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Bewildering Stories

Challenge 346

Sometimes a Cigar is Not Just a Cigar

“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” — Sigmund Freud

“Then it’s not a truly Bewildering cigar.” — Bewildering Stories

  1. In Glenn Gray’s “A Day in the Cornfield,” part VII, what incident might lead the reader to believe that the story isn’t over yet?

  2. The slapstick of Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges is comedy. Thomas Lee Joseph Smith’s satire in “Help Wanted” is tragedy. What’s the difference?

  3. In Rudy Eiland’s “The Shirt”:

    1. What details might lead the reader to realize that the washroom is not really a washroom but another room entirely? Where and what is that room?
    2. What does the shirt symbolize?
    3. How might the story be read as a multiple allegory?

Bonus Questions

  1. Viacheslav Yatsko’s “My Solution to the Kuril Islands Problem” may well qualify as Bewildering Stories’ first recorded instance of geographical satire.

    1. Can you find anything else remotely similar?
    2. Where, exactly, would “Si-Japan” be located?
    3. What is the point of the satire?

    On a serious note, are the Kuril Islands themselves really a “problem”? What solution might a historically and politically disinterested observer propose to the political issue?

  2. In part 1 of Bertrand Cayzac’s “Figs and Riesling” discuss the function of contrasts in the themes of:

    1. falling
    2. incompleteness

Super Bonus Questions

In “He Goes Down”:

  1. How do the cosmological origins of the carpet relate theologically to Fred Looseman’s career, his fall downstairs, and his loose sock?

  2. How do the hotel furnishings illustrate being and nothingness?

  3. How does this episode relate literarily to Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel La Nausée?

Responses welcome!

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