—–A good deal of the action, and the accompanying bravado, that is to say the secondary chatter surrounding the action, is generated by the continuous inability of the sensitive, first person narrator to understand that the people he is dealing with are not equal to him, in their powers of reflection. And a good thing, too, that must be!, he himself reflects, some safe and sufficient time later, in another, truly self-conscious work. The thoughtful narrator, he keeps making narrow escapes in life, and you might say from life. He looks back to see the splattering of tomatoes that have been hurled at him, and the laughter haunts him terribly. The misunderstood narrator, though speaking always in his own voice, framing it “I think,” and “I saw” , but still he keeps trying to include all the distracted, grungy others, and to see what their interpretation of reality might be. And why it is, given that interpretation of reality that they must continuously and silently shoulder, they still could be acting the way they do. And that is not half as awkwardly put as it deserves to be. It is hard to keep all these factors in mind, it is truly like juggling, and these are the serious narrator’s thoughts, all in the air, as he walks back home, down the street by that same old moon, once again, lucky to remember where he lives. But the truth–arriving in his thoughts, just as his shadow graces the front step– is that his interpretation of reality is the only one possible; and the truth is further, these others have none.
—–Yet, it is the expectation of normalcy, of an exciting and meaningful reality, that drives this narrator. He will go out, and mingle with those he must consider to be more human than himself. The expectation of the sensitive narrator, who can be quite judgmental, in his assessments of what other people are sorely lacking, is followed by an even worse continuous lack of actual experience–available to him, say, in a day. Before that grinning moon, and the sound of people’s air conditioners, come to speak of a closing down. Frustration! This is what causes the furiously alert narrator, who feels it must be that these others are avoiding him, to lace and even poison his own speech, lay traps with words, get strident, fall deathly silent!, and propose the impossible. The reckless narrator will use these stubborn dummies as if exemplars, positioning them in debates that go beyond them, but stinging them with side remarks that fatally wound them. He will describe the exact dimensions of his wild, ivory covered prison walls. Not only that but he must tell you– just because he can see you are holding your ears–the deprivation he, the sensitive narrator, suffers, of only getting to see a slice of the sky, to only hear the crack of thunder and hear the rain dripping on the pipes, to see the boot heels and then the glowering of the guards, and get maybe an hour of debilitating exercise in the prison yard.
—–“Can this be real?”, he will say.
—–The chronically jubilant narrator is watching, and insanely maintaining the watch, for there is no reason for it but expected revelations are nearly put into shape, nothing can kill this idle hope to which he clings. But even this hope and the shape it is forming are not synonymous with his deep background thoughts, where he keeps his nascent identity. Oh horror!, that would eclipse him, if he had to actually think like up front (it is hard to put this) what he is, um, currently thinking–no, this clash and the demonic urge to phrase it, these are experiments in flying! Words fly to his aid. Words make him giddy, always did, they must be stuffed with something halfway transcendental. The insouciant braggart, and perfect child, this born narrator is totally trapped, with no way out of a world that is so ill-defined it is like a roadside flower, wilting. Or a lopsided moon, sloughing through the hazy night sky, as he, hands in pockets, shuffles away. The next mood must be . . . exhilaration.
—–For as you can see, he is faithful as a narrator, to the sense that he is serving the truth. Very far is he from questioning whether there is truth, for to him that is an inborn operating principle. There is no other way to put it, he says. The following day, he says it another way entirely, to fit it in. Always, vitally adhering to the truth, he must keep the descriptions of reality (reality is what he seeks!) accurate to a tee. This is why the true voice of the absolute narrator is speaking when . . . he speaks like a poet, like with a forked tongue. The highly poetical narrator is reckless with the truth, for the sake of it, he says. Describing reality, when he cannot exactly find it, involves some guesswork, I am sure. But his guide is not an Indian, nor a Professor, but history buried in words, or rather the cadence that summons, like blood rushing to the surface, the life of these ancient tropes; for again, the language, the guttural breath, is on his side. And temptations surround this first person narrator, so out front with conjectures, to which he of course occasionally succumbs. And royally. The choice of adjectives is often his, and sometimes it is a vote in the soul as to whether to shade the shadows rose or blue. Opposites of course are closer than any middling term in between, even philosophers know that. The most delicate, and the most cold, moral sensibility must the winning narrator have, in order to not sow doubt and inspire corruption in his fallible, awestruck listeners.

Advertisements