" When he meets the aunt and she tells him she is expecting her husband and his hunting party friends to return through the open window at any moment he essentially humors her but is aghast by her madness. He turns with surprise when the Aunt says in a very matter of fact way with no surprise at all in her voice she sees her husband now. Here is what then happens: Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall door, the gravel drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid imminent collision. "Here we are, my dear," said the bearer of the white mackintosh, coming in through the window, "fairly muddy, but most of it's dry. Who was that who bolted out as we came up?" "A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel," said Mrs. Sappleton; "could only talk about his illnesses, and dashed off without a word of goodby or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost." "I expect it was the spaniel," said the niece calmly; "he told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make anyone lose their nerve." I said at the start of my post that this story created a catch phrase. Here it is Romance at short notice was her speciality. I think I prefer the style of Saki to O Henry but I see the similarities as will all who read them. Saki also wrote a novel and a history of Russia modeled on Gibbons' Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. At age 43 (way over the age at which he could be drafted -Ford Madox Ford did the same thing) he volunteered for service in WWI and was killed in combat. He was gay but because of the repressive laws of the era (remember what happened to Oscar Wilde who went to jail when Saki was 25) he kept this side of his life in confidence. Summary of Story: H.H. Munro's (Saki) "The Open Window" brilliantly portrays how one's nerves affects his/her personality. As Framton embarks on a trip intended as a "nerve cure," he finds himself in an unfamiliar situation that ultimately has a negative effect on his seemingly nervous personality. PlotFrampton Nuttel suffers from a nervous condition and has come to spend some time alone. His sister sets up introductions for him with a few members of the community. His first visit is to the Sappleton house where he meets fifteen-year-old Vera, the niece of Mrs. Sappleton. Vera keeps Nuttel company while he waits. Upon hearing that Nuttel has not met the Sappletons, Vera tells Nuttel some information about the family. Vera says that three years ago to the date, Mrs. Sappleton's husband and two younger brothers went on a hunting trip and never returned. Vera goes into detail about the clothes they were wearing, the dog that accompanied them, and the song that Mrs. Sappleton's brother sang upon their return. Vera says that her grief-stricken aunt watches out the window expecting their return. When Mrs. Sappleton enters, she tells Nuttel that she expects her husband and brothers to return at any moment. Nuttel listens, thinking that Mrs. Sappleton has in fact gone crazy. Suddenly, Mrs. Sappleton brightens as she tells Nuttel that they have returned. Nuttel turns only to see the "dead" hunters. He becomes frightened and leaves in a rush. Mrs. Sappleton doesn't understand Nuttel's strange behavior, but Vera replies that he is deathly afraid of dogs. Not until the end of the story does the reader realize that Vera has tricked Mr. Nuttel. This is revealed with the last line of the story: "Romance at short notice was her [Vera's] specialty." Characters Framton Nuttel’s Sister Framton Nuttel’s sister once spent time in the same town to which Framton has come for relaxation. She has given him a number of letters of introduction with which he is to make himself known to a number of people in the town. Mrs. Sappleton is the recipient of such a letter, and it is this that brings Nuttel to her home. Mr. Framton Nuttel Mr. Framton Nuttel suffers from an undisclosed nervous ailment and comes to the country in hope that its atmosphere will be conducive to a cure. He brings a letter of introduction to Mrs. Sappleton in order to make her acquaintance for his stay in her village. While he waits for Mrs.Sappleton to appear, her niece keeps him company and tells him a story about why a window in the room has been left open. He believes her story, that the window remains open in hopes that Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and brother, who the niece says are long dead, will one day return. Later, when Nuttel looks out the window and sees figures approaching who match the descriptions of the long-dead hunters in the niece’s story, he suffers a mental breakdown and flees the house. Ronnie Ronnie is Mrs. Sappleton’s younger brother, who, with Mr. Sappleton, has been away on a hunting expedition. Mr. Sappleton Mr. Sappleton is Mrs. Sappleton’s husband. He has been