Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Two Scenes – Jane Bowles

Jane Bowles - Born- Jane Sydney Auer (February 22 , 1917 – May 4, 1973)

The Iron Table

Here is an example of where I find the research on the author to lend more to the story after I discover some hidden details. As you can see above, Jane died before these two pieces were published in the BASS. She had problems with alcohol, and according to web sources, her health declined steadily after a stroke at a young age. Research also revealed that Jane spent some time in Morocco with he husband and also had an affair with a women while there. It is with these two discoveries that the first “Scene” makes more sense. Initially, I really didn’t care for the story. I thought it interesting...but nothing special. The small details that are nestled within the scene are given so much more weight that I now know two very important details about Jane’s life.

Wonderful passage at the end of the first scene.

“ A serious grief would silence their argument. They would share it and not be able to look into each other’s eyes. But as long as she could she would hold off the moment.”

Lila and Frank

The second “Scene” really unfolds after the action, and we see development explode when insight into a relationship between a brother and sister is revealed. Jane does a masterful job at cracking open the twisted complex entanglement the two share in a few brief sentences.

“So Lila moved about in the vivid world of her brother’s lies, with full awareness always that just beyond them lay the amorphous and hidden world of reality. These lies which thrilled her heart seemed to cull their exciting quality from her never-failing consciousness of the true events they concealed.”

It’s too bad that Bowles only published 7 short stories. It seems that she found a secret to really conveying tension in a small space...exactly what a good short story requires.

8 out of 10

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