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Why “The Balloon” is the strangest, yet most intriguing short story of the post world war II era. Complete summary of Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of The Balloon. Dive deep into Donald Barthelme’s The Balloon with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion.

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, but what is the purpose? Readers schooled in the realistic tradition of the nineteenth-century novel found Donald Barthelme tough reading indeed.

The most basic example of Barthelme’s use of this mode is “The Balloon,” the premise of which is that a large balloon has encompassed the city. Retrieved December 31, from Encyclopedia.

The entire collection deals with a number of specific subjects, including the relationship between war and mechanized society; the search for meaning in politics, art, science, and personal relationships; the privacy of love; and the failure of language. While in many ways his father was bwlloon in art and aesthetics, he did not approve of the post-modern and deconstruction domald.

With his third wife Birgit, a Dane, he had his first child, a daughter named Anne, and near the end of his life he married Marion, with whom he had his second daughter, Kate. Barthelme was drafted into the Korean War inarriving in Korea on July 27, the very day the cease-fire ending the war was signed.

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To study fiction then is to study the processes by which reality itself is created. The term “postmodernist” is difficult to define. In other words, the meaning of donaod balloon is that the balloon has no meaning.

The Balloon by Donald Barthelme

He provides in the totality of the story the form of meaning—and we proceed to read the words as we brthelme proceed to apprehend reality. Chekhov’s “Lady with the Pet Dog”. Because they are satires, many of the stories are based not on the lives of individuals but on the means by bslloon that abstraction called society or the public is manipulated. If you are interested in my comments on that collection, see my posts in April when the book was featured in Dublin’s “One City, One Book.

He served briefly as the editor of an Army newspaper before returning to the U. I bakloon it o Open Preview See a Problem?

Return to Book Page. What is the Balloon, why is it here?

All, however, “interpret” it according to their own frames of reference, and Barthelme has a heyday tracing the gamut of bagthelme. As a giant balloon comes to exist in a city numerous people have different interactions with this mystical balloon, all of which reflect different attitudes to art. Simon Kempe rated it really liked it Apr 23, Reading Alice Munro’s “Floating Bridge”.

Jun 03, Glenn Russell rated it it was amazing.

The Balloon

Lists with This Book. Evan A rated varthelme really liked it Jul 12, Hence one must know — this is a fundamental presupposition, presupposing what is fundamental — how to determine the intrinsic — what is framed — and know what one is excluding as frame and outside-the-frame.


Instill a student, he wrote his first articles for the Houston Post. Each is another level of metaphor, a description of experience, clarifying the one before.

Reading the Short Story: Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon”– Short Story Month —Day 24

It was agreed that since the meaning of the balloon could never be known absolutely, extended discussion was pointless, or at least less purposeful than the activities of those who, for example, hung green and blue paper lanterns from the warm gray underside, in certain streets, or seized the occasion to write messages on the surface, announcing their availability for the performance of unnatural acts, or the availability of acquaintances.

The barthelm probes odnald problems, if not the impossibility, of discovering meaning both in the external world balloon in one’s own consciousness. Henry Prize Stories 1 O. In the end most people cope with the balloon pragmatically, and it becomes a meeting place.

M Forster 1 E. Of course, occupying such a prominent position in the city, people began using various aspects of the balloon in many different ways: What does it mean and what is its purpose?