away during most of the story on a hunting expedition with Mrs. Sappleton’s younger brother, Ronnie. Mrs. Sappleton Readers are first led to believe that Mrs. Sappleton is a widow, keeping vigil for her departed husband and brother, who have disappeared during a hunting trip. She lives with her young niece. Vera Vera is the niece of Mrs. Sappleton, the woman to whom Framton Nuttel plans to give a letter of introduction. She is a teller of tales, a young woman whose forte is “romance at short notice.” She is an exquisite and intuitive actress, equally skilled at deceit and its concealment. While Nuttel waits with her for Mrs. Sappleton to appear, Vera relates an elaborate story surrounding a window in the room that has been left open. It is this story, of the death of some relatives who went hunting long ago, that eventually causes Framton Nuttel’s breakdown. She tells Nuttel that the window is left open as a sign of her aunt’s hope that the dead hunters will one day come home and provides a detailed description of the men, their behavior and attire. After Nuttel flees upon seeing these men return, just as Vera has described them, Vera invents a story explaining his departure as well. Saki refers to Vera as “self-possessed,” which literally means that she has selfcontrol and poise. In the context of this story, it is clear that this is the quality that allows her to lie so well — Vera’s self-possession allows her to maintain a cool head and calm believability while relating that most outlandish of tales. Plot Summary Framton Nuttel has presented himself at the Sappleton house to pay a visit. He is in the country undergoing a rest cure for his nerves and is calling on Mrs. Sappleton at the request of his sister. Though she does not know Mrs. Sappleton well, she worries that her brother will suffer if he keeps himself in total seclusion, as he is likely to do. Fifteen-year-old Vera keeps Nuttel company while they wait for her aunt. After a short silence, Vera asks if Nuttel knows many people in the area. Nuttel replies in the negative, admitting that of Mrs. Sappleton he only knows her name and address. Vera then informs him that her aunt’s “great tragedy” happened after his sister was acquainted with her. Vera indicates the large window that opened on to the lawn. Exactly three years ago, Vera recounts, Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and two younger brothers walked through the window to go on a day’s hunt. They never came back. They were drowned in a bog, and their bodies were never found. Mrs. Sappleton thinks they will come back some day, along with their spaniel, so she keeps the window open. She still talks of them often to her niece, repeating the words of one of her brother’s favorite songs, “Bertie, why do you bound?” Vera herself admits to sometimes believing the men will all come back through that window. She then breaks off her narration with a shudder. At that moment, Mrs. Sappleton enters the room, apologizing for keeping him waiting and hoping that Vera has been amusing him. Mrs. Sappleton excuses the open window, explaining that her husband and brothers will be home soon, and she continues to talk on quite cheerfully about shooting. Nuttel finds this conversation gruesome and attempts to change the subject by talking about his rest cure, a topic which bores Mrs. Sappleton tremendously. But she suddenly brightens up, crying ”Here they are at last!” Nuttel turns to Vera to extend his sympathy, but Vera is staring out through the open window with a look of horror in her eyes. Nuttel turns around to the window and sees Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and brothers walking across the lawn, a spaniel following them, and hears a voice singing “Bertie, why do you bound?” Nuttel grabs his hat and walking stick and flees from the house. Mr. Sappleton comes through the window and greets his wife. Mrs. Sappleton muses over Nuttel’s departure that was so sudden it was if he had seen a ghost. Vera says that she believes it was the spaniel that frightened him; she tells her aunt and uncle that Nuttel is terrified of dogs ever since being hunted into a cemetery in India by wild dogs and having to spend the night in a newly dug grave. As Saki remarks at story’s end, making up stories that add a bit of excitement to life, “romance at short notice,” is Vera’s specialty. An Enigmatic Nature by Anton Chekhov (1860-1904) On the red velvet seat of a first-class railway carriage a pretty lady sits half reclining. An expensive fluffy fan trembles in her tightly closed fingers, a pince-nez keeps dropping off her pretty little nose, the brooch heaves and falls on her bosom, like a boat on the ocean. She is greatly agitated. On the seat opposite sits the Provincial Secretary of Special Commissions, a budding young author, who from time