Snow White by Donald Barthelme a b. e-book 0 / Notes at eof back Cover

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"I WAS fair once," Jane said. "I was the fairest of them all. Men came from miles around simply to be in my power. But those days are gone. Those better days. Now I cultivate my malice. It is a cultivated malice, not the pale natural malice we knew, when the world was young. I grow more witchlike as the hazy days imperceptibly meld into one another, and the musky months sink into memory as into a slough, sump, or slime. But I have my malice. I have that. I have even invented new varieties of malice, that men have not seen before now. Were it not for the fact that I am the sleepie of Hogo de Bergerac, I would be total malice. But I am redeemed by this hopeless love, which places me along the human continuum, still. Even Hogo is, I think, chiefly enamored of my malice, that artful, richly formed and softly poisonous network of growths. He luxuriates in the pain potential I am surrounded by. I think I will just sit here on this porch swing, now, swinging gently in the moist morning, and remember 'better days.' Then a cup of Chinese-restaurant tea at 10 a.m. Then, back into the swing for more 'better days.' Yes, that would be a pleasant way to spend the forenoon."
AT the horror show Hubert put his hand in Snow White's lap. A shy and tentative gesture. She let it lay there. It was warm there; that is where the vulva is. And we had brought a thermos of glittering Gibsons, to make us happy insofar as possible. Hubert remembered the Trout Amandine he had had the day the ball was sticking to Kevin's leg. It had been extremely tasty, that trout. And Hubert remembered the conversation in which he had said that God was cruel, and someone else had said vague, and they had pulled the horse off the road, and then they had seen a Polish picture. But this picture was better than that one, allowing for the fact that we had experienced that one in translation, and not in the naked Polish. Snow White is agitated. She is worried about something called her "reputation." What will people think, why have we allowed her to become a public scandal, we must not be seen in public en famille, no one believes that she is simply a housekeeper, etc. etc. These concerns are ludicrous. No one cares. When she is informed that our establishment has excited no special interest in the neighborhood, she is bitterly disappointed. She sulks in her room, reading Teilhard de Chardin and thinking. "My suffering is authentic enough but it has a kind of low-grade concrete-block quality. The seven of them only add up to the equivalent of about two real men, as we know them from the films and from our childhood, when there were giants on the earth. It is possible of course that there are no more real men here, on this ball of half-truths, the earth. That would be a disappointment. One would have to content oneself with the subtle falsity of color films of unhappy love affairs, made in France, with a Mozart score. That would be difficult."
Miseries and complaints of Snow White: "I am tired of being just a horsewife!"
Although you do not know me my name is Jane. I have seized your name from the telephone book in an attempt to enmesh you in my concerns. We suffer today I believe from a lack of connection with each other. That is common knowledge, so common in fact, that it may not even be true. It may be that we are overconnected, for all I know. However I am acting on the first assumption, that we are underconnected, and thus have flung you these lines, which you may grasp or let fall as you will. But I feel that if you neglect them, you will suffer for it. That is merely my private opinion. No police power supports it. I have no means of punishing you, Mr. Quistgaard, for not listening, for having a closed heart. There is no punishment for that, in our society. Not yet. But to the point. You and I, Mr. Quistgaard, are not in the same universe of discourse. You may not have been aware of it previously, but the fact of the matter is, that we are not. We exist in different universes of discourse. Now it may have appeared to you, prior to your receipt of this letter, that the universe of discourse in which you existed, and puttered about, was in all ways adequate and satisfactory. It may never have crossed your mind to think that other universes of discourse distinct from your own existed, with people in them, discoursing. You may have, in a common-sense way, regarded your own u. of d. as a plenum, filled to the brim with discourse. You may have felt that what already existed was a sufficiency. People like you often do. That is certainly one way of regarding it, if fat self-satisfied complacency is your aim. But I say unto you, Mr. Quistgaard, that even a plenum can leak. Even a plenum, cher maƮtre, can be penetrated. New things can rush into your plenum displacing old things, things that were formerly there. No man's plenum, Mr. Quistgaard, is impervious to the awl of God's will. Consider then your situation now. You are sitting there in your house on Neat Street, with your fine dog, doubtless, and your handsome wife and tall brown sons, conceivably, and who knows with your gun-colored Plymouth Fury in the driveway, and opinions passing back and forth, about whether the Grange should build a new meeting hall or not, whether the children should become Thomists or not, whether the pump needs more cup grease or not. A comfortable American scene. But I, Jane Villiers de I'Isle-Adam, am in possession of your telephone number, Mr. Quistgaard. Think what that means. It means that at any moment I can pierce your plenum with a single telephone call, simply by dialing 989-7777. You are correct, Mr. Quistgaard, in seeing this as a threatening situation. The moment I inject discourse from my u. of d. into your u. of d., the yourness of yours is diluted. The more I inject, the more you dilute. Soon you will be presiding over an empty plenum, or rather, since that is a contradiction in terms, over a former plenum, in terms of yourness. You are, essentially, in my power. I suggest an unlisted number.
Yours faithfully,

