Short Stories All the Time

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... a few of my thoughts about 900, mostly contemporary, short stories.
Showing posts with label Capote. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Capote. Show all posts

13 June, 2016

Truman Capote, "Among the Paths to Eden"

This short story was first published in 1960 in Esquire magazine. It begins with Mr. Belli walking through the cemetery with some jonquils to put on his wife's gravestone even as he was actually on a walk because a harsh winter was finally ending and he wanted fresh air and exercise. It's hilarious that he realizes this will give him something to tell his daughters. "...rather as an extra dividend, it was nice that he would be able to tell his daughters of a journey to their mother's grave..."

An unmarried woman approaches him and tries to create a bond by forcing similarities in their circumstances. Her father has recently died and she needs and wants to get married and someone told her the place to find a husband is the cemetery. Mr. Belli finally manages to get away from her but not until he's had several thoughts and opinions about her, himself, his dead wife, and his two grown and married daughters.

Capote explores the various feelings and emotions a person has when a spouse has died. Capote doesn't shy away from the relief sometimes felt. In "Among the Paths to Eden" the reality of losing a spouse is laid out matter-of-factly. "Lord, what a relief to know the woman's tongue was finally stilled. But the thought, pacifying as it was, and though supported by visions of his new and silent bachelor's apartment, did not relight the suddenly snuffed-out sense of immortality, of glad-to-be-aliveness, which the day had earlier kindled."