to time publishes long stories of high life, or "Novelli" as he calls them, in the leading paper of the province. He is gazing into her face, gazing intently, with the eyes of a connoisseur. He is watching, studying, catching every shade of this exceptional, enigmatic nature. He understands it, he fathoms it. Her soul, her whole psychology lies open before him. "Oh, I understand, I understand you to your inmost depths!" says the Secretary of Special Commissions, kissing her hand near the bracelet. "Your sensitive, responsive soul is seeking to escape from the maze of ---- Yes, the struggle is terrific, titanic. But do not lose heart, you will be triumphant! Yes!" "Write about me, Voldemar!" says the pretty lady, with a mournful smile. "My life has been so full, so varied, so chequered. Above all, I am unhappy. I am a suffering soul in some page of Dostoevsky. Reveal my soul to the world, Voldemar. Reveal that hapless soul. You are a psychologist. We have not been in the train an hour together, and you have already fathomed my heart." "Tell me! I beseech you, tell me!" "Listen. My father was a poor clerk in the Service. He had a good heart and was not without intelligence; but the spirit of the age -- of his environment -- vous comprenez?-- I do not blame my poor father. He drank, gambled, took bribes. My mother -- but why say more? Poverty, the struggle for daily bread, the consciousness of insignificance -- ah, do not force me to recall it! I had to make my own way. You know the monstrous education at a boarding-school, foolish novel-reading, the errors of early youth, the first timid flutter of love. It was awful! The vacillation! And the agonies of losing faith in life, in oneself! Ah, you are an author. You know us women. You will understand. Unhappily I have an intense nature. I looked for happiness -- and what happiness! I longed to set my soul free. Yes. In that I saw my happiness!" "Exquisite creature!" murmured the author, kissing her hand close to the bracelet. "It's not you I am kissing, but the suffering of humanity. Do you remember Raskolnikov and his kiss?" "Oh, Voldemar, I longed for glory, renown, success, like every -- why affect modesty? -every nature above the commonplace. I yearned for something extraordinary, above the common lot of woman! And then -- and then -- there crossed my path -- an old general -very well off. Understand me, Voldemar! It was self-sacrifice, renunciation! You must see that! I could do nothing else. I restored the family fortunes, was able to travel, to do good. Yet how I suffered, how revolting, how loathsome to me were his embraces -- though I will be fair to him -- he had fought nobly in his day. There were moments -- terrible moments -but I was kept up by the thought that from day to day the old man might die, that then I would begin to live as I liked, to give myself to the man I adore -- be happy. There is such a man, Voldemar, indeed there is!" The pretty lady flutters her fan more violently. Her face takes a lachrymose expression. She goes on: "But at last the old man died. He left me something. I was free as a bird of the air. Now is the moment for me to be happy, isn't it, Voldemar? Happiness comes tapping at my window, I had only to let it in -- but -- Voldemar, listen, I implore you! Now is the time for me to give myself to the man I love, to become the partner of his life, to help , to uphold his ideals, to be happy -- to find rest -- but -- how ignoble, repulsive, and senseless all our life is! How mean it all is, Voldemar. I am wretched, wretched, wretched! Again there is an obstacle in my path! Again I feel that my happiness is far, far away! Ah, what anguish! -- if only you knew what anguish!" "But what -- what stands in your way? I implore you tell me! What is it?" "Another old general, very well off----" The broken fan conceals the pretty little face. The author props on his fist his thought -heavy brow and ponders with the air of a master in psychology. The engine is whistling and hissing while the window curtains flush red with the glow of the setting sun. ANALYSIS Not quite a femme fatale in the ordinary sense of the word, pretty lady is a spider. A spider that preys on wealthy old generals who are on the nethers of life. Despite the trappings of her upper-end life she is unhappy for she doesn’t love the men she stays with. She wants to be free to give herself to her love wholeheartedly but is held back by the desire to marry wealthy old generals who will pamper her. Her claim of being driven to do what she does by poverty is plausible but the magnet that makes her stay in such arrangements strikes one as self centred. She stands in her own way to happiness. Source: http://www.shvoong.com/books/romance/1806071-enigmatic-nature/#ixzz25nq6lR3v
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