"IS there someplace I can put this?" Paul asked indicating the large parcel he held in his arms. "It is a new thing I just finished today, still a little wet I'm afraid." He wiped his hands which were covered with emulsions on his trousers. "I'll just lean it up against your wall for a moment." Paul leaned the new thing up against our wall for a moment. The new thing, a dirty great banality in white, poor-white and off-white, leaned up against the wall. "Interesting," we said. "It's poor," Snow White said. "Poor, poor." "Yes," Paul said, "one of my poorer things I think." "Not so poor of course as yesterday's, poorer on the other hand than some," she said. "Yes," Paul said, "it has some of the qualities of poorness." "Especially poor in the lower left-hand corner," she said. "Yes," Paul said, "I would go so far as to hurl it into the marketplace." "They're getting poorer," she said. "Poorer and poorer," Paul said with satisfaction, "descending to unexplored depths of poorness where no human intelligence has ever been." "I find it extremely interesting as a social phenomenon," Snow White said, "to note that during the height of what is variously called, abstract expressionism, action painting and so forth, when most artists were grouped together in a school, you have persisted in an image alone. That, I find -- and I think it has been described as hard-edge painting, is an apt description, although it leaves out a lot, but I find it very interesting that in the last few years there is a tremendous new surge of work being done in the hard-edge image. I don't know if you want to comment on that, but I find it extremely interesting that you, who have always been sure of yourself and your image, were one of the earliest, almost founders of that school, if you can even call it a school." "I have always been sure of myself and my image," Paul said. "Sublimely poor," she murmured. "Wall-paper," he said. They kissed. We trudged to bed then singing the to-bed song heigh-ho. She was lying there in her black vinyl pajamas. "He is certainly a well-integrated personality, Paul," she said. "Yes," we said. "He makes contact, you must grant him that." "Yes," we said. "A beautiful human being." "Carrying the mace is a bit much, perhaps," we said. "We are fortunate to have him in our country," she concluded.
THEN we went over to Paul's place and took the typewriter. Then the problem was to find somebody to sell it to. It was a fine Olivetti 22, that typewriter, and the typewriter girls put it under their skirts. Then George wanted to write something on it while it was under their skirts. I think he just wanted to get under there, because he likes Amelia's legs. He is always looking at them and patting them and thrusting his hand between them. "What are you going to write under there, George?" "I thought perhaps some automatic writing, because one can't see so well under here with the light being strangled by the thick wool, and I touch-type well enough, but I can't see to think, so I thought that. . ." "Well we can't sell this typewriter if you're typing on it under Amelia's legs, so come out of there. And bring the carbon paper too because the carbon paper makes black smudges on Amelia's legs and she doesn't want that. Not now." We all had our hands on the typewriter when it emerged because it had been in that pure grotto, Paul's place, and tomorrow we are going to go there again and take the elevator cage this time, so that he can't come down into the street any more, with his pretensions.
"YES," Bill said, "I wanted to be great, once. But the moon for that was not in my sky, then. I had hoped to make a powerful statement. But there was no wind, no weeping. I had hoped to make a powerful statement, coupled with a moving plea. But there was no weeping, except, perhaps, concealed weeping. Perhaps they wept in the evenings, after dinner, in the family room, among the family, each in his own chair, weeping. A certain diffidence still clings to these matters. You laughed, sitting in your chair with your purple plywood spectacles, your iced tea. I had hoped to make a significant contribution. But they remained stony-faced. Did I make a mistake, selecting Bridgeport? I had hoped to bring about a heightened awareness. I saw their smiling faces. They were going gaily to the grocery for peanut oil, Band-Aids, Saran Wrap. My census of tears was still incomplete. Why had I selected Bridgeport, city of concealed meaning? In Calais they weep openly, on street corners, under trees, in the banks. I wanted to provide a definitive account. But my lecture was not a success. Men came to fold the folding chairs, although I was still speaking. You laughed. I should talk about things people were interested in, you said. I wanted to achieve a breakthrough. My penetrating study was to have been a masterly evocation, sobs and cries, these things matter. I had in mind initiating a multi-faceted program involving paper towels and tears. I came into the room suddenly, you were weeping. You slipped something out of sight, under the pillow.

" 'What is under the pillow?' I asked.

" 'Nothing,' you said.

"I reached under the pillow with my hand. You grasped my wrist. An alarm clock spread the alarm. I rose to go. My survey of the incidence of weeping in the bedrooms of members of the faculty of the University of Bridgeport was methodologically sound but informed, you said, by too little compassion. You laughed, in your room, pulling from under the pillow grainy gray photographs in albums, pictures of people weeping. I wanted to effect a rapprochement, I wanted to reconcile irreconcilable forces. What is the reward for knowing the worst? The reward for knowing the worst is an honorary degree from the University of Bridgeport, salt tears in a little bottle. I wanted to engage in a meaningful dialogue, but the seminal thinkers I contacted were all shaken with sobs, wracked is the word for it. Why did we conceal that emotion which, had we declared it, could have liberated us? There are no parameters for measuring the importance of this question. My life-enhancing poem was mildly meretricious, as you predicted. I wanted to substantiate an unsubstantiated report, I listened to the Blue Network, I heard weeping. I wanted to make suitable arrangements but those whose lives I had thought to arrange did not appear on the appointed day. They were deployed elsewhere marching and counter-marching on fields leased from the Police Athletic League. I was perhaps not lucky enough. I wanted to make a far-reaching reevaluation. I had in mind launching a three-pronged assault, but the prongs wandered off seduced by fires and clowns. It was hell there, in the furnace of my ambition. It was because, you said, I had read the wrong book. He reversed himself in his last years, you said, in the books no one would publish. But his students remember, you said."
PAUL sat in his baff, wondering what to do next. "Well, what shall I do next? What is the next thing demanded of me by history?" If you know who it is they are whispering about, then you usually don't like it. If Paul wants to become a monk, that's his affair entirely. Of course we had hoped that he would take up his sword as part of the President's war on poetry. The time is ripe for that. The root causes of poetry have been studied and studied. And now that we know that pockets of poetry still exist in our great country, especially in the large urban centers, we ought to be able to wash it out totally in one generation, if we put our backs into it. But we were prepared to hide our disappointment. The decision is Paul's finally. "Are those broken veins in my left cheek, above the cheekbone there? No, thank God, they are only tiny whiskers not yet whisked away. Missed in yesterday's scrape, but vulnerable to the scrape of today." Besides, most people are not very well informed about the cloistered life. Certainly they can have light bulbs if they want them, and their rivers and mountains are not inferior to our own. "They make interesting jam," Hank said. "But it's his choice, in the final analysis. Anyhow, we have his typewriter. That much of him is ours, now." People were caressing each other under Paul's window. "Why are all these people existing under my window? It is as if they were as palpable as me -- as bloody, as firm, as well-read." Monkish business will carry him to town sometimes; perhaps we will be able to see him then.

"MOTHER can I go over to Hogo's and play?" "No Jane Hogo is not the right type of young man for you to play with. He is thirty-five now and that is too old for innocent play. I am afraid he knows some kind of play that is not innocent, and will want you to play it with him, and then you will agree in your ignorance, and then the fat will be in the fire. That is the way I have the situation figured out anyhow. That is my reading of it. That is the way it looks from where I stand." "Mother all this false humility does not become you any more than that mucky old poor little match-girl dress you are wearing." "This dress I'll have you know cost two hundred and forty dollars when it was new." "When was it new?" "It was new in 1918, the year your father and I were in the trenches together, in the Great War. That was a war all right. Oh I know there have been other wars since, better-publicized ones, more expensive ones perhaps, but our war is the one I'll always remember. Our war is the one that means war to me." "Mother I know Hogo is thirty-five and thoroughly bad through and through but still there is something drawing me to him. To his house. To the uninnocence I know awaits me there." "Simmer down child. There is a method in my meanness. By refusing to allow you to go to Hogo's house, I will draw Hogo here, to your house, where we can smother him in blueberry flan and other kindnesses, and generally work on him, and beat the life out of him, in one way or another." "That's shrewd mother."
THE poem remained between us like an immense, wrecked railroad car. "Touching the poem," we said, "is it rhymed or free?" "Free," Snow White said, "free, free, free." "And the theme?" "One of the great themes," she said, "that is all I can reveal at this time." "Could you tell us the first word?" "The first word," she said, "is 'bandaged and wounded.' " "But. . ." "Run together," she said. We mentally reviewed the great themes in the light of the word or words, "bandaged and wounded." "How is it that bandage precedes wound?" "A metaphor of the self armoring itself against the gaze of The Other." "The theme is loss, we take it." "What," she said, "else?" "Are you specific as to what is lost?" "Brutally." "Snow White," we said, "why do you remain with us? here? in this house?" There was a silence. Then she said: "It must be laid, I suppose, to a failure of the imagination. I have not been able to imagine anything better." I have not been able to imagine anything better. We were pleased by this powerful statement of our essential mutuality, which can never be sundered or torn, or broken apart, dissipated, diluted, corrupted or finally severed, not even by art in its manifold and dreadful guises. "But my imagination is stirring," Snow White said. "Like the long-sleeping stock certificate suddenly alive in its green safety-deposit box because of new investor interest, my imagination is stirring. Be warned." Something was certainly wrong, we felt.
BILL has developed a shamble. The consequence, some say, of a lost mind. But that is not true. In the midst of so much that is true, it is refreshing to shamble across something that is not true. He does not want to be touched. But he is entitled to an idiosyncrasy. He has earned it by his vigorous leadership in that great enterprise, his life. And in that other great enterprise, our love for Snow White. "This thing is damaging to all of us," Bill noted. "We were all born in National Parks. Clem has his memories of Yosemite, inspiring gorges. Kevin remembers the Great Smokies. Henry has his Acadian songs and dances, Dan his burns from Hot Springs. Hubert has climbed the giant Sequoias, and Edward has climbed stately Rainier. And I, I know the Everglades, which everybody knows. These common experiences have yoked us together forever under the red, white and blue." Then we summoned up all our human understanding, from those regions where it customarily dwelt. "Love has died here, apparently," Bill said significantly, "and it is our task to infuse it once again with the hot orange breath of life. With that in mind I have asked Hogo de Bergerac to come over and advise us on what should be done. He knows the deaths of the heart, Hogo does. And he knows the terror of aloneness, and the rot of propinquity, and the absence of grace. He should be here tomorrow. He will be wearing blueberry flan on his buttonhole. That is how we are to know him. That and his vileness."
HOGO was reading a book of atrocity stories. "God, what filthy beasts we were," he thought, "then. What a thing it must have been to be a Hun! A filthy Boche! And then to turn around and be a Nazi! A gray vermin! And today? We co-exist, we co-exist. Filthy deutschmarks! That so eclipse the very mark and texture. . . That so eclipse the very mark and bosom of a man, that vileness herself is vilely o'erthrown. That so enfold. . . That so enscrap. . . Bloody deutschmarks! that so enwrap the very warp and texture of a man, that what we cherished in him, vileness, is. . . Dies, his ginger o'erthrown. Bald pelf! that so ingurgitates the very wrack and mixture of a man, that in him the sweet stings of vileness are, all ginger fled, he. . ." Henry walked home with his suit in a plastic bag. He had been washing the buildings. But something was stirring in him, a wrinkle in the groin. He was carrying his bucket too, and his ropes. But the wrinkle in his groin was monstrous. "Now it is necessary to court her, and win her, and put on this clean suit, and cut my various nails, and drink something that will kill the millions of germs in my mouth, and say something flattering, and be witty and bonny, and hale and kinky, and pay her a thousand dollars, all just to ease this wrinkle in the groin. It seems a high price." Henry let his mind stray to his groin. Then he let his mind stray to her groin. Do girls have groins? The wrinkle was still there. "The remedy of Origen. That is still open to one. That door, at least, has not been shut."
KEVIN was being "understanding." We spend a lot of our time doing that. And even more of our time, now that we have these problems. "Yes that's the way it is Clem," Kevin said to his friend Clem. "That's the way it is. You tell it like it is Clem baby." Kevin said a lot more garbage to Clem. Peacocks walked through the yard in their gold suits. "Sometimes I see signs on walls saying Kill the Rich," Clem said. "And sometimes Kill the Rich has been crossed out and Harm the Rich written underneath. A clear gain for civilization I would say. And then the one that says Jean-Paul Sartre Is a Fartre. Something going on there, you must admit. Dim flicker of something. On the other hand I myself have impulses toward violence uneasily concealed. Especially when I look out of the window at the men and women walking there. I see a great many couples, men and women, walking along in the course of a day because I spend so much time, as we all do, looking out of windows to determine what is out there, and what should be done about it. Oh it is killing me the way they walk down the street together, laughing and talking, those men and women. Pushing the pram too, whether the man is doing it, or the woman is doing it. Normal life. And a fine October chill in the air. It is unbearable, this consensus, this damned felicity. When I see a couple fighting I give them a dollar, because fighting is interesting. Thank God for fighting." "That's true Roger," Kevin said a hundred times. Then he was covered with embarrassment. "No I mean that's true Clem. Excuse me. Roger is somebody else. You're not Roger. You're Clem. That's true, Clem." More peacocks walked through the yard in their splendid plumage.
WE opened eggs to let the yellow out. Bill was worried about the white part, but we told him not to worry about that. "People do it every day," Edward said. The giant meringue rose to the ceiling. We were all in it. Dan turned off the television set. "You can't cook according to what that woman says. She never has the proportions right, and I don't think there ought to be cannabis in this meringue anyhow." "I just don't like your world," Snow White said. "A world in which such things can happen." We gave her the yellows, but she still wasn't satisfied. It's easy enough to motivate policemen if you give them votes and scooters to ride about on, but soldiers are a little more difficult. More soldiers. Cash their checks. Just because they are soldiers is no reason for not cashing their checks. Philippe laid down his M-16, his M-21, his M-2 and his fully automatic M-9. Then he laid down his M-10 and his M-34 with its mouthfed adapter. Then he laid down his M-4 and his M-3. It made a pile, that hardware. "Well I suppose that identifies you," the girl behind the wall said. Then she gave him his money, and gave the other men their money too. We were amazed that the performance was allowed to continue. There were a lot of things against the government in it. We gave Snow White the yellows in an aluminum container. But she still wasn't satisfied. That is the essential point here, that she wasn't satisfied. I don't know what to do next.
The psychology of Snow White: What does she hope for? "Someday my prince will come." By this Snow White means that she lives her own being as incomplete, pending the arrival of one who will "complete" her. That is, she lives her own being as "not-with" (even though she is in some sense "with" the seven men, Bill, Kevin, Clem, Hubert, Henry, Edward and Dan). But the "not-with" is experienced as stronger, more real, at this particular instant in time, than the "being-with." The incompleteness is an ache capable of subduing all other data presented by consciousness. I don't go along with those theories of historical necessity, which suggest that her actions are dictated by "forces" outside of the individual. That doesn't sound reasonable, in this case. Irruption of the magical in the life of Snow White: Snow White knows a singing bone. The singing bone has told her various stories which have left her troubled and confused: of a bear transformed into a king's son, of an immense treasure at the bottom of a brook, of a crystal casket in which there is a cap that makes the wearer invisible. This must not continue. The behavior of the bone is unacceptable. The bone must be persuaded to confine itself to events and effects susceptible of confirmation by the instrumentarium of the physical sciences. Someone must reason with the bone.
"I AM being followed by a nun in a black station wagon." Bill wiped his hands on the seat covers. "I cannot fall apart now. Not yet. I must hold the whole thing together. Everything depends on me. I must conceal my wounds, contrive to appear unwounded. They must not know. The bloody handkerchief stuffed under the shirt. Now she signals a right turn. Now I will make a left turn. That way I shall escape her. But she makes a left turn too. There it is. That does it. She is following me. Following the spiritual spoor of my invisible wounds. Is she the great black horse for which I have waited all my days, since I was twelve years old? The great devouring black horse? Of course not. Don't be ridiculous, Bill. You are behaving like a fool. She is nothing like a black horse. She is simply a woman in a black dress, in a black station wagon. That she signals for a right turn and then makes a left turn means nothing at all. Don't think about it. Think about leadership. No, don't think about leadership. If you hang a right at this corner. . . No, she hung a right too. Don't think about it. Don't think. Turn on the radio. Think about what the radio is telling you. Think about the various messages to be found there."
I'm not her cup of tea I'm afraid

Ah ah ah ah ah

I'll find a way somehow in my lonely room

Ah ah ah ah ah

Emily Dickinson, why have you left me and gone

Ah ah ah ah ah

Emily Dickinson, don't you know what we could have meant

Ah ah ah ah ah
"HELLO Hogo." "Hello chaps." "The floor is yours Hogo." "Well chaps first I'd like to say a few vile things more or less at random, not only because it is expected of me but also because I enjoy it. One of them is that this cunt you've got here, although I've never seen her with my own eyes, is probably not worth worrying about. Now excuse me if I'm treading on your toes in this matter. God knows I love a female gesture as much as any man, as when, for instance, sitting in the front seat of a car in their bikini, they kind of shrug themselves into a street shift before getting out, or while the car door is open but they haven't gotten out yet; and if you happen to be looking out of a window of a house near the curb, or if you can move your window nearer the curb, you can sometimes see one sitting in her absolute underwear, in the hot weather, and then going through that 'shrugging' business, and sort of hitching the shift up over her hips, and then shaking her head to get the hair to fall the right way, and all that. And all this is the best that has been thought and said, in my opinion, or ever will be thought and said, for the only thing worth a rap in the whole world is the beauty of women, and maybe certain foods, and possibly music of all kinds, especially 'cheap' music such as that furnished at parades by for instance the St. Pulaski Tatterdemalion Band of Orange, New Jersey, which can reduce you to tears, in the right light, by speaking to you from the heart about your land, and what a fine land it is, and that it is your land really, and my land, this land of ours -- that particular insight can chill you, rendered by a marching unit. But I wander. The main thing I wanted to point out is that the world is full of cunts, that they grow like clams in all quarters of the earth, cunts as multitudinous as cherrystones and littlenecks burrowing into the mud in all the bays of the world. The point is that the loss of any particular one is not to be taken seriously. She stays with you as long as she can put up with your shit and you stay with her as long as you can put up with her shit. That's the way it is behind the veil of flummery that usually veils these matters. Now think, I ask you, of all those women who are beyond the moment of splendor. They are depressed. The minister comes to call and recommends to them the things of the spirit, and tells them how the things of the spirit are more durable than the things of the flesh and all that. Well he is entirely correct, they are more durable, but durable is not what we wanted. The terrible poignance of this predicament is not vitiated by the fact that everybody knows it, in the backs of their minds. Ruin of the physical envelope is our great theme here, and if we keep changing girls every four or five years, it is because of this ruin, which I will never agree to, to my dying day. And that is why I keep looking out of the window, and why we all keep looking out of the window, to see what is passing, what has been cast up on the beach of our existence. Because something is always being cast up on that beach, as new classes of girls mature, and you can always get a new one, if you are willing to overlook certain weaknesses in the departments of thought and feeling. But if it is thought and feeling you want, you can always read a book, or see a film, or have an interior monologue. But of course with the spread of literacy you now tend to get girls who have thought and feeling too, in some measure, and some of them will probably belong to the Royal Philological Society or something, or in any case have their own 'thing,' which must be respected, and catered to, and nattered about, just as if you gave a shit about all this blague. But of course we may be different, perhaps you do care about it. It's not unheard of. But my main point is that you should bear in mind multiplicity, and forget about uniqueness. The earth is broad, and flat, and deep, and high. And remember what Freud said."
"Which prince?" Snow White wondered brushing her teeth. "Which prince will come? Will it be Prince Andrey? Prince Igor? Prince Alf? Prince Alphonso? Prince Malcolm? Prince Donalbain? Prince Fernando? Prince Siegfried? Prince Philip? Prince Albert? Prince Paul? Prince Akihito? Prince Rainier? Prince Porus? Prince Myshkin? Prince Rupert? Prince Pericles? Prince Karl? Prince Clarence? Prince George? Prince Hal? Prince John? Prince Mamillius? Prince Florizel? Prince Kropotkin? Prince Humphrey? Prince Charlie? Prince Matchabelli? Prince Escalus? Prince Valiant? Prince Fortinbras?" Then Snow White pulled herself together. "Well it is terrific to be anticipating a prince -- to be waiting and knowing that what you are waiting for is a prince, packed with grace -- but it is still waiting, and waiting as a mode of existence is, as Brack has noted, a darksome mode. I would rather be doing a hundred other things. But slash me if I will let it, this waiting, bring down my lofty feelings of anticipation from the bedroom ceiling where they dance overhead like so many French letters filled with lifting gas. I wonder if he will have the Hapsburg Lip?"
PAUL stood before a fence posing. He was on his way to the monastery. But first he was posing in front of a fence. The fence was covered with birds. Their problem, in many ways a paradigm of our own, was "to fly." "The engaging and wholly charming way I stand in front of this fence here," Paul said to himself, "will soon persuade someone to discover me. Then I will not have to go to the monastery. Then I can be on television or something, instead of going to the monastery. Yet there is no denying it, something is pulling me toward that monastery located in a remote part of Western Nevada." Lanky, generous-hearted Paul! "If I had been born well prior to 1900, I could have ridden with Pershing against Pancho Villa. Alternatively, I could have ridden with Villa against the landowners and corrupt government officials of the time. In either case, I would have had a horse. How little opportunity there is for young men to have personally owned horses in the bottom half of the twentieth century! A wonder that we U.S. youth can still fork a saddle at all. . . Of course there are those 'horses' under the hoods of Buicks and Pontiacs, the kind so many of my countrymen favor. But those 'horses' are not for me. They take the tan out of my cheeks and the lank out of my arms and legs. Tom Lea or Pete Hurd will never paint me standing by this fence if I am sitting inside an Eldorado, Starfire, Riviera or Mustang, no matter how attractively the metal has been bent."
SNOW WHITE let down her hair black as ebony from the window. It was Monday. The hair flew out of the window. "I could fly a kite with this hair it is so long. The wind would carry the kite up into the blue, and there would be the red of the kite against the blue of the blue, together with my hair black as ebony, floating there. That seems desirable. This motif, the long hair streaming from the high window, is a very ancient one I believe, found in many cultures, in various forms. Now I recapitulate it, for the astonishment of the vulgar and the refreshment of my venereal life."
THE President looked out of his window. He was not very happy. "I worry about Bill, Hubert, Henry, Kevin, Edward, Clem, Dan and their lover, Snow White. I sense that all is not well with them. Now, looking out over this green lawn, and these fine rosebushes, and into the night and the yellow buildings, and the falling Dow-Jones index and the screams of the poor, I am concerned. I have many important things to worry about, but I worry about Bill and the boys too. Because I am the President. Finally. The President of the whole fucking country. And they are Americans, Bill, Hubert, Henry, Kevin, Edward, Clem, Dan and Snow White. They are Americans. My Americans."
1. Do you like the story so far? Yes ( ) No ( )

2. Does Snow White resemble the Snow White you remember? Yes ( ) No ( )

3. Have you understood, in reading to this point, that Paul is the prince-figure? Yes ( ) No ( )

4. That Jane is the wicked stepmother-figure? Yes ( ) No( )

5. In the further development of the story, would you like more emotion ( ) or less emotion ( )?

6. Is there too much blague in the narration? ( ) Not enough blague? ( )

7. Do you feel that the creation of new modes of hysteria is a viable undertaking for the artist of today? Yes ( ) No ( )

8. Would you like a war? Yes ( ) No ( )

9. Has the work, for you, a metaphysical dimension? Yes ( ) No ( )

10. What is it (twenty-five words or less)? _____________________________________



11. Are the seven men, in your view, adequately characterized as individuals? Yes ( ) No ( )

12. Do you feel that the Authors Guild has been sufficiently vigorous in representing writers before the Congress in matters pertaining to copyright legislation? Yes ( ) No ( )

13. Holding in mind all works of fiction since the War, in all languages, how would you rate the present work, on a scale of one to ten, so far? (Please circle your answer) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

14. Do you stand up when you read? ( ) Lie down? ( ) Sit? ( )

15. In your opinion, should human beings have more shoulders? ( ) Two sets of shoulders? ( ) Three? ( )

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